Chapter 5: Common Law “Marriage” part II
Happiness or Holiness:
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and 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. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 5:1-6).
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God (I Thessalonians 4:3-5).
“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24, NAS).”
Neither immorality nor impurity should be named among God’s people. These texts are life-altering. Far too many people are concerned more with their personal happiness than holiness before God and it should not be. When seeking happiness, there’s guilt involved feeling like they’re being selfish seeking such happiness. In this state of guilt, the concept of holiness gets swept under the rug.
Imagine if you will a person completely surrendered to God. This particular person will no longer seek happiness nor will they be led by emotions of guilt, shame, fear, or anything else. They will be, on the other hand, focused solely on pleasing the Savior. In this condition, there is no room for anything other than holiness; they’ll do whatever it takes to be in direct obedience to the One who can resolve any matter. A person, such as the two men mentioned above, would be able to make clear, concise decisions concerning their own personal life. They would be able with ease to tell their girlfriends that, since they’re seeking the face and holiness of Christ, they must of necessity break union, or at the very least, stop living in sin. Their desire for holiness would cause them to surrender completely to Christ and, in so doing, do whatever necessary to follow Christ.
One must understand that commitment and surrender are vastly different things. Commitment in or to anything means that you are the one in control; you can quit whenever you want. Surrender, adversely, denotes one not in control, you can’t quit as you no longer have a say or vote in the matter; you have consigned your vote, say, and will. Countless people are “committed” to their girlfriend or boyfriend and suggest that, because of their commitment, they don’t need to marry. However, God doesn’t call people in relationship with Himself to commit, but to surrender.
Since human marriages are a reflection of our relationship with Christ, we too are to surrender ourselves to our spouse. This way, there’s no out because you aren’t controlling the relationship, God is and/or your spouse. Commitments are broken at will every day because the one committed controls how long they stay. When both the husband and wife surrender to each other, there is an unbreakable force; yet in today’s marriages, both want to do nothing more than commit so that, if they eventually want out, they can leave.
When we say marital vows, most miss the fact that this is supposed to be a form of surrender, a giving yourself to the other; two becoming one (both are surrendered into one new creation). Because people miss this, too many are committed for a season but, eventually, they check out be it with literal divorce or emotionally though remaining legally married. In living together unmarried, one inadvertently surrenders themselves to a person without covenant and that can only lead to a disaster. This is why people who are living together having taken on each other’s bills, kids, property, etc. feel trapped though they’re actually free to leave. Surrender means crucifying self; it means to lay down your life for another. We all need to stop surrendering ourselves to one without covenant because, without covenant, there is no protection and all the lines of what is right and wrong are blurred leaving everyone confused and imprisoned.
To reiterate, God doesn’t call anyone to happiness, but holiness just as He doesn’t call us to commit, but to surrender. Surrender causes us to become lost in Christ. Surrender causes us to become lost in our spouse. Surrender takes your focus off personal happiness (selfishness) and diverts it toward holiness (selflessness). Keeping this in mind, it will assist you in the quest for the correct union of marriage preordained by God. Instead of asking, “Will this make me happy?” always ask yourself, “Can I surrender to him or her? Should I surrender to him or her? Can I utterly subject myself to him or her and be in right standing with God?” These questions can literally save you from entering an unholy relationship of fornication, adultery or unholy marriage and even save you from exiting a correct marriage gone sour through divorce.
Commitment and happiness = self-focus and personal control
Surrender and holiness = God-focus and control abandonment
Prayer of Purity: Father, may I be self-controlled as Jesus was when He walked in human flesh. As I seek purity, reveal to me the weaknesses of my flesh that I will flee evil instead of deceiving myself into thinking that I have strength I do not possess. Lead me into the path of righteousness that I will not cast my foot upon a stone and stumble and fall. I choose today to crucify my fleshly man and receive Holy Spirit to take His rightful position as the ruler of my heart. I repent of all impure activity in my past and receive your forgiveness. I choose to abstain from all sexual impurity. Thank You, Jesus, for paving the way of holiness. Amen.
Chapter 5: Common Law “Marriage” part I
And those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live (Romans 8:8-13).
Two Become One:
For anyone who reasons, “If I become one with someone through sexual intercourse and we are considered as married, what’s the purpose of marriage? I don’t need a certificate to validate my relationship. In the sight of God, we’re already married,” I direct them to Jesus’ response to the Samaritan woman. In John 4:17-19, we read: “The woman answered and said, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You have correctly said, “I have no husband;” for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.’ The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.’”
There are a couple of items that need to be addressed. One, Jesus said that she stated correctly ‘I have no husband’ yet she had five husbands prior to her current common-law husband. If she is five times divorced and Jesus made it known that she didn’t have a husband, she is cleared of still being married post-divorce. Secondly, though she was entering into sexual relations with the one not her husband, Jesus did not consider that as validation of marriage in God’s sight. Her granted divorces were honored by God as no longer married and equally, her common-law husband wasn’t a husband at all.
We see continually that marriage is the place of covenant; the only place that God can and will honor sexual relations between a man and a woman. Sexual intercourse is to be kept holy as God intended. It is not for us to use as a tool to alleviate tension, validate a romantic relationship, or abuse in any capacity. Sex outside of marriage is a sin and extremely dangerous, much like a toddler with a butcher knife or loaded gun.
The next question asked a lot among followers of The Way (Christ) is, “What is appropriate conduct in dating?” Let’s look at the next section of Bible passages:
Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (1 Corinthians 7:1-5, NKJV)
The phrase “to touch a woman” is an idiom referring to “sexual relations.” Apto is the Greek word Paul uses for “to touch.” It has the sense of touch, cling, take hold of; to kindle as in “to kindle a fire.” It can mean any form of physical touch from light caress to actual sexual intercourse.
Paul continues with the word “nevertheless” which connects all that he is saying. Dating is a western practice that isn’t found anywhere in the Bible. This would lead me to believe that dating as we know it in modern western society is invalid. With Paul’s apt “nevertheless,” he instructs men and women to marry and then (as in post-marriage vows) conduct yourselves in any form of touch that is holy in the sight of God.
Many argue that there are numerous things not mentioned in the Bible yet that does not constitute then as sin and that is true for many things such as celebrating birthdays or things of that nature. However, with dating, there are Scriptures that specifically speak to relations between a man and woman that would directly negate the form of dating for which is common today. If “dating” simply meant spending quality time together getting to know one another, that would be acceptable, but all the excessive touching between unmarried couples is indeed sin.
Paul continues to instruct the married couple to not abstain from sex. Within marriage, the man and woman are no longer their own, they belong to each other. We can conclude from this one section of verses alone that touching within the confines of dating is not permitted. We all know that few, if anyone, will uphold God’s way of thinking, sad as the fact is. If you must date, keep your body parts, all of them, to yourself since the more two touch, the more they “burn” and are tempted to forget God and act in the flesh (literally and metaphorically), and will possibly lead to a marriage or some form of improper conduct that God never designed or ordained.
Living together, having sex before marriage, merging households without marriage – these are merely common occurrences in the modern-day Babylon in which we live. We’ve set such a low precedence that no one, including Christians, seems to know right from wrong in any given situation, especially in the arena of romantic relationships.
As I’m writing this, I am currently involved with attempting to help two men out of their unholy unions with women not their wives. Both men feel so trapped that they struggle to see a way out. They’re all miserable because none of the four entered their relationships while in right standing with God; Yeshua was not consulted in the least. These men, because they’re living together in sin with their girlfriends, have wedged themselves into a role of father to their girlfriends’ children and husband to women not their wives. These four have basically been playing marriage all the while having no marital covenant – a recipe for disaster!
One fellow and his live-in girlfriend are both married to estranged spouses. He refused to get out of the relationship when it was suggested and, because he hesitated to do what was holy and helpful for everyone, he eventually became aggressive as they both would badger one another mentally, emotionally and physically. As a result, now he’s in jail. If only he’d been obedient to God so as to remove himself from an adulterous relationship, he’d not be in jail. He tried so hard to force something to work that couldn’t and it ended in a worse way than necessary. This guy was too worried about her kids because he was their only support that he missed God’s plan altogether.
Because of his emotional and financial ties to her children, he felt as though he couldn’t leave. So, he remained in an unhealthy, unholy, unhappy relationship and it ended more poorly than if he had just said, “This isn’t working. It isn’t right in God’s sight. We need to separate.” Fear became a factor; afraid of hurting her, hurting her kids, leaving them abandoned, etc. When fear is in play, wisdom cannot prevail. When fear is in action, God’s voice cannot be clearly heard or obliged. Because of placing himself in a situation that was against God, fear became the lead which causes nothing less than chaos and confusion.
The other gentleman has children and his girlfriend has a child; together they’ve lived for many years. He is acting as father to her child and she is acting as mother to his children. Now he’s trying to get his life aligned with Yeshua and feels stuck just like the other guy. He doesn’t hate her but he doesn’t love her. They can’t divorce because they’re not legally married and he feels trapped in his own home. He illegally positioned himself to become something (husband, father) he never was. They are “common law” married but, in the sight of God, they’re simply living illegally due to fornication and lack of covenant. He too is fearful of what will happen when and if he breaks the relationship as she and her child have nowhere to go.
My suggestion to them both would be to align themselves with God and, in so doing, pull the plug on the very unhealthy relationship, stop having sex, stop living together and recalibrate from there. Fear is a terrible thing but always comes into action when lives are not aligned with the God who has already overcome fear. Imagine if they both began to walk in surrender to Christ. They would no longer worry about the outcome, but only that they are living a holy lifestyle in accordance to God’s commands. By recalibrating their thinking from an earthly, fleshly perspective into a heavenly, godly one, all fears would calm and they would have faith to do what is correct trusting that Yahweh will work things out for all involved.
Those who live in common-law relationships miserable and sometimes volatile are setting a very low bar of life for their kids. They currently worry that the kids will be hurt if they split, but I say that they’ll be hurt worse in the long run if they don’t make an immediate change. Doesn’t everyone want their children to grow in a home where the parent or parents are at peace, joyful, and walking in accordance to Christ’s will? Living together unmarried will always, in time, lead to misery. The only exception is when the couple repents, aligns with Christ and then moves forward.
Chapter 4: The Covenant of Intercourse, part II
The Rich Man’s Riches:
And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property (Matthew 19:16-22).
In this God-less society in which we currently live, I liken this rich man’s riches as unto sex outside of marriage. So many unmarried people want to go to church and be a “good person,” yet they refuse to give up sex that God ordained only for the marriage bed. Interestingly enough, the rich man asked which commands he was to follow. This infers that he was interested in obliging only the minimum amount of commands. He was not interested in giving all of himself so as to inherit the fullness of the Kingdom of God.
When I conduct pre-marital counseling, the first thing I ask is “are you having sex outside of marriage?” People hate this question! They hate it because they are guilty, yet still ask God to bless their upcoming union. That’s like asking your fiancé’ to be faithful to you, yet every now and then, they are to allow you to have an affair. We do not rightly seek God’s favor when we refuse to obey His simple commands – it is a contradiction in every way.
Becoming One – Pro’s and Con’s:
As previously mentioned, sex was designed marvelously by God to be an offshoot of a covenant seal; the glue that bonds two people together in holy matrimony. In the spirit realm, Holy Spirit being inserted within our person is a form of intercourse. In other words, when we confess and repent of the sin nature, the water that ran from the side of Jesus pours through us and washes us. Holy Spirit is then inserted within and then we are covered by Jesus’ blood. Holy Spirit is our Seal of Promise of what is to come. We are “in” Him and He is “in” us – intercourse. Through such intercourse, we bear His fruit and multiply the fruit of the Spirit. Such spiritual intercourse causes new births – offspring of the new union bonded through intercourse. Likewise, through such intimacy in sexual intercourse, mankind multiplies physically.
Understanding this concept, we can now see that the problem comes when we become one with someone other than our spouse. Being married to someone God ordained for us since before the foundation of the Earth bears good fruit. Children of such a union (generally speaking) are well rounded and secure because they were produced through holy covenant. In this perverse generation, however, everyone is having sex with whomever, wherever, and whenever the mood strikes. This act of sin bears fruit from that which is unholy, absent of covenant. As a result, there are whole generations of people who, because of the lack of covenant between their parents, are confused, distressed, oppressed, bewildered, angry, depressed, lost, and so on. The Law of increase (Genesis 9:7) remains, but it produces bad seed instead of good seed, and all of it multiplies!
Before we go any further, please know that I am not condemning people born out wrong covenant or out non-covenant. I am simply pointing out the fact that the majority of these particular people are this way due to the manifestation of God’s Law in effect. In the garden prior to the Fall, God set in action the Law of increase (go forth and multiply). Multiplication happens for the good when people are obedient to God’s commands. On the flip side, it happens for the negative when people are disobedient to His commands.
Above where I quoted Hebrews 9:16-17 stating that covenant does not go into effect until men are dead, I pointed out that through marriage vows two people are to die to self and become one. When people are engaging in sex outside of marriage, there is no covenant because no one has died in order to activate covenant. When this happens and we are procreating regardless, anger ensues because people are having the responsibilities of life that should only come through covenant. This is because covenant brings protection. Lack of covenant in the midst of covenant-responsibilities brings anguish.
Once all is said and done, we “good Christians” get angry at God because He didn’t better protect us. We need to understand also that God cannot protect those who step outside of His covenant boundaries. When we disobey God’s commands, it’s due to having brought our dead flesh back to a form of life. When we break covenant with Yeshua, we remove ourselves from His umbrella of protection.
It’s simple, really. When man dies and joins Christ, covenant is in effect; protection is activated. When we resurrect our fleshly cursed nature from Adam (though saved from hell), we break covenant with God and become unprotected. More specifically, when we engage in sex outside of the covenant bonds of marriage, we willfully enter territory unprotected with people who have no desire to protect us; or if they do desire to protect, protection eludes them.
Chapter 4: The Covenant of Intercourse, part I
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals…food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for Yahweh, and Yahweh for the body…Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to Yahweh is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:9, 13, 15-20)
“Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge (Hebrews 13:4, NAS).”
We Make Our Messes
When God’s people choose to sexually give themselves over to another outside the marriage covenant, in essence, they are setting their body above God making it and its desires an idol above God. Sex outside of marriage is a serious matter that has been diminished into something seemingly harmless, sinless.
God has given us direction and informs us as to the consequences of our actions. When we sin against God, especially in this arena, first we revel in it; then, when the bad seed turns into a harvest, we wonder why God has forsaken us because it’s too heavy to bear. We reason, “I am a good person. Why did God let this happen?” We must stop worshiping man (self or others) and placing self above Yahweh. Idolatry will always lead to a shattered life.
Marriage is intimacy. Intimacy is communion; drawing as near to someone as possible, otherwise known as intercourse. Because this word, intercourse, is grossly underestimated, I have listed the definitions:
- connection or dealings between persons or groups
- 2. exchange especially of thoughts or feelings: communion
- 3. sexual intercourse
- Communication between individuals; a commingling (to blend thoroughly into a harmonious whole); intimate connection or dealings between persons or nations, as in common affairs and civilities, in correspondence or trade; communication; commerce; especially, interchange of thought and feeling; association; communion.
- The act of sexual procreation between a man and a woman
Sex is merely one form of the expression of intercourse; it is not intercourse itself. Sex was created by God to be a beautiful expression of covenant commitment which changed lives for the better. It is one form of expression of life-changing covenant. Hence, sexual activity outside of marital covenant falls flat and leaves one empty and frustrated. There is a greater void to someone before they engaged in sex because there is no unity through covenant. The people are left having become “one body,” yet devoid of covenant.
As it is now, sex is destroying lives because it has not been kept sacred. The world is now flooded with fatherless children, motherless children, and childless parents (through abortion). There are teens who are parents. There are adult men and women murdering their unborn and born children because they were conceived from fornication or adultery. Sexually transmitted diseases are running rampant because society has made sexual intercourse something for everyone and anyone. God did not create sex for this purpose and we are all suffering at the hand of our own selfish indulgence, negligence, lack of self-control and abuse. God is not the problem – we are.
Marriage Covenant Requires Death
As a recap from chapter two, “For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives (Hebrews 9:16-17).” Entering into marriage brings death to both people as individuals and recreates them anew as one being. This is a requirement for true success, both in our spiritual marriage to God and physical marriage to people; yet it rarely happens due to our gross lack of understanding of covenant. The refusal to die to self in order to activate covenant results is disastrous for all involved! If dying to self seems extreme, understand that we don’t fully enter into the covenant of marriage until we do. In fact, when two people refuse to become selfless, their marriage covenant hasn’t truly been activated.
Take a close look at the opening Scripture of this chapter. The act of sex makes two become one. To restate, sexual activity was created as a bonding tool exclusively for marriage. It is one way (but not exclusively) for people to express unity, oneness – intercourse. It is designed to be a physical depiction of what happens spiritually with God. When we give ourselves over to another human being in this capacity, we are uniting with them, be they our created mate, or a random person we’ll never see again. This is a serious act that, especially this day and age, most people take lightly, including many within the body of Christ.
Look at what happens when we have sexual intercourse outside of the bonds of holy matrimony. People become erratic, possessive, ashamed, needy, condemned, and they feel entitled to liberties with the other person even if they barely know one another. There is a “clinginess” that takes effect, especially for the woman. This is because she and he became “one flesh” whether they understand it or not, like it or not. Sex is a spiritual form of super glue, if you will.
For the man, generally speaking, he becomes closed off and runs the other way. If there was a friendship, it flies out the window. Everything becomes awkward and uncomfortable. This is because they both gave and took what wasn’t theirs to offer or receive. This is God’s law in motion; the law of “two become one flesh.” It’s like the law of sowing and reaping; reaping a bad harvest as a result of sin is not punishment but rather law in motion. So it is with sex outside of marriage.
Chapter 3: Understanding Covenant, part II
Understanding We’ve Already Died:
Judgment was the result of the sin of one man (Romans 5:15-19). This judgment came to all men. Judgment is upon all flesh whether you are “good people” or bad in the eyes of the world or self. It took only one sin to defile all. But, praise God, since it only took one man to bring condemnation, it took only one act of righteousness through One Man for all to be justified! One act of disobedience equals condemnation for all. One act of pure obedience equals justification to all who receive.
Although we have no choice in being born into condemnation, we must choose to receive justification. In other words, your biological mother could not choose for you at natural birth to be born into righteousness. It is a conscious act that has to come from the individual. You must seek it. It is always available, but still you must accept and receive it of our own free will. Since you were naturally born into condemnation, you now must be born (a separate birth) into supernatural justification and sanctification.
Jesus Christ, through His death and resurrection, brought into the earthly realm the Blood Covenant; it is a better covenant than the covenant made to Abraham. The awesome thing is that you get the better covenant plus all the promises given to Abraham and his descendants. God has provided more than you can ever think or imagine. You must seek death in order for His promises to be revealed and to be accessible.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh (Romans 8:2-3, NAS).”
As an aside, I love what this Scripture reads: “God did.” What the Law could not accomplish, what man could not accomplish, God did! He did not leave you without hope in your condemned state. He fulfilled willingly what could not be fulfilled through ordinary man.
The Blessed Covenant:
“‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, and on their mind I will write them,’ He then says, ‘And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’ Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin (Hebrews 10:16-18, NAS).”
“For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15, NAS).”
“Since a death has taken place,” stated in Hebrews 9, you are to take up the cross (death) with Christ; the One who made the covenant already gave His life. If you are a member of the Body of Christ and do not die to the flesh regularly, know that you are just running around aimlessly quoting Scripture to no avail. You are going through motions that are meaningless to God because they are of the flesh. Anything you do that is not Holy Spirit instructed is as wood, hay and stubble to God – worthless from and eternal Kingdom, standard.
You must care for your physical body because it is the temple of the Living God. However, you must be emptied of the sinful nature so that Holy Spirit may freely move through you and also that you may be free, with Him and in Him. It is for your benefit as well as the Kingdom of God.
“It is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise who are regarded as descendants,” reads Romans 9:8. The Scribes and Pharisees claimed to be “descendants” because they were in the physical bloodline of Abraham. This Scripture (and those along with it) states that the covenant of the Son comes through faith in Christ. The flesh has no covenant with God. It is our spirit that receives Christ through faith. All who enter into covenant with the Father are true descendants of Abraham and have access to all the promises given to him and through him.
The Seal of Promise:
“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13, NAS).”
“Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12, NAS).”
“To be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Ephesians 3:6, (NAS).”
Holy Spirit is the Seal of Promise. He is the mark of God. Without Holy Spirit brought to life by the flesh having been put to death, how will God know you? How will the demons know you? How will man know you? Two lives cannot reside in one body. The flesh of man is perpetually at war with the Spirit of God. Death to the worldly way of thinking and doing, the lusts of the flesh, brings us into covenant relationship with the Father, your Husband. It brings you into access to all of the blessings of the covenant but disobedience breaks covenant protection. This is why He calls you to die daily; He wants you to inherit all that is His and He has given instruction how to attain it. He withholds nothing from us; it is we who withhold His hand.
Prayer: Father, I release myself to You totally and completely without reservation. Show me how to die daily to the fleshly nature in which I was originally born and how to allow Your Holy Spirit full access to all of me. Make me mindful that I am an heir to the Promise through Your Spirit and not through external actions of my flesh. I thank You, Jesus, that by Your stripes, I am healed and by Your wounds, I have been transferred from death unto light. I bless You, Almighty, that You did not leave me abandoned, but adopted me as a rightful heir to the Kingdom of God. Amen.
Chapter 3: Understanding Covenant, part I
“That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me (John 17:21, NAS).”
If God’s holy people do not understand the covenant that we have in the spirit realm between God and His people, we don’t stand a chance of understanding the covenant between a man and a woman in marriage. This chapter is taken from my first book, What Was God Thinking? Why Adam Had To Die, chapter 7, “Enter the Blood Covenant.”
I believe it to be of the utmost importance to help us understand what God has done for mankind. Once we obtain a reasonable concept of spiritual marital covenant, we will better grasp physical marital covenant. Christ calls us to “die daily” spiritually so that our flesh does not impede our relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – The Groom. In like fashion, we must “die daily” to our selfish nature to become “one” with our spouse so as not to hinder our relationship with our spouse – our physical bride/groom. If you’ve already read What was God Thinking? this chapter will simply be a refresher course.
As I’ve already mentioned, I had consigned myself back to Christ in February of 2000, after seven years of angry rebellion. However, too quickly I found myself right back in my fleshly ways resembling that of my rebellion. The result was becoming pregnant by a man that was not my husband. Our relationship was brief because I was quickly convicted (not quickly enough) of my sinful conduct. However, my covenant covering (Holy Spirit) was removed by my own actions of broken covenant.
Although God’s love for me never moved, as a result of my blatant disobedience, His covenant protection was. I was no longer living according to the Spirit but dead flesh. My soul was reactivated in an instant through lustful thinking allowing it to override the voice of Holy Spirit speaking into my spirit. I liken the flesh of mankind as unto a zombie we see in sci-fi movies. Though the person they once were is dead, as a zombie, the body moves at will all the while destroying everything in its wake.
It is of the utmost urgency to know, accept, and understand that one cannot enter into the blood covenant that Christ has freely offered until we choose death to the fleshly nature. Death activates God’s covenant. Disobedience, an act of the flesh, nullifies it.
“For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives (Hebrews 9:16-17, NAS).”
Man’s flesh cannot enter into a covenant because of its cursed condition. Nothing cursed can come into covenant with the pure and holy God. This is why Christ took the flesh of all mankind into the grave with Him –He crucified mankind – so as to allow us free access to the Kingdom of God. As we take up our own cross, we accept death as the only source of entrance into holy covenant. Although we’re technically already dead, it requires our acknowledgment. Because Jesus is the last sacrifice and He shed His own blood, we cannot receive the new blood of Christ until we are purged of the old blood of Adam.
We must, spiritually speaking, give up our old condemned blood (Adam’s) in order to receive the new pure blood (Christ’s). His blood was shed for us so that we may receive it. We are not obligated and we all have the right to keep our own. But, in doing so, we keep death eternal. God says in Deuteronomy that we “choose” life or death, blessing or curse. If we choose to keep our own blood, we choose a curse. We choose life only when we choose His life-giving blood, His covenant of blessing.
It is of the utmost importance to understand “dying to the flesh” so to validate and activate covenant with God. Merely saying the “sinner’s prayer” may grant access to Heaven upon death of the physical body, but if the individual does not accept that he or she must die to his or her natural man and the desires thereof while here on Earth, that person will never truly enter into covenant with Yahweh as intended. To reiterate, Christ crucified the flesh of all of mankind at His death, therefore it is dead. When we live according to the flesh (death), we give false-life to a dead thing causing much destruction.
Forfeiture of Covenant Protection:
When Christ followers walk according to their old fleshly man, they forfeit their covenant protection. Until you realize that you must die to daily rendering the flesh in which you dwell as inactive, covenant promises and protection will elude you while residing on Earth. When a person of Christ sins, they reason “God will forgive me.” Truth be told, that person is already forgiven. Forgiveness was sealed for you and I at the cross therefore it is a non-issue. Breaking covenant with God, however, is the issue.
If you’re wondering what’s going wrong in your life in Christ with all your religious conduct and good deeds, maybe “life” isn’t your problem, but death is. Possibly you haven’t died to self and, more than likely, you didn’t realize that was a requirement for covenant activation. I didn’t know this for way too long.
Are we to continue sin so that grace may increase…How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life… knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ…death no longer is master over Him…consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:1-11 (NAS).
We are called to die with Him in His death. The “newness of life” comes only after we crucify our flesh. It occurs to me through the reading of these Scriptures that when someone accepts Christ as Savior through His blood by repenting of the sin nature, they automatically enter into covenant with Yahweh. Unfortunately, many are saved for a long time before they understand that the covenant has not been activated because they have not died to self or even understand how or that they need to. Some never understand. They continue to have all of the same problems and issues they had before salvation because they have no idea who they are in Christ. It is like having a vault full of billions of dollars, yet it is untapped because they do not know it exists or don’t know they have the key in their grasp. So it is with the average believer; they forfeit for lack of knowledge, therefore perish.
Most people never know their covenant promises. Most have zero understanding of how to tap into the limitlessness of God’s power and authority to overcome all obstacles. They never receive revelation or understanding about how to die with Him, therefore operating within the covenant always eludes them. I was this way until death of the flesh was revealed to me. I say again that there is no covenant activation without death of the flesh. It is the death for which He calls us that ushers freedom from sin.
Chapter 2: Questions and Answers
Many years ago, I heard it said that when you glue two pieces of wood together with permanent glue, even if you pry them apart with force, there are remaining fragments of each piece of wood permanently attached to the other. So it is with divorce. One is never completely free from the other because there are fragments of memories that will forever remain.
I am twice divorced; once from an abusive, vile, adulterous husband, and once from a great guy. In my second marriage (the nice one), I was in my own turmoil given the abuse of the first marriage. I am now married to the man for whom God created me before the foundation of the Earth. Even after forgiveness (of self and the ex-spouses) and repentance of my own wrong along the way, there are fragments that will forever remain. This is not God’s punishment, but rather God’s Law in effect. It’s simply the result of having been glued together with someone with permanent glue (covenant vows) and ripping yourselves apart (broken covenant).
Some divorces must happen. Without getting into a debate, this is about the pain of a fallen world and bad choices. In the grand scheme of things, its obvious that few marriages are actually God ordained. Regardless of one’s personal take on this subject, divorce happens. Even when I counsel people and I happen to agree that divorce is necessary, I caution them that divorce is never an easy out. Divorce is never easy. It is both frightening and emotionally draining. The individuals must determine between themselves and God which route will usher true healing. Sometimes it’s working it out through great sacrifice, dedication and seeking the face of God, but unfortunately, other times it is divorce for the sake of being able to truly come back to a place of sanity, safety, and healing, aka peace.
If people who are single (divorced or never married) would grasp the magnitude of the marriage covenant, they would not so readily jump in. Married people, likewise, would not so readily jump out. Even after the pain of wounds has healed, the scars are permanent no matter how far you move away from time and space. No one can dictate who someone should or shouldn’t marry, or who should or should not divorce. That is between the individuals and God.
We must, however, caution all who come for counsel as to the ramifications of both. Every situation is different. There are Scriptures we could all debate and toss around, but it still comes back to the individual and their walk with God. Let us not forget that we all desperately need the free gift of both grace (that which we do not deserve) and mercy (not getting deserved punishment).
Q and A:
I have a dear friend and brother in Christ who posed some very good thoughts and questions. They are as follows:
- I have questions about your belief that there’s but one God-ordained person that He wants each of us to find and marry. Rather than that being a comforting thought (that God created someone just for me), in the emotional cauldron of dating/courtship, I’d be terrified of picking the wrong person, knowing that getting it wrong would doom me to a life of marital misery.
Of course we should want God’s perfect will for our lives and need to pray for direction in this most important of decisions. Christians are under orders to marry only other believers; that much we know. And I remember the admonition of my youth leader when I was a teenager: “Don’t date someone you already know you couldn’t marry.” Adhering to that would preclude a lot of needless risk. And I hear what you’re saying about people marrying somebody they’re currently having an affair/living with. What have they gained once they tie the knot? A spouse they already know is more than willing to have sex outside of marriage! What a catch!
- But why would God tell Christians to marry only believers, if the choice was not ours to make? Wouldn’t it be more consistent if the Bible said, “Determine who it is that God has created for you, then marry them.” There are so many other issues we consider in choosing a life-partner, variables such as compatibility (what we think is important, what we have in common) and practicality (kids, money, health, etc.). Still, a Christian hoping to marry may find themselves with more than one suitable choice. Could it be that God would bless a marriage to any one of them, as long as we don’t knowingly disobey Him? Can we assume that all marriages that do break up failed because it wasn’t a union with that one, God-ordained person? Or that happy, successful, God-honoring marriages are impossible if we mistakenly choose the one who was not God’s top choice for us?
My response to “fear of messing it up” is this – we must understand that when we draw so near unto the face and heart of God, mess-ups are fewer and farther between. This knowledge should usher peace, not anxiety. Fear comes from punishment, but perfect love casts out fear (I John 4:18). The more in love with Yahweh we grow, the less room fear will have a place to live and mutate into a state of a spiritual paraplegic.
More often than not, we are looking for a mate rather than looking for the perfect will of God to manifest through our lives. With that frame of mind, we’re already off course. When we do find someone we desire to marry, we generally don’t seek God to answer our question of “Are they right or wrong?” We only ask God to bless the union, regardless of His will. If we spend our time focused on the perfect will of God instead of “Who can I marry,” everything will change. Instead of seeking a mate we should be seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
Simply stated, when God’s people seek Him first and His mission He has set before us, we’ll stop focusing on, “What if I mess up? What if I do the wrong thing or want to marry the wrong person,” and begin focusing on the Kingdom, supernaturally-naturally, our ordained mate will be presented and, through Holy Spirit already in full force, in time we will know the difference. Satan will send decoys along the route to throw us off the spiritual scent, but keen discernment from Holy Spirit actively moving within us will allow discernment to kick in and overpower emotions and lusts of the fleshly man. It’s as simple as that. The biggest problem with God’s people is that we have grown as impatient as the world in need of Christ. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, the fact remains.
With the question of, “Could it be that God would bless a marriage to any one of them, as long as we don’t knowingly disobey Him? Can we assume that all marriages that do break up failed because it wasn’t a union with that one God-ordained person? Or that happy successful God-honoring marriages are impossible if we mistakenly choose the one who was not God’s top choice for us?”
I personally do not believe that just because a marriage breaks that it was not of God. We have the innate ability to ruin the best of things, marriages included. Also, I don’t believe that God can never bless a union that was not His perfect will. That would imply that something is impossible for God. Everything God has done on the behalf of mankind has been worked around our foolish mistakes. If the two people earnestly desire to be pleasing in His sight, God can work any number of miracles.
Also, I would like to add that there are certain people for certain seasons whether it pertains to marriage or any variety of relationships. A person may very well have two ordained mates, but obviously separately in different seasons. Say someone marries a person that is ordained for them and then they die prematurely. That does not mean that since he or she was their created mate that there won’t be another season (after healing) for their second ordained mate to come along. However, there is also the possibility that there was only one and the rest of their life is to be spent in celibacy as a eunuch. These are very intimate issues that need to be resolved between the individual and God. Again, when the focus remains on the Kingdom of Heaven in every season, there won’t be much room for error.
- His next question was: “What are the acceptable reasons for getting married? How does your ‘one ordained mate’ theory square with Paul’s admonition that those who ‘burn with passion’ (to Christ-followers) should go on and get married (1 Corinthians 7:9)?” In vv. 26-28, Paul says that, when it comes to marrying or staying single, we’re to count the cost, choose wisely, honor whatever commitments we’ve already made, then go ahead and decide based on those considerations. He doesn’t seem to have a one-reason, one-person view. If so, wouldn’t it be more logical to say: ‘Pray for God to show you if He wants you to marry. If the answer is yes, ask Him to point out the one’?”
Good question, indeed, and not without an answer. I respond by skipping to vv. 32-35, which read, “But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of Yahweh, how he may please Yahweh; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of Yahweh, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to Yahweh.”
With this in mind, for me, it only solidifies the relevance of God-ordained spouses. Paul speaks candidly that if you cannot control yourself in your “burning,” marry, but with the marriage your interests will be divided between Yahweh and your spouse. However (this is a large however), if we conduct ourselves in self-discipline (as we are repeatedly instructed, I Corinthians 9:27) and wait upon the perfect will of Yahweh for our mate, how beautiful a union! In this, both the husband and the wife are focused on God together; hence, no division will occur. Both will be so Kingdom-focused, Kingdom-minded and Kingdom-driven that everything else will fall into its proper place. In this, they have secured undistracted devotion to the Lord while married.
Sadly, as it stands today, we burn, therefore, in the effort to not commit fornication (wrong motive for marriage), we enter a covenant not ordained by God; He merely allows it. Let’s face facts, we live in a world where followers of Christ and non-followers conduct themselves in the same manner leaving us all bewildered and hazy on the will of God. People in and out of the body of Christ are committing adultery and fornication as though it is absolutely acceptable.
Many reason within themselves, “God will forgive me.” But, as I’ve stated in previous books, forgiveness is not the issue at hand. Forgiveness was given at the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Blessings of God, on the other hand, are the issue. When we do whatever we want and then just expect God to bless any ol’ marriage based on the above words of Apostle Paul, we limit His hand of blessings. We forge a mess without even realizing what we’ve done until the mess has fully metastasized in our lives.
Once we finally get on board with God’s perfect will (obedience) verses His permissive will (disobedience), we are left in a bit of a quandary, the preverbal pickle, wondering why God has forsaken us. It does not have to be this way. Granted, God can absolutely bless wrong marriages if both the husband and wife choose submission both to God and one another, but it must be a joint, unified decision which happens next to never. Most just continue to co-exist until death and call it a successful marriage all the while condemning those who “didn’t go the distance.”
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, NAS).”
“God loves the individuals who make up the marriage more than He loves the marriage institution!” Stephen Gola, author of Divorce: God’s Will?
Prayer: Father, as I read this book, I pray to understand what You want me to personally apply to my life. I desire to know what You know and understand what You understand. I thank You for helping me move out of the normal thinking of the traditions of man and step into a new dimension of revelation that I may walk in freedom and holiness as You have designed for Your people. Amen.