Can an Unbeliever be Saved by Marrying a Believer?

In his first letter to the Corinthian Christians, Paul said, “The unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her husband.” Does this mean that unbelievers are saved by virtue of being married to believers? Hank Hanegraaff, the host of the 𝘉𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘈𝘯𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘔𝘢𝘯 broadcast and the 𝘏𝘢𝘯𝘬 𝘜𝘯𝘱𝘭𝘶𝘨𝘨𝘦𝘥 podcast, notes that if unbelievers can be saved through marriage, there would be at least two ways to be saved: one by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone; the other, by marriage to a believer. And if that were true, unbelievers would be forced into the kingdom of Christ against their wills. Furthermore, being sanctified is not the same as being saved. In context, to be sanctified means to be set apart. As such, the unbeliever has been sanctified for the sake of the marriage, not for the sake of salvation. In other words, the believer is not defiled by the spiritual deadness of the unbeliever. Rather, the unbeliever comes under the special influence of the Holy Spirit. Finally, in the same context, Paul distinguished between being sanctified and being saved when he wrote, “How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” (v. 16). Clearly, sanctification is not synonymous with salvation, and an unbeliever is not saved by marriage to a believer. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)






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