And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 18, Number
In this issue:
Did God join together you and your spouse when you married (Matt. 19:6)? That is, does God approve of your marriage? Do you have God's permission to be married? The Bible answers this question for us. As we study the Bible on this subject It becomes evident there are marriages God does not approve (like the marriage of Herod and Herodias, Mark 6:17-18). Therefore, we cannot say that every marriage has God's blessing merely by virtue of the fact that it exists. It is precisely the marriages "God has joined together" that must not be sundered (Matt. 19:6). All other marriages exist without His approval and dishonor both marriage and God who gave it (Heb. 13:4).
If you are presently married, you need to know whether God approves your marriage. If you have never married, you need to know whether God will approve your marriage when you do decide to marry. People of faith will listen to God's answer on this subject, accept it and conform to it (Matt. 7:21-23; Jas. 1:22-25).
Our society accepts all kinds of marriages, but God does not. He revealed His pattern for marriage at the garden of Eden when He created woman and brought her to the man (Gen. 2:18-25). Jesus Christ endorsed the garden model of marriage when asked about putting away one's wife. Jesus was asked, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" (ASV) Jesus returned to the beginning of marriage in the garden, quoted Genesis 2:24, and answered no, it was not lawful to put away one's wife "for every cause" (Matt. 19:3-6). Upon marrying, a man leaves his parents and cleaves to his wife, and the two become one flesh. “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:6). Marriage is from God and is for life. Therefore, Jesus said, do not end your marriage.
The words of Jesus concerning marriage are very different from what we hear today from the world. Marriages are ended today for every cause. New marriages are formed without any thought of whether or not God approves. This dishonors God and marriage as He arranged it.
God’s arrangement of marriage, endorsed by Jesus, is one man and one woman for life. As long as they live, the husband and the wife, having been joined together by God, are bound or obligated to one another by God’s law concerning marriage (Rom. 7:2-3). To marry another person in violation of God's marriage law is to commit adultery (Rom. 7:3). God judges the violators of the honor and purity of the marriage bed as fornicators and adulterers (Heb. 13:4).
There is one exception by which God allows the remarriage of one party in a broken marriage. The exception concerns cause, and is stated in Matthew 19:9: “And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery”. If one ends his marriage because his spouse committed fornication, that person's subsequent remarriage is not adultery. ("Fornication" is the general term for all forms of sexual immorality, whether adultery, homosexuality or bestiality.) Otherwise, if one ends his or her marriage for “every cause” (any reason) and marries another, the result is adultery (Lk. 16:18; Mk. 10:11-12). Jesus further noted when one puts away his wife for any cause other than fornication he contributes to her committing adultery (should she remarry, Matt. 5:32). No wonder Paul explained, “...(but should she depart, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband); and that the husband leave not his wife” (1 Cor. 7:11). When one divorces and remarries without the cause of fornication, the remarriage is adultery (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). God does not approve of such marriages. He does not join together adulterers.
Now, with God's word before you, you are able to answer the question, "Does God approve of my marriage?"
1) Yes, if you and your mate have never been married before (Matt. 19:4-6).
2) Yes, if your spouse died and you have married another who also has God’s permission to marry. Death ends the God-established obligations of marriage and releases one to marry another person in harmony with God's will (Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:39).
3) Yes, if you have remarried after ending your first marriage because your mate committed fornication. (Remember, your new marriage partner must also be free to marry with God’s approval, Matthew 19:9, 3-6.)
4) No, if you have remarried after ending your marriage for any other reason. In this case, Jesus said you have sundered or separated what God joined together (Matt. 19:6). That is sin, and Jesus explained one adds sin upon sin with a remarriage; it is adultery (Matt. 19:9; Lk. 16:18).
5) No, if you are in a plural marriage. God ordained one man for one woman in the beginning (Gen. 2:24; 1 Cor. 7:2). Man invented polygamy, not God (Gen. 4:19). When multiple spouses exist, adultery exists (Rom. 7:3; Heb. 13:4).
6) No, if you are in a same-sex marriage. God created male and female and established marriage for them when He brought the woman to the man (Gen. 1:27; 2:22-24). In marriage, “a man” is “joined to his wife” (Gen. 2:24). All else are occasions of going after “strange flesh” and is “against nature” (Jude 7; Rom. 1:26-27).
What must you do if God disapproves of your marriage and describes it as sin? God commands repentance of every sin, including sinful marriages (Acts 17:30). Godly sorrow for your sin will prompt your repentance; a change of your mind toward your sin against God. Immediate steps are taken to stop committing sin when one repents (2 Cor. 7:9-10; Acts 16:33). You cannot continue to live in sin and expect God's approval (Rom. 6:12).
Repentance demands ending your practice of sin by ending your unlawful marriage (Mk. 6:17-18). Just as God commanded Israel to put away unlawful wives in the days of Ezra, such will have to be done today to please God. Unlawful marriages do not have God's approval (Ezra 9-10; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 7:11). Are you willing to end your unlawful marriage by denying yourself “for the kingdom of heaven’s sake” (Matt. 19:12; Lk. 9:23)? It can be done. It is being done by men and women of faith. It demands putting your trust in the Lord and not in the will and wisdom of men.
Marriage is ordained by God. He alone has the right to say what marriage is and which marriages are approved in His sight.
Does God approve of your marriage? Faithfully apply the pattern of God’s word and you will have God’s answer.
The gospel of Christ reveals how God saves sinners, counting them righteous before Him. Paul's summary statement in verse 17 is taken from Habakkuk 2:4. Simply put, the just person possesses life (lives) by faith. This was contrary to Jewish belief. They thought they had life from God through the law of Moses. While the Sinai law identified their sin, it contained no redemptive ability. It could not justify transgressors (Rom. 3:19-20). The Gentiles did not believe in the true God, much less that they needed salvation because of their sins against Him (Rom. 1:18-21). Only the gospel has power to save all sinners. It is "the faith" that produces personal faith. The Scriptures say faith that does not have works, is dead, thus defining saving faith as obedient faith (Jas. 2:14-26). The gospel of salvation is a joyful, hopeful message. Never be ashamed of the gospel.
Christians may be ashamed of the gospel for any number of reasons, none of which are valid before the Almighty. For some, the gospel is too simple. They are ashamed of its lowliness, desiring to be significant in the eyes of the world. For others, the gospel is too plain. These are impressed by pomp and ceremony, ritual and rites. The simple plan of salvation (believe, confess faith, repent and be baptized) is not flashy enough for them. For these, worship must be an extravaganza exciting the senses, an amazing experience of sound, lights, action. Worshiping "in spirit and in truth" is too dull for them (Jno. 4:23-24). Others are ashamed of the gospel's demands. They want to continue living selfishly in sin rather than standing up for Jesus and being different from the world. These prefer to blend in with their surroundings. The gospel calls on us to stand up and stand out, without shame, because Christ Jesus died for us and now we live for Him. Glory in the cross; never be ashamed of the gospel (Gal. 6:14). It alone is God's power to save you.
-Sword Tips, #564 and #565 (edited for length)
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Scripture Reading: Psalm 37:1-9
1. This political season has put
anger on display.
I. THE SIN OF ANGER, Prov. 29:22.
A. A Disposition of Fury, Col. 3:8; Jas. 1:20.
II. ANGER REVEALS A HEART PROBLEM. Prov. 23:7
A. Cannot Separate Character (Heart) and Conduct from Accurately
Assessing what is Right, Col. 3:1-10 (8); Matt. 7:17-18; 12:34-37.
III. ANGER INCREASES TROUBLE.
A. Anger Advances Unrighteousness, Prov. 15:1, 18. Titus 2:12; Gal. 5:20; Mk. 9:33-37
IV. RULERS MUST NOT BE CHARACTERIZED BY ANGER.
A. We must Rule Our Spirit instead of being Ruled by Anger, Prov.
16:32. cf. Rom. 6:12-14.
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 09/27/2015
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA