We are gathered here today….

Our readings today are from Jeremiah 50 and 1 Corinthians 7:1-16. In Jeremiah God’s judgment on Babylon is revealed and we get a great insight into our God’s character as a just God. In Corinthians 7 we have the apostle Paul discussing marriage as he is responding to questions and comments from the church in Corinth. After addressing sexual immorality in chapter 6 it is understandable marriage is next on the agenda.

Paul individually addresses 4 categories of people and concerns (1) Christians who are married concerning their sexual purity. (2) Unmarried and widowed Christians (3) to married Christians concerning divorce and remarriage (4) To mixed marriages of believers and non-believers.

The overall message is that it is important to understand our current constitution. We do still carry fleshly passions around with us, and we must learn to control them with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit. All believers should follow the example of Paul in exercising self-restraint and guarding ourselves from sexual immorality. Whether married or not, we should strive to uphold God’s standards of marriage, to live a godly life and provide testimony so that others may be saved.

However as I’ve sat and talked with people going through marriage crisis, divorce, sexuality struggles and confusion, confessions of different levels of abuse within marriage it becomes evident that there are many sides to every story. Things often aren’t as black and white. We are complex people with complex emotions. It is easy to blame. It is easy to judge. It is easy to make grand assumptions on people’s choices or behaviours. 

Jeremiah 50 reminds us God is not only the ultimate judge but also the only saviour. James 4:12 echoes this: “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you–who are you to judge your neighbor?”

The church gets a reputation of being a judgemental bunch. It breaks my heart to hear someone say “Why would I want to go to church? I already feel bad enough about my life”. We need to be a people of love… of grace…. of compassion… of mercy… To patiently seek to understand rather be understood. We must remember that our ability to judge is limited and especially that we are sinful people who will ourselves, one day, come under judgment. Regardless of people’s marriage status… or the state of their marriage – we are called to love each other. 

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3 thoughts on “We are gathered here today….

  1. Thank you Greg. We must understand as to why God has given us these instructions for marriage and our sexuality. God is our Father. He is not making up rules to make life difficult for us quite the opposite. He instructs us because He has our own best interests at heart. He loves His children. We can take His advise found in the Bible or we can choose to ignore it. Each will have consequences of their own. Far better to obey. I don’t believe Paul is talking about the unforgivable sin only to choose the more excellent way which is very different to what the world says to do.

    Some encouragement for others who like myself finds themselves called into repentance and faith whilst married to an unbeliever. These verses have given me much comfort. The grace that is upon me as a believer has a flow on effect to my spouse. He, to a degree is sheltered by Gods Grace. Something for which I am very thankful for. The grace that is upon me comes to my spouse. Things could be a lot worse if both of us were outside of Gods grace.

    The Church has become far too much like to world with divorce amongst Christians overtaking those of non believers. Something which would break Gods heart. God hates divorce. I agree Greg we are to love one another and that also includes speaking the truth in love to one another. We have become fearful of peoples reaction when we are to point them back to what Gods Word says. One day we too will be held to account for how we have spoken up to those who are making unwise choices. We don’t want to get our hands dirty. Or we don’t want to cause offensive. Well the Bible offends those who are disobedient. Its not our job to convict thats the work of the Holy Spirit but unless we speak truthfully and then leave the matter at the foot of the cross we are not being more loving. Adam was silent in the garden of Eden. Maybe things would have been different if he spoke up!!!

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