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A study on divorce and remarriage in the church

by Jim Drago

Loves Me/Loves Me Not

 

I’m sure that if you haven’t experienced this yourself you have at least seen it on TV or in a scene in a movie. A fresh, freckle faced young girl sitting in a field, sunlight glistening through her wind swept hair. She’s holding a Daisy dreamily plucking it’s petals one by one. “He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he loves me not.” The Daisy slowly sacrificing one petal at a time as she continues around hopeful that it’s prediction will be what she hopes. She nears the end, with only two petals left “He loves me” and rather than pull the last petal with it’s message of denial; she discards the Daisy, picks another and starts all over again. Maybe this one will give her the answer she hopes for. A young man is walking through a different field of Daisies thinking about the new girl in his classroom. He picks a Daisy and leaving nothing to chance he pulls off a group of petals, “She loves me” another group, “She loves me not”, and the last group, “She loves me”. The Daisy’s limbless carcass is discarded and he goes on his way smiling triumphantly, chewing on a piece of grass in blissful daydreaming.

Love; what is it? We should know. Thousands of songs have been written about it. We’ve seen it depicted in one form or another in hundreds of movies. Dozens of authors have written hundreds of books containing countless numbers of words that have earned vast fortunes teaching us how we can show love and what will show it to us in return. Tragically dozens of these books have been labeled as Christian and sold to and read by thousands of people who say that they are Christians. They attend church and they say they are thankful for God’s unconditional love even taking a stance that He somehow owes it to them because of His Son’s sacrifice. Yet this same group of people, those who claim to be Christians, divorce and remarry according to the polls, at a higher rate per capita than even those who claim to not believe. How can this be? Sadly the truth is that most of these books deal with the emotions of love. How we can make someone feel loved. The problem is twofold at least. First of all emotions change, whether because of age, or experience, or circumstance what makes us feel loved is a moving target. It often evolves and when what once made us feel loved doesn’t anymore we start to focus on the failures and start making excuses for our own not loving. Blame usually follows and Satan is always ready to give us an excuse and help us find love somewhere else. He even leads leaders to encourage and support our rebellion by them encouraging divorce and/or justifying it. We talk about and expect unconditional love from the Lord; yet refuse to show it to our covenant mate. It doesn’t matter if we initiated the divorce or were it’s victim; when we choose to move on, we have in rebellion refused to show unconditional love. These adulterous remarriages are often treated as more sacred than the covenant marriage that preceded them. The Scripture says that we will be judged in the same way that we judge, if we refuse to show unconditional love, can we expect to be shown it? No we can’t and no excuses will suffice. We have no right to expect from God what we refuse to show to the one He joined us to in covenant marriage. These verses contain a simple yet profound truth that God is bound to. He must follow the precepts He has set forth. Luke 6:36-38 tells us; Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 7Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Matthew 7:1-3 confers with the above and says; Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. We must always remember that every action we take, every reaction we make, will eventually be held up as the stick we will be measured against. WOW!

By the way what makes a marriage a covenant is very specific and plainly set forth in the Bible. Most remarriages today are not covenant marriage, most are simply adultery, most are sin in God’s eyes and will be judged as such according to Scripture unless repented of which means turning away from and leaving behind. In this too God is bound to judge according to the precepts that He set forth in the very beginning and He won’t need to check with your pastor to see if He understands His own precept. It is simply stated for us in scripture. Matthew 5:32and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. Later in Matthew 19:9 we are told again …and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Please don’t believe the misinterpretations that teach that there are exception clauses in Matthew. There simply are not. Matthew was recording what Jesus had taught a group of Jewish men who were trying to trick Him into contradicting what they saw as the law concerning reasons for divorce. He simply turned it around and taught them what He knew was truth concerning the permanence of marriage and the betrothal period. This engagement period was the ONLY time divorce was allowed and only for fornication. There are significant differences between the 2 DIFFERENT words Jesus used during these teachings. Porneia and Moichao were not used interchangeably in that day. They have entirely different meanings. Jesus and later Paul knew the differences and knew what they were saying. In fact Jesus had spent His whole life being accused of being a child of Porneia, (illegitimate). He knew the difference between fornication (Porneia) and adultery (Moichao) very well, and He used them when He did on purpose. There is no exception clause in Scripture once vows are exchanged..

Scripture goes on to make it very plain how God feels about remarriage after divorce; Mark 10:12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery. Romans 7:3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 I command the married not I, but the Lord—a wife is not to leave her husband. But if she does leave, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband—and a husband is not to leave his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:39 A wife is bound as long as her husband is living. God’s precept could not be any more clear; Remarriage after divorce if the covenant spouse is still living is adultery. He will not adjust to what society approves, or to our expectations, or to the errant teachings we receive from pastors who simply don’t know the truth, or are afraid to tell it. The precept He has set forth for disobedience though harsh is also set forth in Scripture for 1 Corinthians 6:8-10 makes it very plain; 8Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. 9Know 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, 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And again; Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. And yet again; James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Dare we challenge God in this dear one? If He judges any of the above He must also judge those who HE says are committing adultery.

So just what is unconditional love? A very familiar Scripture makes it very plain.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

All of the descriptors in this precious verse are sacrificial, without any qualifiers. If we say or have said that we love someone- this is how we must treat them; irregardless of their behavior, or whether or not they deserve it, or whether or not they show us love in return in the way we think they should. The only way we can expect to receive this kind of love from God is if we show it to others, and especially to those that we vowed to love. For we can rest assured we don’t deserve it ourselves. God in His mercy chooses to show it, but we must first show it.

I was once told that we could tell how deeply we had loved someone by how deeply we hated them if separated from them. How ludicrous, and straight from the pit of Hell. Even though it completely contradicts Scripture it is a commonplace feeling expressed in countless churchgoers actions today. The truth is however according to the Scriptures if we ever loved, we can not not love. That is what Love never ends means. So if we hate someone we said we loved then we lied when we said we loved them. The two can not coexist. They are diametrically opposed to each other. We can decide to love someone we once hated but the opposite denies the very definition of what love is. When we enter into a covenant marriage (remember the Biblical definition is very narrow and every other is adultery) and vow to love, God joins us in it and expects us to love unconditionally until death. Period. It doesn't matter if we are lied about, or what names we are called, or how unfairly we are treated. We must continue to love.

Love is not a feeling, Love is a commitment. Love - real love – Biblical love - can not be jerked from one and given to another, taken from this one and given to that one, turned on and off like a light switch depending on how we feel or how we are treated. Would we want God’s love for us to be that precarious? Would we want it to be that frivolous? Would we want it to be dependant on us? I know I wouldn’t. How could I continue to have faith? How could I hope? If marriage within the church is a reflection of God’s commitment to love me as it is supposed to be, then there is a 40-54% chance that He is going to dump me for someone else; and the truth is I may deserve that. I praise Him that He understands commitment and is faithful in His love beyond imagining. Of course that means He has every right to expect the same from me in my marriage. I believe that one of God’s most precious precepts is that of covenant marriage. Why? Well because He said that it was a reflection of His Son’s love for us. Yet at the rate of between 40 and 54% we mockingly throw it away and move on to another and another without ever looking back. It is taught in most churches and defended by most church leaders as understandable and acceptable even though it is an abomination in God’s eyes. By refusing to sacrificially love we mock the Lord’s sacrifice. Do we have the right to expect more from Him than we are willing to give ourselves? We will not be judged by the standards that our friends, our counselors or our pastors set forth. We will be judged according to the precepts that God in His righteousness has set forth and He must follow through on the consequences that He has set forth if we disobey them, regardless of who has told us, “It is OK God understands” or said, “His grace will cover it”. He won’t be mocked dear one. He is not a man that He should lie... If we will be judged in accordance to how we judge, we will  be loved ( by Him ) only to the extent that we were/are willing to love? If you or I choose to stop loving the one we vowed to love, if we decide that they have somehow become unworthhy of love we can expect no more from Him towards ourselves; for none of us are worthy. Jesus gave His life for us as an act of unconditional love on His part,  can we expect the benefits of that act if we are unwilling to copy it? Something to think about.


Please feel free to copy this and give it or send it to whomever you would like. It is the truth. Please leave it in it's entirety, including the heading information.