It is quite interesting how the New Covenant changes the Old Covenant description of children who are raised by parents where at least one of the parents are not part of the covenant. We will be taking a look at the juxtaposition of Deuteronomy 23:2 and 1 Corinthians 7:14 in regards to children who are born of one covenant parent and one non-covenant parent.
In the Old Covenant, such children are considered to be illegitimate, therefore they should be excluded from the assembly of the Lord…
“No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the Lord.”
This is an excerpt from the “Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary” on Deuteronomy 23…
“”To enter into the congregation of the Lord” means either admission to public honors and offices in the Church and State of Israel, or, in the case of foreigners, incorporation with that nation by marriage. The rule was that strangers and foreigners, for fear of friendship or marriage connections with them leading the people into idolatry, were not admissible till their conversion to the Jewish faith.”
In other words, having non-covenant people mixed with covenant people for worship, meant that such might cause the covenant people to be negatively impacted by a potentially un-Godly lifestyle, practice, or influence, thus causing them to worship God improperly or to even turn from Him. Basically, segregation was commanded by God in order to protect the covenant people from non-covenant people; to keep them pure. In order to help ensure such, all non-covenant people were to be fully excluded from covenant people while worshipping God. This included “illegitimate” children who were considered to be unclean.
However, in the New Covenant, we see a drastic change regarding the labeling of such children (who have at least one believing parent):
1 Corinthians 7:14
“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.”
In the New Covenant, children of spiritually divided parents are now labeled as “holy.” Instead of once being a spiritual threat to a covenant parent in the Old Covenant economy, now, in the New Covenant economy, such children’s illegitimate status is now threatened by their one covenant parent. In other words, the illegitimate child is no longer an influence upon the heart and mind of the “covenant” parent, but it is the “covenant” parent who now influences the heart and mind of the “holy” or set apart child.
Prior, in the Old Covenant, such children were set apart from the covenant people, and not included in the worship of God. Now, in the New Covenant, they are set apart to be with the covenant people, and included in the worship of God.
Isn’t it beautiful how this reversal takes place, in light of the Gospel?
If you are the sole believing parent in your family, I encourage you to be steadfast. Because not only is your spouse sanctified through you, but your children… are holy.
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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Thanks again for another encouraging (and aptly titled) article.
1 Corinthians 7:14 has been a great comfort to me over the last few years, even more so when I became a single parent. Now, as I anticipate the baptism of my precious 11 year old son, I am all the more thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ and the new life my children have been given in Him. They have been loved and greatly blessed by the brethren, both in our family and in our church. I can’t imagine what it would be like had they been excluded!
I prayed for your family…
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