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.

The Cost of Sin, Then and Now.

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During my reading of Leviticus I noticed the personal cost associated with sin under the sacrificial system.  Of course this is only one aspect of the sacrificial system to learn about.  There are others, but this one struck me today.  The notion that there is a price to be paid, a sacrifice that has tangible personal expense, that must be paid.  A bull, one that is perfect, a ram that is perfect, a lamb that is perfect, these creatures were meaningful to their owners.  They were a source of many staples.  They had a value to them.  They were not easy and free.  They could not be easily replaced.  It took work to replace them.  It took work to sacrifice them.  It took faith to believe that it was efficacious.  On this side of the incarnation it is something we can look back at and marvel.  We can appreciate the sovereignty of God more when we see His plan in the past and the perfection of it in the crucifixion of Christ.  We live in a new covenant with God.  The old covenant magnifies Christ Jesus.  Let us do the same in thought, word, deed, and prayer.

Marriage, as a Typological Representation of Christ and the Church.

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In today’s culture, many people are embracing the doctrine of egalitarianism, as it is applied in theology. They go so far as to ignore what scripture says. For them, it is more important to conform scripture to the corrupted and sinful judgments of humans, then to be sanctified in obedience, and humility to the standard of scripture.

Egalitarianism, as it is applied to human equality is noble. In so much as it is not improperly applied. It is true that God is no respecter of persons. In His perfect and holy sight we are all justly damnable. Every man, woman, child, from every race, religion, and creed, are all sinners. In Christ we love and treat all with humility. We should consider ourselves as the worst sinners, while considering others better than ourselves. So does this notion of considering others as better than ourselves fit with egalitarianism? A noble idea is not noble at all when seen in the light of true humility and mercy. Christ left majesty and dwelt among His creations in the flesh. He washed the lowly, sinner’s feet, bore our scorn, made propitiation for the expiation of our sins, by enduring the wrath of God until He declared, “It is finished.” Philippians 2:6-11(NASB)

who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In the true faith we are all equally adopted and justified by Christ, but we mustn’t err by taking egalitarianism so far as it offends the word of God. “How far is that?” you may ask. Scripture, I believe is very clear. It is so clear, in fact that I am not going to list every single verse that refutes it. A plain reading of the scriptures, from beginning to end is an overwhelming avalanche of proof, that God has ordained the complimentary roles of male and female.

Marriage, as a typological representation of Christ and the Church is diminished by egalitarianism. The deeper theologies are robbed of their import by such societal concessions. If we understand that man, through sin, is separated from God and that through Christ he is rejoined, it is a marvelous thing. We see this typological example in marriage. Woman was separated from man. She went out of his flesh. In marriage the woman is joined again by the power of God to her husband. They are beautifully unified again part of the same body. Christ is our head and over us he rules. We the Church are His body, and we submit to His loving rule over us, His bride.  Marriage portrays such a beautiful thing. The gospel of Christ is portrayed in each marriage ceremony. When we see a married couple we should be reminded of the work that Christ did on the cross to justify us with God. When we look upon our beloved wife we should see someone who we would lay down our lives for. When our dear wives look upon us they should see someone who is willing to sacrifice all for them. We all should be mortified at the perversion of marriage in the world. It has been perverted by brazen things like polygamy, and same sex marriage, but even the subtlety of egalitarianism should offend us. Instead we embrace all of these. Ashamed of nothing, proud, and arrogant, we tell God how we will understand Him. We tell God how we will do things, and never truly repent with a bent knee and penitent heart.

Marriage is truly ordained by God. It is a union that should preach the gospel to us as believers and be a witness to the world. Let us pray for God to perform His will in our lives against our fleshly desires. Let us affirm His word and be conformed to His sovereign will in all things.