God shows mercy to those attached in some way to Christians. He does not need to, but He does. Perhaps a perplexing part of the Scriptures is 1 Corinthians 7. If you have not read this chapter yet, it might be a good idea for a cold winter’s night. Here, Paul responds to the Corinthian Church’s written questions … 1Co 7:1 “Now for the matters you wrote about”.
Largely, this passage deals with sexual pressure, marriage, divorce and singleness coupled to being Christian, and what if there is a non-Christian spouse. Here we read:
1Co 7:12 … If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
Often, people get married and become Christians later on or one becomes a Christian. Paul says the Christian needs to remain in this union unless the non-Christian wants out. Why must the non-Christian remain in the union? Because the non-Christian is sanctified through the Christian.
This “being sanctified” does not mean the non-Christians is saved … rather, it means “set apart” (as in holy) in the context of marriage and family. For the benefit of the Christian, blessings flow upon the household. As John MacArthur says, “The Christian in the home graces the entire home.” It’s also into this scenario that blessings come to the child or children. One believer in the home is the cause of God’s graces flowing into the home for the benefit of the believer.
Let’s now return to Lot, remembering the context … God’s relentless wrath flowed out upon Sodom, Gomorrah and the entire plain.
Ge 19:27 Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the LORD. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace. 29 So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.
Whilst Lot was resident in the community of Abram’s family, he was sanctified for the benefit of Abram and Sarai. When he left, choosing his own pathway, he slowly, yet progressively drifted away from God and the protection of the sanctity of Abram’s home.
However, this did not mean Abram forgot Lot nor did it mean he had no feelings for Lot. Look what happened when Lot was captured by King Kedorlaomer as an example. Blood runs thicker than water. This was Abram’s blood … he never lost feelings or concern for Lot. Then, Abram knew exactly what God would do to Sodom. When God said to him …
Ge 18:20 Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
… he knew exactly what this meant because he engaged God from verse 23 to 32 … and the essence is found in verses 23 to 24:
Ge 18:23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?”
He went down to 10 and God left him … for there was not 10 righteous people in Sodom. Yet we read:
Ge 19:29 So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.
Although away from the sanctity of Abraham’s home (sorry I have been using Abram although by now his name was changed), for his mental, spiritual and emotional wellbeing, God protected Lot from the disaster Sodom faced!
Remember he made all those wrong choices … yet for the sake of Abraham God protected Lot!
To what extent do you perhaps moan silently because you are the only Christian in your home? You feel Christ in you is being abused by the way the rest in the family mock, taunt and ridicule you because of your Gospel stand? At times you wish you could flee the home and rid yourself of those who treat you and your Lord so despicably? Yes, that might even be a spouse, a parent, your children or a sibling. You might be crying out to God … “How long Lord do I need to endure this treatment?” Yet have you stopped to think that God is using you to bless that household? Your Gospel character is a loud witness to them even without you speaking a word … and even though you feel the home is falling apart because of the sin and rebellion of the unsaved … God has sanctified that home … for your benefit. It is not as bad as it could and would be without you there!
And then, should you move away or should those tormenting you move away, your feelings for them as your family don’t change, because like Abraham, you want the best for your loved ones. Even if they choose a pathway and drift further from God … you don’t block them out of your life. Look how Abraham debated with God for Sodom for the benefit of Lot … and yes, God destroyed Sodom but saved Lot … for the benefit of Abraham. My feeling is that even though it’s not mentioned, Abraham would have been praying daily for Lot!
So, what would be the take-away from today’s Note be?
First, God blesses your home for your benefit as the believer.
Second, your privilege in that home is to live the Gospel and to pray for the salvation of the spiritually lost family members.
Third, should you or “they” leave home, your feelings for “them” do not change. You love them and pray for them seeking God to reach out into their lives and He did yours when He brought you to saving faith.
Dear Gracious, Merciful Lord, we all have family members who are non-Christian. Even though they mock and ridicule us for our faith, help us to love them and daily pray for their salvation … for Jesus’ sake. Amen.