“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy” (1 Corinthians 7:14). Continue reading
1 Corinthians 7:12-16 In Context Strengthens the Case for Unequally Yoked Divorce Found in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians with words too powerful to be ignored, Paul commands every believer to get out of all unequally yoked relationships. Note: He does not simply prohibit becoming bound together with unbelievers but he prohibits being bound together with unbelievers.
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with and unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.’ Therefore, ‘COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,’ says the Lord. ‘AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN, and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” II Corinthians 6:14-7:1
How any believer can read, study and meditate upon this biblical mandate and still be uncertain about where God stands on His children being bound together with unbelievers in any relationship is incomprehensible. Nevertheless, most Christians do seem to equivocate in their understanding and obedience to Paul’s command here. With such strong and convincing language how is this possible? Certainly for every relationship other than the marriage relationship the only answer can be that sin continues in the believer and they simply fail to fervently obey God’s command to their own shame and great loss. Repentance is called for on a daily basis.
But for the marriage relationship, Paul’s instructions on the topic of Christians in unequally yoked marriages found in his first letter to the Corinthians chapter seven are universally misunderstood so that they contradict what Paul says here. This too is a sin, yet it has been obscured by one simple phrase being applied to this text: “Paul’s command against being bound to unbelievers does not apply to existing marriages because of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7 verses 12-16”.
Doing a careful examination of the universal command in 2 Corinthians 6:14f should make it apparent to all that no relationship between men should be excluded least of all the marriage relationship. Sadly, some have argued that since Paul does not mention marriage in this passage it cannot be applied to unequally yoked marriages. Such logic would necessarily mean that the passage does not apply to any relationship since no specific type of relationship is mentioned.
So the proper understanding of 2 Corinthians 6:14f in the light of its ubiquitous presence in the Old Testament and considering the universal and descriptive language that Paul chooses must be that God prohibits his children to be bound together with unbelievers notwithstanding the type of relationship or covenant that binds them. Sooner or later the believer must fearfully obey God’s command and importune the unbeliever for release. As Christians they must do so in the most loving and kind way, but importune for release they must.
Therefore, since Paul’s ubiquitous, universal command in the Old Testament, which has been carried forward into the New Testament by Paul cannot properly have any normative exceptions, then it is Paul’s teaching in First Corinthians 7:12-16 that must be understood in such a way so as not to contradict the unassailable command in the second letter.
The universal command of 2 Corinthians 6:14 is ubiquitous while the teaching in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 is entirely unique. We know that Paul’s teaching here is unique because Paul introduces his instructions with the phrase, “But to the rest I say, not the Lord…” (1 Corinthians 7:12 Bold mine). Paul makes it clear that the instructions he is giving here are not from the Lord’s direct teaching during the time when Paul was taken up into the third heavens, nor did he find these instructions anywhere else in the scriptures. Nevertheless, Paul’s instructions are inspired by the Holy Spirit, which means that they are divine in origin.
To clarify the issue more, the immediately preceding sentence (verses 10, 11) finds Paul speaking about divorce for two believers bound to one another in Christian marriages when he says, “But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband…” (I Corinthians 7:10). So Paul clearly states that the Lord directly or through scripture (or both) revealed to him that two believers must not divorce (short of adultery or abandonment), but whether or not an unequally yoked couple should divorce and under what rules they must follow were not divinely spelled out previously. Paul was equally clear that he was left to piece this issue together for himself using his knowledge of the word, his wisdom and eminent logic to come to his conclusion.
So then, even with the great apostle’s candid, unguarded transparency much of the church has failed to realize that Paul was teaching the Corinthians that the same rule does not apply to both equally yoked and unequally yoked marriages. Though this distinction is unmistakable in the text it has been almost entirely obscured by two monumental man-made doctrines (The Lord Jesus told the religious leaders of His day that they were “Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men”) [Mark 7:7-8]. The two precepts of men that obscure Paul’s clear teaching in 1 Corinthians 7 are: First, the papist’s declaring marriage a sacrament. And secondly, the misappropriation of the scriptural use of marriage as an analogy for the relationships between God and Israel and Christ and His church. Sadly, time does not allow elaboration here, but the following poem elucidates the horrible outcome:
False Doctrines Bloom from the repeated sowing of false seeds.
Seed by seed,
Garden by garden,
Pasture by pasture,
The lie spreads until it is unimpeachable.
UNDERSTANDING THE DISTINCTION HERETOFORE LOST FOR CENTURIES
In First Corinthians chapter 7 verses 10 and 11 Paul declares the divine decree that an equally yoked Christian couple is prohibited from a marital divorce (assuming fidelity/Christ’s pornia clause); if a separation occurs then reconciliation to one another is their only marital option. Whereas in the case of the unequally yoked married couple no such divine decree exists–Paul makes this clear at the beginning of verse twelve. Since this instruction is lacking elsewhere in scripture Paul provides it here for the Christian church. Paul is uniquely qualified for such a task, and he is guided by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Here in verses 12 through 16 Paul makes use of a conditional clause to instruct the unequally yoked believer as to the necessary condition to maintaining a marriage to an unrepentant person. Paul says that the believer unequally yoked in marriage must stay married if, and only if, a specific condition is met. The great tragedy is that the church, due to the tradition of men, has misunderstood the condition that must be met for the believer to stay in the marriage to an unbeliever. It is monstrous to even think about, but the church has forbidden what God commanded when the condition was not met.
So then, having the letter-perfect understanding of this necessary condition is the key to knowing the heart and mind of God on this issue. It will also bring both texts from First and Second Corinthians into perfect agreement unlike the heretical method that excludes existing marriages from God’s prohibition against being unequally yoked, which has been the habit of the vast majority of theologians on this doctrine.
THE CONDITION FULLY EXPLAINED
Paul’s condition, properly understood, must pacify God’s displeasure with the child who remains bound in marriage to an unbeliever, which without this condition transgresses God’s prohibition in 2 Corinthians 6:14f. Also this necessary condition must be fully understood by ministers of the word of God before they can faithfully and accurately apply it to the thousands of believers who must navigate these dangerous waters and who desire to land safely in the perfect will of their heavenly Father.
According to Paul, the believer must not divorce their unbelieving spouse as long as the following condition is met:
I Corinthians 7:12-13 “she/he (the unbeliever) consents to live with him/her (the believer)”.
And if this all important condition is not met:
Paul says in verse 15, “Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us/you to peace.”
So here is the condition: If the unbeliever consents to live with the believer, then the believer must not divorce the unbeliever. Too many people fail to ask the right question in order to actually know the heart and mind of God regarding the full meaning of this condition.
Allow a brief example: John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Yet the very same Son of God said at the end of His Sermon on the Mount, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven…”for “I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23). So then, the reader must ask a question of the biblical text in order to be certain that the meaning God intended is the meaning the reader understands. Here is the question that would need to be asked of John 3:16: What does “whoever believes in Him” actually mean? Until this is fully and biblically understood the otherwise simple phrase cannot bear the full force of the meaning intended by God, and a person may go throughout an entire lifetime taking their salvation for granted only to hear Jesus say at the great judgment, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” What an eternally tragic day that will be for perhaps millions of careless people.
In like manner, a very important question must be asked of the biblical text in which Paul provides a condition that, if met, means that a Christian is prohibited from divorcing their unbelieving spouse. Here is the question that must be asked and answered fully to be sure God’s meaning is perfectly understood: What does ‘consents to live with’ actually mean? Since verse 15 says, “if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases”, many have made the mistake of thinking that since the word “leaving” marks the failure to keep the condition set forth, then “not leaving” must be the meaning of the condition. Paul’s use of the phrase “consents to live with” is pregnant with meaning. Jumping to the conclusion that “not leaving” is all that Paul had in mind is a catastrophic blunder. To do so is also entirely unnecessary as Paul lays out in the immediate context just what this condition does actually mean.
What does the condition “consents to live with” mean? First, it must be clear what this condition does not mean. The great Apostle does not mandate a negative condition but a positive condition, which is to say that the unbeliever cannot meet the condition simply by failing to do something (e.g. fail to leave) but he/she actually has to successfully fulfill a divine requirement (merely staying does not satisfy meeting a positive condition because it cannot be distinguished from the failure to act at all). Thus the condition does not read: ‘If the unbelieving spouse refuses to leave or refuses divorce, then the believing spouse cannot do so either.’ No, no the unbelieving spouse must not merely be stubborn, unyielding or even spiritually comatose in order to meet this condition, but rather he/she must do something. How absurd it is to think the unbeliever can meet God’s condition by doing nothing.
So then, what does Paul’s condition mean? Merriam Webster defines consent as being in concord in opinion or sentiment. And concord is defined as ‘a state of agreement or harmony. It is an agreement by stipulation, compact or covenant.’ So in essence, the old marriage covenant of two unrepentant sinners sharing their lives together has been invalidated, and a new covenant being laid out here by Paul must take its place.
Therefore, the unbelieving spouse may consent to the new covenant, but is by no means required to do so. Right minded people do not consent to covenants or agreements without first inquiring into the conditions of consent. The reader will see that Paul provides the conditions that the unbelieving spouse must consent to in the immediate context. On the other hand, the believing spouse is required by Paul’s command to abide by the decision of the unbelieving spouse. If the unbelieving spouse consents to Paul’s conditions, then the believing spouse will have neither need nor divine permission to divorce the unbelieving spouse. One the other hand, if the unbelieving spouse refuses or fails to consent, then the believing spouse has divine sanction and should divorce the unbelieving spouse in obedience to God’s command against unequally yoked marriage.
If the unbelieving spouse will not consent to this harmonious, distinctly Christian union, then the believer “is not under bondage in such cases.” Note: It is the believing spouse who is not under bondage to the old marriage covenant if consent to God’s conditions are unacceptable to the unbelieving spouse. In other words, God provides no option for either married partner to stay in the relationship if the unbelieving spouse refuses consent to God’s conditions, which are found in the immediate context and will be shown shortly. The unbelieving partner can consent to God’s condition(s) or he/she can refuse and become divorced from the believer. The believing partner can expect a harmonious Christian marriage partner or they must separate themselves from the marriage all together.
The Greek word σᴜνεᴜɗoҡεῑ is translated into English as ‘consents’. The prefix σᴜν is a marker of accompaniment and association. The word σᴜνεᴜɗoҡεῑ means to join in approval or agreement with consent to or in harmony with the person to whom one is joining. What has taken place in an unequally yoked marriage is that God has taken a married couple and removed one of the two people from death to life, from darkness to light and the unbelieving partner must then consent to God’s terms if they are going to continue on with God’s holy child.
Paul Lays Out God’s Conditions of Consent For the Unbelieving Spouse
Now, as stated earlier, the immediate context (Verses 14-16) show how Paul lays out God’s conditions to which the unbelieving spouse must give consent in order to maintain the marriage relationship to a child of God. God’s first condition to which the unbeliever must consent is to become set apart from the world and toward conformity to the believing spouse even as the believing spouse has been set apart from the world and toward the holiness of God. Verse 14 says, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband…”
A Sanctification Similar to Cornelius In Acts 10: Fearing God While Yet Unsaved
Sanctification is, by nature, a cooperative behavior or activity. The unbelieving spouse does not receive a superstitious blessing of sorts for merely squatting in the home of a child of God or for merely having their name on a marriage licence. In order to remain married to the believer the unbeliever must actively cooperate with their believing spouse in this sanctification. It is very much like the God-fearers: Gentiles who attended the synagogue and followed the teachings of Judaism but who were not full-fledged Jews because they were not circumcised. So then, a failure on the part of the unbelieving spouse to consent here does not equate to leaving and divorcing, which would actually be the outcome of a failure to consent. Failure to “consent to live with” here means that the unbelieving spouse refuses cooperation with the believing spouse to become a God fearing couple–he or she refuses to live like the God-fearers lived.
By conforming to the holiness that the Holy Spirit is bringing into the believers life the unbeliever is admitting that God’s ways are greater than man’s ways and will to the best of their ability not impede but rather reflect the changes brought about by the Holy Spirit in the believing spouse. The vast majority of Evangelicals who very regrettably hold an Arminian view of the gospel (though repudiated twice as heresy by the church fathers) will falsely view this unbelieving spouse as a believer. But that simply is not the case because they lack saving faith. Their will is favorable to the Christian religion, yet they lack saving faith. So then, consent here means that the unbelieving spouse will work at conforming to the godliness their believing spouse is exhibiting rather than being bad company that corrupts the good morals of their believing spouse. They desire the grace of God necessary to follow the ways of the Lord, but they do not personally cry out for God’s grace of forgiveness because they still love sin more than God.
God’s second condition to which the unbeliever must consent is to help bring up the children in the fear and admonition of the Lord “for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy” (Vs. 14). So then “consents to live with” means that the unbelieving spouse will not interfere or steer the children in any direction other than being raised in the fear of the Lord. The unbelievers words and deeds must be consistent with Christian virtues, again following the pattern set out by God fearing Gentiles. Perfection cannot be obtained by the believer or the unbeliever, but both must be working toward the goal of seeing the children all submit themselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and the glory of God in their salvation.
In fact, once an unequally yoked marriage exists the only way for the children to be holy is for the unbelieving spouse to meet all the conditions of consenting to stay. If the unbelieving spouse leaves (a bad outcome to be sure), then the children may be raised in both homes or only in the home of the unbelieving spouse. If the unbelieving spouse refuses to consent but also is allowed to stay in the marriage (an even worse outcome), then according to Matthew Henry the unbelieving spouse will have an undue influence upon the children as both have unrepentant hearts. In addition, the children will live in a house divided. Either way the children will be unclean.
God’s third condition laid out in the immediate context is that the unbelieving spouse is consenting to a peaceful and harmonious Christian marriage. Paul says in verse 15, “Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.” Clearly if the unbelieving spouse cannot consent to living in peace with the believing spouse, then the believing spouse is to live in peace after divorcing the unbelieving spouse. Either way peace in the life of the believer is God’s expectation.
Paul traditionally opens his letters with a greeting of Grace and Peace. He certainly did so in both of his letters to the Corinthian believers. Paul does so because grace is the source of the Christians’ faith, and peace is the end or purpose of the Christians’ faith. Peace is so much more than the interval between two wars or between fights. Peace is the union after a separation or reconciliation after a conquest or quarrel. Peace is the wall coming down because a separation is no longer necessary—the two have become one. Once peace becomes a priority the need for the grace of God becomes evident. When the unbelieving spouse consents to strive to be one with the believing spouse he/she will feel their overwhelming need to cry out to God for grace. Man cannot have peace with others and he will not even be at peace within himself if he has not first been reconciled to and at peace with God, which necessitates the need for God’s grace. The unbeliever must consent to a peaceful and harmonious Christian marriage.
God’s final condition given in the immediate context is that the unbelieving spouse will consent to the gospel of repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. “For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife” (Vs. 16)? Consent here refers to something short of salvation. This final aspect of the condition does not mean that the unbelieving spouse must be saved, but it does mean that they must not reject the gospel as the only way to come out from under the wrath of God. They fail in their “consent to live with” if they become an enemy of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When the unbelieving spouse consents to live with the believing spouse in all of these ways, then the believing spouse is free from the guilt of being bound together with an unbeliever as God prohibits with such strong language in II Corinthians 6:14-7:1. We certainly have hope that the unbeliever who consents to these four conditions will soon see their sin for what it is and cry out to God for forgiveness at which time they would join their spouse as a recipient of the grace of God–two saints joined together in marriage is indeed a beautiful relationship.
The believing spouse has the responsibility to be patient and assist their unbelieving partner as they are called to consent to the demands Paul lays out. They must place their trust in the plans that God has made for them and for their spouse. And if at any time the unbelieving partner refuses and rebuffs God’s prescribed plan of consent to live with the believing spouse, then the believer needs to recognize their failure to consent to live with them for what it is and they must begin asking the Lord for the wisdom and timing to pursue an honorable divorce so that they will not be guilty of being bound together with an unbeliever. It is for this very circumstance that Paul said, “the brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases” (Vs. 15).
Unity for the sake of unity is neither a biblical idea nor a rational ideal. Churches and marriages are two beautiful examples of unity. Church unity is seen in Paul’s final chapter to the church at Rome as Paul sends his greeting to twenty-six members of the church by name. Paul encouraged them to express their unity by greeting one another with a holy kiss (Vs. 16).
Nevertheless, in the very next verse Paul turns to a negative aspect of unity. “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them” (Romans 16:17). In the midst of demonstrating the beauty of church unity in his greeting to all the saints in Rome he urges the churches to put out of their assemblies those who reject the teaching of the Lord and the apostles and thereby destroy unity in the truth.
The desire for unity springs up out of an environment of disunity. Sin not only introduced sickness and death into the world but it also introduced separation. There will be no cries or movements for unity in heaven. Unity is a virtue when people unite around that which is good or righteousness. For instance, all who are in Christ Jesus will be united in heaven, the allies came together against the axis of evil during the Second World War, regenerate believers come together to start biblically centered churches, and vast and disparate populations come together to rescue their neighbors who have been wiped out by natural disasters.
Unity can also be a vice or a sin when people unite for evil or unrighteous purposes often as a response to having grown weary of disagreements and arguing without end. Examples include ecumenical movements in religion, the axis of evil (Germany, Japan and Italy) during the Second World War, and the unity of the Democratic Party and major media outlets, higher education institutions, and Hollywood.
If unity is to be a virtue in a fallen world, it must exclude wicked people. Therefore universal unity for righteousness cannot be had as long as unrepentant sinners continue in their rebellion against God. So then, Paul’s advice to, “Keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them” is a necessary component of righteous unity.
Not surprisingly, churches for over two thousand years have followed Paul’s advice. They have both put people out of the church and they have split apart and become two churches when those who cause dissension and hindrances contrary to biblical teaching have become a faction within the church.
J.C. Ryle taught as much:
“Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion. They weaken the cause of Christianity…But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved. False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism. If people separate themselves from teaching which is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin…The old saying must never be forgotten, ‘He is the schismatic who causes the schism’…Controversy in religion is a hateful thing…But there is one thing which is even worse than controversy, and that is false doctrine, allowed, and permitted without protest or molestation.” (J.C. Ryle quote in Evangelicalism Diveded by Iain Murray).
A marital divorce between a believer and an unbeliever is to a family what a schism between faithful Christians and heretical Christians is to a church. In both instances the blame must be placed where it is deserved. Unequally yoked unions (marriage or otherwise) should be added to false doctrines and heresy as things that are worse than schism. As Ryle recommends praise and virtue for those who would separate themselves from heretical teaching I cannot see any reason not to recommend the same for those who would separate themselves from heretical, unbelieving spouses.
It should be easy to see that all Christian unity must be centered on Jesus Christ as he is revealed in Scripture. Secondly, the word of God is the very source of truth, and all teaching must be measured by the word of God and eminent reason. Along both of these lines the permanence of marriage view comes into conflict. This flawed view on marriage thinks marriage and not Jesus to be the source of Christian unity…regarding the unity formed by a marriage. An unequally yoked marriage cannot find its unifying source in the Lord Jesus because half of the partnership denies Christ’s authority and advocacy. Secondly, the permanence of marriage view fails to take into account the fall and subsequently all of God’s laws to govern the fallen. Though it be true that the mandate of the permanence of marriage did indeed precede man’s fall into sin, but after the fall took place the permanence view fails to account for vessels of God’s wrath, unequally yoked marriages, God’s command against unequally yoked marriage, and bad company/communications corrupting good morals.
In other words, vessels of wrath were not in the picture when God declared that marriage would be permanent. Now that they are in the picture does God still want vessels of mercy to be permanently bound to vessels of wrath? God’s word clearly teaches and mandates that God most definitely does not want believers bound to unbelievers in any relationship.
This has become a rather significant problem as the rest of man’s affairs are dealt with by God’s laws that were given to govern a fallen mankind, but many treat marriage differently and refuse to allow it to be governed by God’s law. Because of this, the institution of marriage has been, for all practical purposes, exalted above the laws of God. It is as though marriage alone continues as God had originally intended prior to the fall even though wicked people would now be in those marriages and marriage would clearly need to be subject to God’s moral laws.
So then, rather than achieving perfect harmony in marriages this view has created disharmony in perhaps millions of Christian marriages and churches. All of this disharmony is a direct result of the permanence view being held above the laws of God—it has been treated as unassailable even to God’s moral laws. If marriages were properly understood so as to be subject to God’s laws, then unequally yoked marriages would be dissolved as soon as the believer became convicted of the sinful union. And church leaders would be calling upon their members to repent of unequally yoked marriages rather than urging them to seek unity between light and dark, righteousness and lawlessness, Christ and ungodliness, and the temple of God and idols. It is heartbreaking to think that for centuries the permanence view of marriage has been coercing saints bound together with unbelievers to “help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord and so bring wrath on yourself from the Lord”.
Believers who realize that they are in unequally yoked marriages soon discover that keeping one’s vow is pitted against God’s command prohibiting unequally yoked relationships. And being loyal and obedient to one’s spouse is pitted against the command to come out from the midst of the world and be separate. And staying married to an unrepentant vessel of wrath prepared for God’s destruction is pitted against God’s command against helping the wicked and loving those who hate the Lord (2 Chronicles 19:2).
Hopefully the reader sees the elephant in the room (preceding paragraph)? This is one ginormous elephant! Follow closely: What (in context) preceded the fall of Adam and Eve into sin? Answer: Marriage. And what was God’s intention for marriage before the fall? Answer: Marriages were permanent pairings (two halves of the one whole). And finally: What (in context) did not exist before the fall? (Clue: look at the previous paragraph). Answer: Vessels of wrath, unequally yoked relationships and God’s moral command to separate from the wicked. That is correct! None of these things existed at the time when God intended marriage to be permanent. Needless to say, God’s original intention of permanence in marriage is still a reality in equally yoked marriages between two believers in Christ.
So then, should saints, with their heads buried in the sand, continue in God’s original intention for marriage acting like no wolves in sheep’s clothing are prowling about? Or must we follow God’s moral law that was given to govern this fallen world…the very Law that blazes vessels of God’s wrath in a light as bright as the sun, and strictly prohibits marriage to them?
It would seem that the permanence of marriage defenders want to carry on as though the fall never happened. If only, they must be thinking, we could follow God’s pre-fall plan. Then we would have no need for church divisions and marital divorces. That would be nice because divisions and divorces are so very ugly and messy. Oh, and we would not need repentance either, or faith, or Christ’s atoning sacrifice, hope, unity, truth, honor, forgiveness, the indwelling Spirit, hospitals, graves, tears, locks, keys, weapons…the list of things for which we would have no need is endless. Yes, well if “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts, then we all could have a great big party. But we have to live in a world that has fallen. A world that is governed by God’s moral law. A world in dire need of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. A world with necessary divisions and divorces to separate the vessels of mercy from the vessels of wrath.
The church through the centuries has permitted local bodies of Christ (churches) to divide years after the people involved have covenanted together to form a place of worship, and they have done so because of Paul’s command to “turn away from them.” In other words, whenever dissenters rise up within the church to take an unbiblical view/direction the church is allowed to put them out and covenant only with the obedient children of God. Marriages must not be treated differently for the members of a marriage require the very same protections so obviously needful for members of a church. Both churches and marriages should be safe havens for God’s saints…places that edify and build up…that support the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification.
Dealing with vessels of God’s wrath is not pretty (nor is surgically removing a tumor), but it is necessary because of dissension within the body of Christ. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. This has not merely been an allowance from the Lord but it is a mandate. Yet many in the church have blindly and mistakenly worked very hard to restrict believers caught up in unequally yoked marriages from faithfully obeying God’s laws designed to protect believers from the contagion of unrepentant sinners.
Why have they done this? They have acted in this way because in their mind marriage has been exalted above the commandments of God. Luther, Calvin and the Puritans declared that marriage was a civil matter, but far too many believers continue to follow the Roman Catholic bastardization of marriage by treating it like a sacrament. Holy matrimony is a man-made monstrosity (no offense intended to those who like me are blessed with an equally yoked marriage). God is holy. God’s word is holy. But everything else in this world must be subject to the laws of God because of the sinfulness of man.
God instituted one man and one woman for life, but he did so when the fall had not yet taken place. From the time of the fall until the present day the institution of marriage has been subject to all of the laws of God that govern the affairs of fallen men. God’s law not only forbids unequally yoked marriages, but also homosexual, polygamous, and incestuous and marriages. The church should have treated unequally yoked marriages the very same way it treats the other three forbidden marital unions. Having failed to do so, the church now finds itself upon a precipice; it will soon fall one way or the other. In allowing one of the four forbidden marital unions the church has no one to blame but itself as it begins its decent down this slippery slope.
For some time now millions of so called Christians have been embracing homosexual lifestyles and marriages. Why? Homosexuality and soon polygamy are going to be considered mainstream in the churches because of the untold numbers of believers who are unequally yoked in their marriages. Their wicked spouses demand that they “love” (by love they mean to advocate for and to celebrate) the homosexuals who for no fault of their own prefer homosexual relations. The Supreme Court of the United States of America has acted like a legislative body and written a law legalizing homosexual marriages just as they legalized the murder of unborn babies in 1973.
Wake up O sleeping church before it is too late. Is it not obvious that our children are being lost to a modern Sodom and Gomorrah? Now is not the time to look back as did Lot’s wife to her eternal ruin (She was looking back to the world that she loved). Repentance begins with obeying the commandments of God and separating light from darkness. Repent of your unequally yoked marriages. Separate yourselves from your defiled churches. Repent of your failure to protest the false doctrines that have crept into the church. Repent of your love for this world and its ways.
Paul, speaking the very words of God told the Corinthians to, “Come out from their midst and be separate says the Lord. And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).
The corporate sin of the church on this issue is massive. It is such a complicated issue that churchmen have thrown up their hands and surrendered. They have sat down when they should have stood up. They have left the people of God to figure out for themselves what the churchmen could not comprehend for themselves. And to add insult to injury, the one law regarding this matter that they enforce is a manmade law that entraps God’s children in divinely prohibited marriages for the entirety of their earthly lives. It has been a travesty of major proportions. It is time for churchmen to learn the biblical truth and stand up once again.
This failure is due largely because of the insistence to follow God’s original intent for marriage when marriage is and must be subject to all of God’s moral laws that govern sinful people.
Colossians 3:3 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Colossians 3:5 “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”
No rational person disagrees with the concept that the death of a marriage partner ends the marriage covenant. In this passage, Paul is teaching the Colossian believers that Christians have died in Christ, and if God has not chosen to save their partner as well, then He has separated the marriage partners since He commands His children not to be unequally yoked to unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14).
However, believers have failed to understand that the death of which Paul speaks separates unequally yoked marriage partners. Why? This has happened because of the sloppy interpretation of Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 7, “If the unbelieving spouse wants to stay let him stay.” The interpretation is sloppy because the vast majority of interpreters come to the text with a predetermined view that divorce in and of itself is sinful, which is simply wrong.
The interpretation that fits the rest of scripture is that Paul’s instructions in this passage was to allow for a temporary injunction from a divorce until sufficient time has been allowed to soften or harden the heart of the unbelieving spouse. After sufficient time, if the unbelieving spouse hardens to the gospel and continues worshiping the created order, then divorce is the expected and commanded path for the child of God–following God’s example as He divorce Israel for the same reason
So then, in Colossians 3:5 Paul uses the synecdoche “the members of your earthly body” to convey the idea that it is your physical body that has died to sin and the world. Since a literal physical death cannot be Paul’s meaning, even though the death of which he is speaking clearly refers to our physical bodies in all their parts, then Paul must be speaking of a functional death. It is likely that the reader is ignorant regarding a functional death?
There is a phrase that people utter to one another that says, “You’re dead to me.” It means you are out of my life just as you would be had you physically died. So then, Paul is saying that this world and its ways…immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, greed is dead to the believer. But notice how Paul phrases this idea: He does not say that the world is dead, but that our bodies are dead to the world.
Indeed, the world (unrepentant sinners) is not yet physically dead. In fact, it is the enemy of every repentant person…always enticing and tempting, which is why Paul says that Christians must consider their bodies as dead to the world. Therefore, the believer’s physical body, which includes the mind, must practically, functionally die to this world and its ways, which means that believers must separate from unrepentant sinners and the cultures that they create. At a bare minimum this biblical instruction certainly means that believers must refuse to be bound together with the unrepentant.
Believers must, if faithful, treat the unrepentant with love as Christ commanded. They evangelize and show every kindness to their neighbors, their co-workers, their relatives, yea all acquaintances, but they do not allow those who hate God a foothold of influence in their lives. The unrepentant are spiritually dead and separated from God, so the children of God must maintain a safe distance by essentially being willing to think in terms of “You are dead to me”.
In Psalm 139 David said, “Do I not hate those who hate Thee, oh Lord?…I hate them with the utmost hatred; they have become my enemies.” The reason so many Christians are worldly (lacking spiritual power and fruitfulness) is due to a failure to hate those who hate God. In addition, this failure to physically separate from all worldlings is precisely what causes Christians to enter into so many unequally yoked relationships. This is precisely Paul’s message when he says to “consider the members of your earthly body as dead to” this world.
Jesus commanded believers to love their enemies, but he never denied that those at enmity with God are the enemies of believers. The heavenly Father is enduring vessels of wrath until a day when he will demonstrate his wrath and make his power known (Romans 9:22), and believers should avoid any and all alliances with these unregenerate people. “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord and so bring wrath on yourself from the Lord” (2 Chronicles 19:2)?
Paul says here, “For you have died…therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead…” Being regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit has made Christians dead to this world, but they must work out this death to the world (functional death) just as they work out their salvation. The more bound to a particular sin or sinner the longer it may take to complete the process of functionally dying to them. But die they must.
This functional death that Paul is teaching necessarily ends unequally yoked marriages just as physical death ends all marriages because being bound to an unbeliever is a sin (2 Cor. 6:14-7:2), (also see blog article titled “The Will of God Dictates Divorce For the Unequally Yoked In Marriage”).
Finally, the unbelieving spouse is part of the world to which believers have died and to which they are to consider themselves dead. The unbelieving spouse is traveling along the ways of the world, while God’s child must travel, and exults in traveling in the ways of the Lord. These two can no more travel together than can light and darkness dwell together, or can righteousness form a partnership with lawlessness, or can Christ be in harmony with destruction, or can agreement exist between the temple of God and idols (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).
Colossians 3:3 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Colossians 3:5 “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”
The Apostle Paul’s Commentary on Jesus’ Divorce Argument Regarding the Legalism of the Jewish Religious Leaders in Matthew 19:8:
“19Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is one. 21Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus…4:30But what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman’…5:1It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 3:19-26, 4:30 and 5:1)[underline mine].
My commentary on Paul’s commentary:
Paul teaches a clear progression from the innocence of Adam and Eve, to the fall of Adam, to the promise of salvation, to the Law of Moses, to the fullness of time when faith would come to God’s elect children through Christ Jesus. It is critical to understand this progression so that many passages of scripture do not become misconstrued. In the beginning, prior to the fall, man had no need for the law, which includes Moses’ permission for divorce. Jesus alludes to this period of time in his statement, “…but from the beginning it has not been this way” (Matthew 19:8). Man’s fall into sin brought about the “hardness of men’s hearts”; another statement of our Lord’s from the same verse. This ‘hardness of heart’ problem made the law necessary until the fullness of time when faith came.
Jesus’ meaning in Matthew 19 cannot be accurately received by the person who fails to put his statements in the context of this clear biblical progression. They destroy our Lord’s meaning by claiming that Jesus argues that it was never God’s intention from the very beginning of time for marriage to be broken through divorce, which in and of itself would be correct, but they fail to find the truth because they, up until now, have failed to acknowledge the clear progression referred to above.
So how would our Lord’s words be understood when the progression is not overlooked? Jesus is saying that God’s original creation of man was perfect and did not include the fall into sin; therefore, the allowance for divorce does not come from God’s pre-fall perfect world creation, but God made an allowance for it after the fall had taken place. Divorce was not the only divine allowance after the fall: punishment including capital punishment is another good example.
So then, in the perfect, sinless world in which God created man…the very state of the world Jesus refers to in this passage as “in the beginning” before the fall, both divorce and capital punishment would not be necessary, but after the fall into sin (a step further in the progression) mankind’s hearts had become hardened (fail to love God and their fellow man), and the whole Law including Moses’ permit for divorce and capital punishment became necessary.
Genuine Christians acknowledge the progression when it comes to capital punishment, but the no divorce ever Christians fail to recognize the same progression as it applies to their biblical understanding on divorce; thereby restricting divorce because their divorce view, unlike their capital punishment view, has never left the Garden of Eden.
Their doctrine on marital divorce fails to recognize the fall. Thus their doctrine treats the believer who engages upon a path to divorce as if it is them and not Adam who has fallen from God’s grace. Therefore, they apply Jesus’ “hard heartedness” statement to anyone who would seek a divorce from an evil, abusive spouse rather than applying it to the evil, abusive spouse. Clearly all should agree that the unrepentant, abusive spouse is the hard hearted spouse, and the innocent spouse being abused needs the relief God offers in his permission to divorce.
Thanks be to God, the progression continues on to those who live by faith and not by works under the law; mainly New Testament saints but including the Old Testament saints such as Abraham. These have always been under the gracious instruction to remain separate from the world in order to avoid slipping into idolatry. No child of God is to be unequally yoked to the children of Satan in marriage or in any other relationship.
In conclusion, how are we to understand Jesus’ words, “What God has joined together let no man draw apart”? First, no man-made body such as a civil court or a presbytery has the right to change or wrongly interpret what God has said on the topic of divorce. Men must not prohibit where God permits, and men must not permit where God prohibits. Even Jesus would not change the Law of God, nor would he give his church the right to do so. Secondly, both logically and biblically speaking, if God saves one spouse and leaves the other in a hard-hearted state, then it is not man but God who has separated the marriage partnership. This should be clearly understood by the fact that being unequally yoked is against the will of God (Literally scores of OT texts & many NT texts but especially 2 Cor. 6:14f). Therefore, it is safe to deduce that if God wanted a married couple to remain together beyond the temporary injunction (hoping for the redemption of the second spouse) in 1 Corinthians 7 , then God would redeem or justify both spouses.
Finally, two saints married to one another should rarely, if ever, have need of divorce because they have progressed from being hard hearted to being of the faith in Christ Jesus. Having said this, it is important to note that many people call upon the name of Christ in vain, which is to say that they are Christian in name only. True believers will often find themselves unequally yoked to a marriage partner who swears allegiance to Christ while bearing neither the fruit of repentance nor the fruit of a genuine love of God. These believers are simply unequally yoked, but many in the church will not recognize this reality and therefore cause this believer seeking relief through divorce great distress.
To recap, a failure to recognize this scriptural progression (not to be confused with dispensations) can and frequently has lead to mistaken biblical interpretations. A proper understanding of this progression is absolutely necessary in understanding our Lord’s comments on divorce in Matthew’s nineteenth chapter.
The Mystical Union of Marriage: How Mysticism and Not God’s Word Has Shaped the Church’s Prohibition Against Divorce
Puritan John Milton, author of the universally praised work “Paradise Lost”, and one of the world’s greatest minds authored a book titled, “The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce”. His introduction simply reads: “Restored to the good of both sexes, from the bondage of cannon law, and other mistakes, to the true meaning of Scripture in the Law and gospel compared. Wherein also are set down the bad consequences of abolishing or condemning of sin, that which the Law of God allows, and Christ abolished not.”
A major tenet of Milton’s argument allowing marital divorce was that God’s original intent or purpose for marriage was to cure man’s loneliness. Milton states very clearly that if physical infidelity is a legitimate ground for divorce, then a man and a woman who cannot have happy conversation with one another should be an even stronger ground for divorce because the mental and conversational relationship is greater cure of loneliness than is the mere physical relationship. And of course an unequally yoked union should be the strongest of all grounds for marital dissolution. It is not so much man’s body as it is his mind and spirit that set him above the rest of the animal kingdom, so they are the more important aspects to be considered.
For reasons too complicated for this article, Christians have taken a mystical approach on the doctrine of divorce. The word mystical (not in use until after Milton’s lifetime) is defined as something being given or having a spiritual meaning or reality that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence. Mysticism is the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience such as intuition or insight, which is in diametric opposition to the traditional Christian belief that holy writ is the primary source of knowledge of God, spiritual truth, and ultimate reality.
The expected outcome of this sinful approach to the biblical teaching on marriage and divorce has been the creation and continual use of unbiblical and harsh platitudes which have been used to prohibit needful divorces for which God made gracious allowance. These awful platitudes have been based upon a precious few passages of scripture, which themselves have been misinterpreted through the mystic lens in order to gain acceptance for an otherwise entirely unbiblical view of marriage and its dissolution (In the following paragraphs a couple of these passages of scripture and the corresponding platitude will be shown).
A critical component of the mystification of marriage saw the Romanists lift marriage to “holy matrimony” by making it one of the seven sacraments that afford priests the power to grant the grace of God to sinners. Yet the truth of God would clearly teach men that marriage is no more holy than cows, crap, smokes or moly…all of which have also been paired with holiness. Only God is holy! And by extension His word is holy. The Holy Spirit is holy because he is God. But marriage is definitively not holy and never has it been so. Marriage is one of God’s institutions to lesson sins’ power over man, but viewing marriage as holy is unscriptural, and the only reason anybody views the institution of marriage as holy is because of the mystical view of marriage taken by the church throughout its long history. A sinful stubbornness (rebellion) exists within the church to maintain this false teaching. By the grace of God, it is the aim of this author to do any part in bringing the true body of Christ to repentance on this corporate sin.
Platitudes, which are used in place of serious bible study, were mentioned in the previous paragraph. The first platitude is “God hates divorce”. This platitude is so powerful that little else is needed to steer any student of God’s word toward the anti divorce bias. When a single doctrine of God’s word is studied in order to obtain God’s perspective on that particular doctrine imagine if the first biblical statement on the subject was that God hates it? Any persons’ entire study on the subject would be bathed in the thought that a perfect and holy God hates this thing, which is precisely how believers begin any biblical study on God’s teaching regarding marital divorce and remarriage.
Malachi chapter 2 seen through the mystics lens comes away with the single thought that God hates divorce. This is not at all the impression that an honest study of Malachi arrives upon, but nevertheless churchmen happily use this platitude to continue the lie with which they are so comfortable until it affects them personally. Once faced with the reality of a failed marriage, and only then, they are forced to truly study the God honest truth on the subject of divorce at which time they realize the horribly unbiblical position the church has held these many long centuries. [See article “Does God Actually Hate Divorce?” to read an honest commentary on God’s Malachi 2 passage]
Regrettably, the next realization they will discover after doing an honest and thorough biblical study of the doctrine of divorce is that the church now considers their biblical discoveries on the subject as nothing more than twisting the scriptures in order to justify their own sin. Christians who feel no need for God’s gracious gift of release from a disastrous marriage will look upon those with ruined marriages and exclaim, “I am glad that I am not like that worthless fellow”. And they will be dismissive of those who have need of God’s gracious gift of marital dissolution as though they are incapable of objectively seeing what God’s word has to say regarding divorce and remarriage.
The second, third and forth platitudes all come from the same text (Matthew 19:6-9) and they are even direct quotes of that text not just poor translations as is the case in Malachi 2. Having been routinely taken out of context these quotes have been useful platitudes prohibiting what Jesus did not intend to prohibit. They are as follows: “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate”, “…From the beginning it has not been this way”, and finally, “…Whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery”.
Most Christians do not care enough about the subject of marital divorce to take the extensive time required to understand all that God’s word has to say about what would have been a relatively simple doctrine had it not been for the mystical abuse the doctrine has been subject to for centuries, which has greatly darkened the clarity with which God’s word speaks upon it.
Dear reader: begin the process of demystifying the doctrines of marriage, divorce and remarriage in your mind so that the church will one day repent of the corporate sin of missing the mark on divorce. Reading as many of the articles herein will go a long way in doing this for the reader. Contacting the author would be nice as well. Christ’s continued blessings.
Divorce rates in the United States rose steadily throughout the 20th century but did so sharply from the latter half of the 1960’s until about 1980 when they began to steadily drop. It may sound like good news that divorce rates began to drop during the 1980’s, but in all actuality marriages began to drop rather dramatically at the same time. Therefore broken marital bonds were no longer recorded for those who merely joined together without God’s institution of marriage. The reality is that broken marital relationships within and without the institution of marriage are as high as ever.
Preachers love to use divorce as a barometer of the ruination of a person, family or culture. These same preachers note that the divorce rates in the church today exactly mirror the divorce rates in the world. They draw the false conclusion that God’s people are doing something grossly wrong when they look identical to the world, which is true when it is, in fact, the case. But it is not the case here for two reasons:
First, the vast majority of those in the church today are not actually in Christ or put differently, they may call themselves Christians and they may attend a church, but they are in no way part of Christ’s church, which is to say that the vast majority of American churches are filled with Christians in name only—superstitious people who happen to worship a false christ rather than any of the vast number of false gods offered up by the world. These people populating today’s churches get divorced at the same rate as the world because they are the world—they mirror the world perfectly because they are the world.
The church finds itself in this condition because it forfeited the biblical gospel and replaced it with the latest iteration of the gospel’s old nemesis semi-Pelagianism/Arminianism (easy believism) gospel born out of the entitlement movement following WWII. False gospels lead to false conversions, which lead to worldly people populating churches, which leads to the church failing to separate from the world. This is where American churches are at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries.
Sadly, for centuries, the church’s response to the godless infiltrating its numbers has been to make a monumental effort to shame these counterfeit Christians into sanctification. A major tool they have used to accomplish this mistaken path was to restrict divorce where God gave liberty and license. Both the churches’ path and the tool of taking a permanence view of every marriage have been abysmal failures. Where the church should have salted the world with the pure gospel yet remained apart from the world, it chose instead to embrace the world and comingle or unequally yoke itself to the world hence losing its flavor.
Secondly, far from a high divorce rate condemning the church as worldly…God’s people actually need to have a divorce rate that far exceeds that of the world and they need to do so corporately and quickly. After the initial spike in divorces for those who are truly in Christ Jesus the divorce rate among the elect children of God would then drop down to a level far below that of the world. How can such advice be biblical…how can it be needed in the church of God? The remnant or elect in American churches are, in large numbers, unequally yoked to counterfeit Christians who are merely masquerading as believers in the churches as these are the majority in the churches today.
The great apostle Paul warned that these imposters would “proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). They will also take “pleasure in wickedness” (2 Thes. 2:12), they are those “…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Timothy 3:5).
The apostle Peter said that they will “secretly introduce destructive heresies”…”Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in greed they will exploit you with false words”. They are “those who indulge the flesh in corrupt desires and despise authority…they are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions as they carouse with you (the saints)…having a heart trained in greed…forsaking the right way, they have gone astray…speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barley escape from the ones who live in error…for it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them (all verses from 2 Peter 2).
As in the days of Ezra, God’s people need to corporately repent of their unequally yoked marriages to the sons and daughters of the world. In response to an epidemic of unequally yoked marriages Ezra commanded the following: “So now let us make a covenant with our God to put away (divorce) all the wives and their children, according to the counsel of the Lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law” (Ezra 10:3).
Christianity has followed along and repeated many cycles throughout each successive generation, and a particularly horrible cycle is one that has the church failing to separate from the world. As God has repeatedly warned his children, God’s people quickly commit spiritual adultery whenever they mix with the nations (the world) and soon fall away from God altogether as they lose their identity as God’s children and become children of wrath at which time a new church is raised up out of the world and the cycle starts anew. Jesus described these believers as salt that has lost its taste. He says of them, “It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men” (Matthew 5:13).
Matthew Henry’s translation of Mark 9:50 reads, “Have salt in yourselves, else you cannot diffuse it among others.” The salt is a true biblical theology and gospel, and it is to be thrown onto the unsavory meat of this world by God’s faithful saints. But once those saints join themselves to the world they cease being salt and light to the world and they become the worst of the world. Again Henry said, “A wicked man is the worst of creatures; a wicked Christian is the worst of men; and a wicked minister is the worst of Christians.” Wicked Christians and wicked ministers are the outcome of the church failing to separate from the world—failing to be salt to an unsavory world by joining with the world.
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?
Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord. And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1).
Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household (Matthew 10:34-36). [What has a believer in common with an unbeliever?] Parenthesis from Paul above.
Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life (Luke 18:29). Bold text mine.
Written on the 4th of July 2017. The church needs to gain its independence from the world and be salt once again.
Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord.