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October 30, 2005

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Q/A's
Q/A Topics:
Renewing wedding vows?

READER QUESTION:
What are your thoughts on Christians "renewing" their wedding vows? Is it scriptual?

VW ANSWER:
Have you read the stuff on marriage? And be sure to also check out the links at the bottom of the Ten Commandments ('adultery') section.

So then....once you've read those....if the 'wedding' -ceremony- is of pagan origins, why would 'renewing' such vows be any better?

Yes, Jesus went to the wedding in Cana (Jn2), but His purpose was not to change all the social customs, but to 'save' mankind (Lk19:10)...but where in Scripture is there any directive regarding "weddings"? Even what Jews do, stomping on the wine glass and stuff....where is that found in Scripture? When Isaac took Rebecca as wife, he took her into his (late) mother's tent, they were intimate, and they were married. (Gen24:67)

Do we, as Christians, require the saying of pledges, in order to be 'faithful'? Does not Jesus say to not be swearing, but instead, "But let your word be yes, yes; no, no" (Mt5:37) And the Lord's brother, Jacob, says, "But above all things, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your Yes, be Yes, and your No, No, so that you do not fall under condemnation." (Ja5:12) Is not the pledging of vows a form of swearing?

Should that not also apply to marriages? Typically, wedding vows are said in the company of "witnesses" at the command of somebody who is presumed to be in superiority over them, 'authorizing' to them that it is 'OK' for them to make these pledges, who then intones, "I pronounce you man and wife". Well, whose marriage is it? All those witnesses... or the man and his wife? And under whose authority are they said to be married? "He who made them...and the two shall become one flesh...what -GOD- has yoked together, let not man separate" (Mt19:4-6) Are not promises and fidelity between the two, before God? Certainly, to have some sort of ceremony gives a lot of people something to wax emotional over, dress up in tuxes and gowns, have tasty cake and raise the glass and give toasts about; but I don't see it anywhere in Scripture.

And to say that a church wedding "legitimizes" the marriage is to hark back to Rome/Babylon and their self-presumed 'magisterium' authority. Did Adam and Eve have Babylon's magisterium? The wedding ceremony originates from paganism, with its fertility rites. Do Christians partake in paganism?

The magisterium is not that which "made them" nor "yoked" them together

Le 18:3 "According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you have dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances."

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If a Christian does ???, are they still saved?

READER QUESTIONS:
I have been enjoying your articles. It makes me wish I knew a little more about you. Somethings I am a little confused on in [sic] reading your articles. For instance, I looked up smoking & cigarettes, but from the articles, I couldn't really tell what your position was. So I'll ask you directly. Can a true Christian smoke & still be saved?

I also read your articles on divorce & remarriage. I understand your postition [sic] to be that a divorced & remarried couple can still be saved & remain married. However, can a homosexual get saved & remain an active homosexual? Can an unmarried couple be saved & yet remain an unmarried couple? It seems to me that to repent is to turn away from your sin. Doesn't God recognize the original marriage as still a marriage?

VW ANSWER:
'Not saying that that is what this person is doing, but in reading this e-mail (I've included only a small part of it here) I was reminded of Jesus' ministry. John records that, "although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe into Him," (Jn12:37); and on other occasions the passage might record how Jesus would have been healing people right and left, and teaching many things, and then, in that context, the scribes and pharisees (the ones with all the book learning, assuming themselves to be quite intelligent) would pounce on Him, "If you are the Christ, TELL US PLAINLY" (Jn10:24)

In many things I -purposely- do not give direct answers. But like in last week's Q/A item (mailed to the subscribers, but not posted at the website) on playing games (checkers/chess), we try to address Biblical concepts and principles. There are many things about which the individual Believer must live with their own God-given conscience in "faith". (Rom14:23) I cannot give a blanket statement about a lot of things. Like the illustration given: dominos might be OK in one region, but not in another. If I were to give "inches" in terms of the hemline for a woman's skirt, well, there are parts of the world where it wouldn't matter how long her skirt was, if her face wasn't covered or she wasn't wearing a shawl, too. And in this matter, women's attire is often not as much 'what' the woman is wearing as much as 'how' she wears it... and with what 'spirit' emanating from within herself. Somebody with a skirt above the knee, whose heart is pure, could be perceived as being 'modest' where somebody wearing something floorlength, if her spirit that manifests out to others is one of sensuality and seduction, is not. Jesus said that it is what is in the 'heart' that either justifies or condemns a person, not what one "eats" or whether or not one washes his hands before a meal. (Mt15:17-20)

Also, let us review another thing: In the Revelation series, in connection with "Pergamos" the question is asked, "Is it possible for an individual to be in a Catholic or Mormon church, and also be a Christian?" Catholicism is Babylon. Mormon is the name of a demon. But both of these organizations use, to greater or lesser degrees, the Scriptures. What is it that God uses to save the sinner? "Faith is of hearing, and hearing through the Word of God" (Rom10:17) And when God's Word goes out, it does not return empty, without performing the purposes for which it was sent. (Is55:11) They both speak of Jesus dying on the cross to save us from our sins. To the degree that an individual hears God's Word, and receives it into the heart, and "receives" Jesus; that individual is given "authority" to become a child of God. (Jn1:12) In many settings, where individuals are surrounded by falsehood, with no clear way of understanding a lot of fine points, as everybody reading these mailings is, Jesus exhorts, "Hold fast what you have till I come" (Rev2:25) God knows that many True Believers are "tormented from day to day" in the midst of the wickedness of the world in which we live. (2Pet2:8)

So, what about smoking? I'm not going to give a 'clear' answer. But I think the concepts/principles should answer the question. Is smoking harmful to the body? Of course it is. I don't know the statistics of 'how many' die annually of lung cancer and other related illnesses. If our bodies are the "temple" of God's Holy Spirit (1Co6:19), should we not keep them clean? Of course we should. Thus, is it not a no-brainer that a Christian should NOT smoke!

But the question is asked whether a person can be a Christian, and continue to smoke. Well, is it possible for a person to be a habitual overeater, and still be a Christian? How many people die of complications related to overeating? What about a person who works with toxic chemicals without proper protection and introduces harmful substances to the body, and eventually devolops complications? What about a person being an athlete in a sport where the likelihood of injuries is high? Paul even speaks of boxing. (1Co9:26) What about it? Purposely bashing another person in the face and body with the intent to do them harm, for the purpose of "winning"? Personally, I couldn't do it. ...nor do I smoke.

But there are those who are, and do. Most people do not fix 'everything' in their lives all-at-once. Perhaps in their spiritual growth they are yet dealing with matters of honesty and marital fidelity? Perhaps they are dealing with issues of anger? And the list could go on. If 'honesty' and 'smoking' are placed side-by-side, which, do you suppose, is a more 'urgent' matter to be addressed in that person's life? Scripture speaks much of truthfulness and lying...but does not say a word about smoking.

HOWEVER:
Regarding marriage and homosexuality, the Scriptures give some very clear and -specific- words. And in those things I equally am specific.

Men with men is an "abomination" to God, and is due God's wrath. (Le18:22,20:13,Rom1:18,27) When a person comes to Christ, if they are truly saved, they receive Jesus' cleansing of no condemnation, with the exhortation to "go and sin no more" (Rom8:1,Jn8:11) If a person "makes claims for Christ", but "continues in sin" (Rom6:1-2), by their fruits they are known to be false, and Jesus says, "I never knew you!" (Mt7:20-23)

And having had extensive conversations with one particular sodomite, and also seeing the scoffing militance with which that crowd maintains their objective, I have concluded that it is not a matter of them "not knowing any better", or that they "have no choice" and that they were "born that way"....all those lines are a bunch of crock! They -DO- know better. And like in the case of the one I've conversed with, his 'alcoholism' I believe is directly related to it. Within the depths of the conscience he is not happy -because- of his 'lifestyle', and so he drinks, to drown it out. Statistics show similar things regarding that whole culture, both with booze and drugs.

Regarding marriage, divorce is only condoned where "perversion" is involved (Mt5:32), or in the case of where the unbeliever leaves a Believer (1Co7:15)

However, again (related to the preceding item): the gauge of "marriage" is not the vows, ritual, certificate or license. It is the 'relationship' of the man and woman. In God's eyes marriage occurs when the man "goes in to her". (De21:13,22:13,25:5) Even where intimacy occurs outside society's ideas of what creates a marriage. If it is "out of wedlock" (based on the lack of a piece of paper), God considers them married. (De22:29) It is not "the church" that says whether or not the couple is married...God established it according to what they did in the bedroom. There is no such thing as an "unmarried couple" having sex; the fact that they are sharing the bed makes them "married" (if they are not committing adultery because of being married to others). They may not have the 'blessing' of the priest or justice of the peace, along with the signed papers; but in God's eyes the two become "one flesh" (Gen2:24,Mt19:5,1Co6:16,Eph5:31)

And supposing the couple, prior to being saved, had been busy jumping in and out of various beds (we've touched on this in the past, especially in connection with the "Life is in the Blood" series, especially the closing Q/A of that series), and then they get saved... do they attempt to find that very 'original' one they had been with? God commanded Israel NOT to do that: If a person is with one, and then moves to somebody else, they are not to return to the first. (Jer3:1,De24:1-4) And Paul furthers the exhortation that: Whatever situation you find yourself in 'now', STAY PUT. The music for musical chairs has stopped: so SIT DOWN, and STAY there.

"Let each one remain with God however he was called" (1Co7:17,20,24)

Many from the '1st Legalistic Fellowship of Phariseeism' don't think it is possible, and will often tell such a couple to separate due to their 'first' marriages and will refuse to legitimize a couple's current state; but God's cleansing at salvation covers even that past. Remember, Solomon came through Bathsheba, Boaz came through Rahab, and Pharez came from Judah through Tamar. Jesus told the woman, "neither do I condemn you...go and sin no more". And also review the case of the woman of Samaria in John ch4. We may still have the physical/emotional scars, but (like from this past week-end's mailing) 'positionally' God makes us "righteous". God "has received him" and is "able to make him stand" (Rom14:3-4) When a person comes to faith in Christ, all past sins are forgiven...

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Ps103:12)

See also: Q/A -Stay put as homosexual?

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What is Perversion?

Recently, also, a subscriber asked the definition of "sexual perversion" (Mt5:32,19:9); and it seems like that might be appropriate here, along with the preceding two items....

Often it is assumed to be leather, cuffs, toys and various such things; and/or the touching of places, positions and doing things not directly related to "fruitfulness" (Gen1:28,9:1)

I don't think it's necessary for me to address the far-out things, so I'm not going to. But what about, generically, intimate activities not directly related to reproduction? What is OK, and what is not? And is any of it 'perverse'? Scripture doesn't say much, other than Solomon's entire book of love songs.

When mention is made in the book of dove's eyes, goats, sheep, scarlet, pomegranates, fawns; and of being ravished; what is the likelihood that they are standing, as if on stage, with outstreched hand, giving an 'oration' to each other from across the room? Is not the context that of "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me." (SS2:6) Passionate intimacy and lovemaking.

"Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled; but prostitutes and adulterers God will judge." (Heb13:4)

There are no Scriptural descriptions of 'what' goes on in that bed; either yea or nay; either this or that.

But what God judges is adultery, prostitution, men-with-men, and cross dressing.

"...male and female He created them" (Gen1:27) to "cleave" together and be "one flesh"...in "unashamed" nakedness. (Gen2:24-25)

Thus...

  • Adultery is perversion because it robs from that "one flesh". It is no longer "one", but a stranger has been added to the mix.

  • Prostitution is perversion because "one flesh" is never established. Paul speaks of the "one flesh" in being joined to a harlot. (1Co6:16) But how many times does that happen, and with how many different people? It is confusion. It is not God's design. Anything that is contrary to design, by definition, is "perverted".

  • Men-with-men is called "abomination". (Le20:13) It 'perverts' God's design of "male and female".

  • Cross-dressing is "confusion". "God is not of confusion" (1Co14:33) God made men to be men, and women to be women. And if you read Song of Solomon, the two also 'enjoy' what they see of each other physically. That is by God's design. God made women to be eye-candy to men, and for men to be 'whatever' it is that women see in men. (Being a man, I couldn't say for sure 'what' that is!) When people cross-dress, it is, by deed, a lie. Same with sex-change operations. God created them one gender, and by rebellion they refuse to accept it, and change.
Thus, as I concluded the matter to the subscriber: "sexual perversion" is not so much 'what' a man-and-wife may do in the privacy of their own God-honored bed... but with 'whom' people do what they do. God-honored sex is the intimate activity between a husband and his -own- wife, of 'whatever' the nature of their mutually agreed upon and desired activities.

Perversion is anything with ANYBODY ELSE.

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