Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Alone -- And God Hates It

Man, made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), needs relationship. It was not good for man to be alone, and no helper comparable to him could be found (Genesis 2:18,20). Therefore God made Eve from the rib of Adam. Adam then 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” (Genesis 2:21-23). God’s desire for these two was for them to be one. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

In the marriage bond, the husband is the head of the wife. This does not mean the he dictates everything within the marriage. As a loving leader, he should demonstrate his love for his wife by giving himself for her, keeping her clean, pure, without spot, wrinkle or blemish. He should love her as his own body, cherish and nourish her. The wife is to submit to her own husband as to the Lord. This does not mean she is his slave, treated harshly and abused, nor does it mean she has no opinion worth hearing. Her thoughts, dreams and opinions matter. She is to be loved and she is to respect her husband (Ephesians 5:22-33).

“So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). Yet, the world today is filled with divorce, which God hates. From the beginning of the world, God intended for one man to marry one woman and for the two to be one flesh until death. When death occurs, the marriage bond is broken (Romans 7:1-3). Sadly, many marriages never reach full potential. Our world allows for divorce for many reasons, even “no fault” divorce (as if something God joined together could be separated without fault). God’s plan does not coincide with worldly wisdom.

God did allow one exception to His plan. Jesus said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery” (Matthew 19:9 – ASV). When one in the marriage commits fornication, the innocent party may divorce the guilty party. Sin does not have to end the marriage, but if repentance does not occur, true forgiveness cannot occur and can break apart what God has joined together.

There are other sins that may destroy a home. A husband who beats his wife or children certainly is in sin and it may even result in the wife and children separating from the husband. Some have tried to say that in such cases God allows for divorce and subsequent remarriage. To support this view 1 Corinthians 7:15 is often referenced, which says, “…a brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases,” but this is using the scripture improperly. No, one is not under bondage, meaning they are not chained to their spouse, or forced to stay with an unbeliever, including someone beating the wife or children, but this does not break the marriage bond allowing for remarriage.

God has one plan for the home: joined together until death. God has one exception to His plan: the occurrence of fornication. God’s view of divorce: He hates it.

“For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce…”
Malachi 2:16
Written By Denny Wilson
Read Denny's other two articles on this subject.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Significance of the Church

The church really isn't that important, right? Isn't the relationship that one has in his own heart with God the only thing that truly matters? Can't a person be a Christian and not be affiliated with a church? These and similar thoughts often cross the minds of honest people. But what does the Bible say about the church and the Christian's relationship to it?

The Scriptures clearly teach the importance of the church by showing Christ as its owner. Jesus promised to build the church (Mt. 16:18) and even shed his innocent blood to purchase it (Acts 20:28). To say that the church is not important is to say that his blood is not important!

Additionally, one cannot have a proper relationship with God without being a member of Christ's church. In fact, the church is made up of the saved. The Bible declares that the Lord adds the saved to the church (Acts 2:47) and that Jesus is the Savior of the church (Eph. 5:23).

It should be carefully and prayerfully noted that Jesus is not the owner of, did not shed his blood for, and does not add the saved to just any church. The church over which he reigns is not a man-made religious body or a conglomeration of humanly devised denominations. Not a single denomination can be found in the Scriptures!

The church described in the New Testament came into existence in the city of Jerusalem on the first Pentecost following Jesus' resurrection (Acts 2). Any church established by any person other than Jesus, in any place other than Jerusalem, at any time other than A.D. 33 cannot be the church pictured in the Bible.

Since the church mentioned in the Bible really is important, no sincere seeker of Truth should be satisfied until he has found that church! We plead with you to honestly and carefully compare the churches with which you are familiar to the church described in the New Testament.

Written by Preston Silcox

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Back to the Bible

"Thus says the LORD: "Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it" (Jer. 6:16).

This passage is a sad commentary on the spiritual condition of Israel. Although they thought they were pleasing to God, He tells them they need to repent and go back to the “Old Paths.” Since the institution of Christianity by our Lord, there has been a progressive movement leading many away from the simplicity of the Bible. Many in the religious world have wondered so far from the Bible that they no longer use it as a guidebook for worship and life. Jeremiah 6:16 calls us back to the Bible. In an age where modernism, humanism, and evolution run rampant in the world and the church, we must determine to find the old paths of God’s word and demand they are taught. Let us consider how we should go “Back to the Bible.”

Back to Bible Study. Our technologically advanced age, which has benefited us in many ways, has also made us lazy in other ways. We need to determine to study God’s word regularly, and independently. Paul encouraged Timothy to “Study to show yourself approved unto God…” (2 Tim. 2:15). The Bible tells us that a sincere study of the word of God will free us from sin (Jn. 8:32), give us spiritual understanding (Eph. 3:4), prepare us to answer the critic (1 Peter 3:15), and save our souls (James 1:21). We must stop depending on preachers, commentaries, media and other sources to do our Bible study for us. Let’s go back to the Bible in individual Bible study.

Back to Bible Salvation. Many people are trying to be saved through various avenues. Some try to save themselves. Others depend on men to tell them how to be saved. However, God’s word is the only source for salvation (Rom. 1:16). The biblical plan of salvation is very simple. One must believe in Jesus as the Son of God (Jn. 8:24). Then he must be willing to repent of all his past sins and turn to God (Lk. 13:3, Acts 3:19). Next, one must be willing to orally confess Jesus before men (Rom. 10:10, Matt. 10:32-33). Finally, one must be baptized in water for salvation (Mk. 16:16, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Jn. 3:3-5). Have we been saved the way the Bible tells us to? If not, let’s go back to the Bible for salvation. May God help us as we endeavor to return to the old paths of His Word!

Written By Ben Bailey