Sunday, March 30, 2014

Exception Clause in Context, Not Contrast…




This is a presuppostional apologetic of the permanency of marriage firmly rooted in the word of God. This apologetic will rely on the New Testament for accuracy. It is clear that Jesus often used the word of God to make His point. When I say that Jesus used the word of God, we refer to the Old Testament as the foundation of the Law. When we refer to Jesus, we refer to the One who fulfilled the Law and it was through Him that we have a better way to salvation. Men inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote both the Old and New Testament to give us complete revelation to God and His promises for humankind.

In Matthew’s Gospel, there are two instances Jesus addresses marriage. The first is at the Sermon of the Mount, and the second is His teaching in Judea beyond the Jordan River. He first addresses marriage and divorce on the Sermon of the Mount. This teaching is lumped in with many teachings that always point to the heart of men. Jesus speaks with authority by comparing to what the people know about the Law to what He has to say is the truth of the Law. Since He is the author of both the Old and New covenants, His teachings center on the Beatitudes, the Lord's Prayer and the Golden Rule. These are based on life in the spirit and not in the flesh.

Matthew 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

In these two verses, we see two distinct proclamations. In verse 31 Jesus says… “It hath been said,”…Jesus is saying, “You heard it this way.” Or “You read this…Jesus always points to the word of God. In verse 32, Jesus says … “But I say unto you,.” This is a new commandment.
In verse 32, we have the most misused scripture in the entire Bible. “saving for the cause of fornication,”. What is most obvious is that this “exception clause” is not mentioned in the other two synoptic Gospels (Mark and Luke). If we apply this “exception” to a certain action, it contradicts other scripture. In addition, since this exception clause is not mentioned in Mark or Luke it may be because the exception clause was not applicable to the Romans and Gentiles. So the question must be answered…What is the “exception clause?”
 
The Greek word used in the “exception clause” is porneia. A common misconception is that this“exception clause” refers to sexual immortality within a consummated marriage. If this were the case, the Greek word for adultery would apply. Of course, one could say that any type of sexual immorality is grounds for divorce and porneia could still apply in a consummated marriage. If this is the case, then the exception clause should be applicable for the Romans and the Gentiles. However, both Mark and Luke exclude this exception.

Another important thing to note is this. In verse 32 of Matthew 5, we see Jesus says…whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. Adultery can ONLY be committed if a marriage is still valid. If a person “marries” a divorced woman, why would Jesus call this adultery and not sexual immorality/martial unfaithfulness/porneia? This verse itself explains that divorce NEVER ends a one-flesh marriage covenant. 
  
We must be careful we do not take scripture out of context. If this “exception clause” is applicable for a certain instance, then we must not apply this as a dominating statement for the other Gospels. There needs to be clarity and if there is clarity, we must accept this as truth. Should the exception clause prove to be for a certain instance, then this would have significant consequences for those who remarried after a divorce. If this scripture does not offer a reasonable explanation for the other Gospel accounts, it would become a contradiction. Therefore, it is imperative that if the “exception clause” never refers to sexual immorality in a consummated marriage, then we must consider the many remarriages due to this case.

The apologetic for this scripture will show that Matthew corroborates with the other Gospels by explaining the difference between a Jewish betrothal and a consummated marriage of the Gentiles. Matthew’s account is only separate from the other two Gospels because of this “exception clause” showing that there is a distinct difference to the definition of marriage under Jewish customs compared to Romans and Gentile marriage customs. There is no exception clause in the other Gospels. This apologetic will make a case that this “exception clause” always applies to a betrothed Jewish couple. A great apologetic example found in the very same Gospel of Matthew.  This is concerning the Jewish betrothal of Joseph and Mary, both Jewish descendants from the line of David.

 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused(betrothal marriage) to Joseph, before they came together,(consummated marriage) she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example,was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife(consummated marriage) for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not(Joseph vowed to consummate the marriage, but waited until AFTER Jesus was born)) till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

In verse 18, we see that Mary was “espoused” to Joseph. “When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph.” This word “espoused” refers to the Jewish betrothal. This is not unlike a modern day engagement the “exception” being a man and woman espoused in this Jewish culture were “husband” and “wife”. We know this was a betrothal because the words, “before they came together, indicate that the marriage was not yet consummated. In addition, Joseph did not consummate the marriage until after the Lord was born.

Matthew 1:24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him,and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.
 
If we take notice here, Joseph takes Mary to be his wife even though she was pregnant. (vs. 24) This was an obvious marriage ceremony. Even though Joseph had the “right” to put Mary away quietly because she was not a pure virgin, he considered the dream (Matthew 1:20-23) and married her. The reason Joseph had the right to put Mary away is found in the law. (Deut 22:13-30)Under these laws, Joseph could prove that Mary was no longer a virgin by exposing her lack of virginity.

Deut 22:16 And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;
17 And, lo, hehath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.
18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;
19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel:and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.
20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men ofher city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

Regardless, Joseph had a dream that proved that Mary was with a child who was the Messiah. Thus, his taking Mary to be his wife despite her pregnancy was acceptable even under the law if it was proved Mary became pregnant under the law.

Deut 22:23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. 25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her:then the man only that lay with her shall die.26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death:for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.

This Mosaic Law could certainly apply if Mary was raped in the city, and thus never cried out, she could lose her life. (Deut 22:23, 24) If someone believed Mary was raped in the country, only the one who raped her would die. (Deut 22:25-27)This says much about Joseph and his faith in God because the rumors someone may have raped a betrothed Mary, could make things difficult for them both. Regardless, Joseph showed compassion on Mary when many would not. Joseph was a just man. (Matthew 1:19)
The second instance of the “exception clause” in the book of Matthew of where Jesus talks about marriage and divorce is in Matthew 19. This scripture aligns with Mark’s account and the only exception is the “exception clause.”

 Matthew 19:1 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;
2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife:and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to puther away?
8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication,and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

This exhortation mirrors what Mark wrote in the 10th chapter of the Gospel of Mark. (Mark 10:1-12) The only exception is the “exception clause” in verse 9. It is important to note that as in Mark’s Gospel the Pharisees have no comment once Jesus makes His statement with authority. The disciples do see the severity of what Jesus is saying because their comment is that it is better not to marry. (vs. 10) Jesus also states that some will do whatever it takes for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. (v.12)

Something to consider is this, if Mark’s Gospel uses the “exception clause”, it may have caused confusion for the Romans who would believe that a person could divorce from a consummated marriage in the case of sexual immorality. Either way, Luke 16:18 makes no mention of the exception clause. In addition, if the “exception clause” refers to sexual immorality within a consummated marriage, this would contradict Mark 10:11,12; Luke 16:18, Romans 7:2,3; 1 Cor 7:10,11, 39.The case for the betrothal does not contradict other scripture and in fact, enhances the seriousness of a hardhearted decision to divorce. In addition, when we combine all what was written for the case of marriage, we have a complete picture for the permanency of marriage.

Matthew’s account is clear that the“exception clause” always refers to the betrothed couple and not a consummated marriage. Jewish Christians clearly understood the exception clause because it referred to Jewish betrothal. The three Gospels do not contradict each other and they each apply to those who needed to hear the clear words of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke make a case that marriage is a one-flesh covenant binding until death that no man may put asunder.

It is also important to note that this popular and inaccurate “exception clause” creates confusion for those who were divorced and remarried, and for those who recognize divorce and remarriage. How does anyone know if a divorce or remarriage is legitimate? If someone divorced and remarried for other reasons beside this exception clause, how would we know?

An example of this confusion is a ficticious marriage of Joe and Mary:
Joe commits adultery with Sue. Joe’s wife Mary, seeks church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17), yet Joe remains in adultery and is impenitent. If Mary uses this “exception clause” as a means to divorce from Joe, she is telling Joe this:

Mary: “Joe is in adultery, and will not repent; Therefore, I will divorce him according to this “exception clause.”  

Joe: “Mary divorced me, now the marriage is over and I can remain with Sue, AND get married to Sue.” 

Those who believe that the “exception clause” is a valid excuse to divorce MUST believe this: Mary divorced Joe because he refuses to repent. Mary has the “right” to divorce and remarry because Joe is impenitent. Mary remarries Steve, a single man who never married. (However, Matthew 5:32 says that Steve must not marry Mary because she is divorced,…right?) Joe has NO “rights” to remarry, because he is in adultery. Joe cannot remarry anyone, and MUST remain single even after he repents,…right? 

Is this what happens? No…this is what happens: Mary divorced Joe because he refuses to repent. Mary has the “right” to divorce and remarry because Joe is impenitent. Since Mary divorced and remarried, Joe believes his marriage with Mary is over. Joe seeks to marry Sue, and fortunately, for him, the church across the street believes that since his marriage with Mary is over because she divorced him and remarried someone else, Joe can marry Sue. In this case, Mary actually encourages Joe to remain in adultery because she commits adultery herself by entering a remarriage with Steve.
  
This SHOULD be the church’s response to Mary: “Mary, if you divorce Joe, you break the vow of your one-flesh marriage covenant to Joe before GOD, and, Joe will believe that his marriage is over with you and he will believe that he can continue in his sin. Joe will also believe that he can marry Sue. Mary, you must remain single in your covenant one-flesh marriage until Joe repents or dies less you cause him to remain in his adultery. If you divorce and remarry while Joe is still alive, you commit adultery against God and Joe. You also give Joe the green light to believe that because you divorced him, he can remain in his adultery with Sue and then marry Sue. You must have faith to believe Joe will answer to GOD for his impenitent heart” 

[This SHOULD be the church’s response to Joe: “Joe, you have committed adultery against GOD and Mary because you are still in a one-flesh marriage covenant that you vowed to Mary before GOD. Therefore, you must remain single the rest of your days if you remain in your adultery, unless you repent of your sin. Your relationship with Sue is adultery an nothing more, and remains adultery unless you break the relationship, repent of your sins and reconcile to Mary. No church, pastor, minister, or justice of the peace will marry you to Sue because this “remarriage” is adultery, and they too would be guilty of allowing and promoting adultery.]

In conclusion, there are no misconceptions, miscalculations, confusion, or further sin if divorce is NOT an option, and ANY remarriage after divorcing a living spouse is nothing more than adultery. The permanence of a marriage is what Jesus and Paul taught us. There are no exceptions, no excuses. Jesus says that divorce is hardheartedness and remarriage is adultery. This is not very difficult to understand. It only becomes difficult and confusing when you create loopholes to allow for reasons to divorce and remarry. Question: Who has the courage and the faith to come forward to repent of this tragic abuse of God’s word? There is still time.

In Christ’s love,

Neil   

(edited after posting: [] )


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Believe God, Trust God…In Marriage.



Romans 10:6 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

The word Gospel means Good News. It is an act by God for His love for us. Surely, we do not deserve this gift. After all, the scriptures say, while we yet sinners…We were enemies of God, without hope. None of our good works can appease God because they are like filthy rags; none of what we say or do can reconcile us to God. God knew this; He knew that the human race was destined to die because the wages of this sin is death.

Therefore, in His love for us He provided a scapegoat, a way out of death. He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. This is the New Covenant, for the blood of Christ was shed for many for the remission of sins. Those who believe receive everlasting life and a new life in Christ. We have lives of peace and the hope to know that we are counted as children of God. The Holy Spirit enters us and helps us to live a life to glorify Him.

This is a pro-marriage, pro-Gospel blog. My hope is that when people read my posts they see that I am fully committed to speaking the truth about a one-flesh covenant of marriage and how this sacred covenant relates to the Gospel.The Lord has placed on my heart the desire to make others see that God intended marriage to be for life. We know this is entirely possible because even though marriage was ordained before sin entered into the world, we see countless (though less and less each passing year) marriages that end in death of either one or both spouses.

We must also consider that there are many marriages on the brink of divorce and God restored these marriages. God restored these marriages because one spouse put their faith and trust in the vow they made before God. I know many believers who pray and stand in the vow they made for their prodigal spouse who had abandoned the marriage and in some cases have divorced and remarried. Yet, these spouses stand on the word of God. They know that God calls divorce and hardheartedness and remarriage adultery, even if the majority of the world sees divorce as a valid excuse to move on. They have hope in the restoration of the prodigal spouse and hope in the restoration of the marriage. My intent in this post (and every post on Genesis 2) is to show that the sacred one-flesh covenant of marriage is compatible to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and that divorce and remarriage are part of self-gratification and zero faith in God.
Let us compare the Gospel, marriage, and divorce.

The Gospel:

When you make a confession of faith, this covenant seals the deal with God. The Lord Jesus Christ will never forsake or leave you. God cannot break this covenant because He is holy, and through this covenant, He is going to make you holy unless you start to believe that He did not keep His promises. You will stumble and fall, but when you repent of your sin, He is faithful and just to forgive you and restore you unto righteousness. Remember, prior to your relationship with Christ, you were condemned to suffer the consequence of your sins.  The Holy Spirit inside of you should convict you of sin and areas in your life that need to change to make you in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, you can fail, and will fail, but God cannot and will not fail and loves you enough to forget the wrongs you did and said. Repentance to God restores the relationship because God forgives and forgets. God is the perfect example of love.   


The Marriage:

Marriage is so unique in that regardless of religion or culture, those who vow into this covenant know that marriage is until death. The hope is that others see that this vow to your spouse has nothing to do with their vow to you, but has more to do with faith in God to preserve the marriage until death. This is believing that like you, your spouse also vowed before God and they will have to answer to Him should they break that vow. The moment you believe you can break your vow of marriage just because your spouse broke their vow to you, is the moment you just believed God is not capable of restoring the vow breaker. A vow of marriage is a commitment to love that person even if they do not reciprocate their love to you. Grace is the foundation of marriage and marriage represents the Gospel, Gods love for us. A marriage is a perfect example of love.

Marriage is from the beginning, a one-flesh covenant designed by the grace of God...and this was good. Marriage represents Christ's love for His church. Marriage is the Gospel lived out between the husband and wife. Marriage is the foundation of a human life. Marriage represents the roles and duties of a man and woman. Marriage has a profound impact on our children. Marriage demands selflessness, humility, and forgiveness. What God creates is good.

Divorce:

Did God join you in marriage? When you make a decision to divorce from a one-flesh covenant of marriage, you are saying that you, and not God, set the standards of marriage. You also break your vow to God. You believe that your spouse is without hope. You become the judge of your spouse. You also make the marriage about you, what seems right in your own eyes. If you believe divorce is the solution, it is most likely you are part of the problem. If you initiate a divorce, why should God not divorce you? Since God is holy, and there is not one sin in His being, why should He remain with you who sin daily? You say, but I ask for forgiveness, I repent of my sins…Did you forgive the sins of the spouse who sinned against you? Jesus said, For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)


Did God join you in marriage? When you make a decision to believe you spouse divorced you, and that you have the freedom to remarry, you just redefined the Gospel and marriage. You also broke your vow to God. Your spouse remarried, but God calls this remarriage adultery because the spouse made a vow to you. Their divorce and remarriage does not end the vow to you, and if you believe it does, you make God out to be a liar. You became a Pharisee who believes that divorce and remarriage is the answer to someone who sinned against you, when Jesus said, what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Divorce came after the fall of man. Man instituted divorce, not by the grace of God, but by the hardness of man’s heart. God hates divorce. Divorce represents resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, and impenitent hearts. Divorce runs contrary to the Gospel. Divorce causes sin. Divorce creates more problems. Divorce splits families and friends. Divorce has a profound impact on our children. Divorce is selfishness, self-gratification, and prideful.

In conclusion, I believe that divorce is the single most selfish decision a person can make in a covenant vow of marriage. The second most selfish decision is believing that your spouse divorced you. If marriage represents Christ’s love for His church, divorce represents the person of antichrist. I understand that some of you have had very difficult marriages of abuse, infidelity, and addiction. Yet, where does it say in a vow of a one-flesh marriage covenant that your marriage will be perfect? Where does it say that your spouse will keep their vow to you? Where does it say that you can initiate a divorce because your spouse disobeyed God? The Gospel should transform us into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and divorce is saying we want none of that.

If you divorced, or believe you were divorced. Turn back to the cross and the power of the Gospel. God has the power to restore you to Him and then he has the power to restore a prodigal spouse. What you need to know is that maybe in all this, you are the prodigal and that you need to come back to a God who loves you enough to send His only begotten Son to die in your place. If we really understand the Gospel and its power to save, we know that this life is but a stepping-stone into eternity. Make the individual choice to trust and have reverence for a holy God no matter the actions of those around us. God is more than capable of delivering His end of the relationship. He loves us with an everlasting love, grace is His name, and His kingdom cannot be moved. Believe it to be so.

Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

29 For our God is a consuming fire.


In Christ’s love,

Neil

Friday, March 28, 2014

Marriage: God’s way, or our way?



The following is a hypothetical demonstration by taking God’s definitions of marriage and roles of a man and woman in marriage and applying these standards to a society. At first, we need presuppositions in place that make up the framework of marriage and the family. These views are based on scripture from the Bible.
These are the presuppositions:

God is the creator of all things (Gen 1:1; John 1:1;Romans 1:20; Hebrews 11:3)  and all that He created was good (Gen 1:31;1 Tim 4:4). God created man in His image (Matthew Gen 1:27;19:4; Mark 10:6) and provided a helper (woman) that was suitable for him (Gen 2:18;1 Cor 11:9). This man and woman are spiritual equal in every way to God. (Gal 3:28)  However, God designed them separately with compatible physical appearances to compliment and help each other to perform the purposes in which they were created.(1 Cor 11:9) A man and a woman joined as one flesh defines marriage for the purpose of procreation (Gen 1:28) , providing a structured family for raising children into adulthood (Proverbs 13:22;Proverbs 22:6; Eph 6:4, 2 Tim 3:15) and is an example of Christ’s relationship to His church (Eph 5:22-33). A man is to oversee, protect, govern and provide for his wife as the weaker vessel according to God’s standards (Eph 25:28; Col 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7). A woman is to submit to the man because he is under the authority of God (1 Cor 14:35; Eph 5:22-25; Col 3:18). She must remain under his protection to help him perform his purpose. By doing so, she submits under the authority of God in accordance to His will. 

Since this is the standard of marriage, it must be said that human procreation can only take place between a man and a woman. Therefore, sexuality can only take place between a man and a woman within the confines of marriage. All children will come from this union of man and a woman. These children will be raised within this family in accordance to God’s design. A young boy will learn from the father on how to become a man. The young daughter will learn from the mother on how to become a woman.

The man will teach the boy how to obey the standards that God has designed for the purpose of a man. This is to prepare the boy for the future and that his responsibilities to his future family will be in accordance to God’s design. The boy will observe his father’s actions towards his wife and family so that he may exemplify these same traits to his future family.

The woman will raise a daughter to live in accordance to the standards set by God. She will learn to be a helper for a man because she will see the actions of her father towards his family. This will be essential for her future because she will long to find a husband that will take care of her. Her best example for a husband will be found in the actions of her father. Her knowledge of how to help her future husband will be evident in the actions of her mother.

God designed marriage to make us holy. If this is played out within society as a family that adheres to the standards of God’s design for man, woman, children, husband, wife, and family, we would not see many of these areas of sin that plague our society today. Such as…

  1. There would be no more sexuality outside of marriage (fornication).. Sexuality would be between a man and a woman within marriage. Sexual intimacy for a man and a woman in marriage is God’s creation. There would be no perversion of this union because it would be the desire of a married couple. This sexuality would not be exploited because the union is God’s will and perfectly acceptable. A young man would be obligated to find a woman that most represents the attributes of his mother because he would seek someone who would best help him to raise his children according to God’s standards. This is not because he feels obligated to please God but because this is what God best desires for him. A young woman would seek a man that fits the attributes of a caring, loving and faithful father who loves his wife and his family because he loves God. This is God’s desire for a woman. A woman wants a man who cares for her and exemplifies the attributes of God. She willingly submits to any man who loves God’s desire for a wife and family. The desires of a man for his wife are not centered in lust, but rather in love for God’s design for marriage. Sexuality is not just a part of marriage it is God’s design for His love for His creation. Sexuality must remain within these confines of marriage. Any sexuality outside of marriage is a direct assault on God’s purpose for our lives.
  2. There would be very few orphans in the world… The only orphans in the world would be from parents who died. Even then, other families that were unable to have children would adopt these children.
  3. There would be no prostitution... A woman would desire a man according to God’s design for a man within marriage and not use her body in sin. I have no idea of the number of woman who live as prostitutes, but I do know that a great majority of them never had a father, let alone a family who lived according to God’s standards. 
  4. No more sexual exploitation of God’s creation…The lust driven entertainment industry would dry up…No more sex scenes in movies, no more sexual persuasive commercials, no more provocative clothing, and no more pornography.  This would spell bad news for any entertainment industry that exploits the image of God. and is aa sounding board that uses the Lord's name in vain. Anything associated with sexual exploitation would die on the vine. God’s design for marriage leaves human sexuality under the covers. There would be no exploitation of a woman because woman would not be viewed as sexual objects but as children of God. It would be clearly understood that anyone who perverts the image of a woman (or a man), perverts the very image of God.  
  5. No more divorce... God’s design for marriage is for His creation on this earth. Marriage between a man and woman is for life on earth. Marriage between Christ and His church is for eternity. We have God’s design for marriage to show others that a man’s love for his wife and a wife’s submission to her husband is the perfect example of Christ’s love for His church and His church submission to Him. Grace exemplifies God’s design for marriage and a marriage would magnify grace.
  6. Very little financial troubles… If we would just eliminate divorce, that alone would eliminate for a significant amount of financial woes in society. A marriage under God’s design would eliminate foolish spending by consumers tempted by worldly pleasures. The focus of financial security would center on the family needs according to God’s will, and not on the desires of world.
  7. No more abortions…Life starts at conception because the focus is on God’s design that human sexuality creates life. This can only happen within the confines of marriage. Aborted babies would be unthinkable in this society because life is the most precious gift of all.
This is certainly not a definitive list but the areas considered have put tremendous strain on the family. We pay a heavy price when we break the boundaries of marriage, family roles, sexuality, and God’s will for our lives. The fact that this society does not exist is because we have all missed the mark because of our disobedience to God. To say that this marriage according to God’s design could not happen is not true. Society needs to seek first the kingdom of God in order to make this possible. The body of Christ should be the ambassadors of a holy marriage

Some of you reading this are saddened by the reality in your own lives and that your marriage or your parent’s marriage ended in divorce. Some may read this because you aborted a child and you cannot shake the guilt. Some of you are addicted to alcohol, drugs, or pornography. Nearly all of these horrible sins come from years growing up with a broken family, a broken society, and broken individual lives. We are all accountable for our personal lives, yet many have experienced horrible conditions as children, having no say with someone else’s decision to ruin their life. Perhaps your bitterness of believing you deserved a better life keeps you from becoming the person God wants you to be. Maybe you blame God for your pain.  


So where do we start? How do we make society, families, and marriages according to God's will? I believe it starts with the individual. We are all made in the image of God, either male or female, and if we do life according to our will, and our design, and not according to how God made us and how he wants us to function with a marriage, a family, or a society, there will be consequences to pay. Often our wrong individual decisions hurt others. Combine this within a society and the consequence of one sin can ruin many lives. So what is the solution?

In order to be reconciled to God and please God, we must be perfect. God demands perfection by keeping all of His Ten Commandments. Well guess what? None of us has kept these commandments. Sin is defined as “missing the mark.” We must pay the penalty of this “missing the mark” of perfection.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

God loved us (His creation, every individual man, woman, and child) enough to send His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to die in our place for the penalty of our sins. We stand condemned in our sins unless we by faith believe that Jesus Christ died in our place. God wants to reconcile to us, but God cannot tolerate our sinful condition,. God loves, but God's love includes justice. Someone must pay for the tragedies of broken families, deadbeat dads, promiscuous wives, and rebellious children. The very pain from disobedience of God’s laws leaves individual lives, families and societies in ruin. Someone needs to pay for the lost lives of abortion. Someone needs to pay for the breaking of families through hardhearts that divorce. Someone needs to pay for the exploitation of the human body. Since none of us is without sin, we must pay.

My friends, the Lord Jesus Christ paid for all of this. He has come to set us free of our captivity of sin. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can take away the guilt, pain, addiction, and misery of our broken lives and families. Restoration begins with Him and if you hear His voice today do not harden your hearts. Today is the day of your salvation. You need to be reconciled to God, and He wants to reconcile to you.  It is by a faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through the power of Holy Spirit that we can become reborn, and become a child of God. We can become a new creation in Him and right the wrongs that we did to others. Repentance and forgiveness can mend wounds in our lives, families, and marriages. Forgiveness can restore our own hard and bitter hearts if we put our hope, our trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We can become the child, the spouse, the parent, and the individual that God wants us to be...and He will get the glory.  

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.


In Christ’s love,

Neil

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A World Vision retraction reaction



Within 60 hours, World Vision went from:

 "Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issues…” - World Vision: Why We're Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages



To… "We cannot defer to a small minority of churches and denominations that have taken a different position."- World Vision Reverses Decision To Hire Christians in Same-Sex Marriages



OK, so World Vision retracted their decision to hire same-sex marriages. Is it because they received such backlash and fire from conservative evangelicals, or was World Vision (WV) testing the waters to see if they could get away with believing  the majority of believers would say nothing about their decision to hire same-sex couples? In addition, did the WV leaders converse with well-known evangelical leaders prior to their decision on Monday? It would appear that this organization thoroughly considered their decision to announce their stance prior to Monday and that this announcement was not done in haste. 

I would like to believe that WV is truly repentant by the indications of their letter on Wednesday. If they truly are repentant, then forgiveness is in order. However, I know the compromise of marriage has already arrived in the church and this retraction may be more about tolerance for the cause, than ignorance of the inerrancy of God’s word on the sanctity of marriage.

 I question, would WV write this letter on Wednesday if only a handful of evangelicals rebuked them on Tuesday? If World Vision reported more than 2000 children dropped from sponsorship after the announcement, as Wednesday's article would indicate, would this mean that the leaders of World Vision care more about children, social justice, the sanctity of marriage, the inerrancy of scripture, or more about losing their own jobs? Let us be honest. Was Monday's decision to appease a certain community of people who believe that homosexuality is not a sin and same-sex marriage is OK, all the while believing that the evangelicals as a whole would not respond in force? By their own statements on Monday, WV believed that professing believers could remain in a homosexual relationship called same sex marriage. Yet, nearly 60 hours later this same organization claims they cannot defer from the word of God?   

 It is as if World Vision was playing a game of pluralism and tolerance for the sake of strengthening their cause.If they knew that there was going to be a backlash by the conservatives, and if they could get any amount of tolerance by this group to accept their decision, they would also get the support of the homosexual and their liberal backers.Regardless of why they chose to make these decisions, they have distanced themselves from some conservative evangelicals and most of the professing Christian LGBT community.

.The conservative Christian will say that the homosexual has to twist scripture to validate same-sex marriage, yet these very same Christian leaders tolerate the many remarriages in their own congregations. I know that many pastors read scripture and this scripture convicts them that divorce and remarriage is adultery, but they fear the outcome of preaching such a thing. If these pastors preach the permanence of marriage by teaching Luke 16:18, Mark 10:11,12, Romans 7:2,3 and 1 Cor 7:39, and allow no loopholes for divorce and remarriage  they know that they may lose nearly half of their congregation. Also, consider that a congregation sponsors or employs the pastor. The moment you tell your congregation that you will preach the truth about marriage, divorce, and remarriage, you stand the chance of losing your job, your church, and your reputation.

Therefore, the issue is how we tolerate the word of God. Should we pick and choose which scripture suits our desires or should we allow the Holy Spirit to convict and direct us even if this opposes the majority? If scripture is clear that homosexuality is sin and same-sex marriage is not a marriage, then what does this say about the church or organization who believes that homosexuality is not a sin and that same-sex marriage is not a marriage? We would call this church apostate.   

Unfortunately, this 60-hour scenario leaves another black stain on the name of Christianity. Homosexuality and same-sex backers win a battle for the definition of marriage in World Vision’s recent decisions. They win this battle because the enemy not only backs their wicked agenda of marriage destruction and their sinful lifestlye; they win because the enemy has already infiltrated the professing church through the tolerance of divorce and remarriage.

The professing Christian homosexual cares nothing of biblical authority and their agenda is to destroy the sanctity of marriage and the Headship of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is all too easy to understand. It all started in the Garden of Eden when the serpent said, “Yea, hath God said?...”  If an organization does not know the difference of what defines marriage, a church, and sin on Monday, how can we be sure that by Wednesday they repented of their ways? If their error into believing that tolerance is the key to success and instrumental in appeasing everyone for the sake of the cause, did they really repent or were they testing the waters for an outcome that is sure to occur?  

The English writer and Christian apologist G.K. Chesterton once made this quote:  “Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.”

I will not tolerate ignorance of a sacred institution, and neither should any believer in the body of Christ. World Vision and every evangelical congregation need to make a step in the right direction, and not one-step forward and two steps backwards. A big step forward begins with the permanence of marriage. Marriage definition by the body of Christ from this day forward is between a man and a woman until death. Divorce is not an option and remarriage is adultery. No excuses, no exceptions, and no more tolerance for the sake of a cause, so help me God.

Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
15 While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

In Christ’s love,

Neil

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Not surprised with World Vision’s desicion.


In recent news as reported by Christianity Today, World Vision World Vision U.S. president Richard Stearns announced that they will now permit gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed at World Vision headquarters in the state of Washington

 Stearns quoted in Christianity Today:  

 "Changing the employee conduct policy to allow someone in a same-sex marriage who is a professed believer in Jesus Christ to work for us makes our policy more consistent with our practice on other divisive issues," he said. "It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage."

 Christianity Today writes: "Stearns said World Vision's board has faced a new question in recent years: "What do we do about someone who applies for a job at World Vision who is in a legal same-sex marriage that may have been sanctioned and performed by their church? Do we deny them employment?"


 I was one person that is not surprised by this decision at all. Does it sadden me? Absolutely. However, what we see with this decision by a professing Christian leader is exactly what Jesus said would happen in the last days. It is the slow and steady road into apostasy. Paul also said that many would turn to myths and fables, and Jude said certain men would creep in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

If the conservative evangelical is upset or disappointed in the decision, they should be. Here is a Christian organization that helps poor people throughout the world in Jesus’ name, all the while believing God approves same-sex marriage. How can Stearns believe Jesus would recognize homosexuality when He calls marriage a one-flesh covenant  between a man and woman. Jesus doesn't even acknowledge remarriage after divorce, in fact Jesus calls it adultery, not marriage.  How does a believer support this organization? Certainly many who made the decision to sponsor a child through World Vision prior to this statement on Monday are second guessing what to do now.  I can understand their consternation, and truly feel for them     

If a well-known professing Christian leader like Richard Stearns believes that a professing church sanctioned and performed a same-sex marriage, what does that have to say about his knowledge of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ?  How can a professing believer believe that unrepentant homosexuality is not a sin? Yet, this is exactly the push among a church that is heading deeper and deeper into apostasy. However, if you think this slippery sloop is happening over night, you are dead wrong.  

Consider this statement:

"What do we do about someone who applies for a job at World Vision who is in a legal same-sex marriage that may have been sanctioned and performed by their church?”

What is marriage? Does God call “homosexual marriage”, marriage if He calls homosexuality sin? Most conservative evangelicals will say no, same-sex marriage is not a marriage, because God calls the sin of homosexuality an abomination. Ok…so we agree that Richard Stearns cannot call same-sex marriage a marriage let alone believe that we can call a “church” a “church” that sanctioned and performed a same sex marriage. Therefore, we can conclude that the problem stems from Richard Stearns believing some pastor or church confirms that God approves of same-sex marriage.

If you believe same-sex marriage and the glorification of homosexuality is the beginning of a church compromising the sacred institution of marriage, you need look no further than the compromise of marriage through divorce and remarriage. I challenge anyone to read this article by Christianity Today and follow-up  that article with this excellent post by Kevin DeYoung, entitled,  “TheWorldliness in World Vision’s New Hiring Policy.

 The challenge is this...In both of these articles, replace the word “homosexuality” with adultery and replace the word “same-sex marriage” with “remarriage”, the definition of remarriage being a sanctified union of a divorced person with someone else other than their covenant spouse. There is certainly compromise if you say a person must repent of homosexuality all the while ignoring that MANY are in adulterous remarriages.

If World Vision said they were allowing remarried people as employees, would we care? The statement would read like this:

“World Vision World Vision U.S. president Richard Stearns announced that they will now permit divorced Christians in legal remarriages to be employed at World Vision headquarters in the state of Washington.

You may say, God approves of divorce and remarriage. This is not the same as same-sex marriage and homosexuality. Oh no?  How about a person divorced and remarried other than the false reasons given by most churches (Matthew 19:9 and 1 Cor 7:15)? What if a person divorced and remarried their adulterous lover (who also divorced his or her spouse) and the same church that approves of same-sex marriage says that they will marry anyone for any reason. This same couple believes that God ordained their marriage because they were unhappy in their other marriage. Valid remarriage?    

Do not be surprised of World Vision’s decision. Marriage was compromised many years ago when the church followed traditions of men who allowed no-fault divorce just like the Pharisees of Jesus day.  Then combine this with the rise of feminism which had a direct influence on the perversion of sexuality, not to mention the “ordination” of women into pastoral ministry. Include the many churches today that turn their heads to cohabitation and pre-marital sex. Then those same compromising self-righteous Christians will say Richard Stearns has the audacity to say…"It also allows us to treat all of our employees the same way: abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity within marriage."

No,…I am not surprised of this decision. The church already ignores, Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery. (Luke 6:18) 

Why would I be surprised when Jesus said His before His eminent return that it would be as the times of Noah in Matthew 24.  Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

Paul had this to say: 1 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.


So what is the answer? I have writen about this repeatedly, and I will not stop for the simple fact I do not ever want to come to compromise myself. Repent! Repent of homosexuality and repent of adultery remarriage so that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ can cover a multitude of sins. There is grace in repentance.

  1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

In Christ’s love,

Neil

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Review on "A Sermon on Divorce and Remarriage." by Kevin DeYoung


Back in 2010, Kevin DeYoung  of the Gospel Coalition wrote an article entitled “A Sermon on Divorce and Remarriage.” In this article, Kevin gives seven principles of divorce and remarriage. He then gives 5 scenarios which he said :
“These situations require tremendous wisdom because it’s not always clear what is the correct counsel.”

 I thought I would use scripture to answer these 7 principles. If you compare the principles to Kevin’s sermon, you will see we both come to different conclusions. The main difference is that Kevin, and many like him, believe that divorce ends a one-flesh covenant marriage. Scripture points to the fact that ONLY death ends a marriage. (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Cor 7:10,11,39, and Romans 7:2,3)

Consider this: If there is so much confusion and these situations require tremendous wisdom because it’s not always clear what is the correct counsel, is this popular teaching on divorce and remarriage accurate? The very popular teaching I am referring to is those who believe Matthew 19:9 and 1Cor 7:15 allow for divorce and remarriage. Kevin DeYoung is one such person who believes that scripture offers loopholes for divorce and remarriage. However, think of all the possibilities and misconceptions this creates.

For instance, how do we know if a person that remarried after divorce, divorced according to the right scripture? Also, if a believer divorced an unbeliever according to 1 Cor 7:15, what happens if the unbeliever repents and comes to Christ and seeks to restore the marriage. And let’s say this conversion happens a thousand miles away and ten minutes before the believer that divorced them makes a vow to remarry someone else?  Scripture says the believer is to reject the very appearance of evil.

1 Thess 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ



As you are about to see the permanence of marriage until death offers clear instructions without waver. The most important fact is the permanence of marriage always seeks forgiveness, repentance, and reconciliation to restore and remain in a MARRIAGE. Creating loopholes to divorce and remarry contain confusion and many more problems. If believers live in the Spirit and not in the flesh, the Holy Spirit will guide the believer to remain obedient to God and His commandments to remain in peace (1 Cor 7:15) especially if this requires singleness of a faithful believer to wait for a prodigal spouse to come home. 


1 Cor 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Here are Kevin’s principles with my addition of using God’s word to agree or disagree with these principles…


1. Marriage is the sacred union between one man and one woman and God’s intention is for marriage to last a lifetime.


This definition of marriage is the foundation of any discussion that involves divorce and remarriage. If you get the definition, the conditions, and the duration of marriage wrong, you will not correctly define divorce and remarriage. Marriage is a binding one-flesh covenant only broken by death. (Gen2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9; Romans 7:2,3; 1 Cor 7:39; Eph 5:31) I agree with this principle only adding that God "commands", not that it is His "intention" that marriage lasts a lifetime.

 2. Divorce is not always sinful.

On two occasions, Jesus calls divorce hardheartedness. Matthew 19:8 and Mark 10:5 Question: Is hardheartedness a sin? Divorce is a meaningless piece of paper initiated by a hardhearted person because every instance tells us that remarriage after divorce is adultery. In simple terms, divorce never breaks or separates the one-flesh marriage covenant.  Divorce is also incompatible to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since the LordJesus Christ calls divorce hardheartedness (Mal 2:13-16; Matthew 19:8 and Mark 10:5), this principle is not recommended, encouraged, or valid.  


3. Divorce is permitted, but not required, on the ground of sexual immorality.


Divorce is permitted for fornication, but not required. Fornication is sexual intercourse outside a consummated marriage covenant. This would only apply to a wife or husband who committed fornication during Jewish betrothal marriage (similar to our engagement, the difference being that a man and woman in Jewish Betrothal are already recognized as husband and wife and not just merely fianc├ęs). If a man found his wife to be unclean (not a virgin) on his consummation wedding day, he could write a divorce decree to send her away. (Example Read Matthew 1:18-19,25) Using the Greek word “porneia” as a broad definition of sexual immorality is not accurate. Also, this principle ignores the fact that only death breaks the covenant.


4. Divorce is permitted, but not required, on the ground of desertion by an unbelieving spouse.


Divorce is NOT permitted on the grounds of desertion of an unbeliever because the marriage is a one-flesh covenant only separated by death, not abandonment. A believing spouse is commanded not to leave an unbeliever because they sanctify the marriage because it is a one-flesh covenant. (1 Cor 7:12-14) A believer in singleness lives in peace because they are no longer enslaved to an unequally yoked (2 Cor 6:14) spouse. In context, 1 Cor 7:12-16 are Paul’s example of a believer who marries an unbeliever, and two unbelievers who marry and one comes to salvation in Christ. No believer would divorce a one-flesh covenant they made before God because they would trust God to restore a prodigal first to Him, and then to restore the marriage. This Pauline privilege is not a loophole for a believer to divorce and remarry because the believer’s actions would run contrary to 1 Cor 7:10,11 and the fact that ONLY death breaks the covenant..

 5. When the divorce was not permissible, any subsequent remarriage (to someone other than the original spouse) results in adultery.

ANYONE for whatever reason, who divorces a living covenant spouse and remarries commits adultery. Anyone who marries a divorced person who has a living covenant spouse commits adultery. (Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9; Mark10:11,12;Luke 16:18) Since death only breaks the covenant and divorce is a hardhearted decision, remarriage is NOT an option.  


6. In situations where the divorce was permissible, remarriage is also permissible.


Again, divorce is not permissible and remarriage is adultery in EVERY case.(Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9; Mark10:11,12;Luke 16:18)


7. Improperly divorced and remarried Christians should stay as they are, but repent and be forgiven of their past sins and make whatever amends are necessary.


Divorced and remarried Christians MUST dissolve an adulterous union because it is NOT a marriage.Again, Kevin says, “These situations require tremendous wisdom because it’s not always clear what is the correct counsel.” I disagree. These are easy to understand once you have an understanding of the permanence of marriage.

Luke 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.


Kevin then gives us scenarios that the permanence of marriage takes care of each in turn. .

•    “A wife commits adultery. She is repentant and wants to save the marriage. The husband knows he must forgive, but he wants to file for divorce? Would you grant him that right? Does it make any difference if the wife was frequently unfaithful?”

No, the husband is required to forgive a repentant wife, just as Christ forgave us. Seven times seventy… Adultery is NOT an excuse to divorce. If the wife repents, he must forgive. If she does not repent:
1.      The wife is in adultery, she cannot remarry because her divorce has no power given the fact she is still in covenant marriage with her husband. She has no choice but to repent.
2.      She must go through the steps of church discipline in order that she repents. (Matthew18:15-17)
3.      If she remarries because a liberal church or someone else remarried her, they, she, and the person she remarried are in adultery and encourage adultery.
4.      If she remains in sin, the husband must remain single until she repents or dies.

•    “A wife gets a divorce because of marital unfaithfulness? You’ve determined she has legitimate grounds for that divorce. Is she then free to remarry? What if the husband repents, is he? Or only to his ex-wife? And what if she gets remarried, does that change his obligation?”

If you understand the permanence of marriage, divorce is not an option unless both wish to remain single the rest of their lives because of their hardheartedness to divorce. IF one or both divorce and remarry, they are in adultery. It cannot be any simpler than that.  

•    “A non-Christian couple gets a divorce. Later the man becomes a Christian and realizes the divorce was wrong. Is he obligated to try to win back his non-Christian ex-wife? What if he tries to be reconciled and his ex-wife has no interest, is he free to remarry in the Lord?”

First question is this: If they were unbelievers when they married, what vow did they make to each other that God did not recognize if God recognizes all marriage vows regardless of whether the person believes in God or not? God is not mocked. A person is without excuse if they say they do not believe in God (Romans 1:18-20), yet they will stand before witnesses and God and make a marriage vow to their spouse. A marriage is for life and EVERY person that makes a vow of marriage is without excuse. The man that became a Christian is obligated to restore his covenant marriage with his covenant bride. If she remarried, she and the man she married are in adultery because her first covenant husband is alive. Therefore, he must remain single to restore the marriage once the adultery is dissolved. The church needs to preach the truth about marriage so these “situations” never happen again.   

    “A remarried couple comes to realize their divorce and remarriage was sinful. Are they committing adultery by staying married? If they stay married, what should they do to make things right? Can they be members in the church? What about leaders?”

They MUST dissolve the remarriage because this unholy union is NOT a marriage it is adultery. Once they dissolve the adultery, they showed that they repented of this sin and this always brings them back into fellowship within the body of Christ.   

The permanence of marriage is what the Lord Jesus Christ taught. Regardless the circumstance…there is clear instructions that require very little wisdom to answer any question or resolve any situation that comes to mind. The scribes and Pharisees created loopholes to divorce and remarriage…The Lord Jesus Christ said this…What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Kevin DeYoung finishes with a message to the married, the divorce and single, to those who have sinfully divorced, to those whose sin caused the divorce, to those who are now remarried when you shouldn’t be.


"To the married: Stay married. Guard your marriage. Don’t think you are above falling. Don’t think you are above temptation. Pray together. Take walks together. Get away from the kids to be together. There are few things more precious in life than your marriage. Do not take it for granted. And if you are contemplating divorce, please talk to someone. Please don’t give up."


I agree with everything he says here up to this point…except he should say that marriage is never dissolvable by a divorce decree and anyone who divorces must remain single until repentance or death. All remarriages after divorce is adultery. Consider the harm to your kids. Stay married.

To the divorced and single: Stay in the covenant vow you made before God so that your spouse comes to repentance. Enact church discipline (Matthew18:15-17) and make sure the church is involved. If a prodigal spouse is made clear by the entire church through church discipline that his or her only options are reconciliation of the marriage or singleness until death, this will give the Holy Spirit ample time to bring them to repentance and salvation in Christ.  
  
The following  quote is the best advice Kevin DeYoung gives on the matter. I commend him for admitting that the sins of divorce and adultery is forgivable with repentance. However, he left out something important.  


"To those who have sinfully divorced, to those whose sin caused the divorce, to those who are now remarried when you shouldn’t be: run to the cross. It is not light thing to tear asunder what God joined together. It is no small mistake to pursue an adulterous second marriage. But God’s grace is not light and it is not small. Divorce is not the unpardonable sin. There is mercy yet for you. But the contrition must be real, the admission of guilt must be honest, the repentance must be earnest. A broken heart and a contrite spirit the Lord will never deny. Run to God. Plead with God. Know his adopting love. Experience again his justifying free grace. There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins. And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains."


In conclusion, I will add to what Kevin wonderfully wrote. Running to the cross is admitting your sin and repenting of that sin to do the right thing so that God will receive the glory. Any remarriage is adultery, and remains adultery until repentance. Dissolve this unholy union and let others know why. All you need do is point to key scriptures and tell them that you will remain obedient to God's word and His covenant of marriage, and let the Holy Spirit convict. I can assure you that the permanence of marriage is not a popular topic among evangelicals and the world in general. However, we are to please God and not men.

My final message to Kevin DeYoung and all those he represents in the popular view of divorce and remarriage is to repent. Run to the cross; admit that you have it wrong and that from here on out you will not waver on the scriptures clear message that divorce is a hardhearted decision and remarriage is always adultery and remains adultery until repentance. No repentance from sin brings judgment. There is still time. Do the right thing before time runs out.

Hebrews 13:4  Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

In Christ’s love,

Neil


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Something missing...what ends a marriage?



On Dec 28 of last year, Justin Taylor of the Gospel Coalition wrote an article on his bog, “Justin Taylor, Between Two Worlds.” This article was entitled…
 Justin states…
"The issue of divorce and remarriage is not only a painful reality, personally and pastorally, but is also a very difficult subject exegetically."
What? Is he saying we cannot understand scripture as it pertains to marriage, divorce, and remarriage? The issue of divorce and remarriage is difficult if you twist, ignore, and exclude scripture to create loopholes to divorce and remarry. If one reads scripture by the power of the Holy Spirit and believes what Jesus and Paul say about marriage, divorce, and remarriage, it is very easy to understand. This one verse summarizes everything Jesus and Paul have to say about marriage, divorce, and remarriage…Read this aloud.

1 Cor 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

To paraphrase by using other scripture that supports this passage and the whole council of God's word which must include to the Gospel, it would look like this:

 A one-flesh marriage covenant between a man and a woman can only be separated by death. (Gen 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9; Romans 7:2,3; 1 Cor 7:39) A man is not to divorce his wife, (1 Cor7:11) and if a believing spouse is put away or abandoned by an unbeliever they must remain single until repentance and reconciliation occur.(1 Cor 7:10;11,15) Therefore, a hardhearted decision to divorce (Matthew 19:8; Mark 10:5) does not end a marriage. Anyone who divorces and remarries commits adultery against the spouse he or she divorced. (Matthew 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:11,12; Luke 16:18) In addition, anyone who marries a spouse divorced from his or her spouse commits adultery. This "marriage" is not a marriage, but adultery and remains adultery until dissolved. ( Matthew 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:11,12; Luke 16:18

This is very precise and simple to understand. If we look in light of the Gospel, a decision to divorce always contradicts the Gospel…The hope is that singleness and repentance of sin reconciles the marriage since any sin that is not repented of leads to death.

Justin continues…
I was helped several years ago by reading Jay Adams’ Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible. Even if you end up disagreeing with his conclusions, it’s a model of biblical and logical and pastoral reasoning.
I thought it might be helpful for some readers if I reproduced his summary and checklist:

Principles
A. Marriage
1. is a divinely ordained institution
2. is the first and most fundamental institution
3. is covenantal and binding
4. is a covenant of companionship
5. is the place for true intimacy
6. is to conform to the model of Christ and His church
I agree with these marriage principles except for one HUGE problem…There is something missing...What ends a marriage?  As you can see, this very important essential principle is missing…. I will use clear scripture to add number 7

7. only ends in death … 
1 Cor 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
Romans 7:2For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.


Death ends a marriage. If you do not add this to the marriage principle list, you create or fabricate presuppositions that certain loopholes or anything you want to believe can end a marriage. This is exactly happens when Justin provides the principles of divorce. In fact, this is where most people error when talking about what ends a marriage.

 Before I continue, if you want to read a book that provides the clergy/laity system with loopholes to divorce and remarry for ANY reason, this book, Jay Adams’ Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible', is for you.

Justin continues with the divorce principles...
 
B. Divorce
1. always stems from sin
2. is not necessarily sinful
3. always breaks a marriage
4. is never necessary among believers
5. is legitimate on the grounds of sexual sin
6. is legitimate when an unbeliever wishes to divorce a believer
7. is forgivable when sinful



 There is a problem here since nowhere did Justin explain that marriage ends in death. Nowhere does Jesus or Paul say that divorce ends a marriage. Since Justin left out the “ending” of marriage in the principles of marriage, one cannot justify with scripture that divorce ends a marriage. Scripture plainly says only death ends a marriage, not divorce. This is why remarriage is ALWAYS adultery. How difficult is this to understand?  

Number 1 is correct; therefore what must a person do when someone sins against them? Enact church discipline scriptures of Matthew 18:15-17. If a person repents, we MUST forgive them. If they do not repent, they become an enemy of God. Read the story of the prodigal to see what happens when a person rejects God's will… A spouse who stands in their vow will remain single and live in relationship with Christ until the prodigal comes home.

Divorce is a hardhearted decision; therefore, if is not a sin, what is it? Number 3 is a lie from Hell and contradicts Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9 Romans 7:2,3 and 1 Cor 7:39. number 3 basically calls Jesus and Paul a liar. Divorce ends fellowship with God, nothing more, nothing less. Divorce is saying a spouse will not forgive, cannot forgive, and believes there is NO hope for a spouse that sinned against them to initiate this hardhearted decision. Anyone who believes divorce ends a marriage is mislead and deceived.

These are the principles of divorce.

1.      always stems from sin

2.      is a hardhearted decision
3.      always causes more sin

4.      is an avenue to adultery

Last, but not least, Justin's remarriage principles...

C. Remarriage
1. in general, is desirable
2. is possible for a divorced person
3. is possible for a sinfully divorced person through forgiveness
4. is possible only when all biblical obligations have been met
5. is possible only when parties are prepared for marriage


We must first define “remarriage.” Remarriage is a union of adultery between one or two people who initiated a divorce or were divorced from their covenant spouse. Any single person who marries a person with a living covenant spouse enters into a "remarriage" with a divorced spouse.This union is adultery because the divorced spouse is still in covenant marriage with his or her spouse.
Remarriage is not the same as a "new" marriage. A new marriage covenant after a death of a spouse "In the Lord" includes a widow or widower who marries another widow or widower or a person never married.  
1 Cor 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

Here are principles of remarriage….

1.      is a product of divorce

2.      is the permanent sin of adultery until dissolved

As you can see, if you disregard the fact that only death ends a marriage, you can create many loopholes to divorce and remarry, and not call any of it sin. At the end of his post, Justin asks questions. How would we answer any of these questions once you know that only death breaks a one-flesh marriage covenant, divorce is hardheartedness, and remarriage is adultery? Since God designed marriage and established the beginning and the ending there of, would it not be best to trust Him to restore marriage as we remain in the vow we made to Him? Those who break a vow come under the judgment of God and He is the one who will bring a prodigal spouse the repentance. Not because he wants to destroy them,...no, He wants to bring them to their knees in repentance so that the faithful vow-keeping spouse is ready to forgive and restore the marriage for His glory.  

Hebrews 10: 30,31 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God


In Christ’s love,

Neil