A Manual For Discipleship

 

Disciples – Jesus Is Our Wonderful Counselor

 

In Matthew 18 we saw that Jesus wants us to be childlike in that we sincerely, simply and sensitively trust Him in all things (18:1-14). We are not to be childish in the sense that we become selfish and self-serving. Two areas where we see childishness surface is in the areas of sloppy agape where we allow sin to exist without taking the initiative to deal with it and in the area of unforgiveness which stems from a lack of perspective and appreciation for our own forgiveness which comes through the death of Christ on the cross (18:15-35). The gem of chapter eighteen is that Jesus, the Wonderful counselor, is present in the midst of those willing to set aside their agenda and perceived rights in order to take His will and way in the reconciliation process (18:18-20).

 

The truth that Jesus Is Our Wonderful Counselor is put to the test in Matthew chapter nineteen when the Pharisees test Jesus by bringing Him hot and often tense issue of divorce. The response of Jesus to the issue of divorce leads into other prominent issues of His day and of our day such as singleness, children, money and eternal life. You would be hard pressed to find a chapter in the Bible with more controversial issues discussed.

 

Jesus Is Our Wonderful Counselor

 

  • Isaiah 9:6 – “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  [1]

We mentioned Jesus as our Wonderful Counselor in the previous chapter but we need to elaborate a bit on that now. In Isaiah 9:6 a messianic prophecy is given that attributes titles to the Messiah who is Jesus. One of those titles is “Wonderful, Counselor.” When we examine the titles “Wonderful,” and “Counselor,” we find some very interesting insight.

 

The word “Wonderful,” is translated from the Hebrew term  PELE (Strong’s #6382) which means, “a miracle:— marvelous thing, wonder (-ful, -fully).” [2] PELE is a derivative of PALA (Strong’s #6381) which means “separate; distinguish.” [3] The implied meaning of this last term is that something that is great, wonderful and marvelous because of the ability to accomplish hard, difficult, seemingly impossible things.

 

The word “Counselor,” is translated from the Hebrew term YA’ATS (Strong’s #3289) which means, “to deliberate or resolve;  advise, consult, counsel (-lor), determine, devise, guide, purpose.” [4]

 

Now when we put these two titles of Jesus together we have One who is a Wonderful Counselor because He is able to guide us through to resolution in hard, difficult and seemingly impossible situations.

 

The Best Counselor

 

While there are times when we should consult other godly Christian people to help us resolve relational problems, there is a Counselor that is often forgotten. When we have difficulties in our relationships we try to work them out by ourselves and then perhaps we go to a human counselor. But our first step in resolving differences is to prayerfully invite God into the situation because He is the best Counselor.

 

Read what the Bible says about God as our counselor. The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit all are referred to as counselors:

 

  • Isaiah 11:1-2 – “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, 1 And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”  [5]
  • Isaiah 28:29 – “This also comes from the Lord of hosts, Who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.”  [6]
  • Jeremiah 32:17-19 – “‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.18 ‘You show lovingkindness to thousands, and repay the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them—the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts.19 ‘You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.”  [7]
  • John 14:26 -  “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”  [8] (See John 14:15-16)
  • John 16:13 - “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”  [9]
  • 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 – “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”  [10]
  • Colossians 2:1-3 – “For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh,2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  [11]
  • 1 John 2:1 – “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”  [12]

God is the Wonderful Counselor and His counsel surpasses all alternative counsel. This is what Paul was inspired to write when in a burst of joy he writes:

 

  • Romans 11:33-36 – “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?”35 “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?”36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”  [13]

Now you may be thinking as you read this last verse, “Wait a minute pastor, that verse says God’s ways are ‘unsearchable . . . past finding out!’ What good is counsel if you can’t find it out?”

 

Discerning God’s Counsel Through His Counseling Tool – The Word of God

 

God’s ways are beyond our comprehension in that there are some things we, with our finite minds, cannot comprehend from the infinite God. God’s ways are unsearchable in that no earthly counsel can measure up to God’s counsel. The Bible tells us:

 

  • Deuteronomy 29:29 - “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”  [14]

This verse leads us to the truth that God reveals what we need to know to deal with our problems and relational issues in His word. There are scores of verses which tell us of the life changing truth God has given us in His word. The longest chapter in the Bible tells us of the unmatched resource of revelation for life that we have in God’s word (see Psalm 119). God’s word directs us in knowing ourselves and knowing how to resolve issues with others. God Himself (The Father, The Son The Holy Spirit) uses His word like a scalpel to do spiritual surgery in us and in our relationships. Read just a few verses to this effect:

  • Romans 15:4 – “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”  [15]
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  [16]
  • Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  [17]
  • 2 Peter 1:2-4 – “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  [18]

Hope (Romans 15:4), thorough instruction for every situation (2 Timothy 3:16-17), self-understanding (Hebrew 4:12), and the resources to be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:2-4; see also Romans 8:29), what more could anyone ask for or need?! God does utilize godly pastors, teachers, and counselors to minister His word to the needy, but He wants us to go to Him first, prayerfully pouring over and digging into His word for counsel. He is the Wonderful Counselor.

Taking God’s Advice

Remember the words of Jesus in the previous chapter:

 

  • Matthew 18:19-20 -  “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.20 “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”  [19]

There are a number of problems that arise in counseling. First, problems arise when people refuse to obey God’s revealed counsel. The problem in counseling situations is that God offers the best advice in His word, but people are not always willing to take that advice. The old adage is true here, you can take a horse to water, but you cannot force them to drink. To come together “in My Name” means to come with a willingness and openness to here God’s will, submit to it, and allow the Spirit to apply it to your life. The reason that many people, including Christians, find themselves in dire straights is not because God has given them faulty counsel, but because people are often unwilling to submit their wills to God’s will, to obey God. God gives us perfect counsel in His word, He even promises to give us power through the Holy Spirit to implement His word, but if we decide to venture outside of the boundaries of His word, we will experience pain and  problems in life.

 

Second, problems arise when human “wisdom” is substituted for or seen as an alternative to God’s word in counseling. The Bible gives us a warning:

 

  • Colossians 2:8-10 – “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”  [20]

God does not endorse alternative to His word. When Christians go to secular counselors, or even Christian counselors who utilize secularly derived counseling methods and philosophy, the results are frustrating and cannot measure up to God’s best.

In 1952 a study was done to determine the effectiveness of psychotherapy. Hans Eysenck’s study, (which has been reviewed in recent years with a reaffirmation of the results) determined that if you have emotional problems and go to a therapist, the probability that you will be well in 1 year if you go to see a psychoanalyst is 44%; a psychotherapist is 53%; a Psychiatrist is 61%; and no one at all is 73%.[21] 

Some have used the phrase; all truth is God’s truth, as a device to usher in what they perceive to be “truth” not found in the Bible about the workings of human beings. Such a view has led to the unbiblical approaches in counseling that view low self-esteem as the primary problem people have. The Bible says otherwise. Jesus said:

  • Matthew 16:24 – “ Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”  [22]

The Bible speaks of crucifying self, self is the problem. The problem is that we have such a high self-esteem that we are disgruntled and depressed when we don’t get what we esteem ourselves deserving of. The Bible says the following about the right perspective on self:

  • John 3:30 - “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  [23]
  • Galatians 2:20 - “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  [24]
  • Galatians 5:24 – “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  [25]

The counseling system has been so inundated with secular worldly philosophy that the Christian needs to scrutinize counseling methods through the lens of God’s word, and that is true even for Christian counselors.

Third, the power in counseling is in God’s word applied by the Spirit, not in secular psychological philosophies. Secular psychology views humankind as basically good and sees the path to healing as coming from within a person. The Bible tells us that human beings are basically bad because they are born with inherited sin (Romans 3:23). And this sin is deluding, it deceives us. God’s words tells us:

  • Jeremiah 17:9-10 - “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”  [26]

This sin must be dealt with through faith alone in Christ alone (Romans 5). It is only through the Bible that we can come to an accurate understanding of ourselves. In Hebrews it tells us:

  • Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  [27]

Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor and His tool for counseling is His word. There are no substitutes for our Wonderful Counselor and His word if we are serious about repairing the brokenness in relationships.

The Difficult Dilemma of Divorce

 

Matthew 19:1-3 – “Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these sayings, that He departed from Galilee and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.2 And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”  [28]

Jesus left the Galilee region for Judea and when He arrived there people came to Him for healing and were healed. Now the Pharisees who were no doubt jealous of Jesus’ popularity through of a way to test Jesus, to see if they couldn’t stump Him. That’s the way of a religious Pharisee, they prefer to debate rather celebrate the miraculous blessings bestowed on these hurting people. How would the Pharisees test Jesus? They choose the issue of divorce. There are few issues more controversial and sensitive than the issue of divorce. That was true in Jesus’ day, and that is true still today.

 

Divorce is a big problem in society in our day. Statistics show:

 

·         Approximately 50% of all marriages end in divorce, (Christian and secular!)

·         49% of American children are growing up in homes with only one parent present.

·         38% of American children do not live with their fathers.

·         46% of families headed by single mothers live below the poverty line.

·         Only 8% of children in two parent households live below the poverty line.

·         57% of prison inmates come from single parent households.

·         30% of all children in America are born out of wedlock. (68% of African American children are born out of wedlock.)

·         Child-support payments fall approximately $34 billion short each year in the U.S. 90% of non-custodial parents are men. 90% of fathers who have joint custody rights and regularly see their children are up to date on their child support payments.

 

In December of 1999 the Barna Research Group came out with the following findings:

 

“(Ventura, CA) Divorce may not be popular, but it remains common in America. A new study by the Barna Research Group (Ventura, CA) shows that one out of every four Americans adults have experienced at least one divorce. One of the surprising outcomes to emerge from the study is that born again Christians are more likely to go through a marital split than are non-Christians. Using statistics drawn from nationwide survey interviews with nearly 4000 adults, the data show that although just 11% of the adult population is currently divorced, 25% of all adults have experienced at least one divorce during their lifetime. Among born again Christians, 27% are currently or have previously been divorced, compared to 24% among adults who are not born again. (Because of the large sample size involved, that difference is statistically significant.)[29]

 

A more recent study shows some improvement in the Christian community regarding the rate of divorce in that the Christians are now only as likely to divorce as unbelievers. Barna’s study results published in August of 2001 show:

  • Born again Christians are just as likely to get divorced as are non-born again adults. Overall, 33% of all born again individuals who have been married have gone through a divorce, which is statistically identical to the 34% incidence among non-born again adults. . . .
  • Residents of the Northeast and West are commonly noted for their more liberal leanings in politics and lifestyle. However, the region of the nation in which divorce was least likely was the Northeast. In that area, 28% of adults who had been married had also been divorced, compared to 32% in the Midwest, 35% in the South, and 38% in the West.
  • "The adults analyzed in the born again category were not those who claimed to be born again, but were individuals who stated a personal commitment to Christ, having confessed their sins, embracing Christ as their savior, and believing that they have received eternal salvation because of their faith in Christ alone. More than 90% of the born again adults who have been divorced experienced that divorce after they accepted Christ, not before. It is unfortunate that so many people, regardless of their faith, experience a divorce, but especially unsettling to find that the faith commitment of so many born again individuals has not enabled them to strengthen and save their marriages." [30]

 

Divorce is a big problem in the world, but it is also a big problem in the Christian community.

 

The Two Schools of Thought on Divorce In Jesus’ Day

 

There were two schools of thought on divorce in Jesus’ day. The first was the Hillel school, which held a very liberal view of divorce. The Hillel school held a very liberal view of divorce saying:

 

“If a man’s wife said anything against his mother, she would be unclean; and thus, according to the Law of Moses, could be justifiably divorced. If a husband saw someone fairer to look upon than his wife, his wife became unclean in comparison, and he was therefore justified in divorcing her.” [31]

 

The Hillel school went so far as to say a husband could divorce his wife is she burnt his food. [32]

 

The school of Shammai on the other hand held an ultra conservative view on divorce making it virtually impossible to divorce. There was great controversy between these two groups in Jesus’ day. Now the Pharisees were trying to bring Jesus into this controversy. What did Jesus say about marriage and divorce? Let’s see.

 

What Did Jesus Say About Marriage?

 

Matthew 19:4-6 – “And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’5 “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?6 “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” [33]

Notice how Jesus the Wonderful Counselor responds to the testing question of the Pharisees, Jesus responds by referring to God’s word. Jesus says, “Have you not read  . . . ?” Herein is the root cause not only for divorce, but for all major problems in the human experience. The cause of all relational problems is rooted in a neglect of God’s word and a failure or refusal to allow the Spirit to apply His word to our lives. What did Jesus go on to say about marriage? Let’s see.

First, God made us and He is the Author of marriage.

Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,” (19:4). Jesus quotes this Scripture form Genesis (Genesis 1:27) and in doing so lays a foundation of God’s sovereignty over the marriage relationship. Marriage is not something that evolved or something that man thought up. Marriage was created by God for very specific purposes.

Second, God designed marriage to be monogamous, not polygamous.

 Jesus said, ““and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh (19:5). Jesus quotes the Scripture as it is in the Old Testament:

  • Genesis 2:24 – “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  [34]

God made one man and one woman  and put them together. That is God’s ideal, for one man and one woman to live out their lives together. To “become one flesh” refers to the sexual union of the husband and wife. Sex was created by God to be experienced between one man and one woman in the covenant commitment of marriage. The sexual union of two people is designed to bring the two together as one in the marriage. Sex within the confines of the loving covenant marriage relationship is serene and blessed. Any sexual activity outside of marriage is sin. In Hebrews it states:

  • Hebrews 13:4 – “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”  [35]

It should also be mentioned here that God did not create Adam and Ed, or Adam and Steve, He did not create two identical beings, He did not create two men or two women to come together to “become one flesh.” Homosexuality and/or lesbianism is not God’s plan and in fact God finds the practice abominable, it is a sign of rejecting God, and it will be punished by God (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; 1 Kings 14:24; Romans 1:18-32).

Third, God designed marriage to be a compound unity.

Jesus quoted, “and the two shall become one flesh’” (19:5). Two coming together in the sight of God to become one. A marriage is not made up of two identical people. It does not say that one man identical to one woman came together to make one marriage. Marriage is a compound unity where two people come together to find completeness. Marriage is an opportunity where two people come together as a team to make each other complete, more effective because where one is weak the other is strong and visa versa. Differences are all right in the marriage partners, even good, because they balance out two people and complete them.

A “helper” not a slave

We need to take a moment to discuss how spouses are supposed to relate to one another and how that relationship is based on as well as a mirror of God. In Genesis it states:

  • Genesis 2:18 – “And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”   [36]

When some men look at this verse they interpret “helper” to mean, “slave.” There are some who see the wife as the one who does all the stuff nobody else wants to do. While God’s prescribed order is that He gives His agenda to man and the woman helps the man carry it out, a wife is not a sub-human slave for the man who answers and obeys at his every beck and call. No, God did not create women to be men’s slaves; He created them to enable men to accomplish that which on their own they could not do. Men, (unless specifically gifted by God to be single for life) are incomplete without a woman “helper.”  

In Genesis 2:18 the word, “helper” is translated from the Hebrew term ‘EZER (Strong’s #5828) meaning “helper,” which is derived from another Hebrew term AZAR (Strong’s #5286) which means, “to surround, i.e. protect or aid; help.”  [37] Therefore, a wife is a “helper,” one God ordains to be joined to a husband to surround, protect, and aid him.

Marriage is complimentary not competitive

The phrase, “comparable to him,” (Genesis 2:18 - Hebrew – KENEGHDO  - literally:  “like his counterpart”) tells us that while the woman is different in some ways from the man, she is also like him in many ways. There are physical and emotional differences between a man and a woman. The differences are too numerous to consider here. But there is one way in which a man and a woman are similar that I would like to mention here, both the man and the woman are to be each other’s helper in that each surrounds, protects and aids the other. The spouses in a God ordained relationship are complementary to each other not competitors against each other.  Every person has strengths and weaknesses. In a marriage people are completed as God brings together people who are different but complementary.  Where one is weak the other is strong and visa versa.

It is not good”

In Genesis 2:18 is the first mention by God of something that is “not good.” In the verses that follow this that which is “not good” is explained in the following way:

  • Genesis 2:19-20 – “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. [38]

The problem is identified as Adam’s lack of a “helper comparable to him,” the same phrase used in verse 2:18. Adam was incomplete without Eve, (and visa versa). Loneliness is “not good” according to God. Adam could not procreate or pass on a godly legacy by himself and no doubt there were other areas where Adam needed a “helper comparable to him.” The point is, marriage is complimentary in that it provides God’s means to complete people. Just as God would not be Himself without either of the Triune Persons (Father; Son Jesus Christ; or the Holy Spirit) so too, people are incomplete without a spouse. Now there are exceptions for some human beings in that God at times calls and gifts certain people to be single for life in order to serve Him. Or sometimes people are born without a desire to marry. But as a general rule, people are incomplete alone and are completed in terms of God’s plan for them only when they are married. The married couple compliments and completes each other, they are a team that helps each other working together in the Spirit to accomplish God’s plan for their lives.

The competition that is not “good”

This is exactly the opposite of what we see in our world today. Spouses often tear down and attack each other rather than see themselves and act as protectors of each other. Spouses complete against each other for what they see as being their rights. But we have not rights. Paul was inspired to write to the Corinthians:

  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  [39] (See also Romans 14:8)

One of the reasons I love my wife so much is that she is my biggest supporter. She covers my back in ministry (as I do for hers). We are a team that encourages each other we either of us is down and protects and surrounds each other in times of vulnerability. When spouses view one another in terms of a slave that is there to meet “my needs” then the result is cancerous competition that will tear down and destroy that relationship. Neither the husband nor the wife should be viewed as a slave; a servant, yes, a slave no. I say that meaning that spouses should have a servant’s heart like Jesus who willingly and humbly came to serve. Spouses though should not play the role of a slave who is manipulated and forced to submit against their will. A servant is compelled by God’s love within; a slave is compelled by outside forces. Our attitude should be that stipulated by the inspired words of Paul who wrote:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 – “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” [40]

When spouses are compelled by God’s love in marriage, they become a living, loving beautiful illustration of the nature of God, (they do not become God, but illustrate His nature in them – see 2 Peter 1:2-4). This leads us to the fourth aspect of marriage.

Fourth, God designed marriage to mirror Himself.

 It’s interesting that the term “one” used to express the compound unity of a married couple in Genesis is the same word used by God in reference to Himself. The Bible teaches, “God is one”:

  • Deuteronomy 6:4 – “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!”  [41]

But what the Bible student will find interesting is that there are two words used in Hebrew that are translated “one.” The Hebrew term YACHIYD means “one and only one.” A second Hebrew term used to define “one” is EKHAWD, which means, “to unify; to collect together; a united one.” This last word EKHAWD, is the one used in Deuteronomy 6:4. What is also interesting is that this word is also the word used in referring to the compound unity of marriage when it says, “the two shall become one flesh.” Why is this significant?

The image of God in humans

God made man in His own image as the Bible states:

  • Genesis 1:26 – “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  [42]

This verse shows us that God is a plural unity or uni-plural in nature. [43]  The use of the pronouns “Us” and “Our” in 1:26 implies the Triune nature of God. (See also in Genesis 1:1 the use of the Hebrew term ELOHIM – Strong’s #430 - used in reference to God.)  We see the Third Person of the Trinity in 1:2 when it states, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Since the Sabbath Rest inaugurated by God in the Old Testament is a shadow of Christ (Hebrews 3-4), the establishment of the Sabbath is further allusion and evidence of the Trinity.

 

How do humans have the image of God in them? Human beings show God’s image in a number of ways, (e.g. intellect; emotion; etc.) but one of the most beautiful ways they illustrate God’s image is through coming together as “one” in marriage. The man and woman interacting and fellowshipping together in marriage illustrate the interaction and fellowship within the  Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

Helpers that mirror the Holy God

It’s interesting that God chose the word “helper” to describe the spouse He provided for Adam (Genesis 2:18,20) because He uses this very word to describe Himself on occasion such as:

  • Psalm 30:10 – “Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper!”  [44]
  • Psalm 54:4 – “Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is with those who uphold my life.”  [45]

You see, when we, as God’s disciples, help each other or help anyone, in His name, we are illustrating and mirroring God to those around us. When spouses help each other, they are particularly mirroring the relationship of Christ to His church. That is why it is so important for spouses to help each other, be a team, a cooperative, where each one is looking out for the other’s best interests. A marriage is not meant to be a competition; it’s meant to be a cooperative and complimentary relationship. Do the Triune Persons fight amongst Themselves? Of course not! Then neither should the marriage couple fight amongst themselves. The marriage couple should compliment, cooperate and serve one another rather than compete against one another.

When the marriage couple see themselves as completers and compliments of each other, they serve as a powerful illustration and mirror the image of Christ to His church.

Marriage Mirrors Christ’s Relationship With The Church

 

Later in the New Testament the apostle Paul is inspired to write about how marriage is meant to mirror Christ’s relationship with the Church. Read what Paul says:

 

  • Ephesians 5:21-33 – “submitting to one another in the fear of God.22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  [46]

The phrases, “so also,” and “just as” (5:23,24,25,29) are literary clauses that point to the presence of a comparison being made.  Marriage is a comparison in that it is  an illustration of Christ’s relationship to the Church (Ephesians 5:23-25).

 

What does this passage tell us about the marriage relationship? First, there is to be an attitude of mutual submission amongst believers in general (Ephesians 5:21). The first twenty verses of Ephesians chapter five are a discussion of how people, especially believers, should act toward each other. This first section of Ephesians five ends at verse 21 with an exhortation for believers to have an overall attitude of mutual submission toward one another. No one in the church, no Christian, no disciple should ever have an attitude that is anything other than that of humility and submission to another. There is no support for any proud or haughty attitude amongst God’s people and that carries over into the marriage relationship. 

 

Second, in the marriage relationship wives are subordinate in authority to their husbands and should submit to that authority “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22-23). As long as the husband does not ask the wife to do something that would be unscriptural, she needs to obey him. As long as the husband does not direct the wife to do something that conflicts with or contradicts God’s word, the wife should follow the husbands lead. This is true because in God’s ordained order in marriage, the husband is “head” over the wife as Jesus is “Head” over the church (5:23-24). The husband is the head of the wife in that God hands His agenda and mission to the husband and it is implemented with the help and support of the wife. The husband and wife are a team whose goal is to accomplish the task that God sets before them.

 

In football from time to time there occurs what is called a quarterback controversy. A quarterback controversy is when a team is divided over who should be quarterback and often players perform differently according to who is in at quarterback. The team does not see how they are blessed with another quarterback who could fill in case of an injury. But the team divides in their loyalty and it inevitably leads to losses on the field. A quarterback controversy is the kiss of death for a contending team. When a marriage has a quarterback controversy, when the wife wants to lead or the husband refuses to lead according to God’s prescribed plan, the marriage will experience chaos, confusion and will never fulfill God’s plan or mission for the marriage team. For a team to work and win,  there must be clear leadership. God has ordained the husband to be the quarterback and the wife the receiver so to speak. A quarterback calls the plays, but without the receiver to catch the ball, they can’t succeed. Both players are indispensable to the team’s goals. In the same way, husbands and wives are indispensable in value to the marriage team. It isn’t a question of worth; it’s a question of assigned work.

 

Third, husbands are to love their wives “as Christ loved the church”(5:25).  We will look later at a description of how Jesus loved the church, but suffice it to say that Jesus did not come to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). In the same way husbands should act redemptively toward their wives with a servant’s heart. The husband is responsible to edify his wife with the word of God (5:26) and seek to present her blameless before God in holiness (5:27). Husbands ought to love their wives as much as they love themselves, by cherishing and nourishing them (5:28-29). When the husband fails or refuses to take the lead in the marriage, especially in the area of edifying the wife, the marriage will have a serious flaw and trouble and hard times are the consequence. Husbands are often all too willing to exert authority over   the wife based on Ephesians 5:21, but unless they are fulfilling Ephesians 5:25, they don’t have a leg to stand on, their authority will be undermined and on sandy ground (see Matthew 7:24-27). But when the husband loves his wife like Christ loved the church and seeks her spiritual health and growth, there isn’t a woman alive who wouldn’t be willing to cooperate, compliment, and yes, even submit to her husband.

 

Fourth, marriage is a model of Christ’s love for the church and as such spouses should come together as one in love and mutual respect (5:30-33). Paul says this is a “mystery,” it’s something God reveals through marriage. This is one of the highest and most important purposes of marriage and yet it is often the  most neglected. Many couples, including those in the church don’t even recognize or know that marriage is meant to illustrate Christ’s relationship with the church. This is undoubtedly the cause of many of the divorces we see in society.

 

The humble servant

 

 In his letter to the Philippians Paul exhorts his recipients to follow the example of Jesus and there is no more important place than in the marriage relationship that such Christ-like attitude should be seen. Paul is inspired to write:

 

  • Philippians 2:5-8 – “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” [47]

These verses express the essence of how a spouse should relate to one another.  If you are married, is this your attitude toward your spouse? If it isn’t, then you are probably giving the world a warped view of Gods’ intended purpose Christ’s relationship to the church, as well as being miserable in your self-centered sin. Marriage can be a beautiful thing, greatly used by God, when two people see themselves as His helpers and helpers to each other.

 

The right authority in the right place

In Ephesians 5 the husband is to be the servant leader and the woman is to be equal in value to him, but subordinate in authority. We should mention that this is in the marriage relationship and the church (1 Timothy 2:12-13), not in the secular world.

In the secular world there is nothing wrong with a woman being in authority over a man or men. There is nothing unbiblical about a woman president or leader in some other capacity. Women are just as able, (and some would argue even more able) to lead and oversee in the secular realm. In the church and in the home, however, God has ordained that the right and best way to maintain order and for His will to be accomplished is that the man is in the position of authority.

Furthermore, women submit to THEIR OWN HUSBANDS, NOT ALL HUSBANDS IN GENERAL. In Ephesians 5 it states:

 

  • Ephesians 5:24 – “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”  [48]

Women are not mandated by God to walk around whimpering in the presence of men in or outside of the church. A wife is in submission to her husband, not someone else’s husband. There are a lot of men on power trips who think that women are to be submissive to all men. That is not biblical. A woman is to submit or answer to her own husband not someone else’s. No man can come to my wife and expect to order her around, and I cannot go to another’s wife and order her around. There should be no ordering around, period. There has been a lot of tarnishing of the church and the name of Christ because of those who misinterpreted God’s order in the family and between men and women. Right authority is authority that is characterized by servant leadership. The right place is where and what God has ordained that authority to be.

 

The general attitude of all believers to each other is to be one of mutual submission. Paul wrote:

 

  • Ephesians 5:21 – “submitting to one another in the fear of God.”  [49]

Disciples are to have an attitude of mutual submission and humility toward one another. Nowhere does Jesus endorse an attitude of lording it over another. In fact, Jesus specifically says the disciple should not lord it over, or impose their will on others, as this is a worldly way of doing things. Jesus said:

 

  • Matthew 20:25-26 – “But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.26 “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.”  [50]

The Christian leader, whether it is in the church or in the marriage, is to be a servant leader. The Christian leader is to lead through serving, by example, not be sitting on a pedestal and ordering around those he perceives to be surfs. If the husband has a problem with his wife, if she refuses to do something he believes God’ wants her to do, then he needs to humble exemplify God’s plan by serving and showing the wife what God desires for her to do. Husbands simply put, need to walk the talk as well as talk the talk.

Fifth, God designed marriage as a means to multiply a godly legacy.

While Jesus did not mention it in His response to the Pharisees, Genesis 1:28 states:

  • Genesis 1:28 – “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”   [51]

The marriage couple is the means by which families are to multiply. The marriage unit is the beginning of the family unit where children are meant to be brought up in the counsel of God as parents teach and apply God’s word to life in and through the family. The family unit started through marriage is the ideal and god-prescribed setting for discipleship to take place. Parents need to disciple their children in the faith. Marriage is the means by which a godly legacy can be perpetuated.

 Marriage is a creation of God, not the world (19:4; Genesis 1:27). Marriage is meant to be monogamous (19L5; Genesis 2:24). Marriage is meant to complete human beings by bringing together a compound unity (19:5; Genesis 2:18).  Marriage is meant to mirror to the world the image of the Triune God (Genesis 1:27; Deuteronomy 6:4; Ephesians 5:23-25). Marriage is meant to be used to pass on a godly heritage of disciples (Genesis 1:28; Deuteronomy 6). These are the purposes of marriage and divorce severs this God ordained purposes. Divorce desecrates the intended image of God’s loyalty and love between He and His people.

Is Marriage Just a Sexual Union?

Now there are some people who say that when two people join together in the sexual union of intercourse, they are in a married state. But this is based on unbiblical and faulty reasoning. If the marriage union were entered into simply by way of intercourse, then there would be no sin of fornication. Fornication refers to sexual activity outside of the marriage union. The word “fornication” is translated from the Greek term PORNE (Strong’s #4205) from which we get the English word pornography. PORNE literally refers to, “someone who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse.” The word fornication was first used in classical Greek to refer to a person who had intercourse with prostitutes. In the New Testament the word refers to any unlawful sexual activity. Fornication therefore, is evidence that the marriage union is not entered into by simply indulging in sexual intercourse. Indeed fornication is condemned in the Bible:

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10,18 – "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. . . . 18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.”   [52]

Marriage is a covenant commitment entered into by two people (of the opposite sex – sad that we have to add such a comment in our world today) before God who is the One who declares them to be one. This implies the use of God of a sanctioning body such as the church to verify such a union. This is the binding and loosing that is entrusted to the church by Jesus (16:19; 18:18).

Now that we have seen what Jesus says about marriage, let’s see what He said about divorce.

What Did Jesus Say About Divorce?

 

Matthew 19:6 - “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” [53]

Jesus stands on the Scripture. “What God has joined together, let not man separate.” Jesus seems to side more closely with the Shammai school of thought on divorce. Jesus is decisive in His statement about divorce, IT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN! Marriage should last for the lifetime of those who get married. Though there are provisions for divorce (as we will see), divorce is always the very last resort and there are only a very few reasons that justify divorce. Jesus then goes on to explain the causes of divorce. But first, this verse tells us something very important about marriage, let’s make a note of it here.

Marriages Do Not Occur By Accident

Jesus notes something very important about marriage when He quotes from Genesis, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (19:6) Marriages are not entered into accidentally, God ordains them. Two people who are married, regardless of whether they are believers or not, are joined together by God. You may be married to an unbeliever, or you may be having difficulties in your marriage and wondering, “Is this marriage God’s will?” Well, the Bible says that if you have been joined together in marriage, God joined you together! We need to begin to see our spouses as the God ordained partner that God has given us for life.

One commentary makes this point clear when it is stated:

“Notice also that Jesus said, ‘What . . . God hath joined,’ not ‘whom.’ God made the marriage relation; so every marriage is God-joined in principle by this divine provision made for marriage. Even where marriages are made out of God’s will, once the relation is entered into, God does not want it to be broken. He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). He hates its violence He hates what it does to the family, especially to the children. He hates it, because it makes it harder to raise children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.” [54]

Marriages may not always be according to God’s best prescribed plan, but once entered into, God puts His stamp of approval upon and wants them to work out for His glory.

Accepting your mate

In Genesis it states:

Genesis 2:21-25 – “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.23 And Adam said: 1 “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”  [55]

Now let’s think about this for a moment. Adam was asleep when God made his mate (Genesis 2:21a). God took Adam’s “rib,” (which is TSELA (Strong’s #6763) meaning literally “a piece of his side” as opposed to a part of his head or his feet) and made the woman (Genesis 2:21b-22a). Then God brought her to Adam (Genesis 2:22b). Now here is where we need to think about this situation. Adam knew what about Eve? He didn’t know how smart she was. He didn’t know how good a cook she was. He didn’t know if she was wealthy. He didn’t know what kind of voice she had or how she kissed. He didn’t know her interests. There was a lot he didn’t know about this person. All he knew was how she looked, and while as the perfect woman she must have been a knockout, physical appearance is not the basis of making a life commitment to someone. So what was Adam’s response to God’s gift?

Adam’s response was, “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Someone has translated Adam’s response to the woman as, “WOW! Man! This is the one for me!” And that is the unofficial way Adam’s mate came to be known as “woman.” What’s the point here? The point is Adam did not know this woman, but He did know God. Based on Adam’s knowledge of God and His revealed provision for him, Adam accepted by faith the woman God provided for him. Adam’s acceptance of his mate was a statement of faith in God’s nature and integrity. Adam accepted Eve based on God’s character, not Eve’s performance. No two people coming together to marry can ever know everything about each other. But when Biblical principles in finding a mate are followed and you come to the point of entering into marriage, each spouse must accept, like Adam, by faith, the spouse God has provided for them. This is the most basic of principles for marriage.

It was on this basis, faith in God, that marriage was instituted by God who said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:24-25). Notice, that this is the basis for sexual rightness. There is no shame between those who enter into sexual oneness when they do so by the prescribed standards of God and by faith in Him. When you marry someone you need to accept them by faith in God and trust in His integrity and faithfulness.

Divorce is the last resort

While divorce is an option in a very few circumstances, it is always to be the last resort. Jesus expressed this in the words, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (19:6). Even if there are justifiable causes for divorce, forgiveness and reconciliation in Christ are the first and preferred option of the Lord. I say “in Christ,” because only as two spouses come together in Christ, in the presence of Jesus, can the offenses that justify divorce be forgiven and cleansed. Remember what Jesus said:

  • Matthew 18:19-20 - “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.20 “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” [56]

We keep coming back to these two verses because they are so important. If two spouses are willing to come together in submission to Jesus, He is a Wonderful Counselor that is able to work out reconciliation. The cross of Christ is the door to reconciliation because at the cross every sin for all time was atoned for. Read what the apostle Paul was inspired by God to write to the Colossians: 

  • Colossians 2:13-14 – “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”  [57]

Paul then goes on to apply the cross to family life and relationships in general saying:

  • Colossians 3:12-21 – “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. 18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”  [58]

Here we see how important the cross of Christ, (by which forgiveness is possible) is to families and especially those who have the wedge of offense threatening their relationship. When we come together “in Christ” remembering and by faith accepting the love and atonement of Jesus, then forgiveness become possible. Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor, because no obstacle is too great for His cross to conquer, if we let it by faith.

The need for repentance

Again, Paul speaks of the importance of the cross in relationships as he is inspired to write to the Ephesians saying:

  • Ephesians 4:25-32 – “Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,27 nor give place to the devil.28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”   [59]

Paul says we are to forgive one another, “just as,” God forgave us in Jesus. This implies we are to follow the same pattern of reconciliation with people as we did with God. Just as we repented in the process of being forgiven through faith in Christ; just as saving faith is characterized by repentance; so to is reconciliation between human parties. The cross is not a cheap out for the offender! No, the offender must admit and acknowledge their sin before the offended if there is to be true reconciliation. Reconciliation in human relationships follows the pattern we take in being forgiven by God. Repentance means one not only acknowledges their sin before God, but that they turn away from their sin purposing to not return to it.

The Bible tells us that repentance leads to forgiveness with God and times of refreshing or renewal with Him and also, by implication, with those around us. In Acts it states:

  • Acts 3:19 - “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,”  [60]

The added incentive to repent and forgive

In Psalms it states that if we regard iniquity or sin in our hearts it cuts us off from communicating with God in prayer:

  • Psalm 66:18 – “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” [61]

In Peter’s first epistle husbands are given a particular warning in this regard when Peter is inspired to write:

  • 1 Peter 3:7-12 – “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. 8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For “He who would love life 1 And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”   [62]

If you are betraying or cheating on your spouse in some way, your relationship with God will be directly affected. That holds true whether or not you are a husband or wife. God cherishes and holds in high regard the marriage relationship, spouses should too.

Unilateral forgiveness

Sometimes reconciliation is not possible, but even when it is not, the offended party should forgive. A note here, sometimes forgiveness will be unilateral in a relationship in the sense that one party walks away and the offended party forgives them in order to be freed from the bitterness of unforgiveness (see Hebrews 12:14-15). When it is necessary that forgiveness be unilateral, reconciliation does not usually occur. This is because there is an absence of repentance in one party.

Why Then is There Divorce?

Matthew 19:7 – “They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”  [63]

The Bible and the Law of Moses in particular, do indeed make provision for divorce. We find this in the book of Deuteronomy where it states:

  • Deuteronomy 24:1-4 - “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house,2 “when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife,3 “if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife,4 “then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.”  [64]

The Pharisees no doubt thought they had cornered Jesus with the Mosaic instruction on divorce. But how did Jesus respond?

Divorce is a Consequence of a Hard Heart

Matthew 19:8 – “He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”  [65]

Earlier in Matthew Jesus said:

  • Matthew 15:19 - “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”  [66]

Here Jesus elaborates on the reason why provision was made for divorce. Divorce is a symptom of a deeper problem, a hard heart and a shallow faith. God never intended divorce to be an option but made a provision for it because of the hardness of people’s hearts. Divorce is a failure to accept your spouse by faith. Divorce is a result of a lack of faith in God, His integrity and faithfulness.

God Hates Divorce

Toward the end of the Old Testament in the book of Malachi we see that the hearts of the people are growing hard once more. They have learned certain things from God’s captivating discipline, but other things they remain hard hearted in, such as divorce. In Malachi God states through the prophet:

  • Malachi 2:16 - “For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.”   [67]

God hates divorce because it does violence to people spiritually, emotionally and often physically. Divorce greatly tears at the fabric of society as the above statistics show. Even more sadly, divorce tears at the hearts of the children, the true victims, who are involved. Troubled parents should remain together if at all possible for the sake of the children.

 

God Didn’t Divorce His People

 

The Bible illustrates the relationship between God and Israel by way of the metaphor that God is a husband to Israel His wife. Even when Israel persisted in her spiritual adulteries, God did not divorce her as attested to in the following portion of Scripture:

 

  • Jeremiah 3:1-15 - “They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, 1 And she goes from him And becomes another man’s, May he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; Yet return to Me,” says the Lord.2 “Lift up your eyes to the desolate heights and see: Where have you not lain with men? By the road you have sat for them Like an Arabian in the wilderness; And you have polluted the land With your harlotries and your wickedness.3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, And there has been no latter rain. You have had a harlot’s forehead; You refuse to be ashamed.4 Will you not from this time cry to Me, ‘My father, You are the guide of my youth?5 Will He remain angry forever? Will He keep it to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken and done evil things, As you were able.”6 The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot.7 “And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.8 “Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.9 “So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.10 “And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the Lord. 11 Then the Lord said to me, “Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.12 “Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the Lord; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the Lord; ‘I will not remain angry forever.13 Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the Lord your God, And have scattered your charms To alien deities under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the Lord.14 “Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.15 “And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”  [68] (See also Isaiah 50:1-3 and Hosea 3:1-5).

In all her times of unfaithfulness, God remained loyal and true to His bride Israel. God is our model in this regard. Divorce is rooted in a lack of faith in God. Divorce is preceded by a spiritual faltering faith in God. If a person rushes into marriage without consulting God or disobeying God’s revealed truth in His word, they may find themselves in a difficult relationship situation. But God can repair and make beautiful even such situations. Remember, Jesus is the
Wonderful Counselor and He can work good even in bad situations
(See Romans 8:28).

Be Imitators of God

 

The Bible tells us we should be imitators of God:

 

  • Ephesians 5:1-7 – “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.”  [69]

If we are instructed to imitate God, then this includes our view on divorce. Divorce should be the very last resort and only considered after all other alternatives have been prayerfully explored.

When Is Divorce An Option?

Matthew 19:9 - “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”  [70]

Notice, Jesus does not mandate or require divorce even in the case where adultery or sexual immorality occurs. Jesus leaves the door open for reconciliation even in cases where there are legitimate grounds for divorce.

But Jesus does allow for divorce. Jon Courson points out in this regard:

“I find it intriguing from a theological standpoint that initially, according to the Old Testament Law, if there was adultery, the penalty was not divorce – it was death.

The Mishna stated that men and women caught in adultery were to be taken to the town square, made to stand in a box of manure three feet deep, and stoned until they fell face down. A tree would then be planted in the box – as a reminder of the high price of adultery. If your town had a lot of trees, no wonder it was considered kind of ‘shady’. [71]

But when is divorce an option?

First, divorce is an option when sexual immorality severs the covenant relationship. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught:

  • Matthew 5:31-32 - “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’32 “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.”  [72]

“Sexual immorality,” here is a translation of the word PORNE or “fornication.” Sexual unfaithfulness is grounds for divorce in marriage.

One commentary elaborates:

“Jesus accepted no other grounds for divorce except fornication. ‘Fornication (porneia) is a term that includes habitual adultery and all habitual sexual immorality after marriage, such as consorting with prostitutes, practicing homosexuality, and any sexual practices other than the normal marriage relationship. Jesus used the larger term here because to the Jews, adultery was only the dishonoring of the free Hebrew woman and did not include union with a second wife, a concubine, a slave, or a prostitute. Jesus differed with the Jewish viewpoint. Fornication is wrong, no matter who is involved. He told the woman taken in adultery to ‘go and sin no more’ (John 8:11).”  [73]

While not specifically mentioned, physical or sexual abuse effectively severs and breaks the marriage covenant. No spouse should ever remain in a life threatening situation where either themselves or their children are in physical danger or being abused. This reason for divorce would come under the heading of sexual immorality.

Second, divorce is an option when an unbelieving spouse chooses to end the marriage. This is stated in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians where God inspires him to write:

  • 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 – “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband.11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?”  [74]

When Paul says, “yet not I but the Lord . . . I, not the Lord,” he is not lessening the authority of what he is teaching but merely saying that the revelation he is giving does not come from the gospel accounts of Jesus’ teaching but from revelation received from God after those accounts. And what Paul teaches is that if an unbelieving spouse chooses to leave and end a marriage, the believing spouse is no longer bound, they can remarry. In such cases a believing spouse does not have to remarry or give up on his or her unbelieving spouse, they can prayerfully wait for reconciliation if that is what God has put on their heart, but they are not obligated to do so (1 Corinthians 7:15-16). But the believing spouse cannot initiate the ending of the marriage if the unbelieving spouse wants to continue the marriage. This is true because the family is “sanctified” or God is working in it through the saved spouse and perhaps salvation for the lost family members will occur (1 Corinthians 7:10-14).

In his book Divorce and Remarriage in the CHURCH, Larry Taylor (a Calvary Chapel pastor) says the following about divorce and remarriage:

 

“Many would rightly argue that we should emulate God in our dealings with others. Since God would not divorce us, we should not divorce each other. God has a higher plan for Christians - a plan which does not have divorce in the picture. There is no sin God cannot forgive, and there is no broken relationship He cannot heal. Christians should trust God for reconciliation. Divorce should not be considered an option for us.” (p. 12-13)

 

“Many individuals mistakenly believe that God gave them a mate to meet their needs, then they are discouraged and angry when their needs aren’t met. Couples come to us as pastors for marital counseling complaining that their spouses don’t meet their needs, emotionally, materially, intellectually, sexually, or otherwise. We have to tell them that God never intended for spouses to meet each other’s needs. Jesus will meet your needs, not your husband or wife. And, when you are sincerely looking to Him to supply all your needs, finding all your sufficiency in God, you will approach your marriage not for what your partner can give you but for what you can give him [or her] in Jesus’ name” (p. 15).

 

“Surely we have seen in the previous passages, the higher path is one of forgiveness, restoration and reconciliation. Nevertheless, in the case of marital infidelity where there is no repentance, no desire for reconciliation, divorce may be permitted, even among Jesus’ disciples” (p. 16).

 

“God’s ideal, God’s intention, is for one man fully submitted to Jesus Christ who loves God with all his heart to be closely clinging for his whole life to one woman who is fully submitted to Jesus Christ and loves God with all her heart. Joined by God, nothing should ever separate them. Originally, it was God’s plan that nothing would separate them for all eternity. Before the fall, there was no death. Adam and Eve were designed to be spouses in Paradise forever” (p. 19).

 

“Of course, no Christian should ever marry (or even date for that matter) an unbeliever. We are not to be unequally yoked. But if two unbelievers are married and one gets saved, they should stay together so that both can come to the LORD” (p. 23).

 

“If you are being physically beaten, if your children are being battered, if your mate is living in unrepentant fornication, if your mate is a practicing homosexual, if your mate is breaking the law by dealing drugs out of your home, if your mate is abusing drugs in front of your children, or if your life is otherwise in grave and imminent danger, then you may be justified in leaving and going to a safe place to live where you can pray and seek the LORD” . . . . Even then, in most instances, God will bring the spouse to repentance and save the marriage if you will hang in there and trust Him. Do not, however, be too quick to go back into the relationship - con artists are quite good at making you think they have repented, when in fact nothing has changed. Wait until there is lasting fruit before you return to a former batterer or drug dealer.” (p. 29) [75]

 

Do Those Who Remarry After Divorce Live in the Perpetual Sin of Adultery?

Jesus said, “whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (19:9). When a person who is divorces remarries, based on Jesus’ words, they enter into the sin of adultery. In our society today this is all too true as those who divorce for unbiblical reasons enter in and out of marriage through divorce. Adultery is a serious offense as is desecrates the life illustration God intended marriage to depict of Himself and His people (see Ephesians 5). But do the persons who marry a divorced person in the sin of adultery perpetually? Is the sin of adultery the unforgivable sin?

Adultery is not the unforgivable sin. Where there is true repentance, there is forgiveness from God. There is Biblical precedent and evidence for such an understanding. In John chapter 8 we see just such a situation. Watch how Jesus handled it:

  • John 8:1-12 – “But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.5 “Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”   [76]

Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, but He did not condone her adultery either. He said, “go and sin no more.” Jesus is willing to forgive even the sin of adultery, but He does not do so for those who casually come to Him, He forgives the genuinely repentant and to repent means to commit oneself to not repeat the sin. There is forgiveness for those who marry the divorced and commit adultery, but after repentance and sincere confession to the Lord.

What About Singleness?

Matthew 19:10-12 – “His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given:12 “For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”  [77]

It would appear form the statements response of the disciples in verse 10 that they were more inclined to the teachings of the Hillel school on divorce. The disciples are saying that if marriage were like this, requiring a life commitment, then it would be better not to marry. When Jesus says, “All cannot accept this saying” I believe He is alluding to the call of God. God calls some to marry and some not to marry. While singleness is not the norm, God does call some to be single in life (19:11). Jesus then refers to “eunuchs” (Strong’s # 2135), those who refrain from marriage for a number of reasons.  Jesus says that some people are born with no desire for the opposite sex and therefore remain single (19:12a). Some “were made eunuchs by men,” refers to the practice of emasculating men who oversaw the harems in the day (19:12b).

Jesus also said that there are some, “who made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake”  (19:12:c). This last group is referred to by the apostle Paul who states that singleness is an opportunity to give undivided devotion to God. Read what Paul is inspired to write about singleness:

  • 1 Corinthians 7:32-40 – “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord.33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife.34 There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband.35 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.36 But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry.37 Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well.38 So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.39 A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.40 But she is happier if she remains as she is, according to my judgment—and I think I also have the Spirit of God.”  [78]

Singleness is a calling from God to be totally devoted and undistracted toward God. But if you have a desire to marry, then it is unlikely that you are called to life singleness and should be open to marriage. The imposed celibacy of the Roman Catholic Church is unscriptural. There are people who God calls and gifts to be celibate in life, but that is not something someone else can thrust upon you. Peter was married (e.g. Matthew 8:14-17), and there is no reason why the minister of God cannot be married. The key is making your calling sure. One commentary makes the following statement:

“Jesus’ reply, All men cannot receive this saying, indicates that some are called to be married and remain married; others (who cannot receive this) are called to be single (never to marry). If God calls you to be married, He will enable you to remain married. On the other hand, some are called to be single and never marry for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. A eunuch was a person who never married and often served as a royal official. Some were so born, due to physical or mental deficiency; some were made eunuchs of men, either by choice or by force; some had deliberately chosen to be single for the purpose of serving God without being tied to regular family responsibilities (e.g., Origen). Unfortunately the early church began to take this statement to mean that it was more spiritual to be single than to be married, and eventually celibacy became legislation within the Roman Catholic Church. The single life is not to be forced on anyone. Those who are called to it are able to receive it (i.e., accept) gladly.” [79]

Jesus and Children

Matthew 19:13-15 – “Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.”  [80]

Jesus had a heart for children as we saw in the previous chapter (Matthew 18) and here we see His continued affection for the little ones. It is sad to note that children are so adversely affected by divorce and the overall immoral climate of our day. Barna’s research indicates:

Census data have revealed that about one out of every three children born in the U.S. these days is the child of an unwed mother. The data from the Barna survey also show that nearly one out of every four adults (23%) who has never been married has children living in their household. Overall, one out of every six households (17%) with children under 18 is headed by an adult who has never been married.[81]

Another study indicated, “60% of all divorces involve children. Approximately 1,000,000 children each year are affected by divorce."  [82]

The following article from the American Family Association Journal entitled Divorce Hurts Kids Worse Than Death of a Parent states that divorce is harder for a child to deal with than the death of a parent:


Sociologists at the University of Southern California have found that the emotional trauma that children suffer when they lose their father through divorce is even greater than that suffered when they lose him through death.

That stunning conclusion was reported in the Journal of Marriage and the Family by researchers Timothy J. Biblarz and Greg Gottainer, who examined data related to the children of widows and compared it to that related to the children of divorcees.

The data found that the latter group was significantly less likely than those from intact homes to complete high school, attend college or graduate from college, and have "a significantly lower level of general psychological well-being (or feeling of happiness)." The children of divorce were also found to "hold occupations that are, on average, significantly lower in status," than kids from homes with both biological parents.

On the other hand, children from homes where the father has died--even in which the mother never remarried--vary very little from children with intact families. [83]

Jesus has a heart for the children and with all the ill effects that immorality has on children, Jesus heart must be breaking for them.

Jesus’ Wonderful Counsel On Eternal Life

The first and most important step in good counsel is that one is building on the foundation of a saving personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Until that foundation is in place, whatever is built will be on shaky sand (Matthew 7:24-27). This is exactly the way Jesus leads His next counselee. Let’s examine how Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor handles a rich young ruler.

 

 

You Can’t Work Your Way To Heaven

 

Matthew 19:16-22 – “Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”18 He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”   [84]

There is a temptation to misconstrue the counsel of Jesus as stating you need to keep the commandments to get to heaven. You might think, “Wait a minute, I thought salvation was by grace through faith, not works; what’s Jesus saying here?”

The young man approaches Jesus by referring to Him as “Good Teacher” and asks Jesus what he needs to do to have eternal life (19:16). Jesus responds by questioning the young man in terms of his causal throwing about of the adjective good, pointing out that “No one is good but One, that is, God” (19:17a). The KJV Bible Commentary states:

 

“The young man’s question, What good thing shall I do? implies that he wanted to perform some work that might gain him eternal life (salvation). Jesus’ challenge was intended to elevate his concept of “good.” The glib comment “good master” is followed by a request for something “good” that he may do to gain heaven. Jesus’ concept of good was that which is divine. Therefore, only an act of God could grant eternal life. The Master’s reply, If thou wilt enter into life, implies that the young man was still on the outside of such life.”  [85]

 

This is important in a number of ways. Jesus in saying this is pointing out to a young man who evidently was very confident in his own goodness, that he and all people were not good. Jesus is also pointing out that only God is good and therefore introducing to the young man an aspect of Jesus’ identity that he probably didn’t fully grasp. Jesus continues with the provocative instruction that to enter into heaven you need to keep the commandments (19:17b). the young man says “which ones,” and Jesus then rattles off a series of commandments from the Law including, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (19:18). The young man then responds superficially (much the same a Peter was prone to do) that he had kept all these commandments and so asks what else did Jesus think he had to do (19:20). Jesus then says, “If you want to be perfect,” meaning, if you want to do this right, “go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (19:21). Now that was too much for the young man because he was rich (19:22). Do you see what Jesus is doing here? Jesus leads this young self-confident superficial young man along into a situation that moves from mere superficial words to substantial action. When the young man walks away, it reveals that he really hasn’t kept the laws because if he had and did, he would have loved his neighbors by giving his wealth to them. The point is not that we are saved by doing something or that we have to give our possessions away to be saved. The point is that this young rich man through he could work his way to heaven and he could not. Jesus simply showed him this truth.

 

The use of the Law in counseling

 

This rich young ruler thought he was a pretty good person. He may well have been a good person. The problem with such a view through is that pretty good people don’t get into heaven. Nothing short of perfection gets a person into heaven. Before the way to become perfect before God is discussed, a person needs to come to the realization that they are a sinner before God and on the outside of heaven looking in. Here is where the Law of God comes in. The Law of God reveals the utter sinfulness of the sinner. The Law is meant to expose sin in people and lead them to Jesus who died on the cross to pay the penalty of their sin and make a way of salvation for them. Through faith in Christ a person is made perfect before God.

 

The path to perfection in Christ begins with the Law of God that reveals our sin to us. Read the following passages which point this out to us:

 

  • Galatians 3:10-13 – “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)”   [86] (see 2 Corinthians 5:20-21; James 2:10)
  • Galatians 3:22-24 – “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” [87]

The purpose of the Law is not to save people, but to reveal their utter sinfulness to them. No one can be saved by keeping the Law (Galatians 3:11). Jesus alone was able to keep the whole Law of God. Only through faith in Jesus can the requirements of the Law be kept perfectly and the ticket to enter heaven be received through faith in Jesus.

When people try to be righteous before God by keeping the Law or a set of rules, they misuse the Law of God. The Law was meant to reveal to sinners their need of a gospel. This is what Paul says when he is inspired to write:

  • 1 Timothy 1:8-11 – “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”  [88]

The mistake people often make in gauging their suitability for heaven is that they base their assessment on comparing themselves to other people. You can always find someone worse than yourself. A sheep on a grassy knoll looks white. A sheep standing in the pure white of fresh fallen snow, does not look white but it’s dirtiness is clearly seen. God’s standard for entering heaven is perfection. Jesus alone kept the Law of God. Jesus is the standard which we must measure up to to gain entrance to heaven (John 16:8-11). We can’t measure up to Jesus, therefore, God allows us to have Jesus perfection put to our account when we put our faith  in Him and receive His atoning cross work to our account. Again the Bible puts it this way:

  • Isaiah 53:4-6 – “Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  [89]
  • 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 – “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  [90]
  • 1 Peter 2:24 – “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”  [91]
  • 1 Peter 3:18 – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,”  [92]

Jesus used the Law to show the rich young ruler his sinfulness and need of a Savior.

 

 

Nothing is Impossible With God

 

Matthew 19:23-26 – “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.24 “And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.    [93]

What Jesus says about the rich man is true of every man, every person, you can’t get to heaven in your own strength no matter how wealthy  or smart you are. That’s the point Jesus is making with his disciples, that even a rich young man, who had everything going for him, couldn’t’ work his way to heaven. A person can only get into heaven through God who makes the impossible possible in Christ.

Some have conjectured that the “eye of the needle” referred to here by Jesus was an opening in the bottom of the wall in Jerusalem where camels would be made to get on their knees to get through to the outside of the city wall. But that is speculative and it is more likely that Jesus was illustrating the impossibility of working your way into heaven by alluding to an impossibility, getting a camel that is huge through the eye of a needle that is tiny.

No sinner is beyond the reach of God if that sinner is willing to receive the gift of God’s grace to repent in faith in Jesus. The Bible tells us that God goes out of His way to redeem that which was lost. In the Old Testament it states:

  • 2 Samuel 14:14b – “Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him.”  [94]

No matter how far away a lost one seems, God is working to bring them into His fold. Nothing is impossible with God, no one who has a desire to be saved is beyond His outstretched arm of salvation. The following true story of how God saved two souls that were worlds apart is an example of how He works to save the lost.

Sunday Morning in Pearl Harbor. The date was December 7, 1941. At approximately 7:49 a.m. Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, 39, led a fleet of 360 Japanese fighter planes through the billowy clouds high above Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He had one thought in mind, cripple the American enemy. As Fuchida and his forces zeroed in on the peaceful

harbor, the commander reached for his microphone, smiled, and ordered, "All

squadrons, plunge in to attack!"

 

During the ensuing hours, a pounding fury swallowed up the quiet waters as, one by one, American battleships were hit and began tilting into the sea, succumbing to the surprise invasion. Fuchida’s fleet mercilessly bombed nearby airfields, dry docks, and barracks. And 3,622 U.S. military personnel were reported killed or missing, with more than 800 wounded. With the famous words, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" Commander Fuchida signaled over the radio waves to his Japanese generals that the attack had been made. "It was the most thrilling exploit of my career," Fuchida later stated.

 

Meanwhile... That same morning, Sergeant Jacob DeShazer was on KP duty peeling potatoes at a U.S. army base in Oregon. When news of the attack on Pearl Harbor by

the Japanese came over the loudspeaker, DeShazer became enraged and shouted,

"The Japs are going to have to pay for this!" At that moment, intense hatred for the Japanese was born in young Jacob DeShazer’s heart, and it grew with every passing day. He soon volunteered for a secret mission as a bombardier in a squadron that became known as the Doolittle Raiders. Four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, DeShazer and the other Raiders made a surprise raid on Tokyo, Japan. But after completing their mission, DeShazer’s plane ran out of fuel. He and the crew were forced to parachute into enemy territory. DeShazer was captured the very next day and was held in a P.O.W.

camp for 40 long months, 34 of them in solitary confinement. During his captivity, DeShazer was severely beaten and malnourished. Three of his buddies were executed by a firing squad, and another died of slow starvation. All of this added fuel to DeShazer’s fire of hatred for the Japanese, which was becoming all-consuming. "I began to ponder the cause of such hatred between members of the human race," he recalls. "I wondered what it was that made the Japanese hate the Americans, and what made me hate the

Japanese." He was about to find out. . . . an intense hatred for the Japanese was born in young Jacob DeShazer’s heart.

 

DeShazer remembered hearing about Christianity and how it changed hatred into love. Suddenly overcome by a longing to examine the Bible to see if it held the secret, he began begging his captors for one. Finally, two years into his imprisonment, a guard granted his request, but said he could have it for only a few weeks. DeShazer dove in with wild abandon, eagerly reading chapter after chapter, first the Old Testament, then the New. He began to understand that his sin, including his hatred for the Japanese people, was keeping him separated from God. But it also became clear that he could be reconciled with his Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. On June 8, 1944, DeShazer came across Romans 10:9: "If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." With a believing heart, DeShazer confessed his sins to God and discovered what true forgiveness is all about.

 

Something miraculous happened in DeShazer’s cell that day. Though his physical body was battered from beatings and lack of food, God gave him a new spiritual life in Christ, one filled with joy. Reveling in the freedom of God’s forgiveness, DeShazer suddenly saw his captors in a new light. "I discovered that God had given me new spiritual eyes," he said. "When I looked at the Japanese officers and guards who had starved and beaten me and my companions so cruelly, I found my bitter hatred for them changed to loving pity. I realized they did not know anything about my Savior and that if Christ is not in a heart, it is natural to be cruel."

 

Just as Christ prayed on the cross, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do," DeShazer began praying for God to forgive his torturers. And he vowed to someday return to Japan and share the message of salvation with its people, that they too might be reconciled to God. On August20, 1945, the war came to an end and prison guards released DeShazer and the others. True to his commitment, he entered a Christian college and began studying to be a missionary, equipping himself to return to Japan and make Christ known.

 

After Pearl Harbor, Commander Fuchida was a national hero. But during the next four years of war he was determined to build on his effective work at Pearl Harbor and lead Japan to victory. Needless to say, Fuchida was bitter and broken-hearted when the Emperor announced Japan’s surrender. With the end of the war, Fuchida’s illustrious military career was over and he returned to his home village near Osaka to begin farming. Summoned by General Douglas MacArthur to testify about war crimes, Fuchida stepped off a train in Tokyo one day when an American handed him a pamphlet entitled, “I Was

a Prisoner of Japan,” the author, Jacob DeShazer. Fuchida was moved as he read how the dynamic power of Christ had transformed DeShazer’s life and his attitude toward his former captors. The peace that DeShazer had discovered  was exactly what Fuchida had been seeking. Since the American had found it in the Bible, Fuchida purchased one, despite his Shintoist heritage, to see for himself. It was the account of the crucifixion that grabbed Fuchida’s heart, particularly Jesus’ prayer at the time of His death, as recorded in Luke 23:34,"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

 

"I was impressed that I was certainly one of those for whom Jesus had prayed," Fuchida shared. "The many men I had killed had been slaughtered in the name of patriotism, for I did not understand the love which Christ wishes to implant within every heart." Realizing that Jesus had given His life as a substitute for the wickedness of this world, Fuchida prayed, asking God to forgive his sins and change him from a bitter ex-pilot into a

well-balanced Christian with a purpose. From that moment, Fuchida’s life started to change. God began releasing the shackles of bitterness and hatred that once bound his heart, replacing it with love and compassion and a desire to tell others about freedom in Christ.

 

Fuchida did tell others about Christ, as did DeShazer. In fact, they both spent many years as evangelists, DeShazer in Japan and Fuchida throughout Asia and the world, sharing about the forgiveness they found through Jesus. Perhaps as important, the two former enemies became friends, a testament to God’s miraculous healing of hearts. Only after DeShazer and Fuchida were reconciled to God were they able to find forgiveness in their hearts for those who had sinned against them. They learned that without God’s forgiveness in their lives, they lacked the capacity and desire to forgive others. The forgiveness that DeShazer and Fuchida found through Jesus Christ is as available today as it was during World War II. If you would like to receive that same forgiveness, just pray this simple prayer:

 

Dear God, I admit I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died for my sins. I want to turn away from my sin and now invite Christ to come into my heart and life as my Savior. Teach me to read and understand the Bible and talk to You in prayer each day. Amen.[95]

If God can work out the salvation of two combatants that one time hated each other like these tow men did, who can’t He save? Nothing is impossible with God.

Jesus Has A Plan For Your Life

Matthew 19:27-30 – “Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?”28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.29 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.30 “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”  [96]

The teaching of Jesus caused the disciples, Peter in particular, to ask how His teaching affected them. Peter said, “we have left all and followed you. Therefore what shall we have?” In other words, Peter and the other disciples had walked the talk; they had passed through the superficial understanding of Jesus’ call on their lives to put Him first in everything. They had received and applied faith and trust in Jesus (19:27). Jesus responded that in particular the twelve would be put in a position of administration over the twelve tribes of Israel (19:28).  (See Revelation 4-5 and the twenty-four elders, twelve of which are the disciples and the other twelve are likely the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel from the Old Testament.) Jesus then gives a general statement of what awaits those who forsake all to follow Him by saying that the rewards are “a hundredfold” and will be topped off by eternal life, the crowning jewel for the believer (19:29). Then Jesus concludes by saying that the servant-hearted disciple who is willing to be last in this world is the one who will be rewarded in the next (19:30).

Jesus has a plan for your life. His plan is not to leave you destitute. It isn’t to make you richer in the things of this world, but to give you something of far greater worth. What might that be? The greatest thing a disciple can receive is a part and place in the mission plan of Jesus. It is there that fulfillment and meaning is found. And the final destination of the ministry God calls you to is a face to face meeting with Jesus who will say to you:

  • Matthew 25:20-23 - “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’21 “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’22 “He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’23 “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”  [97]

When we meet face to face with Jesus and He says those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord,” when He says that to us, it will be worth it all. Because of this promise our attitude should be like that described by the apostle Paul who was inspired to write:

  • Philippians 3:7-21 – “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. 17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”  [98]

Conclusion

Family, marriage, divorce, singleness, prioritizing possessions, eternal life, these are all issues for which we need to seek the Wonderful Counselor’s counsel on. Disciple, Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor; when we have a problem we should come together in His name, willing to submit to His will and word. Disciple, when you encounter the inevitable counseling situation in life, realize you are not in it alone, Jesus the Wonderful counselor is with you to guide and empower you. Disciple, Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor.

 



[1]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[2]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[3]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[4]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[5]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[6]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[7]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[8]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[9]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[10]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[11]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[12]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[13]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[14]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[15]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[16]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[17]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[18]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[19]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[20]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[21] Ed Bulkey, Ph.D. Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology, (Eugene, OR: harvest House Pub.) 1993. p. 73

[22]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[23]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[24]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[25]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[26]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[27]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[28]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[29] Barna Research – December 21st, 1999

[30] Barna Research Homepage -  http://www.barna.org

[31] Jon Courson, Tree of Life Bible Commentary – Matthew – Vol 2 Tree of Life Pub., Jacksonville, OR 97530) 1993. p. 122

[32] David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, (Jewish NT Publications, Inc., Clarkville, MD) 1992. p. 59

[33]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[34]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[35]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[36]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[37]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[38]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[39]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[40]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[41]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[42]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[43] Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House) 1976. p. 39

[44]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[45]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[46]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[47]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[48]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[49]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[50]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[51]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[52]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[53]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[54] Ralph W. Harris, Exec. Ed., The Complete Biblcial Library – The New Testament Study Bible Matthew, (Springfield, MI: The Comnplete Biblical Library, ) 1989) p. 399.

[55]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[56]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[57]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[58]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[59]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[60]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[61]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[62]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[63]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[64]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[65]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[66]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[67]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[68]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[69]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[70]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[71] Jon Courson, Ibid. p. 124

[72]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[73] Ralph W. Harris, Ibid. p. 401

[74]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[75] Larry Taylor, Published by Calvary Chapel Bible College - 1995; A ministry of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California.

 

[76]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[77]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[78]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[79]Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.

[80]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[81] Barna Research Group. Ibid.

[82] Marriage and Family, April, 1980.

 

[83] AFA Journal, March 2001 Edition - The Family in America, New Research, 12/00

 

[84]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[85]Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.

[86]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[87]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[88]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[89]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[90]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[91]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[92]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[93]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[94]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[95] chi32660@hkg.odn.ne.jp (Tadayoshi Minakawa)

[96]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[97]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[98]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.