Amazing Grace And Divorce/Remarriage Part Two

This article is part 8 of 9 in the series Divorce and Remarriage

   Paul, speaking to the Christians at Corinth, specifically mentioned the sin of adultery as one of the sins which had been forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ
(I Corinthians 6:9-11).
   How could we then conclude that adultery is not a pardonable offense? As if what Paul said is not enough we also have the case of David and his adultery with Bathsheba in addition to murder. (2 Samuel 11 & 12) When David acknowledged his sin and showed repentance Nathan said to him, “The Lord has put away your sin.”
(2 Sam. 12:13).
   In the face of these specific Bible examples, how do men conclude that one who commits adultery today in putting away a wife and marrying another has a non-cleansable sin? Some make a mistake by changing what the actual sin is. Instead of accepting the text of Matthew 19:9 that adultery is committed in the two acts of putting away and marrying another, they say that “adultery” is a sex act and therefore it is
committed later in the sexual activity of the subsequent marriage and therefore
is a continuing sin not repented of. That is a gigantic mistake. Jesus was very specific about it that when a man puts away his wife, except for fornication, and marries another, he “commits adultery.” 
   This change originated historically with the Roman Catholic Council of Trent in the 16th century. They ruled that marriage is a “sacrament” and therefore unbreakable. Thus the divorced person is still married to the first spouse in the eyes of God and the next marriage is “an adulterous relationship.” That contradicts the Bible text.
   It is important to understand that man’s theories and opinions cannot over rule the word of God. The facts are as the Bible states them. The adultery occurs as Jesus said it does when a man is disloyal in putting away his innocent wife and going to another. At Mark 10:11 the Lord said that man who does that “commits adultery against her.” So He was talking about a sin committed against the wife put away, not a sin committed WITH the next wife
   So can the adultery be stopped? This is not the same to as ask “Can the adultery be undone?” No, it cannot be undone any more than any other sin. But any sin can be repented of and forgiven and not repeated in the future. The only answer to it is repentance and a change of behavior and forgiveness by the grace of God for the Christian. When God said “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and lawless deed I will remember no more,” and then His word gives examples where this particular sin was forgiven in that way, there is no reason to have anymore questions or doubts about the matter. Adultery is a forgivable sin. If one who was  divorced has now
become one who is committed to one mate for life and is penitent about his former sins, that person has come from the wrong way to God’s way. Such a person can rest assured that God will keep His promise to forgive. Yes, there will be people in hell that God loves. But there will not be anyone in hell whom God has forgiven. For those outside Christ, who come to Jesus by faith and repent of sins, and are immersed into Christ, (born of water and the Spirit, John 3:3-5), they are forgiven of every sin… even divorcing and move forward from that point on, growing in grace and the Holy Spirit.
   “Amen walls!”

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Amazing Grace And Divorce/Remarriage Part One

This article is part 9 of 9 in the series Divorce and Remarriage

   Does God’s GRACE cover (a) ALL (b) SOME (c) IT DEPENDS ON WHICH ONE (d) NONE, of our sins?  
   We  must learn to avoid extremes when studying the Bible.
Push any truth to an extreme, where it receives more attention than other
truth, results in a loss of Biblical balance. “Once saved always saved” is no
more correct than “once saved never saved or maybe saved”. One lady told dad “I
just cannot accept what you are saying on (grace).” She continued, “Every day
from morning till night, I say to myself, forgive me Lord, forgive me Lord.”
She lacked the confidence of her own salvation.  
   Now you may be thinking, “We don’t teach that!” No, not in so
many words, but we have the results which have to come from our Bible classes,
and pulpits where inferences, and assumptions have resulted in guilt,
performance, and merit in Christians.
   We simply must strive to find balance in our teaching on LAW, SIN
   We need to realize that grace is a divine concept, not a human concept. Grace is a general term meaning the ‘undeserved gift’ of God’s favor. That’s great, but is not specific until applied to man’s sin problem. The specific application of it is seen in God’s word. Here we find what God has said about it and why it is so important.  In order to have real confidence (that Christians are saved from all sin) we need to look to the
grace and promises of God.
   God included both grace and law in His New Covenant offer to man.We have to consider both (‘law’ providing guidelines and ‘grace’ providing continued forgiveness and ‘room for growth’). In Hebrews 8:10 He said “I will put my laws in their minds and will write them on their hearts.” His laws are immutable, and provide important, necessary guidelines (while law keeping does not save), grace/faith does. God then says  “And I will be merciful to their (His children’s) unrighteousness and their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Verse 12).This “mercy” and “forgiveness” is just as immutable as His laws.
   Now, we know what God says about breaking marriage (divorce). It is sin. But we need to know specifically what His mercy and grace says about forgiveness and the sin of adultery. And His word is specific about this.
   For instance in John 8, a woman was brought before Jesus who was guilty of the sin of adultery and asked “What do you say?” His statement to her was “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” You can’t get more specific than that. If she stopped committing the sin of adultery she was pardoned.
   Again, in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, a list of sins is given and the third one on the list is adulterers. Then the text says, “Such were some of you but you were washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” This is the power of grace to one who comes to Jesus… is there less grace for Christians???

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Divorce And Remarriage – Personal Thoughts

This article is part 7 of 9 in the series Divorce and Remarriage

   To all who read these words, I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your patience as these lessons are developed.
   I do not know everything about this subject… and my knowledge of NT Greek is not so great… so I depend on not only my own studies of God’s word, but help from others who DO know and study the Word in light of the original language. 
   I have always thought that if we have to go to the Greek language that we are making things too difficult, but there are times when studies highlighted with ‘light’ from the NT Greek  helps. I certainly admire those who have learned and can understand the Original language of the scriptures.
    The real question here is can we disagree on this and other things and still walk together as ‘Heaven bound learners”? I pray we can! I am grateful for God and for His grace, since none of us deserve what God has freely given to us. The forgiveness, redemption, justification, sanctification… all by his grace.
   Brethren differ… but the idea has always been that we should love and accept each other (Romans 14-15). At least that’s the principle taught.
   These little articles on this ‘hot button topic’, are simply presented in hopes that someone will be encouraged and helped. I have always held that sin (all sin) can and is forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ. Sins cannot be un-done by our own efforts, and surely if we had to remember every sin and try and un-do them… we would all go a bit crazy, and probably just quit.
   I hope that these articles help, and for those who disagree… well that’s ok. But before you go out and teach someone who has been through the terrible pain of divorce… (Like the minister who told a lady he met who had been through divorce three times… “You have been divorced too many times to be saved.” and refused to study further.) 
I hope you will consider again, the heart of Jesus. If one sin must be un-done… all have to be un-done. That’s not grace. 

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Divorce And Remarriage – “The Bible Expressly Says A Divorced Man Does Not Sin If He Marries”

This article is part 6 of 9 in the series Divorce and Remarriage

(We are grateful for this material by Olan Hicks, provided here with permission.)

   Why not let 1 Cor. 7:28 say what it says? What is the motive for changing it? Whatever the reason, textual facts are being denied, even by some brethren.

   THE ARGUMENT USED TO CHANGE IT: Because Paul spoke of “virgins” in verse 25, these men are saying he is still speaking of virgins in verse 28. But think. How do we know he spoke of virgins in verse 25? Because “parthenos,” the Greek word for virgins, is in the verse. In other words, that is what he said. But in verse 27 “parthenos” is not in the verse. Paul did not speak of virgins there. He said “dedetai gunaiki,” a Greek phrase meaning “bound to a wife.” One who is bound to a wife would not be a virgin. So we know that in verse 27 Paul spoke of a married man because he said so.

   The TNIV has it meaning betrothed and that simply is not what it says. The Greek word for betrothed is “mnestuo.” That word is not in this verse. “Virgins” is not there and “betrothed” is not there. The passage does not speak of virgins and it does not speak of engagement. It says what it means, “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a divorce.” Like it or not, that is what the Greek text says.

   Then at verse 28 they continue the nonsense by reading it “Are you free from such a commitment?” meaning “Are you not engaged?” It isn’t there. How do we know Paul spoke of virgins in verse 25? Because he said so. We know he spoke of married men in verse 27 the same say, because he said so. In the same way we know that he spoke of a divorced man in verse 28 because he said so.

   The verb is “lelusai,” perfect, passive of “lusin,” derived from “luo.” This is the word in Mat. 19:9 which is translated “put away” or in most versions,  “divorced.” If it means that in Mat. 19:9, why does it not mean that here? In fact the NIV translates a form of the same word  ”divorce” in verse 27. A form of the same word starts verse 28 and there they translate it “Are you unmarried?” There is no way to justify that.

   It is a fact, this scripture says that a man who has been divorced by his wife does not sin if he marries. Of course he doesn’t. He is a single man. Jesus said that “adultery” is a wrong committed “against her,” the wife put away. This man has no wife to sin against. She divorced him in the past. This is a passive voice verb, meaning that she divorced him, not the other way around. If you can’t let the Bible say what it says here, maybe you should ask yourself why?

   The Catholic doctrine of marriage as a “sacrament” is what is behind the distortion of this passage. That came down to us from the Council of Trent, issued in the middle of the 16th century. They declared marriage to be the 7th sacrament and as such that it is unbreakable by anything but death. They had good intentions. They said it was their intention “to curb the abuse of marriage.” But the problem is they chose to try to do that in a human way, not in God’s appointed way. God placed marriage as a protector against immorality. (1 Cor. 7:2, vs. 5 and vs.9) Celibacy is never prescribed in scripture as a way to accomplish that.

   To better understand how serious it is to forbid marriage to divorced people read 1 Timothy 4:1-3 about the apostasy Paul predicted would happen in the latter times. The first feature of it is “forbidding to marry.”(vs.3) He said there that it is a departure from the faith and a giving of heed to the doctrine of demons. Therefore I would urge you to think about the fact that one who forbids marriage is obeying the devil and rejecting God’s orders “Let them marry for it is better to marry than to burn.” (1 Cor. 7:9) That is serious business. Think about it.

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Divorce And Remarriage – “Biblical Summary On Divorce & Remarriage”

This article is part 5 of 9 in the series Divorce and Remarriage

(We are grateful for this material by Olan Hicks, provided here with permission.)

   In Matthew 19, verses 3-12, Jesus stated several facts clearly. First He said that marriage is of God, that it is to be a “one flesh” relationship, and that man must not put it asunder. The Pharisees, evidently thinking this was an inconsistency, asked “Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce and put her away?” (vs. 7) Jesus replied, “For the hardness of your hearts Moses suffered you to put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” Looking back at what Moses said in Deut. 24:1-3 we find that what was commanded there was the paper work, the “bill of divorce,” in a case where a wife was being put away. It was not a command to put her away but rather a command that in the event you were putting her away you must give her the written release or bill of divorcement. The “hardness of heart” or cruelty, consisted in putting her away without the formal release. As Josephus said, “without the bill of divorcement she was not permitted so to do.” (Marry another)

   In the Pharisees’ logic this seemed to imply an approval of marriage breaking. But at verse 8 Jesus said that from the beginning it was “not so,” i.e. not God’s will that marriages break up. Then He said that when a man does put away his wife and she is not guilty of fornication, and marries another, he “commits adultery.” This is not a present infinitive verb. It does not denote an ongoing, continuous action. It is present indicative. It points to an action that happens, as the text says, when he puts away one and marries another, two punctiliar actions, not later in the sexual cohabitation in another marriage.

   Thus the first thing we need to do is identify what the sin is according to what the text says, not according to human theory. The words of Jesus are clear on this. The sin occurs when two things are done, (1) the man puts away his innocent wife and (2) marries another. In Mark 10:11 Jesus clarified this matter further. He said that the man who does this “commits adultery against her,” i.e.the wife put away. The adultery then is against the first wife, not with the second wife.  It is a betrayal of his vows and obligations to the original wife. This fact is not altered one way or the other by what he does after that, whether he marries again or not. The fact is he has committed a sin against the wife and in so doing has violated the will of God.

   One significant thing is not in the Biblical text. As Foy Wallace Jr. pointed out, Jesus did not “legislate a disciplinary procedure.” (Sermon on the Mt. & the civil state, pg. 41) The Lord said it is a sin but He did not specify the penalty, what must be done about it. Wallace said, “We cannot make one without human legislation.”

   This is exactly what did happen in later years, human legislation prescribed the penalty. The Council of Trent (middle 16th century) had good intentions. They said their intention was “to curb the abuse of marriage.” That is a good thing. But the problem is they chose to do it according to their traditional human theories, not according to Bible prescriptions. Their theology was traditional Catholic teaching so the “sacrament” theory of marriage was their basic view point. Reasoning on the basis of that premise their interpretation of this text changes “do not” to “cannot.” They believed that marriage, as a sacrament, is not breakable until death. The resulting conclusion of their logic is that the divorced and remarried man is not living with the one who is still his wife in God’s sight and is living with a woman who is not his wife in God’s sight. They put the label “adultery” there.

   As you can see, this line of reasoning also causes them to move the sin from the two acts of putting away and marrying another to the sexual activity in the subsequent marriage. They set aside the specification Jesus gave, that unscriptural divorce and remarriage is adultery, and declare that “adultery is a sex act.” And so it is that from this source, the human theories of the council of Trent,  we have what is called “the traditional view” on divorce and remarriage, i.e. that sinfully divorced people lose their “eligibility” to participate in marriage.

   This theory not only damages lives by requiring people to live an abnormal life, (without a mate) it also brings them into conflict with another very serious premise in scripture, in which the perpetrators may be jeopardizing their own souls. In 1 Timothy 4:1-3 the apostle says that the Spirit predicts a falling away in the last times when men will depart from the faith and give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. The first feature of it (in verse 3) is “forbidding to marry.” Again here they have good intentions, they want people not to “live in adultery.” But like the Council of Trent, they lose sight of what God has said about the matter. God states very clearly that He does not want marriage forbidden, He wants it practiced. Marriage is God’s appointed way of preventing “immorality.” (1 Cor. 7:2) “Let them marry, for it is better to marry then to burn.” (Vs. 9) Thus it is not surprising that this passage would say of those who forbid marriage that they  “depart from the faith.”

   So if we strip away the human theories, even though well intentioned, what we have left is the fact of a sin and a need to apply the Bible way of dealing with sin. Repentance, of course, is the Biblical way. If we have been doing something that is contrary to God’s will, such as breaking marriage, we must stop doing that and start doing what is according to God’s will. In this matter the will of God is one man married to one woman, and both are committed to that for life. Whether it is now the first marriage or the third or fourth or what, the prescription is the same, one man for one woman for life. Change your practice. Stop being unfaithful in marriage and start being faithful in marriage. Forgiveness of the past is available in the blood of Jesus.

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Divorce And Remarriage – “The Evils Of Forbidding Marriage”

This article is part 4 of 9 in the series Divorce and Remarriage

(We are grateful for this material by Olan Hicks, provided here with permission.)

   1 Timothy 4:1-3  One of the strongest condemnations found anywhere in scripture is here in what this passage says about the doctrine of forbidding marriage. Please note that it comes from God. This is not a personal opinion on my part. The inspired apostle Paul says here that the Spirit ( Spirit of God) expressly predicted that in latter times some brethren would do five things. 1. depart from the faith, 2. give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 3. speak lies in hypocrisy, 4. have a seared conscience, and 5. forbid people to marry and command to abstain from foods. This is strong language. Yet most people have never realized how evil this particular doctrine is. Consider now the evil deeds this text says are done by people who forbid marriage.

   1. First it says they “depart from the faith.” This is to turn from what God’s word says. When they say that divorced people cannot be married again they do this. I don’t say it is intentional but the first mistake in today’s version of this departure is to revise the statement of Jesus in Mat. 19:6. They depart from it. Whereas Jesus said, “What God has joined together let not man put asunder,” these brethren say, “What God has joined together man cannot put asunder.” Thus they conclude that divorced persons are still married “in the eyes of God.” The command “Do not” is changed to “cannot,” and becomes a declaration of impossibility. Upon that step a pyramid of error is built which ends up literally departing from the faith, the Biblical concept, on this whole subject.  It ends up denying virtually every passage on the subject throughout the New Testament.

   2. The second thing it says they do is they “Give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” Are demons involved in this? How is Satan behind this? Why would he want marriage eliminated from anyone’s life? In 1 Corintians 7 Paul said three times in the first 9 verses that marriage is God’s appointed way for us to avoid sexual immorality. Satan does not want that avoided, he wants it practiced. Of course then, since marriage is a deterrent to immorality, Satan wants it deleted. Thus two opposite sides are in this picture. God is for marriage and against divorce and Satan is for divorce and against Marriage. Those who try to eliminate marriage from someone’s life are on Satan’s side on that part of this equation.

   3. “Speaking lies in hypocrisy.” For a long time I wondered why the Spirit said this. Where is the hypocrisy in the “marriage forbidden” doctrine? If you notice what they write or hear them preach, you will find that every article and every sermon is a tirade about how wrong it is to divorce, as though that were the issue of difference between us. It is not. There is no question it is wrong to break marriage. They pretend to be opposing divorce when the fact is they oppose marriage itself and not divorce at all. A person might be divorced, completely without cause, and upon repentance, he will be acceptable to them while he remains divorced. But if he marries, then he will be disfellowshiped. So it is not divorce that they oppose actually, but marriage itself. Thus it is a pretense. This may be where the hypocrisy is.

   4. “Having their conscience seared as with a hot iron.” I have also wondered about this. Where does a seared conscience fit in the picture of marriage forbidders? Most of them I have talked with seem to have little or no feeling for the cruelty that the marriage forbidden decree imposes. I have seen them sentence young boys 20 to 25 years of age, to life long celibacy and seem not to mind doing that at all. When the disciples suggested “It is better not to marry” Jesus said, “Not all can receive that saying,” Mat. 19:11. Paul said the same thing, that some have the gift of celibacy and some do not. For those who do not he said, “Let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn.” (1 Cor. 7:8-9) Surely anyone who can give some thought to the fact that eliminating marriage is setting aside our defense against immorality, and to the fact that doing so places a normal person in a condition of burning, and yet can exert force to demand this of a fellow human being, must have a non-working conscience.

   5. “Forbidding to marry.” At the creation God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helpmeet for him.” (Gen. 2:18) It is remarkable that men could come along thousands of years later and issue an opposite decree, “forbidding to marry.” That command is purely a human assumption. God not only did not give it, He decreed the opposite. Men have tried all sorts of maneuverings to try to make God say this but He didn’t. They site Ezra 10. But those people were only forbidden to marry heathen wives. They were not forbidden to marry anyone at all. They site Herod’s case with Herodious. But he was only forbidden to have his brother’s wife. He was not  told he could have no wife at all. No one in scripture was ever told that he was “ineligible to marry.” It is as Foy Wallace Jr. said, Jesus did not prescribe that sentence as the punishment for marriage breaking and preachers who do so are ascending the judge’s bench. (Sermon on the Mount and the Civil State, pg. 41-42)

   Opposing divorce is right. God said He hates that. But to make divorce a second unpardonable sin with life long celibacy as the punishment is from human tradition, not divine tradition. It is a more evil thing than most folks realize, even though those who do it usually mean well. When you think about the fact that it is first a departure from the faith, that is bad enough in itself.  And second, the Bible says it is a doctrine authored by Satan. It serves his purposes. How can that be acceptable? Thirdly it is imbedded in an attitude of hypocrisy, pretending to be what you aren’t. And beyond that it takes a person of unfeeling conscience to swallow it, and fifthly it is opposite to what God decreed from the very first.

   Let’s continue to follow the Biblical instructions to oppose all sin, including marriage breaking. But let’s not oppose an appointment of God in the process. let’s apply the teachings of the Bible to the handling of every sin, including this one. Remember Satan can make something that is very wrong appear to be very right.

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Divorce And Remarriage – “Adultery Defined”

This article is part 3 of 9 in the series Divorce and Remarriage

(We are grateful for this material by Olan Hicks, provided here with permission.)

   Origin of the word: The English language did not have this word until the 16th century. Its Latin root was first put into the Bible text in the 4th century. When Jerome translated the Bible into Latin, called the Vulgate version, he used the Latin word “adulterium” to translate the Greek word “moichatai” in the divorce passages. There is no etymology connecting these two words. They do not mean the same.

   Our English dictionary, in defiing the word “adultery,” says first that it is derived from the Latin word “adulterium,” which, it says, means “to adulterate.” It then defines “adulterate” as meaning “to corrupt, falsify, or add  extraneous ingredients.” Then, without explaining why, it gives as the number one definition, “To have unlawful sexual intercourse with the spouse of another.” If the word “adultery” comes from a word that means “to falsify or corrupt,” from whence comes the sexual definition? No explanation is given and no etymology is cited. The Greek lexicons do the same. They take the sexual definition and feed it back into a definition of the Greek word “moichatai,” while giving no etymology.

   The word enters the English language. No form of this word was in English translations of scripture until the Geneva Bible in 1570. Two English translations before the Geneva Bible were made by Wycliffe (1384) and Tyndale in 1535. Both ignored Jerome’s rendering and translated “moichatai” as “breaketh wedlock.” Although Wycliffe translated  from the Vulgate version he did not accept “adulterium” nor its cognates as a rendering of “moichatai.” Tyndale worked directly from the Greek text. He also saw “moichatai,” as it applies to marriage, as meaning to break wedlock.

   Apparent bias. Jerome was a Catholic theologian. Putting this word in the text accommodated Catholic theology. It placed into the Bible an element of support for their “sacrament” theory of marriage. Catholic theology and the Vulgate version strongly influenced developments that occurred in following centuries. The vulgate version became the standard Bible used in the Catholic Church. In the middle of the 16th century the Council of Trent pronounced it “authentic,” the official Bible to be used in all liturgical activities of the church. The English Church was an outgrowth of Catholicism and it retained many of the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Considering the word “adultery” as meaning a sex act gives support to the Catholic idea that the church is the determiner of who is eligible to marry and who is not.

   The Geneva Bible translators were from England. They made their translation in 1560 and presented it to the queen in 1570. They brought the word “adulterium” over from the Vulgate version and coined the word “adultery” for their translation. This created a new word and for the first time the sexual idea was put into an English Bible as a translation of “moichatai” in the divorce passages. 41 years later (1611) the King James version, also made in England, placed the word “adultery” in these passages. Virtually all translations since that time have continued to follow that course.

   To find out the real meaning of the Greek word in the text one has to check out its usage in the Bible. Doing that reveals a lot. We find that this word is applied to a number of different kinds of action. In the divorce passages (Mat. 19:9, luke 16:18 etc.) it refers to two acts of unfaithfulness, neither of which is a sex act, putting away a faithful wife and marrying another. In several passages it refers to idolatry. (Jeremiah 3:8, Vs. 9 “with stones and trees”). Thayer cites Revelation 2:22 as a case in which a form of this word refers to those who “at a woman’s solicitation are drawn away to idolatry.” He also recognizes one of its meanings as “to falsify, to corrupt,” which agrees with the dictionary definition of “adulterate.” He even says one of its meanings is “to usurp unlawful control over the sea.” (Lexicon, pg.417) In James 4:4 it is applied to “friendship with the world.” In Mat. 12:39 it is applied to seeking after a sign.

   One thing is consistently there. These are a variety of different acts but one ingredient is common to them all, unfaithfulness or betrayal. In Malachi 2:14 God said that He had been a “witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously.” At verse 16 He said that what the Lord hates is “putting away.” Jesus applied the same idea in Mark 10:11, “Whoever puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery (moichatai) against her.” So betrayal or unfaithfulness is its basic meaning. It can be committed in different ways but the definition of the word is unfaithulness, whether against God or against a mate, or anyone to whom we owe commitment. To restrict its meaning to one kind of action, such as a sex act, or idolatry, is wrong and gives support to some of man’s worst errors.

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What Defines You?

This article is part 2 of 9 in the series Divorce and Remarriage

   Things happen… things change. Christians don’t ‘go to heaven in a straight line, we make mistakes, sin, get up and try again, and again… Christ did not come here to ‘be like us’ as much as He wanted us to ‘be like Him’..
   O how short we fall in doing this.Yet He loves us, yet He saves us, yet he continues to cleanse and forgive us. He lived perfectly sinless here. Yes He came, took on flesh, lived among mankind with a supreme purpose only seen in a humility that is found in Him.
   O how far short we fall in living up to His example.
   Yet He is willing to love  us to the end. Yet he was willing to walk and carry the cross in my stead… my cross. The very one I should have carried, been nailed to.
   What defines you? What defines me?

   David sinned terribly. He was in a position of leadership as the King of Israel. People looked to him to be an example of trusting in Jehovah… he failed. Psalm 51
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
2  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
4  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
5  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6  Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
10  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.
14  Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15  Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.
16  You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17  My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
18  May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19  Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

   The prophet Nathan had accomplished the mission… (2 Samuel 12) Verse 13 “Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.” It took a lot to bring a king to his knees… Sometimes it is the same with us.

   We sing the song, “The Lamb of God” and it says in the second verse, “I was so lost I should have died.” Paul says  “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.


   BUT… God forgave, and God forgives….

Psalm 32 “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
2  Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3  When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4  For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
5  Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
6  Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.
7  You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9  Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
10  Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11  Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

   Were there consequences for David? Yes. But he never repeated what he had done to break God’s heart.

   What defines you? What defines me? This determines largely, what is on our minds and in our hearts when get up in the morning, and how we deal with life, responding, reacting to people as we go through life. It determines our direction and what opportunities we accept or reject. Carrying the past is not that way the Lord wants His people to live, and certainly not why He died.

   Paul said “Forgetting what is behind…. he pressed forward….” Let me encourage you in this.. God through his grace forgives to the “uttermost”, even you… even me…. and now standing forgiven, redeemed by his blood…. move forward. Repenting of the past means not repeating it, learning from it, learning now and forever more, WHO IS LORD of your life, and trusting in him with all you’ve got. Do not allow the past to DEFINE YOUR PRESENT AND FUTURE….

   If you are not a Christian, and want to be one of the redeemed…. then repent and be immersed for the forgiveness of all sins… and embark on a marvelous journey…. The journey of the redeemed.

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