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Divorce November 22, 2017

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 5:31-32.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus begins by quoting from Deuteronomy 24:1. He then interprets that commandment, asserting that (as evidenced by the more detailed account in Matthew 19:1-11):

  • God has designed marriage as a monogamous, intimate and enduring relationship
  • God conceded to human weakness in giving that commandment
  • remarriage after divorce is tantamount to adultery; an exception can be made for sexual sin, though.

Thoughts: Since I am not especially qualified to address this subject, I will simply make two general observations:

  • maintaining a marriage relationship is difficult
  • Jesus’ teaching in this passage is intended to provide a married couple with a long-term perspective on their relationship.
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Adultery November 20, 2017

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 5:27-30.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus begins by quoting from Exodus 20:14. He then interprets that commandment, asserting that God wants husbands to be inwardly faithful to their wives. He provides two practical applications of this principle – stressing that husbands need to be ruthless in denying themselves.

Thoughts: I must admit that this sin has plagued me for many years, and I am certain that it will plague me until the next life. Given this sobering reality, I attempt to deny myself on a daily basis. One observation is that the simple act of turning off my computer has been helpful in this regard. This simple step prevents me from viewing content that I am tempted to discover; I also derive satisfaction from the fact that I have struck a blow against a formidable opponent – Satan. Another observation is that ennui causes me to be more susceptible to temptations, so I attempt to guard against it by engaging in productive activities – including blogging.

An Illustration from Marriage March 5, 2011

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Here are my thoughts on Romans 7:1-6.

Summary: In this passage, Paul proves his assertion from Romans 6:14, where he states that believers are not under God’s moral law, but are actually under grace. In particular, he states that believers are not under God’s moral law since they have, in some sense, died. To show how death yields freedom from God’s moral law, he uses the illustration of a married woman, who is legally bound to her husband as long as he lives; in fact, she would be labeled an adulteress if she were to marry another man during her first husband’s lifetime. Now if her husband were to pass away, though, her legal ties to him would be severed and she would be free to marry another man. Given this illustration, Paul then infers that since we are united with Christ in His death on the cross, we have died to God’s moral law and are free from its obligations. Previously we were bound to obey God’s moral law, yet it actually spurred our sinful nature into action, causing us to serve sin and reap its “rewards.” Now the Holy Spirit empowers believers who have been freed from their obligations to obey God’s moral law, granting them the strength to serve God and bear fruit for Him.

Thoughts: In verse 6, we see the phrases “the new way of the Spirit” and “the old way of the written code.” Hodge explains them as follows:

That is, we serve God in a new and holy state due to the Spirit, which the Spirit has produced, and not sin in, or according to, the old and corrupt state under the law.

Clearly the presence of the Holy Spirit and its transformational power in our lives is essential for us to truly serve God and honor Him. As believers, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we have to honor God by committing righteous acts and satisfying a “divine checklist” in the process. When we strive in this direction, though, we quickly see that we fall far short in this regard, and our conscience rebukes us. Indeed, we must continually remember that it is the Holy Spirit who leads us, and not the other way around. This is a struggle that is common to all Christians.