Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 27
SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS CONCERNING MARRIAGE – PART 2
Now back to where we left off at the end of the last lesson where Paul has just been almost crying at the question, “Don’t you know that you have no right, as a believer, as a child of God, as a member of the Body of Christ, to be unioned with a harlot.” Now that doesn’t necessarily limit that to a professional prostitute, because anytime you go outside of God’s bounds for sexual actions it becomes the same thing. Now verse 17:
I Corinthians 6:17
“But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
Now again I always have to clarify that when Paul teaches that Christ is the Groom, and we are the Bride, and there is that marriage relationship. I hope that most people understand that that is merely a positional term. It certainly is not a sexual term because that’s going to all pass off the scene. Let’s look at Romans Chapter 7 for a moment where Paul uses that marriage relationship analogy there also. Even as he writes this to the Corinthians he also says to the Romans:
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; (In other words by the Work of the Cross we are now under Grace, and not under law) that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead,…”
The concept here is that as soon as we become a child of God we are literally brought into union with Christ just like a husband and wife in the marriage relationship. And you find this concept all through Paul’s writings as he always writes to the Church, the Body of Christ, that’s you and I as believers. Now let’s look at one more in the Book of Ephesians Chapter 5, and verse 22, this is a series of verses that we have used over the years, but here again the marriage relationship is likened to our relationship spiritually with Christ.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, (not like a slave master over his slaves, but what is again the comparison?) even as Christ is the head of the church;….”
My, what a comparison. And I always have to remind people in order for Christ to become the Head of you and I as members of the Body of Christ, what did He have to do? He had to die, and suffer for us. Praise God the power of the resurrection overcame that death, but nevertheless He suffered and died for us as members of the Body. Now what does that tell a husband that he should be ready to do? The same thing. We should be ready to die for our wives if necessary. Verse 23 again:
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the saviour of the body, Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ,…”
And here is where I always teach that you can’t find anywhere that Christ is the King of the Church. It’s just not scripturally right to refer to Him as our King, and I know most people do. He is not our King, He is the Head of the Body. A King rules over his subjects, and we’re not Christ’s subjects. We’re joint-heirs with Him. We’re in a whole different position than the servant of a King. Now granted Christ is still going to come and be King of Kings and Lord of Lords absolutely, but The Book says, as members of the Body we’re going to be reigning and ruling not under Him, but where? With Him. See what a difference that makes. Now verse 25:
“Husbands, love your wives, (that’s a command) even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it:”
Now of course when Paul uses that term “Church” he’s not talking about that building on the corner, or some denomination that says, “They’re the only ones that will be in heaven.” (and there are some of those), but rather he’s talking about that universal compilation of believers who have been brought into the Body of Christ by a work of the Holy Spirit. And then that Body of Christ is in union with Him, and is joint-heirs with Him as well. Now let’s come back to I Corinthians again, and verse 18. Since we are now in union with Christ then we are to be just as careful about our fidelity to Him as the husband and the wife should be to each other. This is the whole moral principal now of Biblical teaching, and here it is:
I Corinthians 6:18
“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without (outside) the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”
Now what’s Paul trying to scream at these Corinthians? Well I don’t care what your past lifestyle has been, I don’t care if you did take all this immoral activity for granted, now as a child of God you are on totally different territory. You are now a totally different person, and when you begin to involve yourself with immoral activities you are literally adulterating your position with Christ. Is that plain enough? I hope so, because this is exactly what the picture is. The believer has absolutely no business involving himself in extra-marital relationships. The marriage and family relationship is holy, it’s sanctified, and God has ordained it that way. You know that’s why I quit goose hunting long, long, ago when I found that that geese are monogamous. In other words a goose only has one mate for life, and if you shoot it’s mate it goes through the rest of it’s life alone, and I just couldn’t be a part of that anymore. If wild geese can be monogamous then why in the world can’t intelligent human beings? Well Paul is going to deal with that in the next chapter. Looking at the last part of verse 18 again we find:
I Corinthians 6:18b
“but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”
I used to teach teen-agers in Sunday School class years ago, and would use the illustration of fire. Fire under control is one of the greatest things that God has given mankind. It warms our homes, and there’s nothing nicer than a good glowing fireplace or wood heater on a cold winter blustery day. Steel is another good example. How much steel would we ever produce without fire? None. In so much of our everyday life, fire under control is an absolute necessity, it is a blessing of God, but turn fire loose in a wildfire situation, and what have you got? Devastation, and tragedy, and destruction, and you name it. My what fire can do when it’s wild. Now that’s what sex is for the human race. Under the controls that God mandated it’s just as glorious as that fire in the fireplace. But you turn it loose as the world has done today, and what has it become? It’s a tragedy. Ruined lives, ruined families, ruined marriages, and all because of misappropriating this gift from God that we call sex.
I Corinthians 6:19
“What? know ye not that your body (this body of flesh and blood in which we live) is the temple (or the dwelling place) of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, (he’s there because of an act of God) and ye are not your own?”
Why aren’t you your own? Because you have been bought with a price. Now let’s turn to I Peter, Chapter 1, and verse 18 to follow this up. I know some people don’t think I know anything but Paul, but here’s one from Peter.
I Peter 1:18
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;”
Remember Peter is a Jew writing to Jews, and so he’s talking about all the traditions of Judaism, and all the Old Testament economy. And he says, “You weren’t purchased with that.”
I Peter 1:19
“But (you were) with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
So what was the price of our redemption? The blood of Christ, and you don’t hear that much any more do you? We have been bought with the blood of Christ, and you just can’t bypass that, you can’t go around it, under it, or over it. It’s one of the basic tenants of Scripture, and how many times have we used it here in our study. We’ll look at it again as we start back to I Corinthians. Let’s stop in the Book of Hebrews Chapter 9 for a moment because I don’t want anyone to think that I’ve dreamed this up.
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; (that goes back of course to the Old Testament sacrifices, but the last half of the verse is what we’re looking for, and were we are today.) and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
There is no forgiveness of sin without the shed blood of Christ. Now you know when we were back in the Old Testament I made comment to the fact that the word “atonement” was a misnomer. Those animal sacrifices never brought about atonement even though it was called the Day of Atonement. They couldn’t because it took the blood of Christ to fulfill the atoning work, and so we are now atoned, and we’re redeemed, and we’re brought with a price “The blood of Christ.” Now reading verse 20 again in I Corinthians Chapter 6:
I Corinthians 6:20
“For ye are brought with a price: therefore (and you know I always say what’s it there for? Well it’s there for since we’ve been bought with a price, the blood of Christ) glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
In other words, in this body of flesh in which we live, everything we do in this body should be to the glory of God. And what’s Paul driving at? If you’re going to be hobnobbing with the prostitutes, or with the immoral, then you do not glorify God in your body. It’s bringing reproach upon Him. Do you see that? Now all of that is an introduction to Chapter 7. And like I said, here’s a chapter that I wish I could just skip over, because I’m not a marriage counselor, but here Paul is dealing with the nitty gritty of the marriage relationship. And the reason that he’s having to deal with this is because these Corinthians had written him a letter of questions. And these questions were plaguing these Corinthian believers, and remember they had just come out of paganism. They were ignorant of how Christians should behave on several different matters. But here they were congregating in a small church, with lots of questions, and no Bible. They had some of the Old Testament of course, but none of the New Testament. And here Paul is answering these questions one by one.
I Corinthians 7:1
“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”
So the question must have been, “Is it right for men and women to marry?” And you might ask the question, “How in the world could they come up with a question like that?” Well you must again realize the situation. You know I’ve always taught from day one that when you read a portion of scripture the first thing you determine is who wrote it, and to whom was it written, and the third part is, what are the circumstances. Well here we have Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, writing to the congregation in the wicked city of Corinth who have come out of abject immoral, idolatrous background, and they are all hung up on this marriage relationship that now is Biblical compared to what it is in paganism. Now you want to remember that in paganism under idolatry, the marriage relationship didn’t amount to that much. It was really just a place to propagate the family, but so far as any moral integrity, or fidelity of the marriage relationship, the pagans knew nothing of that.
And so now they are going off the deep end. “Is it right for us to marry?” Now don’t misinterpret the last half of verse 1 when Paul says that it is good for a man not to touch a woman. He’s not saying that they shouldn’t get involved and get married. But he is saying in the light of these verses in Chapter 6 that as believers now men as well as women, have to be careful in their contact with people of the opposite sex in their everyday experience. And when Paul says, “That it’s good for a man not to touch a woman,” and if I under stand the Greek at all, what he’s talking about is that a man should not get physically involved with a woman to excite the sexual sense. He is certainly not bringing in the shaking of the hands with women. Even in the early Church they granted the “Holy Kiss” where they would embrace much like our middle easterners still do, and that also caused problems in the early Church, and so that was finally pushed out the back door.
So Paul is answering their questions, “It is not good for a man to touch a woman, not to embrace her, or get involved with her enough to excite the basic instinct of her or him.” But he is not saying that they can’t get married. And I know that a lot of people take this verse to mean that Paul is anti-marriage. No, he is not anti-marriage. In fact before we go any further let me show you some verses to back that up. Let’s go to the Book of Hebrews for a moment. We’ve already seen what God said back there in Genesis concerning the marriage relationship, and that they were to replenish the earth, they were to have children, and they were to enjoy the marriage relationship. Now look what Paul writes in the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 13, and verse 4. And he’s not going to utterly contradict this with his statement in I Corinthians Chapter 7, so you have to put the two of them together.
“Marriage (As we understand it) is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled:…”
Now you know we’ve come mercifully away from Victorianism, which was the extreme in the other direction. Sex in Victorianism, was such a dirty word that it couldn’t be mentioned in public, and it was almost taboo except for the purpose of child bearing. Well that certainly wasn’t right, but now on the other hand we’ve gone too far the other way. Now completing verse 4 we find the other side of the coin opposite marriage being honourable, and the bed undefiled.
“… but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
God is not going to wink at that. They’re not going to get away with it, and they’re going to face up with it some day. The Great White Throne Judgment is waiting for the lost, and they’re going to come up before God with all this on their record. Now if you will come back again to I Corinthians Chapter 7 again.
I Corinthians 7:2
“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, (or falling into the trap of immoral activity) let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”
Now we have to be careful. Is the sole reason for getting married, not to be tempted to go out and be promiscuous? Well of course not, but it does have that redeeming effect, that if I have my wife, and she has me, then we’re not tempted then to go out into the world, and be promiscuous with those we have no business being with. And so this is what Paul is saying. Also I’ve got to bring you back to that situation at Corinth with all their rampant prostitution, and for a young man it was a constant temptation. So Paul says, “rather than being tempted with that, have your own wife.” Now verse 3:
I Corinthians 7:3
“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: (we’re living in a day where you see so much wife beating, and wife abuse. Well why is that? Well again it’s because these people have not been taught plain, simple Biblical principals. And that is that a husband is to treat his wife as something that he would die for, and not as something that he can beat around the house. That was not God’s intention of the marriage relationship.) and likewise also the wife unto the husband.”
I had a letter recently asking why God condoned slavery? Why did He ever permit it to happen? Well, when you analyze the greatest period of time of human history, what percentage of the people were actually educated enough to carry on and be an entrepreneur, or be a good enough business person to make a good living. Not very many. The vast majority was totally illiterate, were totally incapable of decision making, and we saw that in Russia, after 70 years of communism. So under those kinds of circumstances a benevolent master was the best thing those people could have.
I think that most of you are aware that when slavery was holding forth in the South, there were masters like that. And those slaves loved them, didn’t they? They had it better than they could have ever hoped to have it out there on their own. But you see man has totally again adulterated God’s purposes, and instead of masters being benevolent they became bestial, and less than merciful, and then slavery became awful, and God never intended it to be that way. Well it’s the same way here. The husband and wife relationship, if it’s as God intended to be, should be a happy situation 365 days a year. There is absolutely no reason for husband and wives to be on a constant battle ground. I can say from experience, Iris and I have been married for 43 years and I think our kids will tell you that they have never heard us raise our voice at one another. It’s not because we’re so perfect, but rather because we know that The Lord is in control of our home. And this is way He wants it.