Okay, here is my purpose for declaring and articulating in part 1 why the false notion of the church being the bride of Christ is incongruent with Scripture and destructive to all who apply the misapprehension of it to Biblical marriage and its violation. It is based on a comment made by an individual, which was brought to my attention from a fellow subscriber, regarding my thesis of fornication in my last article - "Fornication: Sinning Against Your Body."
In regard to an adulterous affair that had occurred and whether the innocent spouse would be defiling their self by not putting them away and taking them back, the individual stated, "Of course the prior fornicator can marry. The fornicator can stay married as well. Isn't the marriage between man and woman to emulate the marriage between Christ and His bride? Does not Christ forgive sin within this marriage? Are we not then supposed to forgive sin in our marriages? Does Christ cast out the sinner or did He come to be a physician?"
This is not to ridicule the person who wrote this. They are only emphasizing what they believe and what the church has taught for a very long time. However, it is mistaken and I hope I can convincingly show the reason why it is.
Firstly, the comment is contradictive. As I noted before, using a married couple to illustrate a groom and bride is uncorrelated. Howbeit, in one point of the statement, the church is defined as a non-married bride to Christ and at another point the church is defined as married to Christ. Which is it? If it is supposed to reference a covenant marriage, none of our marriages today follow a covenanted marriage procedure. Howbeit, even if we did procure covenants, if one of the persons within the covenant breaks that covenant by being sexually intimate with someone else, it would still be fornicating to go ahead and consummate (being sexually intimate) with that violator.
The leading procedure adopted (whether it be covenant, vows, ceremony, or whatever) before two people become sexually intimate has no relevance. What matters is that your status before God is pure, sexually, when the union is made. For example, the instruction given by Paul in Ephesians chapter 5 is not based on a covenanted marriage, but rather, on an already consummated (sexual intimate) marriage, which would not exist if either the man or woman were sexually unqualified (fornicated).
Secondly, another real error in this comment is the understanding of the effects forgiveness has toward fornication - attributing forgiveness as the eliminator of consequence. Remember, we cannot, according to Paul, view the sin of fornication and its effect upon the body as we do other sins that are forgiven.
To believe the idea that we are instantly made pure and holy over and over every time we repent of sin, as we were when we were born again is not Scriptural, especially concerning the act of fornication on a believer's body. To many, there is never any detrimental consequence to any sin one might commit. This doctrine is completely false and not Biblical, because it contradicts Scripture. This would be to say that all are washed, cleaned, and no Christian will ever be judged for anything they do in the flesh.
Not only does it not fit with Paul's claim of the consequential effect of fornication, "he that commits fornication sins against his own body," it also does not fit with what Jesus said in Matthew 19:9 "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adulutery." These are absolute claims.
Now, there is a reason for Jesus placing this exception clause in His instruction to the Pharisee's regarding what is acceptable to God when putting away one's spouse. His purpose was to indicate, it is the only acceptable reason to do so – it is the action one should and must take toward the violating spouse when they have knowledge of it. One doesn't put away except for this reason. Also, this is not speaking to non-believing couples, but one Christian spouse to the other.
Many declare that Christ saying, "except it be for fornication", Jesus meant, "He will allow it, but doesn't prefer it. It is something He will permit, but He would prefer forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. It is up to the innocent spouse to decide if they want to do it, and how many infractions have to occur before they do it will be up to them, also." This declared idea is nothing but a made up mix of Scriptural philosophy based on false perceptions and other perceptions inapplicable to fornication committed outside of and within Biblical marriage.
I ask...if this premise is true, then wouldn't Jesus be condoning a spouse to be unforgiving, contrary to the above person's comment that we are to forgive? Wouldn't this be non-Christ-like and "casting out the sinner?" Will God forgive us our sins if we don't forgive our spouse's sin? If the declared idea is true, then Jesus is contradicting His own doctrine by allowing them to be unforgiving and put away for fornication.
Jesus didn't declare, "except it be for fornication" as a means of allowance or by choice. He said it as the only reason it is to be done.
In marriage, what did the fornicator fornicate? - The sanctity of your union. They defiled it, along with their own body, now making your union with them unholy. They joined themselves to another in a despicable and abominable way, which forgiveness does not undo. For you to avoid being defiled along with them, you must put them away. You forgiving them and taking them back cannot and does not restore the sanctity of your union. The sanctity of the union was put asunder by their fornication, "...What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:6). Fornication puts the sacredness of that marriage "usunder." Once destroyed it cannot be restored or reconciled to its original pure state – marriage. The union is fornicated – defiled. Connections do not go away. That is also why you can't put away your spouse for just any reason.
For you not to be fornicated along with them, you must withdraw from any sexually intimate connection with your fornicating spouse. Otherwise, you will defile yourself and, like them, destroy any future chance of having a holy marriage to another. Once you are sexually intimate with them, after having knowledge of their fornication, every sexual intimacy you engage in thereafter with that fornicating spouse will be defiled, as well as with any other person thereafter. You and your spouse will now be fornicators together, every day, every time.
Look here! In Matthew 5:32, Jesus said, the innocent spouse that is put away for any reason other than fornication commits fornication if they are sexually intimate (marry) with another and, also, the person they are intimate with commits fornication with them. How can this be the case? They didn't want it. They were innocently put away, weren't they? Does the innocent have to ask for forgiveness for their fornication, even though they were innocently put away? Does the innocent now have to hope for forgiveness? Should reconciliation and restoration be yet considered? Will all of this fornication, which Jesus said would result from this putting away be wiped away through forgiveness? Did He hint at any such idea? No! Why? Well, the reason being - Consequence! Consequence! Consequence!
With the Lord, there is a consequence that is derived from your sexually intimate encounters, right or wrong. It either makes an approved marital union or it is an abominable connection in a fornicated way, not to be wiped away or undone by forgiveness, no matter how much you want or think it to be. Your sexual intimacies must be done God's way or you have sinned and if not stopped will be living in it. It's these connections, which make fornication different from every other sin, even when it comes to forgiveness.
When it is God that joins two people in the flesh, it is a sacred thing not to be tampered with. It's not about legalism, as some like to ridiculously proclaim. It's about what God does Himself and what He will not accept to be undone or defiled by men.
Allow me to point out a few more discrepancies with this philosophy of interpretation stated in the above comment, making it contradictive and invalid:
If forgiveness and reconciliation becomes the rule, like "Christ and His bride," then, based on that premise alone, one would never put their spouse away no matter how many times they committed fornication. Can you imagine how horrible that would be? I have encountered some who truly believe this. That no matter what your spouse does or how many times they do it you are to forgive them, because it is "till death do you part (Romans 7:2). If you put them away you will be committing fornication." How crazy can this idea be?
There are, also, those who believe that Jesus does allow for us to put them away if we want to or feel we need to. So, then, if after one, two, five, twenty, or seventy times seven acts of fornication are committed and now they decide not to take them back, they can end the marriage. Wouldn't this, then, along with being unforgiving, be violating what Christ said saying, "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder?" Now, according to this belief, the innocent spouse is violating that command of Christ. They are putting the marriage "usunder." Again, another idea that is unbiblical.
If taking a fornicating spouse back "emulates Christ and His bride," then you are saying that the bride of Christ is a fornicator before He ever marries her? I'll bet this idea also comes from Hosea, doesn't it (I'll be writing on that as well)? So, with the church, Christ will never have a pure virgin bride. However, with the bride being the new Jerusalem, she will be a pure virgin bride. This is the marriage that we are to emulate. This is the bride of Christ and correlates with every other Scripture, without contradiction.
The error is in not understanding Biblical marriage, as well as believing that forgiveness extended to the offending spouse equates to their defiled body being made new again, which if the innocent spouse doesn't take them back, they will be guilty of putting the marriage "usunder" and be labeled as unforgiving and non-Christ-like. The innocent is victimized all over again. They will be the bad person, not only by the fornicating spouse but also by the church - not the one who fornicated the marriage to begin with.
What I find fascinating with this way of thinking is how these people can't explain at all why forgiveness does not change or eliminate any of the outward physical consequences that result from fornication, i.e., pregnancy, an STD, or the lack of trust in that marriage thereafter. However, in those things that they can't see, they know for sure that everything is made new and holy again and all consequences are eliminated. They have no doubt.
Everyone believes that God joins "two people as one in the flesh" when married, but has anyone ever seen it happen? If not, how do you know it happens? If we by faith believe it is so, because God's Word says it, then, we had better believe by faith and take heed the declaration of God's Word that our fornicated affairs defile our body, the Biblical marriage, and incur consequences inherent to these sexually intimate violations.
When the Apostle Paul said that a person taking a harlot in 1Corinthians 6:16 becomes one in the flesh with her, I ask, is there any Scripture that alludes to or proclaims that if you ask for and receive forgiveness that God will undo the one flesh connection with her? There is none! Not even her death. Why? The law of death (Romans 7:2) only applies to a true Biblical marriage (holy joining), not fornication (unholy joining). Note: A fornicated joining can never be considered a legitimate marriage.
This is what makes fornication a different sin from others. It is a defiled attachment that can be forgiven, but must be appropriately dealt with (no sexual intimacy) based upon the consequence that transpired due to that inordinate and abominable sexually intimate affair. One must fashion their life accordingly, because it doesn't ever go away. They sinned against their body, defiled it, and they are now bound by it. They defiled the pure body they received when they were born again. They have defiled their member as Christ's body. Once pure, it must stay pure. They are now unfit for a holy attachment. All others (including the innocent spouse) who are still holy need to avoid ("nevertheless to avoid fornication...") attaching themselves to that fornicator to stay holy.
"Does Christ cast out the sinner or did He come to be a physician?" To assume for one moment that this idea applies to someone already saved and healed is ludicrous and completely out of context of Scripture. Christ is the physician to those who need to be born again and made holy. After being made whole and holy, why does any Christian need a physician? Could not Christ heal and sanctify efficiently the first time? This is such a huge error in understanding our calling and position in Christ, once redeemed. "...Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1Corinthians 6:9-11). "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God... If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (1Corinthians 3:16,17). I am trying to find where the physician comment comes into play in these verses of Scripture. It's not about being lost, deceived, and blind any more. It's about seeing, hearing, and knowing the truth and rejecting it. It's despising the One who sanctified and made you holy through His sacrifice for you, "...trodding under foot the Son of God..." (Hebrews 10:29).
Christ will forgive the true, contrite and repentant sinner, but again, it will not change the consequences of the infraction. Just as forgiveness will not stop a baby from being born as a result of that fornicated affair. It will not eliminate the defiled connection made to another. This is why Paul singled out fornication as being different from every other sin – it is an unholy, lasting, and binding connection. It is a crime of defiled connection against your body, the body of Christ, and your spouse's body if already married.
I wish to end this column with a directive to all who read my articles. I understand how difficult these messages are to receive. However, it is only because we have allowed ourselves to drift from the truth that has already been there, but the church cannot and must not continue down this abominable path sexually.
For those who believe me and find themselves contrary to God's Word regarding what I have written, I cannot just give blanket advice in an article on what an individual needs to do. There are numerous situations involved making that impossible. However, here is the best that I can suggest:
Firstly, sincerely repent with all contrition and tell the Lord about your lack of understanding. I already know how much He is aware of it.
Secondly, Once you have repented, if the situation you are now in is one that you feel can be continued (as if you had no sexually intimate past) and can be made to line up with what I have been teaching, then, continue and make your situation work abiding by all that you now know. If your situation does not line up with the truth, i.e., homosexuality or current adulterous affair, then stop. All one can do is move forward with this knowledge in hand. Depend upon the mercy of God that by Him knowing the sincerity of your heart, He will forgive.
Thirdly, Because of the fact that you now know the truth, you have no excuse to work the works of fornication any longer. In fact, learn everything there is to know of this truth and help get the next generations on the right track, so these abominations in the church come to a halt, if you care at all about hiding sin.
Lastly, If you have questions about how this Biblical truth may apply to your situation, you can contact me at my website www.mbgod.com and talk to me about it. I am not a certified counselor, but I would be happy to discuss this teaching with you. I am only someone who God has granted understanding in Biblical marriage with a longing to bless and honor Him and His church with it.
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Attention: Recommended initial article reading order for a Biblical marriage foundation:
The Honor of Biblical Marriage
Fornication: Sinning Against Your Body – Part 1&2
BIBLICAL MARRIAGE? Dear Lord I Messed Up!
Premarital Cohabitation: A Christian Mythology
Biblical Marriage and the Erroneous Marriage Covenant
Putting Biblical Marriage Asunder
BIBLICAL MARRIAGE: A Sacred Law
Divorce: It’s All About Being Married