Chapter 10: Understanding Adultery
“You shall not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14, NAS).”
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them…but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:18-25)
Old Testament Adultery:
“but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery (Matthew 5:22, NAS).”
Definition of Adultery: being unfaithful to covenant vows in any capacity; spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, and even financially – covenant betrayal
One of the treacheries against God we see so much in the Old Testament is adultery, otherwise noted as prostitution. For obvious reasons, adultery here is not sexual as we think of it in the natural – it is the total package of covenant betrayal. Many throw out Matthew 5:22 to people concerning divorce by stating that the only legal ground for divorce is adultery, yet we foolishly automatically think of adultery exclusively as sexual, much like we misuse intercourse assuming it’s exclusively sexual in nature. This is where great confusion enters.
Adultery comes in many, many forms. It is, in short, being unfaithful to the covenant vows of marriage; sexual misconduct is adultery, no doubt, but so are many other forms. We should not limit the broad spectrum of its definition lest we leave people in confusion and condemnation. We, God’s people, are His bride. In Jeremiah 3:9, God referred to His people as committing “whoredom…defiled…with stones and stocks.” Where do we read about sexual misconduct? We do not.
In wedding vows, however worded, the promise between the groom and the bride are to be faithful always, loving always, committed fully one to the other as long as they both shall live, and forsaking all others. However you slice it, to break these vows in any capacity (sexually, mentally, emotionally, physically, or spiritually), adultery has been committed. E.g. when a person places more value on their career, friends, hobbies, children, or anyone or anything else, adultery has been committed. To be present in the marriage physically without another person involved, yet one has pulled away mentally or emotionally leaving the spouse lonely and abandoned is adultery, make no mistake.
Biblical Scope of Adultery:
To understand the full spectrum of “adultery,” we must realize that when any of the covenant vows are forsaken, adultery is in full-force. This is why so many struggle with attempting to stay in a loveless, comfortless, honor-less, and lonely marriage. Most Christians are told, “If the act of adultery (translated exclusively as sexual misconduct) has not taken place, you have no grounds for divorce.” How many people forsake their bride or groom for their work, friends, family, hobbies, etc.? To reiterate, the vows say, “Forsaking all others, being faithful only to her or him so long as you both shall live.” Adultery has clearly transpired when any of these vows are broken.
I read an article by Robert Walters entitled, The Biblical Definition and a Biblical Conclusion. Here is a portion of that article that is well worth reading:
The Bible is not a dictionary, thus we should not expect it to define a word in the same manner as would a dictionary. The Bible is the word of God composed of various books and letters. In defining adultery, we must study and compare various passages of Scripture. This is the only way to ensure an accurate, scriptural definition.
As is often the case, a word may have more than one definition. Some, for example, would say that adultery is nothing more than “the act of sex a married person has with the spouse of another.” To believe this, one would have to be ignorant of or deliberately ignore a number of Scriptures that contradict such a definition. The Scriptures reveal that adultery is used to describe different actions committed by an individual or group. But the result is always an action contrary and detrimental to the covenant known as marriage. The narrow definition of the word that some espouse is merely effort to defend traditional error.
In defining adultery, consider the following Scriptures: “And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks (Jeremiah 3:9, KJV).” This passage tells us that “she” (God’s people) committed adultery with stones and stocks. These things were party to the sin. When we understand the sin, we will understand adultery as it relates to the present marriage, divorce, and remarriage controversy.
A covenant was made between the nation of Israel and God. Israel agreed to abide by the terms of the covenant and God promised to bless them. The stones and stocks were the objects to which God’s wife—Israel—gave its affections. The foreign object that adulterated the relationship served to replace God. God divorced Israel and the relationship he had with them ceased to exist. No sex involved, yet adultery was committed! Therefore, if anyone tells you that “adultery is nothing but a sex act,” you may want to refer him or her to the Scripture noted above.
Some, in an attempt to defend the traditional definition, may argue that adultery in the passage under study is spiritual adultery. But the sin in view here is marital adultery (Jeremiah 3:14), a sin that was an act of unfaithfulness to the marital vows, even though sex was not involved. Today, a person can commit adultery against their spouse in exactly the same way without sex being involved. Virtually all admit that adultery is committed by “putting away” and remarrying (Matthew 19:9). Even those who are not capable of having sex are able to commit adultery in various ways, namely by simply being unfaithful to their spouse—acting as if the marriage does not exist and taking up with another.
“And he saith unto them, whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her (Mark 10:11, KJV).” This Scripture does not agree with the traditional definition of adultery. Jesus says that adultery is committed against the previous spouse rather than with the second woman he marries! We are compelled, therefore, to reject the traditional definition in favor of the biblical definition. This Scripture makes it clear that adultery includes the idea of the breaking of a covenant. But do not confuse the word “breaking” with the word “destruction.” One may break the terms of a covenant; yet, if repentance and forgiveness follow, the covenant remains intact. A marriage is ended, destroyed, over, when one or both parties have legally declared the marriage to be over. The Jewish Law, and the law of our land, requires a “bill of divorcement” or divorce certificate. When one who is divorced, and therefore “unmarried,” is unable to resist sexual temptations, he may marry another (1 Corinthians 7:8, 9). (end excerpt)
Is a Remarried Divorced Woman an Adulterer Forever?
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16, NAS).”
Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law…but sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin (Romans 7).
First, I notated II Timothy 3:16 simply to remind us of the general purpose for the Word. Secondly, in the very long text of Romans 7 above (none of which could be overlooked), we see that, by law, if a woman is divorced and the husband lives, the woman is considered an adulterer should she remarry. Countless women have struggled with this passage stating that, according to this passage, any woman who is legally divorced and remarried is an adulterer forever lest her ex-husband die— only then she is freed from the law. This seems cut and dry enough, but only if we read these texts absent from the remaining texts. Fortunately for us all, Paul did not stop with the first few verses!
This is where the importance of understanding covenant with God, as written in chapter two, comes in. As the Word plainly directs, we see that the only way to enter into true covenant and to be freed from the law is exclusively through death. The above reference begins with physical death of the ex-husband as the only solution to the adulterous woman’s freedom, but then Paul transitions quickly into the spiritual diverting away from that which is physical.
Keep in mind that the Old Testament (Old Covenant) is physical, whereas the New Testament (New Covenant) is spiritual. What transpired back then (pre-Christ) did so physically, but what transpires today (post-resurrection) is spiritual. To “die” as in “die to self” is a spiritual term and, in so “dying to self,” we are freed from the weight of the Law and we enter into the rest and relief of the Law through Christ’s fulfillment of the Law.
The Law reveals sin and sin kills man. Sin kills the man because no one can fulfill the Law. Paul immediately instructs that we are all to enter into death (spiritually speaking) so as to enter the Body of Christ. In so joining, death to the old Earthly man has to occur. When death takes place, our new life in Christ frees us from the law—all of it.
Bringing it full-circle, in reference to divorce and adultery, we see that, by law (earthly, old man), the divorced and remarried woman is an adulterer. However, Paul shifts attention to all sin—that all people are sinful—that the flesh (physical) of any man or woman is sinful. Once in Christ, divorced, single, or married, we are exempt from the law – the law that binds our human form to the condemnation of adultery of any kind; the adultery of breaking the Law of our holy God.
In other words, though the Law condemns everyone in their adulterous condition against God, once in Christ, we are no longer a slave to sin therefore we are no longer an adulterer. Too many people focus on the first section of “an adulterous woman” citing that no woman can remarry if her first husband lives lest she is a whore, yet Paul’s whole intent is not the physically adulterous woman but rather to point to understanding adultery against God and how to become free from all forms of adultery.
In doing so, he points to us all as sinful in need of death (spiritually) so as to partake of the new life offered by God through Christ. If you are in Christ, and if you are divorced legally, and if you are remarried legally, you are not an adulterous woman – you are free! Dying to self as notated in chapter two allows us to enter into the rest (peace) of Christ and, in turn, we are freed from the Law which keeps us all under condemnation. You are free!
Chapter 9: What about Love?
I believe wholeheartedly that, once you truly love someone, you will never stop though the love will transition into a different type. Otherwise, if you cease loving someone, you never loved them in the first place. Love is everlasting no matter what transpires between two people, whether in marriage or friendship. It can be tricky if we don’t see and weigh it through the eye of The Way because genuine love is everlasting. Only when we view love from a Kingdom perspective will we be able to correctly gauge relationships, the emotions thereof, and how to proceed in life.
Being twice divorced, I now have and will always have two men out there in the world with which I have loved and made covenant. Though I am divorced from both, there will always be a bond, on some level, no matter how much time and space is between us. It’s a fact that no one can deny or remove. Because I genuinely loved both, love for them will remain unending, but the love is exclusively a supernatural agape love, a love that would behoove all to seek for their ex-spouses.
John W. Schoenheit defines the four types of love as follows:
EROS: “The Greek word for sexual love or passionate love is eros, and we get English words such as “erotic.” When eros was used as a proper noun, it referred to the Greek god of love. The Greek word eros does not appear in the biblical text, so we will not spend time on it in this article, but it has had such an impact on English and our view of sexual love that it is important to mention.”
AGAPE: “The Greek word that refers to the love of God, one of the kinds of love we are to have for people, is agape. Agape is the very nature of God, for God is love (1 John 4:7-12, 16b). The big key to understanding agape is to realize that it can be known from the action it prompts. In fact, we sometimes speak of the “action model” of agape love. People today are accustomed to thinking of love as a feeling, but that is not necessarily the case with agape love. Agape is love because of what it does, not because of how it feels... God so “loved” (agape) that He gave His Son. It did not feel good to God to do that, but it was the loving thing to do. Christ so loved (agape) that he gave his life. He did not want to die, but he loved, so he did what God required. A mother who loves a sick baby will stay up all night long caring for it, which is not something she wants to do, but is an actual act of agape love.
The point is that agape love is not merely an impulse generated from feelings. Instead, agape love is an exercise of the will, a deliberate choice. This is why God can command us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44; Exod. 23:1-5). He is not commanding us to “have a good feeling” for our enemies, but to act in a loving way toward them. Agape love is related to obedience and commitment and not necessarily feeling and emotion. “Loving” someone is to obey God on another’s behalf, seeking his or her long-term blessing and profit.
The way to know that we love (agape) God is that we keep His commandments. Jesus, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me…” (John 14:21a). There are Christians who say they love God, but their lifestyle is contrary to God’s will. These people mistake their feeling of affection for God for true agape love. Jesus made this clear: “He who does not love me will not obey my teaching…” (John 14:24a).“
PHILEO: “The third word for “love” we need to examine is phileo, which means ‘to have a special interest in someone or something, frequently with focus on close association; have affection for, like, consider someone a friend.’ It would probably be helpful if phileo were never translated “love” in the New Testament because it refers to a strong liking or a strong friendship.”
STORGE: “The fourth Greek word we need to understand is storge, which is the love and affection that naturally occurs between parents and children, can exist between siblings, and exists between husbands and wives in a good marriage. It occurs in Romans 12:10 in the word, philostorgos, which is a compound word made up of philos (the noun form of phileo) and storge.” (end excerpt)
That being said, we must decipher what to do with feelings of love. Forever I will love both my ex-husbands. Forever they will be a part of who I am because being with them through good and bad helped shape the person I am today. So the question remains: “what do I do with the love I feel for my ex-spouses? If I love them, does that mean we should get back together?”
As for my first ex-husband, mutual love appeared to have ruled before our marriage, but it quickly shifted into hatred from him toward me, which ruled for many years post-split. Because of his hatred against me, eventually hatred formed in my heart against him. Once I came into a place of forgiveness through Christ and began to walk in agape love toward all mankind, I couldn’t help but shift from hatred back into love. However, it is not a storge love between a husband and a wife, but one of agape that allows my spirit-man to extend love where hatred would otherwise long to rule. With some folks, agape love can “feel” like love that would bring them to reunite in marriage. We must keep in mind that agape love is very different than storge, the love that would tie a husband to a wife.
Many divorced or almost divorced people come into Christ and assume that agape love dictates that they must reunite, and that simply is not so. This goes back to what I and many others have taught about not being led by the soul (mind, will, and emotions). Just because you love someone does not mean you are meant to be together and that your love can sustain a marriage.
I dearly love and respect my second ex-husband, as I always have. My love for him is now and always was both phileo as well as agape. I married him because I misinterpreted my love for him as storge. Because of this misinterpretation, our marriage failed. Many people were hurt, not excluding both of us. Much guilt and shame on my part were involved in our divorce. My phileo love for him has never wavered, and it remains until this day. Phileo love does not mean that we should remarry if we were both single.
It is of the utmost importance in our walk with Christ that we understand the different types of love and how to walk in them properly. We should not try to hide that we love our ex-spouses, nor should we misappropriate our love and attempt to remarry with the wrong love. With divorce, there is often a feeling of “because I love (agape or phileo) them, I don’t love my new spouse completely” or “maybe I am still in love (storge) with them” or “I have such strong love (eros) love for them, maybe we should have an affair and see where it goes.” All of this thinking leads one to a perpetual life of misery, pain, and guilt – often shame and remorse. God wants His people to live in peace, so much that He instructs us to pursue peace hot and heavily!
Once you have moved on in your life and have concluded through seeking God’s will that your divorce is for the betterment of all, learn to love with agape love and leave the rest behind. If neither of you has remarried and you are both continually drawn to one another, reuniting may be the correct course of action. No matter what and above all else, your relationship with Jesus needs to be your priority. When He is your all-in-all, your relationships in this life will work themselves out in time. Jumping into (or back into) any human relationship is always going to be disastrous eventually if you do not first seek the Kingdom of God, His righteousness, His will, and His plan for you.
Prayer: I desire, O God of Heaven and Earth, to walk in keen discernment to know how to love whom. I want to properly apply love as You have pre-ordained and not mix emotions with what is true and holy. I desire to keep myself pure in and out of marriage, no matter where I am in life. Reveal to me how to walk in self-discipline always. Selah.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Corinthians 6:14, KJV).
Right out the gate, most everyone can quote this Scripture above, yet few comprehend the depth of its meaning. For example, when I was growing up, I was taught that “unequally yoked” meant that no Independent Baptist should mix with any other type of Baptist (Southern, Free Will, etc.) and definitely, we were not to intermarry with any other “foreign” denomination such as Lutheran, Methodist, and absolutely not with a Pentecostal or Presbyterian! Also, no person should ever mix with anyone outside their race, nationality, political or social status. Then there is the actual reality that no follower of Christ should marry a non-follower of Christ.
In the Old Testament, God clearly instructed His people, time and time again, that they were not to marry outside their race. What was God’s motivation in this command? Was He prejudice against skin color or language that He created? No. God gave this command to keep His holy people pure of other gods, of worshipping anyone other than Himself. We must remember that the Old Testament was about things manifesting in the natural. The New Testament was about things happening in the spiritual. The Old Testament always mentioned how people looked externally. The New Testament does not speak of outward appearance. The reason is that things come first in the natural, then in the spiritual. Therefore, being unequally yoked has nothing at all to do with anything external, but spiritual.
I Corinthians 15:46-47 states: “The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.” In the grand scheme of things, the spiritual is first in so much as God is Spirit and He has no beginning and no end, but this reference is written for the Earth, for mankind. We are physical man (natural first), but, through Holy Spirit (spiritual second), we are able to become spiritual. It’s all about keeping things within God’s perspective and order.
Since God chose to leave out external appearance in the New Testament, we must pay attention and follow suit. He omitted it for a purpose. We are to owe no man anything but love. Money issues aside, it translates, “All men owe every man love, regardless of anything external.” With that understood, we can eliminate any false meaning for being unequally yoked that has anything to do with outward appearance, including, and especially, skin color. As far as denomination is concerned, God is not a God of denomination, but our heart condition. If a black Baptist woman is in love with Christ and a white Methodist man is in love with Christ, what should man do to hinder them from marrying that has anything to do with God?
To take all this even further, to be “equally yoked” in reference to holy matrimony boils down to one criterion: God’s supernatural ordination. Nothing else matters. The problem lies in how we perceive the matter of equally or unequally yoked. Again, most people have an internal checklist that they believe their spouse should meet to a tee, yet the list is generally not in compliance with God. Basically, we box God in so tightly that, no matter how clearly He reveals His will, we are too blinded by the flesh, and religious and parental tradition, to recognize. “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment,” is instructed in John 7:24.
Don’t Judge by the Cover:
My husband isn’t anything like I pictured as a child. We must realize that our appointed spouse, when we first meet, could potentially not be ready for marriage, but that doesn’t mean they never will. The issue at hand is that we often meet our God-created mate, but, since they are not on our mental checklist, we impatiently and foolishly marry the first person who comes along that fits our standard.
Cut two tennis balls in half, switch the halves, and glue one half of one ball to a half of the other ball. Though they are the same exact shape, color, texture, and size, they will never make a whole; they are merely two mismatched halves stuck together. If you pour oil and water into the same bowl, just because they are, for all intent and purposes, together, does it make them one new thing? No. It’s merely two vastly different substances cohabitating. The point is this: just because two things appear as though they could mix, it doesn’t mean they can, will, or should.
I fell head over heels in love with Michael when I was 15 in August, 1983, 10th-grade algebra class, upstairs, A-hall, Mrs. Ward’s class, at Lexington High School. This is the classic example of a good soul-tie, but I was simply oblivious. I took one look at him and that was all she wrote! I didn’t understand it. I didn’t know why. It wasn’t based on looks, though he was handsome; it genuinely made no sense. It wasn’t sexual, hormonal, emotional, or mental – it just was, and with no logical explanation. Unfortunately, though we were algebra buddies and I helped him pass the class, we were but acquaintances. I wouldn’t even call us “friends.”
About nine months after we met, he moved with his family to another city an hour away. I was devastated, to say the least. I remained forever in love with him, nonetheless. I was friends with his cousin before our meeting. I would see him occasionally when he visited her. He later joined the army and moved overseas for several years. During that time, he met and fell in love with a young woman.
As time went by, I eventually married someone else, and we moved overseas. My husband said he was called to be a preacher and things “appeared” in order, godly. Though married, the two of us never became one whole. He was an abuser. He did not hit me, but abuse comes in various forms. He was sexually, mentally, and emotionally abusive.
After separating from my first husband once back in America, Michael and I reconnected and became the best of friends. We were able to do so because he had moved back stateside, leaving his girlfriend behind. We remained friends with no romantic commitment or ties. Two years after my first husband left, I married the nice, great guy I mentioned earlier: a handsome man with a stable job and very kind. To my chagrin, we married one another on the rebound of failed relationships, which is always a formula for disaster. After two years of trying to “make it work,” I left him. We tried several times to reconcile, but it simply was not right. We did not fit together to make a whole.
In 2000, after seven years of rebelling against God (from the time my first husband left), I found myself on my face before the Almighty begging Him to show me the way to righteousness, purity, and wholeness. Though most of these stories are in my other books, my point here is that I finally submitted totally to God. I vowed that I would never again lay with anyone who was not my husband, or marry again unless and until it was as God-intended.
The blessings in mine and Michael’s lives are flowing for many reasons. The primary reason is because he and I make one whole person. We were specifically designed one for the other. The first husband was like mixing oil and water, an apparent mismatch. The second was like those two tennis balls; we looked like a good fit but were altogether wrong. The third marriage is a perfect fit. God has blessed and blessed and continuously blesses without end. I had taken a vow of abstinence long before our engagement and marriage. Although he was reluctant, Michael complied.
Just because you are marrying your ordained spouse does not mean that the marriage will automatically override sexual sin committed with that person; sex before marriage will hinder the fullness of the blessings God initially intended. Just because you marry the person that is within the will of God, your poor conduct (fornication or adultery) before the marriage will taint the otherwise holy covenant. We must stay aligned with God before, during, and after marriage.
Marrying your intended spouse does not give you the right to put the cart before the horse. It is altogether possible to ruin that which God intended to be pure. Our obedience in every aspect is crucial to receive the best that God longs to bestow. It isn’t that Yahweh can’t or won’t work around our sin once we are repentant, but why would anyone shortchange themselves? That would be much like Esau giving up his birthright for a one-time cup of soup!
God, in His infinite wisdom and love, created me for Michael. I thank God that we were finally able to come together as it was designed. If I had known at 15 what I know now, I surely would have waited and prayed according to God’s direction. I would have saved myself, and everyone involved in those first two marriages, a lot of heartache had I been wise as to how God ordains, not just the union of general marriage, but specific marriages. I could never explain my unwavering love for Michael back then, but now I can.
Please keep in mind that I was a born-again Christian, and he an agnostic when we first met. By man’s standards, that would not be a union “equally yoked,” yet was altogether “of God.” This is why we must tap into Holy Spirit as soon as possible and allow our spirit-man to become awakened to hear Holy Spirit speaking, leading, and guiding. By no means could I have entered covenant with him pre-accepting Christ. However, when we allow God to reveal our mate to us, whether it makes sense to common man or not, we will enable faith, patience, and grace to rule in our hearts.
This type of waiting takes knowing and trusting the absolutes of God. The more knowledgeable we become, the more consigned to Christ we become, the more faith we place upon Yahweh, the fewer mistakes we will make along the way.
Chapter 7: What God has Joined Together
“What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate (Mark 10:9, NAS).”
Then Yahweh God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out the ground Yahweh God formed every beast…but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. Yahweh God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out Man.” For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:18-24).
The content of this chapter will overlap chapter six, but I believe it is necessary for us to notice several key things in the above Scriptures as they have everything to do with being equally or unequally yoked.
What God has Joined Together:
First and foremost it reads, “What God has joined together…” If no other Scripture indicates that God does ordain specific marriages, this one does. I have heard many say that the Bible does not clearly indicate that God ordains, creates or chooses a mate one for another. Clearly, if God knows and places the exact number of hairs on our head, surely He would put even more consideration into which person we are to marry whether we choose correctly or not.
Also, I find it intriguing that God states in Genesis chapter two that He took a rib out Adam to put into Eve. Although obviously, she too came from the ground, the difference between her and the other created beings is that she is forever linked physically and spiritually to Adam, Eve’s life mate. God created Adam from the ground without taking anything from another creation, and He could have created Eve without taking anything from Adam, yet He did.
It is my estimation that God did this to emphasize the value and validity of “oneness.” This happened in their situation physically and spiritually. In like manner, this is how we are linked together as one in current day marriages. Physically, we are joined together by having sexual intercourse; spending our lives together eating, drinking, making memories, etc. Spiritually, we are connected through verbal vows made before God and man. Vows are sacred to God as we just discussed; they are meant to be permanent, binding, lasting.
To recap, God says we are never to make a vow haphazardly. Numbers 30:2 reads, “If a man makes a vow to Yahweh, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out his mouth.” Again in Deuteronomy 23:21, we see it written, “When you make a vow to Yahweh your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and Yahweh your God will surely require it of you.”
These are applicable to marriage vows, business vows, flippant sarcastic vows; any and all vows are a serious thing. I am reminded of Jacob and his haphazard vow to Laban in Genesis 31: “Then Jacob replied to Laban, ‘…The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our kinsmen point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself.’ For Jacob did not know that Rachel (his most cherished and beloved wife) had stolen them.” Later we see in Genesis 35, Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin. The vow he foolishly made in haste had to be honored.
Is Divorce Lawful?
Let’s take look at the following passage in Matthew where the Pharisees came to test Jesus:
Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? “So they are no longer two, but one flesh, what therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. “ They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it (Matthew 19:3-12).”
We must address the line where Jesus said, “Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been this way.” It was not that way in the beginning because the initial marriage is that of Adam and Eve – a marriage created by God. It is because our hearts have become hardened toward God, or rather, against the perfect will of God, that disobedience abounds and unholy covenants of marriage abound all the more. Notice that this is where the Lord interjected the concept of being a eunuch.
In reference to marriage, obedience to God would be to pray for the ordained, anointed mate, walk in obedience in every other area while waiting (I.E. no sex before marriage, not dating anyone you desire just because you can, and so on), be patient with God, expectantly believe that God is God and has a better plan for you than whatever you could concoct in your flesh, and above all, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6) trusting His ways above our own.
Does He or Doesn’t He Choose Our Mates?
I was just reading where a minister posed a question which asked, “There are those who believe that God chooses your mate for you and those who believe that the male is responsible for choosing his mate. Let me hear from you? What do you believe? Give Scripture if possible, please.” Many people weighed in. The majority believed that man chooses his own mate because God gives us free will; that God does not create a mate for people.
I believe 100% given all of the good and bad marriages of the Old Testament all the way to current day, including my own personal knowledge from my life experience, that God does not choose a wife for man, but He does create one just as He did for Adam. It was up to Adam to choose Eve, or not. Isaac, Jacob, Boaz, and others had women created for them and were directed to them supernaturally, but they still had to choose God’s will or their own. These God-ordained unions honored Him when they sought His will through prayer. This is the root purpose of everything God plans – to honor Him. Hosea, the prophet, was instructed specifically who to marry and why.
For those who are set aside as eunuchs by birth, there is no mate for them. For those who chose to be a eunuch or were made so by the hands of men, God already, in advance, before the foundation of the Earth, knew this. I must say that I don’t understand such strong people of God believing in a God who knows all would just say, “Here you go. Here are a bunch of people…pick one that you like” or “ooooppps…I didn’t know you were a eunuch, so I accidentally created a mate for you. I guess the mate is just out luck and on their own!” I ask with sincerity, does that make any sense? Many make themselves eunuchs because their ordained mate married the wrong person leaving them no choice but to be celibate. One wrong marital choice throws God’s perfection way off course.
Every marriage ordained of God written in the Old Testament was preordained. It means that God strategically planned the union with great thought and detail before the foundation of the Earth. That is why the marriages were successful even though the people themselves were flawed. We do have the God-given right to choose anyone we want just as we all have the right to choose Jesus or not. That’s part of free will. Just because someone doesn’t choose Jesus, does that mean there is another way to God the Father? No. It is radically and painfully obvious to all that mankind has, generally speaking, chosen poorly in all areas of decision making, including choosing marital mates.
For those who purpose to completely seek the face of God, hear His heart for their purpose, listen to His bidding, choose patience in all matters, and trust His perfect timing, are brought together with the mate God created just for them. We see so much divorce and tragic marriages within the body of Christ, including within the leadership, because we pick according to our standard, wants, likes and dislikes and choose not to wait upon Yeshua.
Marriage on Earth is to be a reflection of our spiritual marriage to God – unfortunately, they are a disgraceful display at best. We make such poor choices because we say with our lips, “I love God” yet we don’t trust Him enough to wait for Him to bring forth into our lives that which He orchestrated.
We don’t generally have enough faith to believe that God is big enough or thoughtful enough to create someone for us or us for someone. Rather, we do our own thing because it may have the appearance of holiness, yet is altogether unholy. Worse yet, not only are our choices in a spouse not for us, but they are against us and then we want God to come and fix our unholy covenant that He never purposed from the start.
God is so intricate in His planning and timing that He creates a mate for those who are to marry. That is why the Word reads, “What God has brought together.” Old Testament to current day, unholy covenants have taken place at the hand of our foolish choices and will proceed well into the future. We are led by emotions, hormones, loneliness, even (and especially) within the body of Christ, therefore, Holy Spirit had no say in the matter. Now having new knowledge of our own personal missteps, dare we have the audacity to question God as to why our marriage is so horrific?
We all know and can quote, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares Yahweh, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11, NAS).’” I do wonder if we recognize and readily accept that there is a plan for every minute area of the life of every person. God is an orderly God who knows the plans He has for us. If we don’t seek His face, we miss it and make up our own plan as we go along; we usher our own demise, no fault of God. Few wait upon the Lord due to foolish fleshly desires not reigned into obedience to Christ.
Since two become one, would God so sloppily not create two specific people for one another? We conduct ourselves as if God is saying, “Yes, two become one, which is a deeply serious thing, but that isn’t my problem. I have left you abandoned and without direction. Do whatever you want, however you desire, and don’t even suggest that I (God) have time to bother with such things. Figure it out.”
In closing, remember that in our marriage to Christ, we become one entity – completely losing ourselves in Him. In human marriage, two become one – both are to lose themselves in the other creating one new entity. Is that not serious enough an issue for God to plan ahead? He ordains, but we choose.
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 (I Corinthians 7:32-34).
Chapter 6: Covenant Vows
What Man Brought Together:
“What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate (Mark 10:9).”
The above text is far too often misquoted when trying to save marriages, therefore it is grossly misused. But, I implore us all to look at the wording: what God has brought together. In all my counseling those considering marriage or divorce, my first question is: Did God ordain (bring together) this union, or is it a manifestation of what man brought together?
Unfortunately for everyone involved, the vast majority are brought together by man, not God. Even when two people are Christ-followers, it doesn’t mean that God was anywhere in the vicinity of their decision to marry. Too often we think, “I should marry him or her because he or she is such a good Christian and so am I.” Again, it sounds good in theory, but in reality, God is nowhere in their radar.
Magnitude of Vows:
“When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow (Ecclesiastes 5:4)!”
“Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to Yahweh.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by Heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the Earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil (Matthew 5:33-37).”
All of that being said and understanding that there are occasions where divorce is inevitable, we need to discuss the ramifications of divorce. When you marry before God and man, you are indeed making very serious vows that are not to be taken lightly. They are not so easily broken merely with a decree of divorce. Let’s look at the next passages concerning God’s take on vows and how they affect us eternally.
God says we are to never enter vows lightly. Remember in Joshua chapter 9 where the Gibeonites, knowing that God had given their land over to His people, were so afraid of being killed by Joshua that they pretended to be from a far away land so as to make covenant with Joshua? Their actions were deceptive. In haste, Joshua made unholy covenant with a people that God had instructed him to wipe away. Because he did not seek the Lord before entering into a treaty, the repercussions lasted throughout the generations. This is what we do when we marry someone and enter unholy covenant not constructed by God.
Note what Joshua actually did at the core. God had moved mightily through this man, a man who loved Yahweh with all of his heart. He obeyed God’s commands. However, we all are flawed and are all subject to momentary lapses of sanity. Joshua had allowed pride to take root. God had been so faithful to allow him and his men to overpower every enemy that eventually he seemed to think that the power was his own. Because of this erroneous thinking, he got himself and his people into a mess.
So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of Yahweh. Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them. It came about at the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were neighbors and that they were living within their land…but all the leaders said to the whole congregation, “We have sworn to them by Yahweh, the God of Israel, and now we cannot touch them. This we will do to them, even let them live, so that wrath will not be upon us for the oath which we swore to them.”…then Joshua called for them and spoke to them, saying, “Why have you deceived us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ when you are living within our land? Now therefore, you are cursed, and you shall never cease being slaves, both hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God (Joshua 9:14-16, 19-20, 22-23).”
It’s amazing how quickly Joshua laid blame on them as though he did nothing wrong. If he had only sought Yahweh as he had done every other time, he would have known supernaturally that the people were acting deceptively. It’s a common practice of the nature of the flesh that, no matter how much we love God, we place blame on others for our suffering and shame. The flesh never wants to be accountable for its own error. It is easier to point out and blame the wrongdoing of another. This is what transpires when marriages go awry; we blame God and our spouse never considering our own culpability in the matter.
Even though the punishment for the Gibeonites was to become slaves to the Israelites, the Israelites forever had to protect them because of the covenant that they entered. In chapter ten, the Gibeonites cried out to Joshua to come from Gilgal to protect them from the Amorites and Joshua was obligated to go. God did, of course, take what Satan meant for evil and turned it for good (Romans 8:28).
Joshua understood the impact of a vow no matter how much he wanted to break it. Had he broken the vow, his victory at Gibeon would not have been what it came to be. Broken vows are a very serious matter. God can turn it for good in the long run, but I implore us all to make right decisions before entering any vow. Let’s look further at Jephthah and the ramifications of his hasty vow.
Then the Spirit of Yahweh came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to Yahweh: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be Yahweh’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and Yahweh gave them into his hands…when Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter…she was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to Yahweh that I cannot break.” “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to Yahweh. Do to me just as you promised, now that Yahweh has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.” “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin. From this comes the Israelite tradition that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite (Judges 11:29-40).
All I can say to this is situation is, “WOW!” It’s interesting to me that Jephthah’s response when he saw her was, “You have brought me down…” as if somehow his foolish vow was his daughter’s fault; he did much like Joshua. In this case, the daughter was innocent in the matter, unlike the Gibeonites.
I must point out something often overlooked. The daughter must have been very close to God given her response to her imminent death. She did not go into a panic, nor did she come against her father, or his foolish vow. What she did do was show respect to her father and to God; her concern was Yahweh and the vow made to Him.
Furthermore, look at her odd request. She did not want to go for two months with her friends to “party” nor did she want to go to grieve her upcoming death by fire. She simply wanted to spend two months with her friends to mourn never having the opportunity to marry. This is odd to me. Because we know she must have understood God and the intense value God puts on a vow, she equally understood the beauty and value of marriage – holy matrimony.
“Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to Yahweh.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by Heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the Earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil (Matthew 5:33-37).
Prayer: Father, I come before You in the name of Your holy Son, Jesus. Father, teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I will be slow to speak and quick to listen. Place a watch over my mouth that I may not sin against You. Stir discernment within me that I hear Your direction prior to making a wrong vow internally or externally. I bless You, O Lord, that You make every curse in my life a blessing through my love for You. I trust that eventually all things work for good for those who love You. I vow my love for You so that I will walk a life of blessings in the Kingdom of God instead of curses set against the Kingdom of God. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight. Amen.
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.