The list below remains in the Bible, but not in the hearts of many that claim to live by God’s every word.  The Church has a problem.  Some in the Church are horrified concerning the legalisation of LGBT, same-sex marriage and relationships, not only in society at large, but that it is welcomed with open arms in some, mainly mainstream Christian denominations.

In the minds of increasing numbers in the Church, it appears that the word ‘sin’ does not mean what Scripture says it means.  Perhaps that is the result of the prolonged, years of sugar-saturated and dumbed-down preaching.  God’s love is preached at the expense of His Holiness, His Righteousness, His Justice, His Goodness, His Judgement.  The Church has lapsed into a false sense of who God is, and has diminished God’s heaviness and holiness.  Believers have developed a false sense of [eternal] security.  Those in our churches that are living in sin have no fear of God’s judgment, believing that nothing can separate them from the love of God.  To them, the wages of sin is not death, but is eternal life in God’s Son.  They have made a confession of faith, and in their eyes, that has sealed their eternal salvation.  Scripture says:

The wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God

“Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, even against your own brothers!  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who submit to or perform homosexual acts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.…” (1 Corinthians 6:8-10).  Who was Paul writing to?  The answer: The Church in Corinth!

The wicked in Church, as well as those outside the fold, who will not inherit the Kingdom of God are listed:

  1. The sexually immoral
  2. Idolaters
  3. Adulterers
  4. Those who submit to or perform homosexual acts
  5. Thieves
  6. The greedy
  7. Drunkards
  8. Verbal abusers
  9. Swindlers

Let us spend a little time on one of those categories; one that has become acceptable in the church and that no-one raises even an eyebrow to – Adultery.  The accepted form of adultery in the Church, but not in the words of Jesus or Scripture is that found among many divorced and re-married couples.  Divorce is like cancer in two ways.  It has spread through the whole of society, and the body of the church.  Secondly, there is hardly a family that has not been touched and affected by it.  It can be devastating in its effect on families and children, and ultimately to society in general.  Yet there is a push to change the law of divorce in the UK to make it even easier to attain.  This is another symptom of the self-destruction that has engulfed the Western world.

When I said to my wife that you never hear a biblical sermon on divorce, she answered that many churches would empty if you did.  We are content to sit through watered-down preaching of God’s Word.  The last time I heard a sermon that included divorce was probably thirty-years ago.  Those of you that have read “Man – Image and Likeness” will have seen the gymnastics Judaism goes through to explain that ‘God is One’.  In the same way, the church is very inventive on explaining divorce and its implications or lack of them.  One can be living in adultery and in danger of hell-fire, but totally oblivious to the fact.  You simply find a teaching that fits your situation, one that is comfortable and easy to live with, so that in your eyes you are not being adulterous at all.  There is no fear of God in the world, and very little of it in the Church.  Let’s investigate further.

You are a Christian woman married to a man that is nasty to you, particularly about your religion.  One day you meet a nice Christian man.  You meet together and get on well together.  The time comes when you leave the nasty husband, and marry the nice Christian man, whose wife had left him some years ago, so he was free, in their eyes, to marry again.  The church goes on week in and week out, and we wonder, sometime, why God is not blessing us.  Some will be in leadership positions, teaching and preaching God’s Word to congregations, groups, and conferences.  Others will be quietly living their lives.  A Christian man told a preacher that he had left his wife to live with another woman that he had fallen in love with.  The man wanted to know if he got properly divorced and married the other woman, would it make it alright with God.  The preacher answered him that he could spend the whole of this life with the woman, or the whole of the next life with Jesus, but he could not do both.  What would you have said?  I have included two examples because Jesus addressed both men and women, giving straightforward, uncomplicated teaching in Mark and in Luke.  Luke addresses men who divorce their wives.  Mark addresses wives who divorce their husbands as well as husbands who divorce their wives.  In Mark 10 and Luke 16, Jesus makes it clear that divorce does not dissolve a marriage.  That means a second marriage is adulterous in God’s sight.  “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Luke 16:18).  “… He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.  And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:1-12).

Many of us would live and let die by keeping our thoughts to ourselves.  We would let those in adultery die in adultery…if it concerns a divorced couple.  We would think it more loving to let the person in the pew die in sin, rather than suggest to them that they get their lives right with Jesus.  The Corinthian world had entered into the church at Corinth, and today’s world has penetrated the ranks and teaching of today’s Church.  But whereas Paul sought to correct the situation in Corinth through biblical instruction and teaching, we see and hear little that is biblical today.  There are preachers that are faithful to God’s Word, and we thank God for them; but they are becoming few and far between.

Have you ever been in a prayer meeting where you have heard someone pray, “Lord, help me to love the things that You love, and to hate the things that You hate”?  I have heard that kind of prayer a number of times over the years.  Do you believe that when God says something, it is important that we take notice and obey His word?  God says, “I hate divorce” (Malachi 2:16).  Jesus said that Moses [Moses, not God] had allowed divorce only because people had a “hardness of heart” and were bent on doing what they wanted anyway.  Divorce was never part of God’s original design and was never His intention (Matthew 19:8).  While the world sees divorce as a valid option, and for almost any reason, God’s original intent for marriage is seen in the first couple, Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:24), and is what Jesus referred back to in the Gospels.  One man and one woman in a committed, loving, lifelong relationship.  Such faithfulness in a relationship is meant to reflect God’s forever love for His people (Hosea 2:19; Ephesians 5:31-32).  God did not say He hates divorce with the intent of hurting those already suffering from broken marriages, but to reprimand unfaithful spouses.  “The Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant” (Malachi 2:14).  The men had been unfaithful to their wives—they were perhaps involved in adulterous relationships, then going on to divorcing their wives in order to remarry. God’s statement is a warning to adulterers who create situations leading to divorce.  He is not necessarily condemning those that have already been hurt by divorce.

God “hates divorce”, but the world, and the Church has embraced divorce with open arms.  If we do not take the Lord’s every word seriously, we are in big trouble; and that includes His word on divorce and remarriage.  It will not do to point to a pastor or teacher at the day of judgment saying, he said it was ok.  We must find God’s word for ourselves; we are each responsible for our actions, for what we do, and for what we don’t do but should.

“When evil desire finds you armed with the fear of God and the determination to resist, it will flee far away from you” (Hermas, the Shepherd – The Second book of Hermas)

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13)

God willing, we will continue this study in the next Hashkama.

Blessings and shalom,

Malcolm [10.01.2018]