Clarifying Other Doctrinal Truths
During seminar and conference teaching sessions several recurring subjects arose during the questions and answer periods following the lessons. Perhaps a brief discussion on grace, repentance and compassion would be helpful to insert here at this juncture.
While we realize it would be impossible to cover any of these basic questions extensively in this abbreviated treatise, we will try to emphasize the importance of recognizing our only righteousness is founded in and through the completed sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, when He took on Himself our sins and bestowed upon us His righteousness. This is why Paul the Apostle said:
…There is none that doeth good, no, not one. Romans 3:11
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9
Throughout the Bible, God declares moral principles. He desires us to follow and obey His word; not to gain our salvation, but so we might live a life of blessing and fruitfulness. If we fail to heed His standards, we automatically reap what we sow, we suffer the consequences of our decisions. Paul said:
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Galatians 6:7,8
The Lord teaches us these eternal principles of life so we might experience His abundance and fruitfulness.
There are several prevailing definitions of grace being postulated today in schools of varying doctrinal persuasions.
One such definition is; “God’s riches at Christ’s expense.” Another is; “Grace is receiving what we don’t deserve, in contrast to mercy, which is not getting what we do deserve.”
Perhaps a clearer definition of grace would be the one given by Bill Gothard, in his Basic Youth Conflicts Conferences: “The power to know and to do God’s will.” To say it another way would be, when anyone truly experiences God’s grace, that one is given the ability not to continue in habitual sin and walk away from it victoriously. This description says, grace can reveal the truth from God’s Word concerning marriage and divorce and empower us to walk out this revelation. May we each allow the Holy Spirit to impart this message into our spirit as we share the following verses:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that GRACE may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Romans 6:1-2
This verse clearly says when one receives Christ as Lord and Savior, it does not give us liberty to keep sinning, but the power to have victory over sin. Grace that brings salvation is the same grace that helps us to see and forsake ungodly behaviors.
For the GRACE OF GOD THAT BRINGETH SALVATION hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us FROM all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. Titus 2: 11-15
What does “denying ungodliness” mean? If godliness means being like God, then ungodliness means being unlike God.
God the Father referred to Israel as His “wife” in Jeremiah 3, and then told about how she (Israel) had repeatedly committed adulteries and whoredoms against Him. Israel’s adulterous behavior resulted in God giving her a “bill of divorcement.” (v 8) God told Israel that if she would only “repent,” He would take her back for “I Am married to you.” (v 14)
God divorced Israel, but has not, is not, and will not ever seek another wife. He is waiting for the restoration of his wife to this day. Therefore, to “deny ungodliness” means that we must do the same with our marriage partner.
This teaching concerning the permanency of marriage is Pure Grace.The enemy has stolen the New Testament doctrine of grace from the Church, which has resulted in the destruction of families everywhere. It takes more grace to pray through marriage difficulties than to renounce our vow to God, and destroy the symbol of Christ’s relationship to His Church.
Repentance is one of the most misunderstood words in the Church today. Some Christians say we no longer need to repent. They believe that God will totally forgive and wipe away sin as though it never happened without an act of repentance by the sinner. This erroneous teaching infers Paul was deluded when he taught the believers in Ephesus the need for repentance.
And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house. Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:20,21
Repentance in its simplest form means to admit whatever sin or disobedience the Holy Spirit exposes in our life, and quit it! We quit it only when we turn 180 degrees from the disobedience and forsake it. It does not infer perfection, but progressively going in a new direction; to agree with God concerning our sin or disobedience and trust His grace to help us be overcomers and experience His promised blessings.
The secular worldview permeating our churches today will only be altered when God’s servants lose their fear of public opinion and realize they are Jesus Christ’s representative to the world, declaring without fear or favor the clear teachings concerning the permanency of the marriage covenant which is the Biblical worldview.
If we desire to see the elimination of the bad fruit being produced in our society and our churches, we will need to replace the present day worldview with the true, historic biblical worldview concerning marriage, and cry out to God for the healing of our land.
If we are willing, God will do the same for us today, as He promised His people in Isaiah.
And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. Isaiah 30:18-19
He promised mercy, forgiveness, and blessing on Israel if they would just repent. I realize the true repentance God wants us to experience will require an adjustment of one’s personal belief system. Our decisions are based upon our belief system. And our belief system should be based upon God’s Word.
God’s desire is for each of us to admit our non biblical worldviews and forsake them so He can show mercy.
He that covereth his sin shall not prosper, but who so confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13
In Corinthians, Paul said,
For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. I Corinthians 11:31-32
As a child of God we are called to honor Jesus Christ in every area of our lives. This is only possible by drawing upon His Word, yielding to the Holy Spirit, who will enable us to keep His commands and love the Lord with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength, and realize we are obligated to respond affirmatively when new principles for living are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
John the Beloved wrote in II John,
Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. II John 9
One of the surest evidences of being a believer in Christ is to see that believer willingly, knowingly, persistently obey the truth presented to him/her by the Holy Spirit. The writer of Hebrews says we will be sentenced when we fail to respond to Gods prompting. In fact we are warned; to…despise (to think down upon or feel it is of little significance) not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening (instruction) God dealeth with you as with sons: for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Hebrews 12:5-8
The Lord loves His own and patiently instructs, forgives, encourages, and multiplies opportunities for his children to obey. Then He allows trials and tests to come to get our attention.
If we are violating God’s will and word, but are not experiencing any correction or chastening, we need to immediately repent toward God, and place our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
If we make Him Supreme Lord of our lives, we will obey and appreciate His loving, compassionate chastening. His loving kindness toward His own is from everlasting to everlasting toward them that fear Him.
This biblical worldview concerning marriage and divorce is difficult and must be taught with compassion; but what is biblical compassion? It is vitally important we understand the true biblical meaning of the word compassion. Compassion is not the same as sympathy. We can sympathize with the individual and their circumstances but we must stand firm on Biblical principles.
Note God’s dealings with King Zedekiah. God defines compassion in II Chronicles 36. Zedekiah did evil in the Lord’s sight and wouldn’t humble himself before Nebuchadnezzar or Jeremiah the prophet. Verse 15 says God had “compassion” on His people and His temple. How did God have compassion on Israel?
“And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place.” II Chronicles 36:15
He showed His compassion by instructing them. Their response in verse 16 says, Israel “mocked [God’s] messengers.” What was the result? God sent the Chaldeans against them showing no compassion on them. (He chastened them.)
In the New Testament we read of how Jesus manifested divine compassion toward those following Him.
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd and he began to teach them many things. Mark 6:34
Whenever we teach anyone what God says, we manifest God’s compassion. What the listeners do with the warning is their responsibility. God is calling out and desires to speak to His people concerning the suffering due to divorce and remarriage today! He is trying to instruct us. Who will respond?