Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How close to sin can I get and still not sin?

Mark 10:2-12 NLT 
2 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?” 
   3  Jesus answered them with a question: “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?”
   4  “Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.” 
   5  But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. 6 But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. 7 ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, 8 and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, 9 let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
   10  Later, when he was alone with his disciples in the house, they brought up the subject again.  11 He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.”

Some so-called 'quetions' about ethics and morality are so blatantly manipulative that they are sure signs of inner ultimate evil.  Any question of the sort that asks "just how close to the limit can I get and still be considered innocent?" is intended on violating the principle in the first place. Any time I move away from dead-center commitment to doing a good thing, in the direction of its antithesis, then I have already left good and entered into evil. These academic leaders are a lot like some in the academy that I know today who challenge all notions of God and God's will and seek to shroud themselves in an illusion of intelligence to enforce their evil opinions. This question is so innocuous to us today where we wrestle against people arguing for homosexual marriages and divorces that it almost brings a chuckle. Human morality has gone so far away from God's standard that there hardly seems to be a shred of decency left in the world.

The question was about divorce. Wrong question. The fact that one was thinking of divorce indicated that one was already departing from God's will. He called us who marry to a life of faithfulness toward our partner as unto God. Would we say that we were thinking about walking away from God? No? then we cannot be asking under what circumstances will God allow us to walk away from the one we have married in His name. But the Pharisees didn't really want to know anything about marriage and divorce. They merely wanted to trip up Jesus with what they thought was an Ethical dilemma. True to His nature, Jesus was not trapped by their question because it was instantly revealed as ignorant and the wrong question to ask.

Even the Disciples were taken up with the question because, apparently, divorce was a problem in those days as it is in our own. In the church we have long settled the matter and we don't allow ourselves to get into knit-picking arguments about the salvation of individuals who have divorced. We don't determine who gets saved-- that is up to God alone. All we do is to love them, serve them, teach them and pray for them in whatever circumstances they are going through. People will go through all sorts of mental anguish and arguments in order to justify themselves for doing what they determine they want to do. And, they will invent all sorts of false theologies and doctrines to give themselves permission in the eyes of others.

The real important point in this passage is, for me, at least, that we make our lives centered on doing God's will, trusting God to give us the grace to endure and to protect us from harm.  It is that we engage in love toward others in ways that demonstrates our love comes from the nature of God rather than mankind's fallen nature. What does this passage say to you for today?
Your Servant in Christ's love

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