The letter of 1 John ends with this verse…Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
(1 John 5:21) This verse says a lot. Idolatry is the thought of placing something or someone above the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ. We have many examples of idols in the world today. Since we are close to the date where Christians celebrate the birth of Christ, it can noted that many idols and traditions accompany this holiday. Interesting enough is the word “holiday” is defined from two words, "holy day". Holiness is defined as "being set apart from" or "sacred".
If the day of Christ’s birth is set apart and holy, why do so many Christians celebrate this day alongside other pagan traditions and idols? Trees, lights, ornaments, wreaths, and garland have nothing to do with the holiness of Christ. Then there is the traditions of gift giving and the worship of a fictional character who wears a red suit and has the attributes of omniscience. Combine this with fabricating stories that he rides in a sleigh pulled by reindeers and will only give gifts when the children are asleep. Not to mention that lying to your children is a sin. Seems harmless except for the fact that the word of God says, the things highly esteemed of man are an abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15)
Then there are other idols that are less conspicuous. These are the dangerous idols. These idols are deeply embedded in our hearts and often when these idols are exposed, there is propensity to defend these idols at all cost. For some, these idols do include the holiday of Christmas. If you mention to some people that their traditions are idols, you may not like their response. Yet, there are other idols that are deeper yet, and for the sake of this blog post, one of these idols is idolizing your marriage.
Marriage is God’s design and is between one man and one woman for life. No questions here. Marriage becomes an idol when we place the marriage above the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ. It is very simple to understand. If you place anything above the Lord Jesus Christ, that thing becomes an idol. Your marriage vow first and foremost must be according to your love for Christ. Your vow in marriage is not to please you, your vow in marriage is to please and glorify God. Thus, regardless of the actions of an imperfect spouse to you, your allegiance is to Christ in all aspects of the marriage. You are responsible for your vow alone, and the Lord will hold you responsible for your application of that vow.
This understanding of Christ’s sufficiency and supremacy of the vow makes it easier to understand the consequences of breaking that vow. If your spouse leaves you and your actions against your spouse do not align with your allegiance to Christ, you can very easily make an idol of marriage. This happens in many ways, but the most glaring way this idolatry is evident is when a spouse believes that a divorce ends a marriage.
If you believe that a divorce ends a marriage, you suddenly made marriage an idol. This is true because first and foremost, you have placed your marriage and what you believed to be marriage, over what God says of marriage. If you initiate the divorce, you redefine marriage as applicable to how you believe a marriage should be and not what God calls marriage. In other words, your vow of marriage became dependent on the actions of you or your spouse, and not on the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ. If you imitate divorce for reasons that seem to you that are beyond your control (adultery, abuse,etc.), you just made a god in your own image, because you have no confidence in the God you vowed to in the first place.
Since when did your marriage vow include you having the power over the actions of your spouse? Is that not your spouse’s problem with God to his or her vow to you? If you believed your spouse initiating a divorce against you has any power over the vow you made to him or her, you again just made marriage an idol. Your spouse will answer to God for his or her actions against his or her vow to you. Marriage becomes an idol when we believe divorce ends a marriage.
Those who believe that a divorce ends a marriage covenant usually believe that “remarriage” is an option. Since remarriage is a by-product of divorce, it is easy to see that marriage, and the ideal of being a married person becomes idolatry for the divorced person. Yet, the Lord Jesus Christ calls “remarriage” adultery, thus it is not a marriage at all. The “remarried” person looks at marriage as a necessity and the thought of remaining in singleness as burdensome. The person who divorces and remarries must believe that the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ is not enough.
The word of God is clear that marriage in this lifetime is unlike what it will be like in Heaven. Anyone who believes that a marriage on earth will remain a marriage in heaven is deceived. The Lord Jesus Christ says that we will be married to Him in Heaven. Thus, it is imperative that in this life, we start that eternal relationship so that if and when our spouse does the unthinkable, we will be prepared to shine the light of Christ in that dark hour.
Matthew Jesus answered and said unto them (Sadducees), Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
A life in Christ must exceed the marriage itself, thus when a wayward spouse seeks to leave, he or she will have to answer to the Lord, either in this life, or the life to come. It is imperative that we remain in covenant so that God will be glorified. A spouse that remains in covenant paints a picture of faithfulness, humility, perseverance, obedience, love, and forgiveness. This stand is not without truth. A spouse that remains in convent must make it clear to the world (this includes, church, pastor, family, friends, co-workers, and most importantly, the wayward spouse) that God remains in the covenant and His word speaks loudly for those who remain in sin. Thus, God will chastise and discipline the spouse who seeks to break his or her vow against God.
Unfortunately, the vises and the ways of the enemy have slowly and efficiently crept into the churches across the land. The enemy attacked marriage from the beginning and it should be no mystery that marriage idolatry is a great weapon in his already potent arsenal. If marriage idolatry were not enough, many a spouse put their own children above their spouse. Children idolatry has ended a many marriages simply because one or both spouses elevated their children above the one they vowed in marriage. The results of divorce from child idolatry is common.
We shall not stop here, as many a marriage have ended because a husband or wife elevated their parent or parents above the vow he or she made to their spouse. There are many parents who seek to remain in the lives of their children without letting God take care of the marriage in His power. Then there is the spouse who seeks the advice and companionship of a parent over and above the spouse they vowed in marriage. All these cases involve idolatry on some level by replacing the word of God and the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ with the ways and vices of the world.
The last example of marriage idolatry is the most dangerous and the least talked about since it involves the worship and idolatry of the church itself. The powers of the church and the examples of church polity have done more to create idols of marriage than most will ever admit. Many a person has put church government, church leadership, and church traditions above the Lord Jesus Christ. This is evident in many areas and none so more evident than in marriage.
Marriage is God’s design, thus if any church, congregation, ministry, government, or any man put marriage above what God calls marriage, they created an idol. Marriage is not subject to the powers of man, marriage is subject to the power of God. If it can be proved that man has twisted the word of God to make marriage an idol, then it will be evident if that idol is a part of and worshipped by the world.
The fact that divorce and remarriage is widely celebrated, encouraged, and acceptable to a world that lies in wickedness is a great indicator that those who teach and preach in the church that God approves of divorce and remarriage have also gone the way of the world. The evangelical church has done more to promote the idolization of marriage than any other institution. They have provided loopholes, just liked the Pharisees before them, that provide a man or woman to view marriage as anything but an example of holiness, forgiveness, grace, love and mercy.
In conclusion, marriage is honorable in this lifetime if marriage is according to God and His word. If marriage becomes something we use to appease our flesh and worldly desires, then marriage is nothing but an idol that excludes the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ. If we are not ready to be married first and foremost to Christ, then we had better not even think about entering into marriage.
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
In Christ’s love,