The Scriptures show that God designed marriage. A male and female joined together, not to be separated, for life, to procreate and make a family. All of this is true.
But the sinful world has perverted, twisted, distorted, and controverted God’s design. Marriage for life becomes living together until we can figure out if we like this arrangement or not. God’s family founded on biological realities has become “Framilies” and “Throuples” (threesomes) and “Blended” and, “Hey, whatever you love, even an inanimate object, you can marry it.” Satan is the author of this mess. No part of the perversion can be accepted.
Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage? Addressing the problem of remarriage is one of the hardest, not the hardest, but one of the hardest, parts of ministry.
I wish there were no such thing as consequences when it comes to marriage. But Jesus said, “what God has joined together, let no man separate.” So what’s the consequence if men do separate what God has joined together? We know there’s a whole lot of separating going on today. We know there’s a lot of ignoring this injunction by Jesus. Do we say, “Oh well, it’s separated and let’s just agree to move on, sanction and give our approval to marrying again.”? That seems to make nothing of the words, “Let no man separate.” To “separate” what God joined together is a sin, agreed? At the very least should we agree that the judges, lawyers, preachers, and counselors who counseled “separation from what God joined together” are rebelliously shaking their fist at God’s law and design for marriage? Is this not the bane on society, this cavalier attitude men have demonstrated towards “let not man separate”? Clearly there’s little regard for these words of Christ that marriage is not to be separated.
I understand consequences in everything else and so why do I find this one so difficult? It’s difficult because I love people. It’s always hard telling someone they are lost and unless they repent, putting away the adultery, they are going to hell. I’m not the first one to feel the burden of standing for the clear teaching and implication of God’s Truth. I won’t be the last. So should I feel sorry for myself? No. Should I shrink back and be silent; letting God sort it all out later? No. While it is day, we have to preach the Truth.
The word of God when it goes out separates. Some men, by free will, become receptive to God’s Word and then some men reject it. That’s what we are to expect when we teach the Truth. In a world where there’s a lot of “separating what God has joined together”, we should expect that many people are going to remain separated from God.
“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isa. 55:11
Like the judgement of God that will divide the wheat from the chaff, so God’s word is preached and there will be many who are living in sin and have no interest in putting away the sin. From my personal vantage point, I love these people and I often sense they have some love for God, much like the rich young ruler (Lk 18), so when I tell them they have sin in their lives that must be put away if they wish to go to heaven, they often make the choice to walk away sad. From my vantage point, it’s very hard. Jesus let the young man walk away even though Jesus had a love for him. God’s word preached and taught faithfully is going to accomplish what God intended and that means that some people will not repent. That’s reality and it hurts for everyone involved.
I’m standing for Truth first and foremost. The Gospel is preached to all but I understand most people are not going to be saved. That’s the reality. The people who hear the Gospel and walk away sad are not just nameless faces. They are our moms, brothers, best friends, co-workers, spouses, and new acquaintances. Because God gave us the capacity to love and care for souls, the feelings of love and compassion, fear and dread, are going to intertwine themselves in the conversation. God’s Word goes out and accomplishes it’s purpose, separating the honest and closed hearts. But even the receptive hearts who accept and agree God is right find it very difficult to cut the ties and make the breaks so that the unrepentant sinner goes away sad. As hard as teaching the Truth is, I’m going to stand with the Truth.
My heart is for God, first and foremost. When this ungodly world wreaks havoc on God’s plan for marriage and the family, the destruction has to be judged.
When I look at the Scriptures, I find that all marriages are not acceptable to God. If people would only ask God, and consult the Scriptures first, they would ask God, “Can I marry or can I marry this man or this woman”, and the Scriptures would answer, “No, not always, not this person”. John the Baptist didn’t say, like the weak preachers do today, “Herod, just say you are sorry and that you won’t do it again, and you can be married to Herodias.” Now if that one example were the only one in the Bible, it would still be enough proof we need to show that all marriages are not acceptable to God and that the only correct thing to do is repent by putting the wife away. But that’s not all the evidence. In Matthew 19, Jesus said “for any reason” you may not divorce your wife and remarry: only if she were sexually unfaithful may you do so. The teaching by Jesus was so shocking and strict that the disciples themselves said, “If it’s like this, it’s better not to marry.” Indeed, they saw the consequences clearly meant not all remarriages are acceptable to God. And Jesus added the icing to the cake, making his point crystal clear, by suggesting lifelong abstinence from sex is the choice many must make if they wish to go to heaven. This seems harsh to modern preachers. I have a feeling it seemed just as harsh when Jesus said it.
Judgement is going to be harsh. A Eunuch was a castrated man who did not have sex. I don’t believe Jesus was suggesting for us to counsel an operation any more than he intended for their to be Christians with only one eye and one hand. But stopping the sin is essential. When Jesus spoke compassionately to the woman “caught in the very act of adultery” He said to her to “go and sin no more”. This meant no more of this sex thing you are doing. Abstinence is a consequence for people that must be chosen if they wish to go to heaven. Like the world today, in Jesus’ day there were preachers who wanted to tell men they could divorce and remarry for any cause. But Jesus said, “No”, and “what God has joined together let no man separate.” Some are able to accept this and many are not able to accept it. I stand with God and with His Truth, as hard as it is to do so.
I stand with marriage so that young people I know and whom I love will make better decisions about their marriage choices while they are young and able to. If these young people heard me saying, “Don’t worry if you married bad the first time, just remarry again and again until you get it right because God will forgive and accept all of your marriages.” But if I teach the harsh reality of one marriage for life, they are much more likely to select their mate with greater discrimination and when in tough spots in their marriage they are much more likely to work through the problems they’ll encounter. That’s why I stand with God’s Truth on marriage. I’m not going to compromise the reality of God’s design – which young people need to see practiced and need to hear preached – just so that I can feel better about confronting all the divorced people.
I say all of this with the greatest amount of love possible. Sincerely, Dan