Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Corner of Church and State….

Matthew 22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of me 17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

The corner of church and state…Where do we draw the line? Paul said we should submit to the government authorities in Romans 13 and Peter said that we should submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme… 1 Peter 2:13-17. Paul begins Romans 13… Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)

What we know from scripture is that God is sovereign over all. He sets kingdoms in place and He destroys those nations who reject Him. In the time of Peter and Paul, the Romans government had jurisdiction over the Jewish nation of Israel. The Jews despised Roman authority, yet Jesus said…”Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” Yet these same men sought to trick Jesus by asking…”Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?”The irony is that the Pharisees who rejected Roman law used this law to crucify the Lord.

This brings into question those who ask…When is a marriage a marriage, is it according to God, or the government? There are some who will say that a marriage must be approved by the church, and there are some who say that once the state says you are married, you are married. However, is it possible that even if both the church and the government say you are married, could God prove otherwise?

Right now as I write this, several states recognize same-sex marriage. Yet, I am sure there are some people in these states will say that same-sex marriage is not a marriage. Right now if you publicly disagree that same-sex marriage is not a marriage, it may not be such a big deal. Some may call you homophobic. This is bad, because then it is assumed or presumed you hate all homosexuals based on your public admission that same-sex marriage is not a marriage. The danger comes if the nation as a whole regards those who disagree with same-sex marriage as homophobic. Where will you stand?

According to the word of God, marriage is only between a man and a woman. If we stop there, we could say that God recognizes ALL marriages between a man and a woman. Yes, God does indeed honor all marriages between a man and a woman, yet God also sets the conditions and standards of this one-flesh covenant of marriage. What we need to understand is that since God sets the conditions and standards of marriage, any man, woman, or institution that changes these conditions and standards is an enemy of God. This includes man-made denominations that claim the name of Jesus.This includes states and principlaites He puts in power.

Same-sex marriage is a full perversion of God’s design for marriage since the proponents of this stance recognize human sexuality as subjective in nature and in creation. Thus, these proponents believe God is subjective in His word toward the homosexual. Yet, scripture shows us that sexual intercourse fully consummates the vow of marriage. This consummation is foreign to a homosexual. It is physically impossible for two men or two women to consummate a marriage. In addition, a vow to marry is spiritually impossible since God calls homosexuality sin. Therefore, a professing church that “ordains” a same-sex marriage is in direct disobedience to God. This tells us much about the institution of this particular professing church as much as it tells us of their willingness to disobey God and His word. Yet, they will say that they abide in accordance to the state in which they perform these unions. Reminds me of the Pharisees...

If we rewind this a little bit, we see that professing churches have already gave way to the culture and the laws of the land by believing that no-fault divorce applies to their denomination. Certainly, there are churches who do not believe in no-fault divorce, yet they believe that there are loopholes to exit a one-flesh covenant marriage. Exception clauses and Pauline privileges come to mind…Is “remarriage” a marriage? Sure, if you believe God says that a divorce ends a marriage. Yet, we see that divorce does not end a one-flesh marriage covenant. 

According to God’s word, a believer should only marry in the Lord. (1 Cor 7:39) This is not to say that an unbeliever will not join in marriage. God certainly recognizes all marriages between a man and a woman, yet some who will claim that they married and God did not approve of their marriage. This is usually applicable to those who divorce because their marriage did not work out as they thought it would. Alternatively, they believed that since they were an unbeliever at the time, that God did not recognize their marriage. This is false because they not only ignorantly entered into marriage, they did so without recognizing who it is that designed marriage.  

If God created us in His image and we say that marriage is anything but His design, we make a god in our own image and this is nothing but idolatry. An unbeliever will have no excuse when they stand before the Lord on the last day and say…”I didn’t know there was a god, am I exempt from judgment?” Since God designed marriage, it is best we come to a very good understanding of what is required to those who vow in marriage. This would include how and when a marriage ends. If a church, state, or anyone determines when a marriage begins and ends, and this is not according to God’s design, they will have to answer to God.  

The question asked by most professing believers ask is this…What if I married as an unbeliever, divorced and remarried a believer, and then came to salvation in Christ?

 There are several problems here. First, a person who “claims” to be an unbeliever is actually saying they hate God, yet God is good enough to approve their marriage, AND their divorce, AND their remarriage. They make the claim that they are under grace, therefore the new marriage is binding. However, according to God, a marriage is a covenant binding until death. Divorce does not break the bond of marriage. In addition, why would a believer marry you if they knew you were an unbeliever before your divorce? In addition, the person who married you did not marry in the Lord since you were divorced, AND an unbeliever (2 Cor 6:14).

Then there is the person who says…. I was an unbeliever when I married and divorced; I became a believer and then remarried another believer. Again, there are several problems here. First, you make a claim that you did not know God, yet you make a vow to God to marry someone. Then you come to salvation in Christ after divorcing another unbeliever. Then you believe that your first marriage was not a marriage, all the while claiming that God forgave you while you were yet a sinner. Yet, you cannot forgive the person you divorced….  

There is a cheap grace in marriage, divorce, and remarriage for those who wish to invalidate their marriage while they see no problem in validating their divorce and remarriage. The problem is not the definition of marriage; the problem is self-absorbed people who desire what seems right in their own eyes. These same people can use scripture to support their decisions….They will say God is full of grace and mercy. Yet, if you ask this same person if they were full of grace and mercy for their spouse in their first marriage...Can you see this double standard to validate with grace for divorce and remarriage, yet ignore the grace to stay in the vow of marriage?

Grace and mercy is for those who repent of sin, not for those who validate sin and remain in sin. Marriage is God’s design and ANYONE who perverts the conditions of marriage regardless if they are an unbeliever, a homosexual, and adulterer, a pastor, a state official, or a professing believer will have to answer to Him. If you entered a marriage believing that it is not according to His design, then you will answer to Him. Divorce is for a hardhearted person who lied to God when they took a vow of marriage. Remarriage is adultery and remains adultery until repentance. This is regardless of whether you believed, did not believe, or simply listened to someone who thought otherwise.

Thousands of denominations pervert the word of God when His word pertains to marriage, divorce and remarriage. It started with one person who believed they could divorce to end a marriage. No one said a word. Then there were two more, three more, before you know it, the state adds a law like "no-fault divorce" and the professing church follows suit. Then there is one remarriage after divorce….no one says a word. Then 50% of all marriages end in divorce and many of these remarry and no one calls this the sin of adultery anymore. Before you know it, a homosexual says that he has every right to marry just like the heterosexual…surely; the church would not bow down to this sexual perversion and believe in same-sex marriage?...Stay tuned.

       American Evangelical Christian theologian, philosopher, and Presbyterian pastor,  Francis Schaeffer ~  Tell me what the world is saying today, and I'll tell you what the church will be saying in seven years.”  

These are some very prophetic words for the church from Francis Schaeffer. What the world loves is sure to follow in the church. However, there is a difference between the institution of traditions and the true body of Christ.  The short letter of Jude sums up the state of our godless society that has entered and saturated into the very walls of theses institutions of tradition, cathedrals, and churches across the globe.

 Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there are certain men crept 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.

The warnings are clear. There is a way seems right onto man, but this way is death. The word of God will never change and if we change the word of God to suit our own desires, we really need to ask ourselves if we are following the God in spirit or we are following the world in our flesh. Repentance is turning away from sin and trust by faith in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is time…God is merciful for the humble, but the prideful He will most certainly not endure. 

In Christ’s love,


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