Daily Archives: September 1, 2013

Questions about Marriage: Is the Idea of a Spiritual Marriage Biblical?

This is a difficult question to answer, as the Bible does not directly address the situation. The Bible does contain principles, though, which definitely apply to the situation. First, it should be said that a government should not “punish” marriage. It is strange and seems entirely unnecessary for the government to take away retirement benefits due to an elderly person getting married. If an elderly person needs the income while not being married, there is nothing about getting married that will suddenly cause the financial need to disappear. Whatever the case, though, the law exists, so the question arises: how should Christians respond to this law?

There are two key principles which address this situation. First, the Bible instructs Christians to obey the laws of the government (Romans 13:1–7). The only situation in which civil disobedience is biblically allowable is when the government commands something that God specifically forbids (Acts 5:29). The issue of retirement income for elderly couples is obviously not something the Bible has a command regarding. As foolish and unnecessary as this law might be, it does not contradict God’s Word. Therefore, a Christian should obey it. An elderly couple seeking a “spiritual marriage” while avoiding a legal marriage is seeking to escape the requirements of the law. It is essentially no different than cheating on taxes. We are to obey the law. We are not to seek loopholes that allow us to escape the demands of the law.

Second, there is the issue of faith. If an elderly couple believes it is God’s will for them to marry, and if marriage will result in retirement income being lost, the elderly couple should trust that God will provide for them. It would not be God’s will for an elderly couple to live in poverty and destitution. How would God provide? There are many possible ways: through the extended families, through the church, through other government assistance programs, through a more conservative budget, and so forth. Again, though, the issue is faith. If an elderly couple believes it is God’s will for them to marry, the couple should also trust God that He will provide for their needs.

As sad, strange, and unnecessary as the government laws regarding retirement benefits and marriage are, biblically there is no valid reason to try to circumvent the requirements of the law on this issue. There is absolutely nothing wrong with petitioning the government to get the laws changed, but it is unbiblical to disobey/avoid the governmental laws regarding retirement benefits and marriage. If an elderly couple truly and firmly believes it is God’s will for them to marry, they should do so, and trust that God will provide.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Relationships: What Should I Do If I Cannot Decide Who I Should Be Dating?

The Bible does not specifically address this topic, but it does give us insight into what we should seek in a potential spouse. The first, and best, advice is to pray about it. God will give wisdom and guidance if you ask for it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). The first question to ask is, whether the potential spouse is devoted to God. If he/she is not, they should not be considered for a potential spouse. On the other hand, just because one follows Christ, does not make them the right choice. Being “equally yoked” can also go deeper than just “Is he/she a Christian?” There are many different beliefs in Christianity, and this should be taken into account when choosing a potential spouse. Consider what marriage would be like with this person. Are your beliefs close enough to the same that you can agree to teach your children the same doctrines? This is of the greatest importance.

For men, it’s important to look at what a Christian wife is supposed to be. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22–24). Paul tells us that a wife is to be submissive to her husband, out of love. This does not necessarily mean that the girl you are considering a relationship with should submit wholly to you, but rather she should not be rebellious, but should submit herself to her father out of love. She should be willing to be led. Proverbs 31:10–31 tells us what the “wife of noble character” is like. She is hard working, generous and charitable, strong, and wise. You may not be able to find all of these traits in one person, but these are desirable traits and pleasing to God.

Another scripture describing a wife that is pleasing to God is 1 Peter 3:1–4: “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” This tells us that a woman should be pure and living for Christ so that they can win a lost husband over without words. It also indicates that she should not be as concerned about outward appearances as she is about her spiritual life.

For women, there are a few illustrations of what a Christian husband is to be. Although the person you are considering a relationship with is not your husband, you should look for qualities that display this kind of love in the person. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:25–27). Is he loving? Is he willing to lead people toward Christ, and help them to be holy and blameless? Is he a leader? A man should love God above all else and be willing to help his brothers and sisters in Christ to strive to be holy and pleasing to God. He should be humble, wise, and merciful, just as Christ was. Watch for these qualities in a man, because this is what is pleasing to God.

You will not find a “perfect” person with all of these qualities, but God will let you see if someone you are considering a relationship with is striving to be pleasing to Him. Just as with any other big decision in life, relationships should be treated with caution, wisdom, and handled with discernment and much prayer.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Parables: What Is the Meaning of the Parable of the Leaven?

Jesus’ Parable of the Leaven is found in two of the Gospels. It is a very simple story—a snapshot of life, really: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough” (Matthew 13:33; cf. Luke 13:20–21).

Jesus uses this story as an object lesson to illustrate the kingdom of heaven. A woman takes yeast (leaven) and mixes it into dough. Eventually, the whole of the dough is leavened. What does it mean?

First, it’s important to define “kingdom of heaven.” By this, Jesus is referring to His domain as the Messiah. In the current age, the kingdom of heaven is spiritual, existing within the hearts of believers (Luke 17:21). Later, the kingdom will be manifest physically, when the Lord Jesus establishes His throne on this earth (Revelation 11:15).

In the Parable of the Leaven, we learn several things about the working of the kingdom in our present age. Each of these lessons stems from the nature of yeast.

First, the kingdom of God may have small beginnings, but it will increase. Yeast is microscopic in size, and only a little is kneaded into the dough. Yet, given time, the yeast will spread through all the dough. In the same way, Jesus’ domain started with twelve men in an obscure corner of Galilee, but it has spread throughout the world. The gospel makes progress.

Second, the kingdom of God exerts its influence from within, not from without. Yeast makes dough rise from within. God first changes the heart of a person, and that internal change has external manifestations. The gospel influence in a culture works the same way: Christians within a culture act as agents of change, slowly transforming that culture from within.

Third, the effect of the kingdom of God will be comprehensive. Just as yeast works until the dough has completely risen, the ultimate benefit of the kingdom of God will be worldwide (Psalm 72:19; Daniel 2:35). “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).

Fourth, although the kingdom of God works invisibly, its effect is evident to all. Yeast does its job slowly, secretly and silently, but no one can deny its effect on bread. The same is true of the work of grace in our hearts.

The nature of yeast is to grow and to change whatever it contacts. When we accept Christ, His grace grows in our hearts and changes us from the inside out. As the gospel transforms lives, it exerts a pervasive influence in the world at large. As we “reflect the Lord’s glory, [we] are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Late August 2013 Presuppositional apologetics Links

The Good News becoming no Good News at all

Ken Silva discusses a couple key issues within the mainstream evangelical community affecting the proclamation of the Gospel in this new piece at Apprising Ministries.

THE GOOD NEWS BECOMING NO GOOD NEWS AT ALL

Music Video: The Motions – Matthew West

This might hurt, it’s not safe
But I know that I’ve gotta make a change
I don’t care if I break
At least I’ll be feeling something

‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me

I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything
Instead of going through the motions?

No regrets, not this time
I’m gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I’m finally feeling something

‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

‘Cause I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me

I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything
Instead of going through the motions?

Take me all the way
(Take me all the way)
Take me all the way
(‘Cause I don’t wanna go through the motions)

Take me all the way
(Lord, I’m finally feeling something real)
Take me all the way

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me

I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything
Instead of going through the motions?

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me

I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything
Instead of going through the motions?

Take me all the way
(Take me all the way)
Take me all the way
(I don’t wanna go, I don’t wanna go)

Take me all the way
(Through the motions)
Take me all the way

I don’t wanna go through the motions