It's much more than we
Love Story of Hosea
God's Unconditional Love
Does Marriage Represent
White on Divorce in the Church
From Spirit Warrior by Stu Weber
Lea DeMoss on Marriage
His Church and Same Sex Unions
BEREN AND LÚTHIEN
if as seems probable I shall never write any ordered biography--it is against my
nature, which expresses itself about things deepest felt in tales and
myths--someone close in heart to me should know something about things that
records do not record: the dreadful sufferings of our childhoods, from which we
rescued one another, but could not wholly heal the wounds that later often
proved disabling; the sufferings that we endured after our love began--all of
which (over and above our personal weaknesses) might help to make pardonable, or
understandable, the lapses and darknesses which at times marred our lives--and
to explain how these never touched our depths nor dimmed our memories of our
youthful love. For ever (especially when alone) we still met in the
woodland glade, and went hand in hand many times to escape the shadow of
imminent death before our last
- JRR Tolkien
REFLECTING GOD’S UNCONDITIONAL
Regardless of what Jesus says in the
“exception clause” in Matthew or what Ellen White says about being “free
to remarry”, the question is not, “What will God allow
us to do because of our imperfect understanding of His character or because of
the hardness of our hearts? The
true question is, “What is in
God’s heart, what is consistent with His character and what does He do
in a similar circumstance?”
Every story, every fiber of God’s word
shouts of His everlasting faithfulness and love…His commitment to us
regardless of the cost to Himself. Do
we understand what self-sacrificing love is?
Do we comprehend unconditional love even a little?
What are the conditions to the love that I have sworn to
my spouse? Will I turn from her if
she is injured or gets sick? What if she fails to live up to what I expect of
her? Is my love for her based on
whether she is faithful to me or not? Will
my covenant love for her remain even if she divorces me or reviles me or marries
To the question of how God treats His bride the answer
can separate her from His love! Nothing
she can do can make Him love her less.
Unconditional love, then, means NO
SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES can break me away from God’s love and the
commitment He has made to me as his bride! In the same way, no
set of circumstances should separate my spouse from the love and commitment
I swore to her in my wedding vows! If
we stand by and pursue our spouse with a heart like
God’s then the only point of separation is the loss of the lover’s
soul. Isn’t that the only thing
that can separate us forever from God…the loss of our souls?
your wives, just as Christ
loved the church and
gave himself up for her to make her holy."
God can never, never abandon us:
will never abandon those for
whom He has died. We may leave Him and be overwhelmed with temptation but Christ
can never turn from one for whom He has paid the ransom of His own
Prophets and Kings 176
If God says, “I will make an
everlasting covenant with you that I will NEVER turn away from you to do you
good…” then how can I EVER turn away from my spouse with whom I have made
the same covenant? If God’s
covenant with us is unbreakable then so
are our marriage covenants if they
are to be a holy example of God’s character.
What we must understand is that this is
not about what our spouses do or how they might or might not represent
God but about our actions and whether we will be faithful to our high
Remember, we said “for better or for worse….till
death parts us.” Aren’t
covenants and promises made because there is a possibility that things could go
terribly wrong…could get worse? If
there wasn’t that possibility then why bother with making them?
When we stand together at the alter on a sunny afternoon we can never
guess a tenth of what the winds of the years will blow into our lives.
But we don’t need to.
We make a promise. We recite
a vow. In Tender Warrior, Stu Weber
says, “Out of all the world, we choose each other.
It is only the covenant that
keeps us…there will always be someone more beautiful, intelligent, wealthy,
witty, competent, sensitive, or sensual. But
that doesn’t matter because the toxin of comparison has been utterly
neutralized and washed away by the sacred anti-toxin of a promise.”
In Psalms 15 King David is asking,
“What kind of a man or woman is a real, the kind who lives like You; who lives
well in Your eyes?” And God
answers, “One who keeps his word, who makes and keeps
promises. One who ‘swears to his own hurt’.
One who stays.”
"If you make a
vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it,
for the Lord your God will
certainly demand it of you and you will
be guilty of sin."
Will we nurture a deep desire to obey and please God by honoring our
marriage commitments? Larry Crabb says in
The Marriage Builder, "If we really
believe that God is able to work all things
out for our good then no collection of marital setbacks will prompt us to
seriously consider divorce or withdrawal because the path of obedience will
always lead to His intended purpose!
I know I said it before but this covenant relationship is
the story of the Bible.
It is the story of a people (us) who have forgotten God and His covenant
and trusted in false gods…who have broken His great heart with “adulterous
and lustful neighings and shameless prostitution”.
the story does not finish with their divorce.
True love never fails; it always perseveres.
"Love is patient,
love is kind. It does not envy, it does not
boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does
not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always pro-
tects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
God will fight for His beloved.
So the old testament ends with a promise of reconciliation:
behold, I will block her path with thornbushes, and wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
And she will chase after her lovers but not catch them; She will look for them but not find them.
she will say, “I will go back to my first husband….”
behold, I will allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness,
speak tenderly to her…
that day,” declared the LORD, you
will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my
master’.” Hosea 2
The way we must treat our spouses could not be set out in clearer stories or words.
God has led the way and set the example.
This is His transcendant cause for our covenants and relationships.
In the end, John Eldredge puts it better than I ever
could: “Some men are willing to
go in and fight (for their wives) once, twice, even three times.
But a warrior is in this for good. Oswald
Chambers asks, ‘God spilt the life of His Son that the world might be saved;
are we prepared to spill out our lives?’
Daniel is in the midst of a very hard, very unpromising battle for his
wife. It’s been years now without much progress and without much
hope. Sitting in a restaurant the
other night, tears in his eyes, this is what he said to me: ‘I am not going anywhere.
This is my place in the battle. This
is the hill I will die on.’ He
has reached a point that we all must come to, sooner of later, when it’s no
longer about winning or losing. His
wife may respond and she may not. That’s
really no longer the issue. The
question is simply this: What kind of
a man do you want to be? A
young pilot in the RAF wrote just before he went down in 1940, ‘The universe
is so vast and so ageless that the life of one man can only be justified by the
measure of his sacrifice.’”
God is calling us to sacrifice. God is calling us to a higher cause to reveal His character
to a fallen world. The full and
final display of God’s character will be through His people.
Christ will reveal through them exactly what He personally revealed while
order to endure the trial before them, they (the people of God who will live
through the final time of trouble) must understand
the will of God as revealed in His Word.
They can honor Him only as they have a right conception of His character, government and purposes, and
act in accordance with them.”
We let go of the arm of the Lord too soon and fall far
short of revealing His character to the world by acting in accordance with His
purpose! We must reflect Him by
standing firm by our families, praying and interceding until we see total
deliverance and healing! Do
not allow the evil one to destroy that which is righteous in the eyes of
the Lord. We must glorify Him in
our actions. We must keep faith by
honoring our irrevocable and unilateral marital covenant with God and our
spouse. There are many blessings in
store for those who are obedient to God in this.
"Above all, love
each other deeply, because love covers over a
multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8
A MARRIAGE BLUEPRINT
Summary taken from
The Marriage Builder by Dr. Larry Crabb
There are three dangerous trends in our thinking today that
endanger our marriages.
The first is that the Bible reduces complicated issues to a few easily
solved problems. The cure for the
selfishness and fear that control so much of what we do cannot be reduced to
shallow solutions. We need to learn
how our minds deceive us. We need
to understand the wrong goals we have set, honestly face how we feel, and deal
with our sinful and painful emotions in a way that reflects our confidence in
God’s unconditional acceptance.
The second is the appealing emphasis on becoming happy and fulfilled.
Our peppy songs about joyful Christianity neglect the need to develop a
holy, obedient walk with God no matter what personal suffering is involved.
Uppermost in the minds of many
Christians, perhaps unconsciously, is a preoccupation with following Christ to
achieve the abundant life of pleasant, satisfying emotions and fulfilling,
enriching opportunities. “Fulfillment”
has taken on greater urgency and value than “obedience”. And fulfillment does have a place in biblical thinking.
But not the only place. Scriptures
about dying to self, finding one’s life by losing it, being crucified with
Christ, and living only for Christ make it clear that realizing true fulfillment
depends not on preoccupation with fulfillment but on preoccupation with knowing
God through absolute surrender.
In other words, the route to fulfillment is not the one
with the road sign reading “Pleasure Ahead” or “If it seems to meet your
needs, keep going”. The only sure
path to real and lasting joy is the steep, rugged road marked “Obedience”.
We have allowed a natural concern for our own satisfaction to slide into
an ethic that says that whatever seems to bring happiness is right.
So many people close their Bibles tightly, then confidently assert that
“God wants me happy and fulfilled, but I can find neither in giving myself to
this marriage.” How difficult it
is to believe that a loving God with our deepest welfare in mind insists on
painful conformity to the standards of His Word!
The third is that psychological needs have taken over as the focus of our
discussion of roles in marriage. The
Bible has been reduced to an optional guidebook as we look for ways to meet our
emotional needs. The value of a
plan is measured not in terms of its fidelity to Scripture but in terms of its
perceived effects on people’s needs and emotions.
The issue of authority is really at stake here.
“This will help your marriage” or
“This course of action will deepen your sense of worth as a person”
carries more weight than counsel backed up by evidence that
“This is what the Bible teaches.”
The error is very subtle but serious.
After all, didn’t Christ come to meet our needs?
In this line of thought, needy people march onto center stage, the
spotlight bathes them in absorbing attention, and the God of the Bible remains
in the wings calling out directions as they search for fulfillment.
In biblical Christianity, it is the Person of Jesus Christ who fills the
spotlight, and He graciously beckons the audience to find eternal fulfillment by
becoming lost in His glory. Paul
well understood Christ’s terms for humanity’s fulfillment when he said,
“For to me, to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21)
Sincerely trying to live by the Bible is sometimes hard,
confusing, and disillusioning. Obedience to God will likely expose you to pain
that could be avoided or at least numbed if your priority were “to feel
good”. As we face the choice of
painful obedience or comfortable compromise,
listen to Peter’s words: “Lord,
to whom shall we go? You have the
words of eternal life.” John 6:68
So what does a biblical marriage relationship look like?
What must we understand and do? How
does it work?
Only Jesus can meet our needs. The belief that Christ is not sufficient for our personal
needs is a lie from satan. Our
spouse may reject us and if they do it will hurt, perhaps a lot. But no matter how they treat us, we are totally and
wonderfully loved by Christ. So we
We must trust His love enough to give ourselves fully to
our spouses in an effort to minister to their needs and choose to continue our
efforts to minister regardless of our spouse’s response to us.
Because we are secure in Christ, we can make ourselves vulnerable to our
spouse’s rejection by doing this. The
fact that we have not done so till now is sin and must be confessed as such.
The change from manipulation to ministry requires supernatural
intervention otherwise it cannot succeed. When
we choose ministry we are showing that we believe God.
But before any ministry can happen toward our spouses we
have to jump off the cliff of “safety” that we are clinging to by committing
to meeting our spouse’s needs no matter what the cost to us.
We cannot deeply know that Christ can meet our needs until we
leap from the cliff and are dangling over the abyss of
rejection, held only by the love of
God. We will
never know that love until we depend on it to preserve us from destruction.
The condition for effective ministry is utter reliance on
God that grows out of a sense of our inadequacy for the task.
Admitted weakness makes it possible for us to abide in Christ, trusting
Him for fruit.
Through Jesus I am freed from self-centered preoccupation
with my own needs because they are met in Him.
Now it is possible for me to give to others out of my fullness rather
than needing to receive from others because of my
emptiness. For the first time I
have the option of living selflessly. We
must believe that in spite of our confusion and incompetence, our sovereign God
hasn’t made a mistake in assigning us the ministry of touching our spouse’s
deepest needs, regardless of the circumstances under which we were married.
And circumstances can become quite bleak as the marriage
progresses because, although most spouses want sexual pleasure with personal
meaning, for many the alternatives seem to be pleasure without meaning or
neither pleasure nor meaning.
Small wonder that professing Christians in increasing
numbers are stepping across the line of morality, leaving behind a bad
relationship and sexual frustration in search of something that at least feels
good. But pleasure, in a
meaningful relationship, is what God intends for us. And when we do it
God’s way, the oneness that we experience is felt subjectively as a
relationship so intimate that only sexual intercourse can fully express it.
God can never endorse a counterfeit.
Christianity is poorly advertised by “Christian
Marriages” that are no better than marital relationships governed by secular
values and empowered by merely human energy.
The good news is that the required building blocks are few in number,
available on demand, in plentiful supply, free for the taking and accompanied by
instructions that are simple enough that only sincere motivation is required to
understand them and yet profound enough to offer an unending challenge to the
The building blocks required to build a marriage are Grace,
Commitment, and Acceptance.
Block 1: Grace
The deepest question of many despairing and frustrated
spouses is “Is there any hope? Is
there any point in obedience? Is
despair justified?” There
probably has never been a marriage that at some time has not reached a seemingly
irredeemable low point. We cannot
cultivate interest in following biblical direction if we believe nothing good
can happen. Before the
responsibilities of marriage will be regarded as inviting opportunities rather
than pointless duties, the core of a person’s attitude must shift from despair
to hope. To be fully persuaded that there is always reason to live
responsibly no matter what may go wrong is indispensable to the Christian life.
And the hope of the Christian is inescapably bound up in the grace of
In Leviticus, when the two sons of Aaron were killed by the
Lord as judgment for sin, Moses quickly told Aaron not to tear his robes as was
the custom or he would die. Why?
A priest had access to the immediate presence of God and
someone with that privilege never has reason to regard anything as a disaster.
If a priest were to tear his robes for personal grief, he would
implicitly affirm that life presents problems for which God has no solutions.
And that is NEVER true. The God who is love, the God of
eternity, the infinite, personal God who at once lives in the hearts of His
people and sovereignly directs the flow of
history is sufficient for every situation. Nothing takes Him by surprise.
No problem is beyond His power to master. There is no possible event in life for which His grace is not
sufficient. People who can approach
this god directly must not despair. To
do so implies that God is impotent to work for eternal good in our set of
One of the most remarkable truths revealed to the New
Testament believer is that every member of the body of Christ is a priest.
1 Peter 2:5 We are invited
to come boldly before the throne of God, to approach Him with the confidence
that He understands our problems, sympathizes with our struggles, and is
adequate to work through our circumstances for His purposes and our blessing.
Because you and I enjoy this privileged position as priests, we must
never tear our robes. We must never
regard any situation as bad enough to justify despair.
The choice is ours: Tear our
robes in despair and make it our top priority to find relief from our pain, or
depend so completely on the grace of god that we steadfastly steadfastly refuse
to comprise our commitment to live for the Lord.
Are we to tear our clothes by resigning ourselves to the
living martyrdom of enduring a spouse “till death do us part”?
Should we rip apart our garments by escaping through divorce the awful
ruin of our marriage? Are we to cut up our suits and dresses by seeking the
companionship of someone more
fulfilling to us than our partners? Or
are we to regard these alternatives as unworthy and unbecoming for a priest of
the almighty Shepherd. In His
presence, there is never cause for despair.
There may be pain or hurt or sadness, but never despair.
Our spouses may not do what they should to restore our marriage to happy,
fulfilling relationships. But if we
remain faithful to God, pouring out our emotions before Him, renewing our
commitment to seek Him, trusting Him to guide us in our responses, then He will
sustain us through our trials and provide rich fellowship with Him.
There is reason to go on. There
is hope. God’s grace is
We can maintain our commitment—first to God and them to
minister to our spouse through each opportunity that arises.
The result will be a better marriage and certainly a new level of
spiritual maturity and fellowship with Christ.
And that is a compelling reason not to tear your robes!
God does not promise to rearrange our worlds to suit our
longings but He does promise to permit only those events that will further His
purpose in our lives. Our
responsibility is to respond to life’s events in a manner intended to please
the Lord, not to change our spouses into what we want.
In our pursuit of marital oneness, we must never permit
failure or disappointment or tragedy to rob us of our confidence that God can
heal our marriage and that He will deepen our walk with Him.
No situation is so desperate that God’s grace is not sufficient.
Building a Christian marriage begins with a conscious confidence that a
determination to live for God will result in something good.
block 2: Commitment
This building block involves a deep desire to obey God by
honoring the marriage commitment, a desire growing naturally out of the
conviction that God is good.
Once our confidence in God’s grace is sufficient to
maintain hope when despair seems justified, then we are in a position to commit
to doing whatever God says. If we
deeply believe that the Lord is able to work on our behalf in all circumstances,
then no collection of marital setbacks will prompt us to seriously consider
divorce or withdrawal. If God is
really as powerful as He claims to be, then the path of obedience will always
lead to His intended purpose. The
hope (better, the certainty) that God is at work to accomplish His plan even in
the most difficult marriages must remain firmly rooted in our awareness of His
powerful grace. If we truly believe
that His purposes are always good, then from the depths of our being we will
want—really want—to go His way….the decision to obey will be supported by
a desire to obey.
Our failure to readily follow His leading reflects a lack
of deep confidence in His goodness. We
wonder whether He is merely using us or wants to bless us.
The problem with unsteady commitment is not centrally a problem of the
will, but simply of unbelief. We
simply do not believe that the God who tells us to remain committed to our
marriage partners is good. If we
knew that He was good, we would sense a deep desire to follow His leading
because we trusted Him.
So, the basic cure for weak commitment is renewed faith,
not rededicated effort.
It makes sense to honor our marriage commitments because
the God who tells us to do so is a good God who wants our best.
The path He is marking out for us leads to unparalleled joy for us and
glory for Him.
Honoring commitments because of a profound trust in God’s
goodness will feel less like “doing one’s duty” and more like pursuing
one’s deepest desires. Sometimes
it seems that when we place a greater priority on our spouse’s happiness than
our own, we are the losers. But if
we retain this attitude, we will remain faithful to our marriage vows up to the
point of diminishing returns: that
is, as long as giving to our spouses brings us what we want, we will gladly keep
our promises. The moment the choice
becomes our happiness or theirs, the marriage commitment will feel like a prison
keeping us locked away from freedom and joy.
If we choose to honor it, we will necessarily do so in a spirit of
“doing our time”.
If we honor our commitment to be husbands and wives in a
spirit of reluctant surrender and grudging compliance, we are not honoring our
commitment at all. Certainly we are
people under authority and we are bound to do what God commands.
It is our duty. But obedience is so much more than duty.
It is a privilege, an opportunity to enter into a depth of joy that makes
every other pleasure seem shallow.
It is important to remember, as stated earlier, that all
our needs are completely met in Christ. If
I have experienced the answer to my deepest longings in Christ, then I will be
able to see past my longings and discern my spouse’s needs.
And when I see their needs, then me experience of satisfaction with
Christ will create in me a deep desire to promote similar satisfaction in my
spouse. So a proper understanding
of marriage is a high calling to ministry and it will cause us to look at the
deepest needs of our mates and to appreciate our unique opportunity to touch
those needs in significant ways.
Because we are not experiencing the satisfaction that comes
from resting in God’s goodness, we look to our partners to meet our needs.
When they fail to do so, as inevitably they will, we retreat behind
protective distance to minimize our discomfort. But, because we are
“Bible-believing Christians”, we nobly carry on with the responsibilities of
marriage in the spirit of obedient martyrdom (and rebellion), persuaded that God
admires our devotion to duty.
Christians who have put God to the test by vulnerably
surrendering to His will, examining their motives regularly to see where they
are protecting themselves rather than ministering, are tasting the goodness of
God. These people more and more see
their marriage commitment as an opportunity to pursue their deepest desires, to
follow a good path, and to invite their spouses to walk with them.
Their marital vows are not regarded as a depressing duty to fulfull.
Lack of joy in honoring the marriage commitment cannot be
blame on our spouses! The fault
lies in our failure to depend on the goodness of God.
Often we remind ourselves and our friend (and counselors) of all the
things we must endure. Behind this
focus on our mate’s faults is a subtle, unbiblical assumption:
Our lack of joy can be blamed on our spouses.
I only they would change, then I could enjoy my role as a loving husband
or submissive wife. Joy is seen as
a fruit of the partner’s attitudes and behavior, not as the fruit of the
We must follow God in ministry. Although the pain of discouragement is real and can
provoke spiritual struggle and self-examination, the faithful servant of God has
reason for joy in the guarantee that every act of obedience done for the sake of
Christ is accomplishing it’s intended purpose and brings a smile to the lips
of the Savior. The final
basis for joy is our confidence that our faithfulness pleases Christ and is used
by Him according to his sovereign plan. Because
His plan is good, obedience brings joy to the sincere Christian.
Block 3: Acceptance
Once we can maintain hope by God’s grace and have made a
commitment to minister instead of manipulate, then we must accept the emotions,
pleasant or unpleasant, that come to us from our spouse’s actions and by
God’s grace forgive as we have been forgiven.
To accept your spouse means to minister to them with no
resentment or pressure to minister to us in return. In other words we decide to minister and have none of the
feelings that interfere with ministry. But
we can’t just will away those bitter feelings on demand.
With characteristic simplicity, the Bible spells out the solution in a
word. The shift from bitterness to
benevolence, from forced kindness to freely given love, requires forgiveness.
With the freedom that Christ provides in acceptance and forgiveness, we
have the freedom to require nothing from our spouses.
We will hurt when our spouse rejects or disrespects us, but the Lord’s
love and purpose for us enable us to continue giving no matter how little we
Our response to the behavior of our spouse depends on
whether we have our needs completely met in Christ or not.
If not, enjoyment from a kindness from your spouse will rapidly slip into
the derivative feeling of dependency on them to continue that behavior so you
can have enjoyment. And displeasure from an offence from your spouse will quickly
shift to bitterness. If our needs
are met in Christ then our spouse’s positive or negative treatment will only
be relative to our desires and not our needs.
Then enjoyment from kindness becomes a warm, non-possessive satisfaction.
And displeasure will develop into a sad, perhaps angry, disappointment.
So to accept our mates does not require that we enjoy
everything that they do. To accept
our mates means more than remaining faithful to the commitment to minister.
To accept a mate involves deeper work than the decision to forgive when
True acceptance requires a willingness to be vulnerable, to
give oneself in a way that opens up avenues for painful rejection.
To achieve this acceptance, we must continually forgive our partners when
they hurt us. And the work of forgiveness requires that we regard the worst
our partners can do as absolutely irrelevant to our basic personal needs.
To do this we must continually remember that:
1) Our needs are met in Christ by meditating on our riches in Him,
aggressively telling ourselves that we are worthwhile even when we feel most
rejected and useless, and choosing to live in a manner that reflects our
We must reflect on the degree to which we have been forgiven.
Only one who appreciates God’s forgiveness can truly forgive others.
3) Paul instructed us to
look out for the interests of others, regarding them as more important than
ourselves. (Phil. 2:3-4)
truths fixed in our minds, we will be able to minister freely to our spouses,
without fear or pressure, even when they have offended us. This is truly accepting you spouse.
Does Marriage Represent?
Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold,
thy time was the time
of love; and I spread my skirt over
thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered
into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest
For thy Maker is
the LORD of hosts is his
name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel;
The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons
marry thee: and as the bridegroom
rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.
behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her…. and it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou
shalt call Me my Husband and shalt call Me no more my Master. …and I
will betroth thee unto Me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in
righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will
even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness: and thou shalt KNOW the LORD.
plan for eternity encompasses far more than the intimacy between two humans. His
plan for us now and in eternity is for intimacy with himself. We
were created to be His bride.
to David, who certainly knew about intimate human touch:
“Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none
upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but
God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” Psalms 73
calls marriage a great mystery in Ephesians 5:32. What is the mystery?
It is this: God did not create the union of Christ and the church after
the pattern of human marriage; just the reverse is true! He created human
marriage on the pattern of Christ’s relation to the church.
mystery of Genesis 2:24 is that the marriage it describes is a parable or symbol
of Christ’s relation to his people. There is more going on in the
creation of woman than meets the eye. God doesn’t do thing
willy-nilly. Everything has purpose and meaning. When God engaged to create man
and woman and to ordain the union of marriage, he didn’t roll dice or draw
straws or flip a coin as to how they might be related to each other.
He patterned marriage very purposefully after the relationship between his Son
and the church, which He had planned from all eternity!
marriage contains and conceals a meaning far greater than what we see on the
outside. God created man male and female, and ordained marriage so that
the eternal covenant relationship between Christ and his church would be imaged
forth in the marriage union. “As God made man in His own image, so he
made marriage in the image of his own eternal marriage with His people”
man and the woman’s part in a marriage are not randomly assigned by God, but
are rooted in the distinctive roles of Christ and his church. These
things image forth stupendous divine realities, infinitely bigger and greater
not enough to say each spouse should pursue his or her own joy in the joy of the
other. It is also important to say husbands and wives should consciously
copy the relationship God intended for Christ and the church.
wants to be our lover…He wants to hold us and kiss us and make love to us!
This is all about Him!! His pattern of a man and a woman partaking of intimacy
forever is an exact parable of the relationship He wants with each
created us to be His bride from eternity.…He has looked forward for a long
time to becoming our Husband which will be consummated at the wedding feast of
the Lamb. Has He waited patiently
for us? Has He run off after
another bride and forgotten us? Did
he destroy us and create another? No
He will wait for his bride and keep Himself only for her.
He will not give Himself for another but has given His life only for her.
White on Divorce in the Church
After rereading her comments I realize that the course of action to be
taken on the matter of divorce in the church is very clear. And there are
serious and fearful consequences for taking the wrong road. However, God's
requirements are never unreasonable even though sometimes hard to do. In
this case, though, we must exercise much care, love and mercy.
is clear that those who break the seventh commandment must be
suspended from the church and not have its fellowship nor the privileges of the
house of God until they "have merited the confidence of the people of
God by unqualified confessions, and a period of sincere repentance."
White even mentions some who "if they were saved, they would have to
be saved alone. They could not be in the fellowship of the church because
of what they had done for they would drag the reputation of the whole church
down before the world."
we must not interfer to break up marriages that began in adultery because
we don't have the wisdom to advise that without someone being wronged.
Only God can advise a sincerely repentant seeker as to the right course.
They must be left to God and their own consciences. They have
created for themselves a dilemma that no church or prophet can solve.
Only the Lord can solve it and we must leave it to Him.
Only the Lord can fight the battle.
one statement Ellen White said, "I would like to do something to help make
things right for poor brother E but this can not be done as things are now
situated (without someone being wronged)." No matter what you do, it
is wrong--you are in a dilemma that only God can solve and heal.
you know what? God can change the way things are now situated no matter
when we come to Him or how bad it is. He can solve the problem
though we must take most repentant adulterers back into fellowship and allow
them to humbly serve the Lord in His church, as well as leave them alone (to
God) with their new marriages, we must not elevate them to
positions of responsibility. God, through Ellen White is very
clear on this! Maybe they did make a mistake, even years ago, but the
unsciptural marriage has consequences.
What is our current position in light of
this? Right now in the church we rarely expel adulterers from church
fellowship. We accept them back into church fellowship without a
sign of sincere repentance. But the worst possible blight on us is not
that we have failed in these areas. Rather, the displeasure of God in upon us
more fully because we elevate repentant adulterers to positions of
responsibility. And worse, we even allow those who have never repented of
this to be our leaders.
church is impotent and lukewarm for a reason! Will the true people of God,
who hold His fire inside them, be able to throw off the crushing burden of this
are not saying that such people are lost but they have gotten
themselves in situations where they cannot do, in God's work, what they could
have done otherwise.
we must do our part with church discipline and in prayer and, beyond that, leave
them to God. But the God that we are going to leave them to is
all-powerful and He can solve the problem if we are willing to
surrender all to Him.
really is more simple than it appears to be. At
least our part. So it is time for our church to return to a right course
and to go forward in faith with
the counsel that we have been given.
Excerpt from Spirit Warrior by Stu
is probably no greater satanic stronghold in our culture than the idea of
hurts individuals, destroys marriages, scatters families, tears churches apart,
and at this moment is eating away at the very heart of our nation.
We know from Scripture that marriage is at the center of God’s plan to display His image.
Destroying marriage, therefore, is at the center of satan’s strategy to
blast mankind and mar the image of God.
In spite of professional counsel, prayer by friends,
weeping by children and families, and sometimes even against the desire of one
of the partners, Christians are still walking away from their sacred vow of
marriage in record numbers.
But closing our eyes and wishing the
subject would never come up will not make
it go away. Sometimes being
soldiers means having to do the hard thing.
Understand that I have no wish to create
currents of guilt or to put anyone down. I
do not want to “hammer” anyone. I
do not want to reject anyone. I do
not wish to heap guilt on anyone. But
people, we’ve got to face this—in ourselves and in others.
We cannot justify fighting other battles and running from this one.
Martin Luther said it well:
“If I profess with the
loudest and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except
precisely that…point which the world and the devil are at that moment
attacking, I am not confessing Christ.
Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved.
And to be steady on all the battlefield [elsewhere] is mere flight and
disgrace if he flinches at that point.”
Lifelong marriage is near to the heart of
everything God is concerned about. It
is the centerpiece of civilization. The
marriage covenant is the zenith of God’s image glorifying Him.
If that is so, then divorce is not just one more sin in a long list of
human shortcomings. No, this one is
somewhere near the magnum opus of human sin.
When Jesus told us, ‘You shall know the
truth, and the truth shall set you free, He wasn’t just being poetic.
Jesus was saying that the truth, no matter how difficult it may be to
swallow, will set you free. The
truth about divorce is a freeing reality. It
will liberate your spirit, free your emotions, and strengthen your heart.
So let’s look at some biblical truths
regarding marriage and divorce.
Principle # 1: YOUR MARRIAGE DOES NOT
BELONG TO YOU.
marriage belongs to God. He
invented it. He designed it. He
brought you together. He delights
in it. He holds the papers.
marriage is a covenant of commitment you made before God.
To walk away from your marriage is to trample on the very core of God’s
expectations of His children. Please
hear me on this: Breaking the marriage covenant is not a private matter.
It is a spiritual matter, a religious matter, a theological matter, a
church matter, and a public matter before the watching world and the angels of
Principle # 2: GOD HATES DIVORCE.
God’s attitude toward divorce in the
Scriptures is simple, direct, and impossible to misunderstand: “‘I hate
divorce,’ says the Lord” (Malachi
2:16) Which part of “hate” don’t
you understand? Hey, God
said it, not me. In our permissive,
politically correct, I’m-my-own-god, no-fault society, we can believe anything
we want about divorce, but, before God, it is an act of the gravest consequence.
Principle # 3: THERE ARE NO LEGITIMATE
DIVORCE IN THE OLD
Deuteronomy 24:1 says a man may divorce
his wife if “she finds no favor in his eyes.”
The Jews of Jesus’ day used this as an excuse to divorce their wives at
the drop of a hat. Wives must’ve
lived in constant fear. But Jesus
brought the Jews back to the heart of God:
“Because of your hardness of heart
Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but form the beginning it has not
been this way. And I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife, except of immorality, and marries another woman
commits adultery.” Matthew 19:8-9
Principle # 4: JESUS OPPOSED DIVORCE.
To the shock of His disciples, Jesus
opposed divorce. They lived in a
world where divorce was commonplace, so they were stunned to discover Jesus had
no room for it (Matthew 19:1-12).
Our Lord’s teaching on this issues is
simple: “Everyone who divorces
his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is
divorced form a husband commits adultery’
(Luke 16:18). What is there
A thorough search of the Bible will
reveal that the only legitimate grounds for terminating a marriage are:
Desertion on the part of an unbeliever
And even in the case of adultery or
desertion, I believe God’s heart is
for the marriage to endure and be rebuilt by His power.
I’ve said it before: Eternity is too long and this life is too short to do
something foolish here. Your marriage is your greatest opportunity on earth to reflect the
glory of God, in whose image you were created.
Don’t walk away from it.
Lea DeMoss on Marriage
I came across a very interesting thought from Nancy
Lea DeMoss in her journey with God.
says, “Years of compounded hurt, if not dealt with God’s way, can lead a
person to rationalize things they thought they would never believe
and to justify choices they thought they would never make....The only way to
break the cycle and be set free is to dwell on the truth, as God has revealed it
in His word.
no marriage God cannot heal. There
is no person God cannot change.
primary purpose of marriage is not to be happy, but to glorify God and reflect
His redeeming, covenant love.
the rough edges of each partner in a marriage to conform the other to the image
of Christ. Your mat’s weaknesses
can become a tool in God’s hand to make you into the woman He created you to
love—God’s love—is unconditional and never fails. We cannot love another human being perfectly on our own.
But God can love anyone through us, if we are willing to let Him.
Love is not a feeling; it is a commitment to act in the best interests of
another. By God’s grace, we can
choose to love anyone, even if we do not have worm feelings toward that person.
is a covenant. God is a
covenant-keeping God. He kept His
promises to the nation of Israel, even when they were spiritually adulterous and
pursued other lovers. The Lord
Jesus keeps His promises to His bride—the church—even when we are unfaithful
to Him. Because He is faithful to
keep His promises, it is never right for us to break the marriage covenant that
was intended to be a picture of the redemptive relationship between God and His
commanded us to forgive without limit.
faithfulness and willingness to extend sacrificial love to your mate may be the
means of his\her spiritual healing, even as Christ’s suffering was the means
by which we were healed.
don’t solve your problems by putting another pair of shoes under the bed.
grace is sufficient to enable you to be faithful to your mate and to love and
forgive without limit.
never forsake you. Regardless of
what you must endure, He will be there to carry you through.
rewards of faithfulness in this life may not be fully experienced until
eternity. But faithfulness will
be rewarded and it will be worth the wait!”
enemy has made a mess and a mockery out of marriage. His lies have resulted in countless fractured lives and
homes. Only the Truth has power to
redeem, restore and renew.”
His Church and Same Sex Unions
There are many
views on both sides as to the scriptures intent when it comes to same sex
relationships, particularly focusing on Leviticus
18:22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10. While I find both
sides of the debate interesting, my understanding of what God intended comes
from a different place.
I believe the answer
is bound up in what marriage symbolized. Throughout
scripture marriage is used as a picture of Christ and His church.
(Ezekiel 16:8, Isaiah 54:5,
Isaiah 62:5, Hosea 2, Ephesians 5 among others.)
This union of a man and a woman, which Paul
calls marriage a great mystery in Ephesians 5:32, was created on the pattern of
Christ’s relation to the church. The mystery is that it is not the other way around: God’s
intention for His relation to His people was in place long before He created
marriage. This of course
means that each piece of the picture is very specific and very important because
marriage, as God created it in Eden, is essentially a detailed representation of
something that already existed. God’s
plan for us encompassed far more than the intimacy between two humans. His plan
for us, before marriage was ever instituted, was for intimacy with Himself that
He had planned from all eternity! We
were created to be His bride.
marriage contains and teaches something far greater than what we see on the
Bromiley writes that “as God made man in His own image, so he made marriage in
the image of his own eternal marriage with His people.”
So God created man male and female, and ordained marriage so that the
eternal covenant relationship between Christ and his church could be clearly
seen in the marriage union.
of the more stunning things that I have noticed in studying the bible is God’s
attention to detail. Everything fits together beautifully in purpose and meaning,
from the littlest thing to the biggest. This
must certainly be the case in the creation of marriage.
Consequently God did not create the existence, characteristics,
relationship and roles of men and women haphazardly.
Each of these things specifically displays important parts of the
picture. God did not randomly assign the parts that men and women play in
marriage but their parts are rooted in the distinctive roles of Christ and His
upshot of this is that to make even minor changes totally skews the
portrait. More specifically, to change the woman to a man is not just a minor alteration of this image. With
that revision to the paradigm the meaning and understanding is radically shifted
and can no longer reflect the truth that God is seeking reveal to us in
created a woman in the relationship of marriage for a reason and to replace her with a man changes everything in
the picture. The same is true with
an attempt to replace a man with a woman.
relationships and roles are so thoroughly entwined in the fabric of
marriage—into our nature and myth—that to try to change them often results
in one partner taking on the characteristics that are not his sex in
order to imitate that which God intended to be in the picture when He created
pattern of a man and a woman partaking of intimacy forever is an exact
parable of the relationship He wants with each of us and to try to repaint it is not productive or wise.
is the reason I believe that same sex unions are not God’s intention for
intimacy on earth and do not reflect God’s truth.
If they do not reflect truth then they reflect a lie and are sinful in
the eyes of God and should not be pursued.
Also, for this reason, husbands and wives should consciously
and intimately imitate the descriptions of marriage throughout the bible
because these so closely represent and are so important for an understanding of the
relationship God intended for Christ and His church.