Chapter 12: Soul Ties, the Physical Aspect
I am constantly saying to people that it is imperative to be balanced in all of our ways. We need to be sure not to deal with only one aspect of anything, but rather both the spiritual and physical sides of matters. So many people (non-Christian and Christian alike) tend to deal with the tangible and omit the intangible or vice-versa and it is to our detriment every time. That being said, I want to cover the mental and emotional issues that linger after divorce which eventually lead to unhealthy physical connections.
Both men and women, more often than not, avoid dealing with these issues because it’s either embarrassing, or they simply deny there is a problem. Either way, it leaves us searching for relief in other people; hence, there are far too many “rebound marriages” full of misery and woe.
I have been a victim as well as having witnessed friends, acquaintances and countless others who became victims of suppression of emotional and mental distress stemming from sexual partners outside marriage, divorce, and unstable marriages. If people, across the board, would willingly recognize and accept that unwed sexual partners, bad marriages, and worse divorces do leave us battered, bruised, maimed, and emotionally and mentally fractured, we would more readily address the issues before we enter into another romantic relationship. It may not save people from rebound dating, but it would most definitely rescue people from rebound marriages.
I freely use myself as a perfect example of what not to do. After my first husband left me, in addition to being crushed, depressed, embarrassed and bitterly angry, I was determined to never be one of those (in my words then) “pathetic divorcee’s” who pine away the days. I set my cap on not doing the very thing I inevitably did. I told myself I was strong enough to handle the worst of situations; that I would not be a victim but a survivor. Looking back, all I see are the weak lyrics of some sappy country “love gone wrong” song. How foolish I was. After all, I didn’t know anyone who was divorced combined with gained wisdom, or at least no one close enough to speak intimately so as to draw from their experience and wisdom.
My purpose in writing this book is to shed some light on the subject so as to give others what I never had – insight stemming from experience, wisdom, and revelation from God. Oh, that someone, anyone, would have taken me under their proverbial wing and guided me through their Holy Spirit leading to save me from myself. If I had known the future destruction (better known now as my past) that I would cause many from my rebellion, I would have humbled myself before Almighty God, quieted my ranting about how God had obviously forsaken me, and listened before taking another step in any direction.
Ladies and gentlemen, God, and God alone through His Holy Spirit, is the One and Only Comforter, Healer, Restorer, Refresher, Reviver, and Life-giver. Only through our humility can we position ourselves to receive newness of life on any level, of any capacity. Divorce is a death, make no mistake. No matter how much divorce may be required in any given situation, death is what it is. Only God can resurrect you in your inner man and make you a new creation.
There is no surviving divorce. There is only God-granted restoration or better stated, resurrection and reconstruction. Without His life, there is only death brought from a divorce into any and every other relationship one may enter. If we are functioning in a death mentality (crushed beneath the weight of divorce), it will cross over into every other relationship, bar none. Self-will and determination do not, cannot and will not heal the wounds of divorce or any other form of a wrong relationship.
Death results in decay. As I determined in my fleshly man to “be strong,” I was still nothing more than “weakness veiled.” I took all of my pain and buried it so deeply within myself that I had actually convinced myself that I no longer had any. I lied to others because I first lied to myself. It seemed logical in my imbalanced mind to find a “good man to love me” so as to make me forget all the madness I had experienced with the first marriage and divorce. So long as I “kept moving,” I wouldn’t have time to stop and assess the damage left in the wake of my divorce. The results were my second marital train wreck; hurting an innocent bystander and his family; hurting my family; hurting myself; annihilating my testimony for Christ. I say again: Divorce is death. Death leads to more death because death is all it can breed.
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” states I Peter 5:8. Although I was a Christian since the tender age of six, I did not know how to go about this instruction. I quickly became fodder for the enemy, Satan. First, by entering into an unholy covenant; secondly, by suffering divorce; and thirdly, by having no clue what to do with the remains. It is imperative for everyone to have the wherewithal to do self-analysis, whether married or divorced. God’s people need wisdom and the beginning of wisdom is the fear of Yahweh (Proverbs 9:10). The fear of Yahweh is to hate evil (Proverbs 8:13). Evil is defined further in that text as “pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”
In the aftermath of my first divorce, nowhere was any of that and it was quite a while before they kicked in after my second divorce. Without question, I was the polar opposite of what God required of me for success. I was foolish, without fear of the Lord, prideful, arrogant – evil personified. Unfortunately, people are rarely clear-headed in bad situations. I wanted revenge, though I knew revenge to be God’s business. I wanted to reveal my first ex-husband for the coward, swindler, adulterer, pathological liar and cheat (and much more) he really was – I wanted him to die a painful death! I was consumed with hatred, unforgiveness, sorrow, shame, fear, and bitterness; all the while I knew in my brain that all of those were against the perfect will of God, yet, I did nothing to remedy my errant ways. I didn’t know how.
Too many people in the body of Christ are just as I once was – ignorant while sitting on the church pew. And what does the Word say in Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” It’s high time that God’s holy people become educated in the ways of Yeshua.
By “educated” I don’t mean just gaining information, but gaining information combined with a heart for God; fearing The Almighty over pleasing the natural lusts of the flesh. I am not saying that everyone needs to go to church more or become more active in church functions. What I am saying is that we need to seek the face and heart of God before we do anything else. We need to know His heart and how He is for us, not against us. When we are hurting, unless we purpose to seek the Lord, the natural response is to fill the flesh with fleshly, tangible band aids – anything and anyone that makes us feel better internally or externally in the moment.
If we would stop criticizing God as to what a horrible thing He has done to us, and begin accepting that we have made poor choices all on our own, healing would come more rapidly. This does not mean beat ourselves as if everything is our fault, but rather humbly take responsibility for our part and leave the rest to God. Admit that we have been hurt and beaten, humiliated and abandoned, or whatever the issue; then take the next step and correct our wrong as Holy Spirit directs.
Wait upon Yahweh to restore us before we ever consider entering another relationship. Sex will not fix our heart. Money will not fix our heart. Busy stuff at work, home, church or anywhere else will not fix our heart. Getting married again for the sake of pretense or security will not mend our broken, wounded heart. Surrendering all to Christ alone will.
My Evil Soul Ties:
My personal experiences with evil soul ties are many, but I’ll only share a few. With my first husband, they were due to witchcraft (on his part) and ignorance (on my part). I didn’t realize at that time how deeply he was involved in witchcraft. And unless we know enough of the Word and how to properly apply it, we are easily ensnared. He wanted to marry me for a few reasons, one of which was because I would not have sex with him outside of marriage. Somehow, I became his conquest instead of someone with whom he was in love or was led by God to marry. He also wanted to get away from his parents as many young people do. He saw me as his escape route.
For me, I had made an inner vow to marry him based on, “Because I’m so ugly, I had better marry him because no one else will ever have me.” I knew in my gut that he was wrong for me, but I married him anyway. He and I had broken up for nearly two years, but when I ran into him while out and about, I felt a very strong pull to him, that to this day, I can scarcely describe. I didn’t even like him as a person. I suspected him to be a liar from the word “Go” which led me to break away the first time. Yet, somehow, I quickly became ensnared at a glance and there had been no sexual anything between us. I see now that it was an evil soul tie in play. It was a draw I could not seem to resist, though I wanted to and knew that I should. When I walked down the aisle to marry him, my stomach sank knowing it was so very, very wrong. My dad even strongly urged me to turn around immediately as the bridesmaids were sauntering down before us.
The story of my second husband is very different. I had attended a wedding at a nearby Army base with a friend. I told her that I was definitely going to meet my new husband there. Sure enough, at the reception I walked right up to the chaplain, introduced myself and proceeded to tell him what kind of man I was seeking. He said, “Oh, I have just the man for you!” I gave him my contact information and went home. I carelessly vowed to my friend that very night, “You wait and see. I’m going to marry the man with whom he connects me. It’ll be a story for the ages!”
When he called me, we talked quite a while. In that conversation, I knew already he was not for me based on likes and dislikes. Against my better judgment, I set up a date. When he arrived at my door, he was an hour and a half late – always a bad sign for me. To add insult to injury, I said, “What do you think” in reference to where we should go. His response to my question was, “Well, I was hoping for a blonde, but you’ll do.” Ummm…not a good start to say the very least! We proceeded as planned and had fun. When we returned home, we sat on the sofa and talked a long time. I expressed to him that I was tired of dating and he said the same. I told him that we should agree right then and there to date exclusively; that if it worked out, great, but if not, no big deal. Sadly, he concurred.
Because he was such a nice guy, he met my check-list, and of course because of the vow I foolishly made, we inevitably married after a brief break-up. I knew that he was not for me no matter how nice and handsome he was. I was so lonely and he was such a nice guy that, again, I reasoned that the only logical thing to do was to marry him. We had also been living together and I was ashamed before God and man. I felt spiritually obligated to marry so to get me “off the hook” of living in sin (sex outside of marriage). Nowhere was God in the lead, or even present. Nowhere did I seek the holy face of God for direction. That soul tie was so strong that I could not see right from wrong; I even told my dad that I refused to say the vows because I wouldn’t mean them. My dad refused to marry us if I didn’t say the vows, so I said them. Even after our divorce, I was riddled with guilt, shame and condemnation. It wasn’t until years later that I came to understand the soulish pull that needed to be broken.
Since soul ties are a spiritual and not a physical issue, they are much harder to detect and break lest you know how and where to look. I have personally broken evil soul ties with everyone with whom I’ve had sexual encounters as well as emotional and mental such as with friends (past and present) and family members. In addition, I have asked Yahweh to enhance every good soul tie.
I have broken all evil soul ties between me and my parents, my sister, as well as with anyone I felt I perpetually needed to please, live up to their standard, or even felt the need to compete with, be jealous of, or hate. Basically, when there is a strong negative pull between you and another person and you feel you just can’t break free no matter how strong your will is to do so, go to war in the spirit realm by taking up the Sword of the Spirit and sever those ties!
Prayer: Father, I come before You humbled, broken, even shattered. I ask that You reveal everything to me, both natural and supernatural, that needs to be addressed. Without You, I am nothing and I have nothing. As I am dead, I seek Your holy face to breathe Your Holy Life into me. Show me the way from darkness into the marvelous Light that is You. O Lord, restore, refresh and renew me. Grant me supernatural ability to withstand the wiles of the enemy attempting to lead me astray.
Chapter 11: Soul Ties, the Spiritual Aspect
Evil Soul Ties
Basically speaking, “soul ties” are vows or commitments made to a person, place, or thing; they are a spiritual issue as they take hold in the spirit-realm, the intangible world. The vows can be internal or external, through thoughts, words, or sexual relations of any kind. Our main focus in reference to the topic of marriage and divorce is that of evil soul ties; however, evil soul ties can be between children and parents, employees and employers, ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends, or with any person, people or things that draw you in an unnatural, unholy way.
Any person who has given their life to Christ needs to take the time to break all evil soul ties between themselves and any and every person with whom they have ever had sexual relations, made a verbal or unspoken vow, or anyone with whom they have had traumatic encounters including parents, siblings, family, friends – anyone. In relation to places, you may have made an inner vow of, “I will always be attached to this place” (possibly where you grew up or a place you’ve always wanted to live) rendering you unable to move forward. In relation to an addiction, you may have made an inward or outward vow such as, “I will always be an addict,” leaving you unable to be released from whatever the addiction. Again, it’s anyone or anything that you are deeply struggling to let go and can’t quite figure out the strangely strong pull. Never forget that life and death lay in the power of the words you speak.
As you see in the texts above, you’ll notice “two become one” whether in or out marriage. In marriage, the soul tie is good, healthy, of God, providing the marriage itself is “of God.” Sexual, mental or emotional soul ties between people in a romantic or sexual relationship are bad, destructive, and very unhealthy. They can form because of the oneness of sexual intercourse or even the private desire to be with someone that isn’t interested.
In the case of Jonathan and David, there was no sexual relationship, but one of brotherhood. Jonathan valued David over his own father, King Saul. Jonathan was set in place with David by God to protect David who was the rising king anointed by God to replace King Saul. We can have both good and evil soul ties with anyone, but sexual soul ties are the strongest due to “oneness.”
For example, you may have a dear friend with healthy soul ties, but, simultaneously, you can have co-existing evil soul ties that need to be broken. You simply need to pray something like, “Father, I command by the blood of Jesus that every evil soul tie between me and _______ be broken and that every holy soul tie be strengthened. I praise You, Father, that I am connected to other people exclusively in ways that are healthy for my spiritual growth, for Kingdom expansion, and in ways that will glorify Your holy name.”
In reference to soul ties between you and past or current sexual partners, all evil soul ties must be severed so as to have nothing linking you to them in the spirit realm. When they remain unbroken, they can cause you great harm in even your current or future marriage. Soul ties are created (in reference to sexual relationships) as you link together in oneness through sexual intercourse. Think about it: If you “become one,” all of their and your demons, flaws, and issues link together allowing access to you even after your separation. This demonic activity can cause great mental, emotional, spiritual and even physical distress. But, because it is spiritual at the root, you cannot so readily put your finger on what is keeping you bound.
In being bound spiritually, you can enter into a holy relationship and marry, yet these soul ties with past sexual partners keep you from giving yourself fully to your spouse. Though it may sound farfetched, it makes more sense than anything I’ve ever learned. A person must take aggressive measures by the authority Christ has given the Church to free themselves from past sexual bonds whether they were married or not, and definitely in the case of rape and molestation. If an evil soul tie is with an ex-spouse, those too need be broken, and more so, because there was actually covenant. Just as a piece of paper decreeing marriage doesn’t fully bond people’s hearts together, likewise, a piece of paper decreeing divorce does not automatically release you from a soulish bond.
We must keep in mind that everything is spiritual because we were created by a spirit being – The Holy Spirit. Since we are created “in His image” then it stands to reason that we must deal with the spiritual aspect of everything; it is far more relevant and substantial than the physical. I must admit that the first time I heard of “soul ties,” it sounded crazy to my natural mind. Yet, in my spirit, it registered as truth. Soul ties are a spiritual issue in so much as, though the effects may manifest physically, the source lies in the spirit realm.
Being twice divorced, I found it a relief to learn of soul ties, how they work, and most importantly, how to be released. The more I experienced real internal results from breaking all evil soul ties with ex-spouses and even parents, friends and enemies, I took it a step further and broke all evil soul ties between myself and Michael. I then asked God to increase and enhance the good soul ties between us. It is, as they say, a beautiful thing! For those who have ever been molested, raped or defiled in any way, those encounters can most assuredly leave lingering soul ties – break those as well.
To reiterate, when you think of the meaning “becoming one,” you’ll recognize that, whatever demonic activity your partner has, they merge with all demonic activity in your life. Therefore, once you separate, what’s theirs is still yours. Because it is a spiritual issue, you may find yourself drawn to negative things that, prior to your encounter with them, you were not. All of their spiritual mess became yours through the soul. We must take authority over such bondage in order to be set free. It does not just “fall away” because you “walked away.” Notice the next two Scriptures.
“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; and whatever you bind on Earth shall have been bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth shall have been loosed in Heaven (Matthew 16:18-19, NAS).”
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (Galatians 3:13, NAS).’”
In both Matthew 16 and in Galatians 3, we see that, through Christ, we have been redeemed from the curse of the Law through His blood. Through His shed blood, we have been given power and authority. A large misunderstanding of Christ-followers is that, because Christ bore the curse, we can just “get saved from hell” and all will work itself out. I was raised with such a mindset and trouble ensued!
Yes, Christ bore the curse and all who receive Him through repentance automatically receive pardon from hell, but with the pardon, we, heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven, have been given power from on high. In addition to that power, when we walk in obedience to His commands, we obtain authority to use the power and are expected to use it to the fullest.
This is where we are to take up the power and authority of the blood that bore the curse of sin and the Law to break all evil soul ties that we entered (knowingly or unknowingly). God gave power and authority to Jesus; Jesus in turn gave it to the body of Christ. As the body (you and I), we aren’t to just stand around willy-nilly with the mindset of, “Well, it’s in God’s hands. Whatever happens, happens.” This is foolish thinking at best. God clearly made us kings and priests in the Earth to subdue the Earth; we are ambassadors of The King. With this God-given position, we are without doubt to take authority over our lives!
Above in Matthew 16, we see the words, “Whatever you bind on Earth, will be bound in Heaven. Whatever you loose on Earth, will be loosed in Heaven.” This is concise instruction to take up the mantle of authority and build God’s Kingdom. We are to begin to do this first in our own lives before we can ever have authority to teach, lead or build others. So, with this understanding, we are to take authority over any evil soul ties we have entered through sexual encounters as well as emotional and mental strongholds.
It’s quite simple, really. It isn’t some form of hocus-pocus or witchcraft spells – quite the opposite because that would be of Satan. All one needs to do is:
- Repent of anything unholy, ungodly, or sinful conduct (i.e. sex outside of marriage, including that which has taken place in the mind and heart)
- Receive forgiveness granted at the cross
- Apply the blood that was shed for all
- Pray and decree something like: “Father, I repent of my sin of engaging in sex outside of marriage in my mind and body. I receive the forgiveness You gave to me at the cross of Calvary. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, I command every evil sexual, mental, and emotional soul tie to be broken from myself and (name everyone you can remember by name) as far as the east is from the west. Father, I bless You that You will allow to remain only the good soul ties that You desire in my life. I take up the authority and power You have given through obedience to Your commands and apply it to every area of my life. Cleanse me from the inside out, in the name of Jesus. I thank You that no longer can the demonic spirits of perversion, greed, lust, (name your stronghold) have any dominion over my mind, soul, body or spirit. I choose to remove the leaven from myself and be holy as You are holy.”
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh (Ephesians 5:31, NAS).”
“…and the two shall become one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate (Mark 10:8-9, NAS).”
“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’ (I Corinthians 6:16, NAS).”
“…the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul (I Samuel 18:1, NAS).”
“If a man makes a vow to the Lord, 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 (Numbers 30:20, NAS).”
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit (Proverbs 18:21, NAS).”
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 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.