The Covenant of Marriage.

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Are you Christian?  Were you a Christian before you got married?  Is your spouse a Christian?  Were they Christian before you got married?  If you are a Christian, and you are getting married to another Christian, consider the covenant you are making with God, and your spouse, in front of witnesses.  Consider how serious covenants are in the word of God.  Consider what it means to make a covenant with the Creator of all things.  Don’t take this lightly.

There is no right, or guarantee to happiness in marriage.  There is no right, or guarantee to feel loved all of the time.  Marriage can be years of difficult work, with little encouraging feedback from your spouse.  Keep in mind, God is using your spouse, and children for your sanctification, and spiritual maturation.  He is also using you for theirs.  After all, you are no picnic either.  If two sinners get together in a marriage, have some kids, who are  also little sinners, and you put them together under one roof, guess what they are going to do…  That’s right, they are going to sin.

In a Christian home, their should be a war against sin.  Kids should be taught right from wrong, parents should teach grace, and forgiveness.  Actually live out the gospel in your home, in front of your family.  When you get angry, and sin by saying something you shouldn’t have, or by being short with one of your kids, stop, and explain what you did wrong, and ask them to forgive you.  They get to demonstrate grace to you.  If one of the kids does something wrong, have them sit alone, think about what it was they did, and have them apologize, and ask to be forgiven.  The same goes for husbands and wives.  It doesn’t have to stop there.  You can also do this in your life at work among the unbelievers.  They might not understand, but at least they will get a look at it.

Inside your marriage are the thoughts, emotions, and desires of two very different individuals who have made a covenant between them, and God, in front of witnesses.  It can be hard work, but it is also rewarding.  It is the construct in which God has ordained for men and women to enjoy each other, and procreation.  It is sanctifying like I said.  When you look back over a period of time, and see how God worked in your marriage to grow you, it can be very reassuring, and encouraging.  When you see your children grow into young adults, and use what you have taught them to make their way in the world it is a good feeling.  Having someone joined to you by God, gives you a sense of belonging, even if you don’t fit in to most social situations.  You have someone who has become part of you, and brings completion to you in the traits that you lack.  The complimentary nature of the union makes for a more complete unit.  Having someone with you while you are sick, or injured is comforting.  Being able to comfort your spouse, and feel for them when they are sick, or injured is an opportunity to demonstrate your love for them.

Trading off spouses every few years, or forgoing marriage altogether to be promiscuous is not an option for a true Christian.  It is not pleasing to God.  It is sinful, selfish, and you forfeit so much of what is good in marriage when you look at it from a selfish position.  View it as a way to glorify God.  Be like Jesus in your selfless, grace abounding love for your family.  Let the world see that marriage is serious, wonderful, and God centered.

Do You Want to be a Happy Old Married Couple?

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I often overhear people say things like, “Oh what a cute old couple.” or “I want to be like them when we get old. They look so happy.” They say these things when they see a happy old couple. I don’t know if they think about what it takes to get there. First, you have to be a married couple. You can’t do it if you are just shacking up, or getting married and divorced every few years. You also have to be happy. Not just momentary happiness, but the kind of contentment, and joy, that can still smile, and talk with a young person even when their arthritis is causing them so much pain it would put most people in tears. So a long lasting marriage gives the two time to get to really, and truly know each other. It gives them time to put that knowledge into expressing love to them as they would love themselves. This knowledge doesn’t come easy most times. When you put two sinners together in a marriage, sin is going to happen. It is an opportunity for the one who is sinned against to demonstrate the gospel by giving grace to the other. Remember, grace is unmerited favor.  While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.  Not only that, He bore our sins, and the punishment for those sins.  While your spouse is wrong, and may have hurt your feelings, die to yourself and submit to Christ the way He submitted to the cross.  This long lasting marriage is ordained by God. It is a covenant between Him, and the Husband, and Wife. This should not be taken lightly. If you truly want to be a happy old married couple, trust and obey God. Read His word and pray together. Be humbled together and convicted together. When the kids are grown and you are alone with each other, you will be forced to confront the successes and failures you’ve made over the years. Accept and appreciate God’s sanctifying work in your marriage for your own personal growth and use it to love others well.

Mutual Submission or Christlike Submission, Marriage, and Culture.

I know that culture has convinced some of us to conform God’s word to what it says instead of the other way around, but realize that is not how it is supposed to be.  Culture is supposed to be informed by God’s word.  Culture is determined by the predominate cult.  Since secular relative moralists have deemed feminism a good thing, many have reinterpreted the Bible to do away with the plain meaning of the following verses.  I would exhort you to conform your thinking, and behavior to the word of God instead.  If submission to God is not good, why did Christ model it for us?  Why are we told to submit and be Christ like in sanctification?  Women should not be against submitting to their husbands, and husbands should not be against submitting to Christ.  It is not the modern model of mutual submission to each other.  That denies the authority of God over man, and is a perversion of His word.  In submission to Christ we humbly serve our wives in many ways.  There is nothing shameful in this.  Submission to our wives is not Biblical in the mutual submission model.  It requires equal authority of husband and wife over each other.

This is not how God has explained it in His word.  Marriage is a demonstration of the gospel.  It is a picture of the Bridegroom Jesus, and His bride the Church.  The reunification of sinner to God.  It is a covenant between the Husband, Wife, and God.  It is for the life of those in the covenant, and we are only released from it upon death.  The covenant of marriage has become defiled in modern culture as well.  To be salt and light means to stand up and proclaim what God has judged good and evil in His sight, through His word.  There is a shame that is good for man to experience.  Many Christian brothers and sisters have been sinned against by an ungodly spouse who may or may not be false converts.  The truth may not be in them.  When your spouse is adulterous, and ultimately leaves you, they have injured you to be sure, but do not be bitter.  They have sinned against God, and if they are not found crucified with Christ, then they will have their deeds judged by a just and holy God.  Pray for them if you can.  If you can’t, pray for yourself, that God may soften your heart and grant you the ability.  For those of you who are married still, but are going through difficulties, ask for prayer from your brothers, and elders.  Seek help from God’s word, and get wise counsel.  Appreciate that you are with the person God has given you for your own growth and sanctification.  It is for your good and theirs.  The things that they  do that make you crazy are for your growth and maturing.  Don’t let resentment grow.  I pray that God be glorified in our marriages and that we are sanctified through them in accord with His will, amen.

1 Timothy 2:9-15

9Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. 11A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

Ephesians 5:1-2,  22-24

1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

22Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.  (Men are to submit to Christ, as Christ submitted to the Father and death on the cross.  If we are to be Christ like, then sanctification includes submission according to the structure of authority God has ordained.)

Colossians 3:1-4, 18-21

1Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory

18Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 20Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 21Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.  (notice the man is not told to submit to his wife.)

1 Peter 3:1-7

1In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

7You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Titus 2

1But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.

3Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

6Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

9Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.

11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

15These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

 

Become Lowly Servants.

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The world is crazy. People are unstable, and unreliable. They are selfish, and self-centered. They don’t care what other people need. They don’t care about other people’s feelings. They only think about their own problems, and their own feelings. They don’t believe in loving other people more than they love themselves. They don’t believe it is healthy to do so. They don’t love Christ above all. People around them are only there as extensions of themselves. Their egos are tied up in them, and when they aren’t rewarded, it is easy for them to destroy the relationships they have, without care for the other people. I’m sick of seeing this, and hearing of it. Being a spouse, and a parent is not for your fun. If you are a spouse or a parent, it is not an option to cease. If you are a spouse, you made an oath to God, and your spouse, in front of witnesses. How on Earth could you justify destroying that, just because you aren’t happy? If you are a parent of a child, how could you mistreat your child because they are interrupting your, “time” or perhaps they don’t give you what you want. Well, duh! They aren’t there to complete you, or make you feel loved, or better. You are the parent for crying out loud. God has given you a job to do. Train them up in the way they should go. Teach them about God, and His word. Preach the gospel of the grace of Jesus to them. Love them more than you love yourself. Sacrifice for everyone around you. You are NOT THAT IMPORTANT!!! Become everyone’s servant. Wash some feet, lower yourself! All of the self-esteem, feminism, everyone’s a winner, sexual liberty, no fault divorce, birth control, promiscuity marketed to women as women’s lib, defilement of marriage by divorce, adultery, and gay marriage, euthanasia marketed as dying with dignity, abortion marketed as a women’s choice under women’s lib/feminism, porn turning men and women into objects, defiling gender that is God given as a gift for the procreation of image bearers of God, that was to be for His glory, and on and on and on… I’m tired… I’m disgusted… Haven’t we had enough of us? Haven’t we had our fill of this delusion? We need God. We need repentance. We need to be broken so we can see the vanity of it all. WE NEED TO HUMBLE OURSELVES AND REPENT. We need to become lowly servants. That is my rant for the day.  Like Paul when he said, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” 1 Timothy 1:15 (NASB)  We are the worst of sinners, I am the worst of sinners, you are the worst of sinners.

Toxic People, Toxic Relationships, a New Age Cop out.

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How many times have you heard from one of your married friends who is being left by their spouse, “We were just toxic together.”  Probably as many times as you’ve heard, “He/She was just toxic for me.”  People complain, “I’m just not happy.  I deserve to be happy.”  So many of my friends, as of late, have had these things said to them, usually followed by, “I don’t love you anymore.”  For good measure they might even throw in a, “You are controlling and abusive, I never loved you.”  These are some of the most selfish, and injurious accusations I’ve heard in a long time.  These are also very sinful and rebellious.  They are definitely not Christian sentiments.  I believe they are selfish and used as a cop out.  It is the lie they tell themselves, and others to not put in the hard, sanctifying and gospel exemplifying work that is needed for a life-long covenant between them and God.  

I’d expect to hear this vitriol coming from the lost, but we often hear it coming from professing Christians.  I’ve even seen several articles on supposedly Christian websites that advocate divorcing a toxic person.  Have they forgotten that everyone is a, “toxic person?”  Have they forgotten the power of the gospel?  Have they forgotten that God hates divorce?  If they are saved, and acting/feeling like this then, they are in rebellion, and will be disciplined by God.  If they are false converts, they will receive their just punishment in Hell, where God will be just and right to pour out His wrath on them for all eternity.   

Of course you are in a toxic relationship.  You are a toxic sinner.  Of course your spouse is toxic.  They are a sinner.  When you put two sinners together in a room they are going to sin.  They are going to be selfish, prideful, arrogant, idolatrous, and petty.  Of course you aren’t happy.  You are expecting another person to make you happy.  Guess what…  a sinful person will always let you down.  You will never be fulfilled by another human being.  You can only find the contentment you are looking for in God and His gospel.

Oh, and here is another big shocker, regardless of what you’ve heard, you don’t deserve to be happy!  You are a sinner, like everyone else.  God is perfectly just, holy, righteous, and good.  You have broken His laws and are a guilty sinner.  You and I deserve to be punished.  We don’t deserve to be happy.  You and I deserve to be killed by God, and be sent to Hell for eternity, just like everyone else on the planet.  You see, it is a sin problem, not a relationship problem.  The only way it is a relationship problem is that as sinners we are enemies of God.  If we want peace with Him, we must repent and believe in the work of Christ on the cross, to justify us with God.

We read all of the New Age drivel on websites, blogs, and social media.  We listen to podcasts, and self-help gurus on the radio.  It validates, and justifies the selfish, idolatrous, sinful, thoughts.  Why do people consume these things?  I know why I am here.  I am here to combat the darkness that has been enslaving people, and ruining marriages, children, and families for far too long in this country.  Why are you here?  Are you here to flirt with the darkness?  Do you want to hear something that will give you permission to give up and give in to sin?  Are you being tempted by the New Age malarkey?  Are you setting up false teachers to tickle your ears?  Wake up!  We need to stop behaving like selfish children and truly understand what this means, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Do you think you are something special?  Do you think you deserved His love?  If it weren’t for His grace, we’d all be lost.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not telling someone who is getting physically abused to stay in the home.  If you are getting physically abused you should be separated.  “Separated” does no mean, “Oh goody, time to commit adultery.”  Being separated for a time can be necessary, but it is always supposed to be temporary.  If your spouse has committed adultery you may divorce them.  If your spouse is an unbeliever, and walks out on you, you may divorce.  If you really understand grace, even though you may divorce them, if they are repentant, you will forgive them and give grace to them, just like the way Christ gave grace to you, instead of what you deserve.

I don’t agree with the modern definition of psychological abuse.  Pretty much any difficult thing you talk about with a person can be deemed abusive anymore.  Obviously if you are a Christian you should not hurt your spouse emotionally.  You should not intentionally or maliciously hurt their feelings.  It is sinful to do so.  Your sin does not justify a divorce though unless it fits the criteria mentioned above.  Christ endured our scorn and ridicule while on the cross, dying for a bunch of sinners.  Do we think we deserve better than Christ?

We all want the romantic fairy tale marriage.  We all want to feel loved.  Some people are living the dream, but it might not have always been that way for them.  How do you think they got there?  It wasn’t by giving in and giving up that is for certain.  They had to fight against their own sin, and forgive the other’s sins, while loving God more than anyone or anything else.  They had to trust and obey God, not their ever-changing emotions.  If you give up you miss out on the sanctification that God has planned for you.  If you give up, you’ll just take your sin problems with you to another sinner and find some other reason to leave them.  You’ll never deal with the real problems as long as you use the cop out excuse of, “They were just toxic, it was a toxic relationship.”

Our only hope in marriage is Jesus Christ.  Our only hope in life and death is Jesus Christ.  If we have been saved from our sins by Christ, then we are obliged to demonstrate the same type of sacrificial love for our spouse.  We love them without any expectations of return on our investment.  We love them because Christ loves us.  Our sins put Christ on the cross.  It is as if we had the hammer and nails in our hands and put Him up there ourselves.  He died for us, knowing that we hated Him.  He got nothing worth having in saving us.  By God’s sanctifying work, the Holy Spirit conforms us to the will and word of God, to be Christlike to the world, including our spouse.  We love them even though they don’t deserve it.  We demonstrate grace to them when they don’t deserve it.  Marriage is a covenant with God, you, and your spouse, for the rest of your life.  It is a picture of the gospel, to be lived out in front of the world.  The husband is the head of the wife, the way that Christ is the head of the Church.  Christ died to save the Church, His bride.  The wife is the representation of the Church, submitting to the Bridegroom who saved her for Himself.  So love one another sacrificially, and stop all of this selfish carnal nonsense.  Obey God and glorify Him in your marriage.

Why can’t they marry? The Bible says they should be able to.

Ever wonder why the Roman Catholic Church disregards the Bible and refuses to allow their priests to marry?  In light of (1 Corinthians 9:3-5 NASB) “(3) My defense to those who examine me is this: (4) Do we not have a right to eat and drink? (5) Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?”  and (1 Timothy 3:1-4 NASB) “It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. (2) An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, (3) not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. (4) He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity” as well as, (1 Timothy 3:12-13 NASB) “Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. (13) For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”  It seems pretty clear that marriage is the normative for the leadership of the Church.  Not only does it make sense that way, but it also displays the gospel for everyone to see in the Husband and Wife relationship.  Even God incarnate, Jesus Christ quoted His own word by referring to Genesis 2:24 in (Matthew 19:1-5 NASB) When Jesus had finished these words, He departed from Galilee and came into the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; (2) and large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there. (3) Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” (4) And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, (5) and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’?”  It seems to me that marriage is a good thing and prescribed in the Bible for men and women.  Perhaps the Roman Catholic Church just likes to make up their own doctrines and disregard the Bible?  Just saying…

Christian Against Christian? The Divisiveness of Sin.

I’ve been reading lots of unbiblical articles and posts, written by Christians who are criticizing the opponents of gay marriage. Most of these articles misquote and twist scripture. Which is interesting in itself, because they accuse the conservative Christians of doing that very thing. They say things like, “Christians shouldn’t judge.” We all have heard this canard and recognize it as a misunderstanding of scripture. We are to judge what God has already judged in His word and we are supposed to live our lives by it. He is the author of the law. Our laws are supposed to agree with His and they are supposed to be used in the process of judging right from wrong and good from evil. Government is ordained to agree with His laws and enforce them for the good of His people. Secularists don’t get this and won’t, unless they become regenerated by God. One of the things that strikes me from Romans 1 is this statement from God. “and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”(Romans 1:32 NASB) Did you get that last part, “Christians?” This part here, “give hearty approval to those who practice them” This is why we can’t give our approval to redefining marriage to accommodate what by definition can’t be called marriage. I am surprised that Christians could give their approval to what is against God’s decree.
The other thing I am surprised by is the lack of understanding, grace, and love towards a world that is dying in sin. We can’t put our noses in the air and only say, “gays are going to hell.” We also can’t just expect them to see our loving example and then repent and put their faith in Christ. So there are two extreme reactions we are having to this. One is the extreme of disdain without mercy, the other extreme is love without truth. Both leave the sinner without the necessary information.
We have to temper our response to sinners sinning. We should not be surprised when people act in keeping with their natures. What should our response look like? It should reasonably and accurately proclaim the truth of the Bible in a loving attitude that is genuinely concerned that the person they are addressing is headed to eternal torment where God will be pouring out His wrath on them for ever. If you are not moved by that thought to proclaim the love of Christ as expressed by His work on the cross, then you need to examine your heart. The regeneration of the sinner by the Holy Spirit does not leave a person the same. Christ’s love is not permissive or tolerant of sin. It is a perfecting love that conforms the regenerate into His likeness.