Sunday, July 15, 2012

Marriage [ It's a given?]

Always start with a disclaimer. Because this concerns a post on Neil's "Eternity Matters" titled "Once Lost always Lost?” this in no way diminishes my respect and admiration for my fellow brother in Christ and the work he does. In fact, he would probably be the first to warn me about skipping around in mine fields and snake pits. Of course in this matter he doesn't lead by example. 

I like things simple. The Bible doesn't always seem to accommodate. The simplicity of the Gospel message is astounding, while the depth of Scripture is unfathomable. I believe in a six-day creation for many reasons, but primarily because the Bible says so. I believe Hebrews 6:4-6 for the same reason. I would like to be able to get beyond its abrupt dismissal to looking at the qualifiers made for the people in question.  

1. "for those who were once enlightened"

2. "have tasted of the heavenly gift"

3."made partakers of the Holy Ghost"

4." tasted the good word of God"

5."and the power of the world to come" 

It also looks as though all of these qualifiers are things to be sought out by any truly professing Christian and yet are the demise of all hope when they are then rejected when one has fallen away. The question for me is "am I there yet?" As in all election, there are qualifiers to be in the running or to be elected, or we merely reduce this to a state of random selection. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9. It would be contrary to the will of the Lord to say he imposes limitations in the extension of the hope of redemption by a simple selection process. This isn't a mere question of sin blocking our way to the kingdom; Jesus removed that obstacle. Still, sin too is a process. We're told that when it is full grown or fully manifested that it becomes death. You don't fall away in a moment of doubt either. It's a process of rejection when brought to completion that not only negates a return to redemption but also the desire. 

I don't understand this state. I've seen it. People that have been passionate in their walk with the Lord fall away. This doesn't undermine the security I have in the Lord. To put it in a Biblical perspective, I don't wake up in the morning wondering if I'm still married. I know I am. I cannot conceive that there is anything that could separate me from my wife. Still prudence tells me that my marriage is something to be guarded, so does Scripture, but I know that divorce can happen. Christ as the groom is infallible, but His bride is not. Christ has done everything He can possibly do. It's not His will that people perish or that people fall away. So is it His will to pick and choose while willing that none should perish? [cognitive dissonance, Stan?]The Father does indeed draw us to the Son. There is no other way. But can enough light pass through a dirty window to light a room or does He have to show us how to clean it. We have the Bible. We have access thru the Spirit to the Son, and by the Son to the Father, and by the Father to the Spirit, and thru the Spirit to the Son, and so it goes. The question is "who partakes and how can you partake and is there a share in the participation for you?" 

"Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept." Mark 10:4-5  This verse scares me. I have a healthy fear of the hardness of my own heart. Christ is the groom and he asks that I should step into this role regarding my own marriage. The only beauty that the church can possess is the beauty Christ gives it. The beauty my wife possesses is from me. That in itself places me in a position of responsibility I'm reluctant to accept. Her submission to the same Biblical model places her in a position of responsibility she's reluctant [though maybe not as reluctant as I with mine] to accept. Still this is God's will and plan if our marriage is to survive and be glorifying to God. This is the narrow path and many cannot abide in it. It breaks God's heart, it's not His will or plan, and he still loves us, but the separation remains, not because He chose it to be that way but because we did. 

Am I married? Believe it, I do. Am I fear driven? You bet! It's a healthy fear Jesus taught me.  

Mathew 25:24-30 "Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed.: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkess: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Good thought-provoking article. I agree with you 100%.

Christian Ease said...

That's scary Glenn, most of the time I can't agree with myself better than 80%.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I agree with myself 100% of the time! :oD

Hey, it was a good article, and you were right on the money, so how could I not agree with sound teaching?

Stan said...

I was recently pointed to this reference to me in your blog. I am interested in your position here but I have to say that I'm somewhat confused. The point of the "Once Lost, Always Lost?" question was to ask if you actually hold to the text of Hebrews 6. The text is not ambiguous. "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame" (Heb 6:4-6). I'm unclear in your post as to your position here. You clearly believe that this text teaches that salvation can be lost, and I'm not actually disagreeing. (I disavow "Once Saved Always Saved".) But do you also confirm that once it is lost it cannot be regained? That's clearly what the text says, but I have known only one person in my entire life that held that position. Commendably, you hold that if the Bible teaches it, you believe it. Is it your position that restoration to salvation is impossible once it is lost?

I'm also a bit confused by the hash. You write about the problem of lost salvation and then throw in the question of Election. I'm not at all clear what the connection is. Can you enlighten me?

And then, of course, there is the accusation against my view. "So is it His will to pick and choose while willing that none should perish?" I'm unclear on what your alternative is. It would seem to me that God chooses (and that this is biblically unavoidable, doing a simple search for "election", "the elect", etc.) and that not all are saved in the end. Is it your contention that it is God's will that no one perish and God fails to accomplish His will? If not, what? I don't know what your alternative is.

Thanks for the opportunity to gain clarity. I'm clearly confused on several points.

Christian Ease said...

Hey Stan, My reply to your comment was too long to make it a comment, so I have made it a post. For lack of a better idea, I have labeled it "marriage counseling."