Tuesday, December 9, 2014
How the Evangelical Church is To Blame for Marriage Redefinition.
Many will claim that atheists and unbelievers are the ones behind marriage redefinition. At first glance, it appears that marriage redefinition is the result of the militant push by the homosexual to recognize marriage as anything other than one man and one woman. Yet, I will argue that the professing evangelical church is to blame for marriage redefinition. The professing evangelical believer will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and give an account as to why he or she ignored the clear teachings of marriage.
Divorce and remarriage is the elephant in the room. The evangelical church is full of adultery and fornication, and no one bats an eye. It is the year 2014 and consider that we are in the end days and the preeminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ could return any day now and what we know from His word is that every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11)
Marriage definition is the churches responsibility from the very moment the Lord ascended into heaven. We have two instances in His word where He tells us that marriage today is just as it was intended from the beginning. What many fail to recognize is that the Gospel accounts of Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9 are the only definition we need in a post resurrection church. There are no exceptions and no excuses…marriage is one man and one woman for life.
Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said unto them,…The “them” the Lord is referring to is the Pharisees who are at this time currently under the law of Moses. The church is no longer under the Mosaic Law, thus what the Lord says here is applicable because who the Lord Jesus Christ is. He says…
Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 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? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:4-6)
This is the definition of marriage today as it was in the beginning.
Mark 10:6-9 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
In both Mark and Matthew’s account, the Pharisees seek to use a Mosaic Law for a man to put away his wife. This law does not apply today since we are under the grace and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Marriage is one man and one woman for life. Only death can end a marriage covenant. The responsibility of the church is to ensure that when a man and woman make a vow of marriage, that marriage will remain a marriage until the death of one or both spouse.
Someone will say, wait a minute. You mean to tell me that that the church is responsible for all marriages, even marriages of unbelievers and marriages of different religions? I will say, yes. Here is why. Marriage is God’s design and God as we know Him is revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the church is directly responsible for exhibiting and representing the marriage covenant. We know this is true because the marriage covenant is a representation of Christ’s love for His bride, the church.
Eph 5:31,32 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Since the church is the representation of marriage for the whole world to see, it is important to understand how this all comes together. We need look no further than witnessing every individual believer as a representation of Christ. Each believing individual, man or woman, who enters into Christian marriage is responsible for representing Christ in marriage. The body of Christ is the representative of the ambassadors of reconciliation.
Marriage is all about reconciliation for the believer. Yes, there will be arguments, yes there will be difficulties, and yes, there will even be a falling away from one part of the one flesh bond. However, there always will be the heart of the Gospel in a Christian marriage. Most importantly, God enters into the covenant of every marriage just as He enters into covenant of each individual believer. Thus, marriage must be a representation of the Gospel for the whole world to see.
Here is how it works in a specific case…
Joe and Mary enter into a one-flesh covenant of marriage. Both claim to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, yet both do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. They went to church that preached a false Gospel and they said a sinner’s prayer believing they could remain in sin all the while calling themselves Christians. As it turns out, Joe is deep into a pornography addiction. He thinks nothing of remaining in this sin and he even tries to get Mary to join him in this debauchery. Mary has her own problems. She is a compulsive liar and an equally compulsive spender. They both prove to be unbelievers by their fruit.
What begins to happen is that their lifestyle begins to bear the fruit of consequence. Mary is horrified by Joe’s lifestyle and begins to seek companionship with a man at her work. His name is Steve. After 10 years of marriage, Mary seeks to leave the marriage and requests a divorce from Joe. Joe suddenly begins to feel the effects of his sin and the words of Mary shock him to the core. He hears and understand the Gospel for the first time in his life, and suddenly realizes that he has sinned against God and his covenant to his wife. He repents of his sin and accepts the grace of Christ.
Joe becomes a new creation in Christ. He repents of his sin and asks for Mary to forgive him. Mary believes that it is too late and seeks to divorce Joe. Mary lacks a regenerated heart because she does not forgive as Christ called us to forgive. Mary believes that she has a right to divorce Joe because he has proved to be sexually immoral in the past. Joe realizes that he cannot stop Mary, but warns her that she is in adultery should she divorce and remarry Steve.
What we see here is a marriage of two unbelievers and during the course of this marriage, one of the spouses comes to salvation in Christ. What must be the response of the church in this case? What is Joe’s responsibility in this case? And what are the consequences of Mary and Steve? As we know, ALL marriages must be according to the word of God. In this case, what must the church do here?
First of all, Joe has already enacted church discipline. (Matthew 18:15-17) He went to both Mary and Steve and warned them of the sin against him and God. Both Mary and Steve refused this rebuke and remained in adultery. The next step is that Joe should take one or two more witnesses to see that every word is established so that there is repentance. The last step is for the whole body of Christ to get involved in this rebuke. Both Mary and Steve must end their adulterous relationship, or be excommunicated from the church as proving to be unbelievers.
This excommunication should include a public statement that Mary and Steve are in adultery. Therefore, no church that calls Jesus Christ Lord will ever consider letting them enter into fellowship, let alone officiate their “remarriage. If this adulterous relationship would get to this level of public knowledge of adultery, repentance would be a very real possibility for Mary and Steve. Sadly, there are very few in the church who even frown upon co-habitation, let alone adultery…
Secondly, Joe must remain single for several reasons. The first reason is he is still in covenant with Mary. Death breaks a marriage covenant. Divorce does not end a covenant even if Mary divorces Joe. Remember, divorce is a man-made civil law and has nothing to do with a marriage covenant. The second reason he is to remain single is to be a representation of the marriage covenant.
Joe is in covenant with Mary and this is a witness to not only both Mary and Steve, but to all who observe this marriage. Remember, a believer is an ambassador of reconciliation. Joe remains in covenant because God is in covenant with him. Joe is a witness of the Gospel to a spouse who is in sin. Should Mary come to repentance, she would not only save her soul, she would have complete forgiveness and reconciliation by her convent husband, Joe.
Instead of repenting, both Mary and Steve prove to be enemies of God. This is not beneficial for either of them as they will be subject to the consequences of their disobedience. They were both warned of the sin of adultery, and should they both not repent of this sin, they will die in this sin. God will do his part in providing Mary and Steve the opportunity to repent of their sin.
However, the enemy will do, and has already succeeded in in making both Mary and Steve to remain comfortable in their sin. This is very evident in the liberal churches that provide loopholes to divorce and remarry. The enemy has entered these churches and the end result is yet to be determined. What we see today is that these are the churches today that extend hyper grace, ignore the truth of God’s word, discredit God’s word, ignore, encourage, and celebrate fornication co-habitation, and recently, call homosexuality a genetic disorder so that same-sex marriage is a reality. Yet, all of these actions of the enemy are easily exposed by the truth of God’s word.
A true believer, indwelled by the power of the Holy Spirit, can discern that the liberal churches are not churches at all. Unfortunately, the spirit indwelled believer that calls divorce a sin and all remarriages adultery is labeled a legalistic Pharisee by these sin loving apostates. Yet, the many loopholes of “exception clauses” to divorce and remarry only create confusion among the churches. Today the average “remarried” couple consists of a people who divorced for other than the reasons that the popular churches allow. How would anyone know who is a “church approved” remarried couple? It is impossible to discern unless you have clear concise scripture that speaks to the permanence of marriage in the body of Christ.
In conclusion, the real danger to marriage redefinition come from an enemy that masquerades as an angel of light. The evangelical church is to blame for ever believing that the Lord Jesus Christ would allow for the hardheartedness of divorce. Divorce is not for those who have the Holy Spirit. Remaining in the covenant of marriage says much of those who remain in covenant with the Lord. It puts all faith in trust in the Lord to not only remain in covenant, but to know that God does the work of restoration, reconciliation, and repentance through the life of those who believe that He is Lord.
My prayer for those who are waiting for the prodigal to come home is that you remain in the Lord. All through His word, He fights the battles of those who are in covenant with Him. When we love and trust Him, will be prepared to love, forgive, and reconcile to a spouse who repents and seeks to come home to the Lord. We will love as Christ loved us…while we were yet sinners. Remember, marriage is a representation of the Gospel, and the definition of marriage has more to do with how the church represents marriage than anyone will ever care to admit.
Romans 5:8-10 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 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.
In Christ's love,