Saturday, January 31, 2015

Are You a "Stander" or a "Shirker"?

Standing: what is it?
"STANDING" - Choosing to live by God's Word in spite of seemingly insurmountable circumstances. Choosing to believe God for healing and restoration instead of bowing to the world's 'solution' (divorce). Praying for the salvation of one's spouse and for God's spirit of forgiveness to imbue one's life.
"STANDER" - One who has chosen to STAND for marriage in spite of a mate who has chosen to depart...standing on the truth of the Word of God which says God created marriage as a till-death-relationship.
When you choose to stand for a marriage that is obviously failing or even dead, you must willingly give up all your 'rights' to criticize, condemn, complain about or to your spouse. You must let go ALL ASPECTS of the marriage into God's hands, acknowledging that without Him, there can be no restoration. You must first allow God to come into your heart and cleanse you of all the anger, rage, bitterness towards your mate so that you can intercede on his/her behalf.
Standing requires courage and conviction to hold your head high when your family, friends, acquaintances, and especially your spouse tell you to give up and move on with your life. You must let God lead your every step. Choose to believe His Word rather than the world.
 ~ Unknown

This was a wonderful posting from an unknown person on what it takes to stand for a marriage. The term “stander” is synonymous with a person who believes the one-flesh covenant marriage vow remains intact despite the actions of their one-flesh covenant spouse. Is this a biblical concept or term, or is this a person who is ridged and legalistic? I have decided to make a list of attributes and consequences of those who are standers, and those do not stand. I will call those who do not stand, "shirkers". The consequences of both the stander and the shirker are severe. But the difference is that the shirkers consequences will have eternal implications and the standers will be in this lifetime and not eternity.

The STANDER believes that the marriage vow is serious in the eyes of the LORD. This person believes that the vow is not only applicable to their spouse, this vow is with the LORD. (Gen 2:23) Thus, he or she believe that once you vow in marriage, there is no turning back until death. This is based on believing that God is not only a witness to the vow, but God is included in the vow. Thus, even in the worse of circumstances, God will stand with the one who remains in the vow and chastise and correct the vow-breaker. (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-6; Romans 7:2,3; 1 Cor 7:10, 11, 39; Eph 5:31-32; Heb 13:4 )

The consequences of this are if his or her spouse exits the marriage, this does not mean that the exiting spouse will ever come back. This requires faith in God by the stander to believe that He will act on behalf of the stander. This also requires a stander to remind the vow-breaking spouse of his or her vow to God. This also requires the stander to repent of any and all sins they did to the vow-breaking spouse. This also requires the stander to remain in singleness and exemplify the love of Christ so that when and if the vow breaking spouse repents, there is forgiveness and reconciliation. This will require singleness until reconciliation or the death of the vow-breaker, for the marriage can only end in death.

The SHIRKER believes that the vow came with loopholes that should the other spouse not live up to his or her vow to them, God provides escape clauses. These escape clauses include adultery and abandonment. God would not want the shirker to remain single the rest of his or her life. The shirker tends to view marriage as a contract, rather than a covenant.

The consequences of this are severe. The shirker believes that the vow he or she made before God and to the other spouse is only good unless there is certain sins that break the covenant. In order to make this so, a shirker must ignore clear passages in scripture in favor the permanence of marriage unto death. A covenant can only end in death. The shirker also must believe that a spouse who sinned will never come to repentance of that sin. The shirker must also believe that God is not a part of the marriage covenant. Thus, the shirker will have to answer to God in this world or the next.

The STANDER believes that divorce is not an option. The stander believes that a divorce cannot end a covenant marriage and that no man-made governing authority has the power to end a marriage covenant.  However, due to the various laws of governments, if divorce is sought and enacted without the consent of the stander, the stander will remain in singleness and never remarry unless the abandoning spouse dies.

The consequences of this are heavy. The majority of the evangelical church recognizes divorce in certain instances. Unfortunately, very few churches monitor and evaluate the divorce to see if it is validated according to the loopholes that their interpretation of scripture provides. There will be very little support from many churches for the stander because most churches are filled with people who divorced and remarried. The person who stands for his or her marriage will certainly convict those who did not. Also, the culture we live in today is a divorce and remarriage culture. Marriage is always under attack and anyone who would dare to stand for a marriage is bound to be labeled legalist.

The SHIRKER believes divorce is an option in some cases.

The consequences of this is heavy. Divorce is an act of hard-heartedness. Divorce says that God will not step in and intervene with the sinful spouse. Also, divorce tells the sinful spouse that shirker will not keep their end of the vow. Divorce also tells everyone in the shirkers influence that the marriage is not that important to him or her. Divorce also says that marriage is not worth fighting for. Divorce also shows the children that mommy and daddy do not love them anymore and some child believe that they are responsible for the divorce. Divorce prompts other sins. Divorce makes marriage a contract and not a covenant.
A shirker who divorces must believe that God cannot or will not do whatever it takes to restore the marriage. Thus, instead of remaining in singleness to let God do His thing, the shirker believes it is his or her option to do what seems right according to them. This is self-righteous and lacks grace for the other spouse.  

The STANDER believes that a “remarriage” after any divorce of a living spouse is nothing more than the sin of adultery, and remains adultery until the “remarriage” is dissolved. The reason they believe this is that a divorce paper cannot end what God has joined together. The stander understands that even should his or her spouse divorce and remarry another person, the stander knows that the spouse remains in adultery, and if they remain in this sin, and die in this sin, he or she, along with the adulterous partner will go to Hell.

The consequences of believing this may be too hard to bare for some. It is not very popular today to tell your spouse, your church, your pastor, or your family that a remarriage is adultery, and not a marriage. Unfortunately, the same churches and denominations who allow divorce for certain reasons, also allow remarriage. This poses a very serious problem. The problem is very clear though. If divorce from any spouse requires singleness, a remarriage form either spouse is adultery. The evangelical church will use Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 and tell you that “except for marital unfaithfulness” is a valid reason to divorce and that the “innocent” spouse can remarry. But they never tell you that the “guilty” spouse can never remarry, ever again as long as he or she lives…But the “guilty” spouses DO get remarried. The same churches and denominations who allow the innocent to remarry, allow the guilty to remarry. The stander who remains in singleness will not receive a very good response from anyone who fits in the “remarried” category. Expect to hear the words, “Pharisee” and “legalist”. 

The SHIRKER believes that a “remarriage” is valid if they prove to be the innocent party of a divorce. The thought is that once the divorce finalizes the marriage, there is freedom to remarry someone else. God would not want them to be alone the rest of their lives. Also, everyone else is getting remarried after divorce…everyone that is except the legalistic stander.

The consequences of this are severe. If a person believes that a “remarriage” is a marriage and not adultery, he or she will not only go to Hell if they remain in this sin at death, they will deceive others to do the same. The “innocent” party of divorce also deceives the “guilty” party into remaining in the adultery. Why? If the innocent party gets remarried after divorce, the “guilty” spouse has no more regret to not remain with his or adulterous partner. It’s as if innocent spouse’s remarriage absolves the guilty spouse of their sin. This is tragic. The real tragedy is the pastor or church who remarries the “guilty” party. 

Then there is this wicked belief that God does not want us to remain in singleness. Marriage is only honorable with God’s blessing and anything else is evil. Remarriage after a divorce is akin to saying that marriage is not God’s design, God does not remain in a covenant marriage and that a shirker can do what seems right in his or her own eyes. Instead of remaining obedient to God and what He has best for us, remarriage throws all of that out the window. The one who remains in remarriage adultery on the Day of Judgment will stand and give an account.

The STANDER believes that once he or she came to Christ while in a second marriage after divorce, their second marriage after a divorce from their first marriage is nothing more than adultery. The stander “divorces” from the adulterous union and remains in singleness or reconciles with his or her covenant husband. Unfortunately, the standers covenant spouse may also be in a remarriage adultery. The stander will contact the covenant spouse and tell them of their conviction.

The consequences of this will be severe. A remarriage adultery will come with consequences for the believer who comes to Christ and realizes he or she is an adulterous remarriage. Dissolving this union may not be easy as a one-flesh bond of adultery comes with the same characteristics of a marriage bond, minus God’s blessing. The love of Christ must exceed the love we have for any person. This includes a one-flesh covenant marriage just as it includes an adulterous remarriage. The right thing to do is to make things right with God. This may involve children form this adulterous union. Again, this is very difficult, but we are to raise our children to become obedient unto the Lord adults. We are never to please man, we must always please God. Repenting of adultery comes with consequences, but it also comes with restoring a right relationship with God and the blessings of these actions will be evident to all.

The greatest backlash will come from the evangelical church. A pastor who married a “divorced” couple will certainly be convicted of your stance. The many who are in second and third marriages who claim to be “blessed” by God in their remarriage will also frown upon you and reject you utterly.  Expect the usual language…”Pharisee”, “legalist”, and “self-righteous”.

The SHIRKER believes that remaining in a second marriage after coming to Christ is the right thing to do. God would not want the shirker to dissolve a second marriage and remain in singleness or reconcile to the first covenant spouse. The shirker believes the blood of Christ covers this sin. The shirker believes that God would not want them to break up a family.

The consequences of this is death. Remaining in what God calls adultery is like calling evil good and good evil. Since scripture proves that all remarriages that include a divorced person with a living spouse are adultery, dissolving this adulterous union is imperative.

1 Cor 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Scripture is clear that the adulterer will not inherit the kingdom of God. If the Holy Spirit does not convict the shirker that the remarriage is adultery, he or she will not enter the kingdom of God. Also, by setting to others the example that the shirker can remain in sin, the shirker causes others to sin. Not to mention that the shirker is raising children in disobedience and they too will divorce and remarry. 

This is not unlike the one who says, “I can remain in this SIN because God forgives me.” These are the words of the “Christian Sodomite”, the “Christian Pornstar” or the “Christian Movie Producer”. Hypocrisy is common in the life of the Christian, but the only difference of the regenerated believer and the cultural Christian is the act of repentance. A regenerated believer stumbles and falls, but always repents, seeks forgiveness, and carries on seeking to never remain in the sin that made them stumble.

 The unregenerate believer is not a believer after all. They are the prosperity type who seek earthly blessings and earthy riches. They will not remain in sin and not call it sin. Then they teach others the same and encourage them all the while to do as they do. This is the “Remarried christian”. I can remain in this remarriage because do you not see how God has blessed me?

The idea the God blesses remarriages is evident in the churches that support and encourage remarriage after divorce. These types will point to God’s work in their life and how teach Sunday school and lead worship. They will point to their ministries and the good that has spawned from their work. Yet, does not the rain fall on the just and unjust alike. Can we know a person by their fruits? Is earthly blessing an indicator of heavenly blessings? What of these verses?   

Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Is the fruits of remarriage the most deceiving fruits of all? I and others believe that the false teaching by the evangelical church on divorce and remarriage in our culture is responsible for the rise of marriage redefinition and marriage destruction.  The statistics do not lie. Divorce has reached epic proportions since the no-fault divorce laws of the land. The newer teachings by Instone-Brewer, Piper and Jay Adams has spawned loopholes to divorce for ANY reason under the sun. Any person who calls themselves a “stander” is chastised, scoffed at and ridiculed by OTHER believers who call them legalists, Pharisees and self-righteous do-goodies.

In conclusion, it is where we all must go. To the foot of the cross. We will either bow to the cross of Christ and live in the Spirit and forsake our fleshy desires of divorce and remarriage, or we will remain in the flesh and reject the clear teachings of scripture by the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I am convinced that every generation and every person alive will be convicted by the clear teachings that marriage is much more than we will ever admit. No man, woman or child can say that marriage is not for life.
My heart goes out to all the standers. This blog is for the permanence of marriage to glorify God and His wonderful covenant of grace. You standers encourage me and bless me beyond measure, and I will continue to fight for the permanence of marriage. Ultimately, I know that the real battle is the Lord’s. He fights in the realms of the spirit, because this fight is very much a spiritual battle for the souls of the lost. It is are part to preach grace and truth into the lives of the lost and that is very applicable to a shirker who runs from the Lord.
To the shirker, I pray that you repent. I pray that you read the word with contrite and broken hearts. Do not heed the desires of the earthly treasures, but seek the desires of eternity that can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. God is merciful and patient with all of us. Many who are standers were just like you. We wanted tangible and fleshy comfort from a warm body. We wanted a marriage that would last a life time. But all this pales in comparison to the life we have in Christ. He is our sufficiency in this life and the life to come. I pray by the mercy of God that you repent of adultery and come back to the embrace of Christ. The love we have for you to tell you the truth is an eternal love. Please heed this exhortation and leave your unrighteous union so that God can heal your souls. Do not let verses 9 and 10 be your testimony, let verse 11 be the one verse that exemplifies you. 

1 Cor 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

In Christ’s love,

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