DIVORCE vs COMMITMENT (Pt.1)
This article is written from the standpoint of the Bible and the true COG.
It is necessary because of the slackness of lukewarm COG leadership, plus the slumbering and negligence of the majority in the COG to take God’s Word and its directives for marriage seriously.
If you are in the COG realm somewhere, which side of the above two words do you think you should be on—then ask yourself which side you really are on;—yes, I really DO mean that because this is far more serious than so many take it today! The continuing of a wrong mindset can keep you out of the Kingdom of God.
Too many divorces are happening inside the COG realm! This is not a casual or lukewarm matter, nor should the COG relax its standards just because the world is so liberal and divorce is so easy. It should still be a serious matter for the truly converted in the COG! There should not be any wonder about this to a true Christian, even in today’s mixed up and liberalized world, understanding that divorce is a contradictory mindset to keeping vows & commitments and obeying God! We find in Scripture; Mal 2:16 "For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce,--- (NKJ thru-out)—there must be love and commitment in COG marriages. Yet some younger people will read this, knowing divorces are happening or being allowed within the COG realm today for virtually any reason it seems; so they may begin to wonder about it, but fail to take this seriously because of the wrong examples of others. That same verse concludes with this; "Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously" which brings it right to the personal attitude you allow to develop toward your mate and marriage. However some ignore this and brush aside commitments, even to the vows they make with God as witness in a wedding ceremony, when allowing the “divorce mentality” into their mind.
Some now in the COG have never repented of having a “divorce” mentality, when trials come, having previous marriages and filing for divorce more than once. Some may have even married outside the Church, while still in the association of the Church, showing their already existing non-commitment to God’s Biblical instructions! This is not the actions of a converted mind or is it true Christian mentality, as just mentioned; so it becomes very serious when they subtly and perhaps by fraud, involve themselves in yet another marriage with someone who is a converted member. This is happening and has in the past. This kind of person can be very deceitful to keep their motive for marriage hidden—whatever it may be—it is not really being that of love and a desire to serve and give of themselves to the other in a lifelong “for better or worse” relationship. This is more of a self-serving and carnal approach to marriage, which is dishonest and may even be considered fraudulent. If that is your line of thinking, please don’t kid yourself any longer that you are converted. Marriage is a major proving ground for eternal life and the marriage to Christ, for those of the true COG who really are converted. They do not have a divorce mindset—but one of peace and happiness that stems from working together and serving God and one another for eternity. So marriage is serious, a covenant relationship, but can bring joyful happiness as well. The divorce minded and self-oriented who lack commitment cannot understand this until coming to a real and genuine repentance!
(Some have a pattern of the unconverted life style, divorce and lack of commitment mindset that stays with them into old age, if they have not repented and overcome it. An example likened to what was given above is; someone who may have cleverly palmed themselves off as converted, then having married inside the Church, or even coming into the church after a first marriage, having brought forth several children in that marriage, then divorced and married outside the Church while those children are growing up. Can you imagine a child growing up with this example? Then perhaps this same person after many years go by, meets and marries another person inside the church, only to quickly become dissatisfied and divorce again after a few years! What a confusing example this is for the Children and grandchildren to see! Will they have a mindset to do the same thing? They have lived with the pattern of divorce in and out of the COG, while God’s ways seem to be irrelevant because they see no commitment to them or marriage! God is not the author of confusion-1Cor.14:33—and His spirit would never lead someone in this unstable fashion—so this is the actions of the unconverted all the way through, even if being in the COG realm for decades. The clever and deceitful have their reward, as God said to those of old; “Your sin will find you out” but to those who are repentant; “love covers a multitude sin”.
I think many true Christians would agree that in the more perfect and zealously obedient COG there would be no divorces at all. Those who are called out of this world must begin putting on the mind of God. (Phil.2:5) Certainly there would be no fraudulent based marriages by the deceitful and unconverted. However, succumbing to the wrong influence and mind-set of non-converted family members and friends in the world around us will rub off and far more quickly on the more lukewarm and willing to compromise, in the scattered COG of Laodicea today. These individuals are the more prone to want a divorce for unrealistic and selfish reasons, being still far more carnal than the zealously converted. Even some of the ministry have gotten caught up in this, or “dragged into it”; however the case may be, the non-commitment of the divorce oriented mind reveals their true fruits. Not “taking heed” to their own spirit and treacherous approach has its consequences, as it is going against the Biblical directive and the mindset of a true Spirit led Christian, plus the teachings of the true COG. This requires repentance before one can move forward Spiritually. It is that serious, so think about it!
This sort of thing has happened among God’s physical people in the past (OT) and we have the examples that they had to put away their foreign wives (Non-Israelite) in order to get back right with God. These men had taken unlawful wives through carnal desire. (Ezra 9:1-2 & Ch.10:3) True Christians however, should never knowingly choose to be in unequally yoked marriages, as the NT instructs. (2 Cor.6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.”) Converted parents & grandparents should do their best to instruct their children and grandchildren according to the Scriptures, (Eph.6:4) not the liberalized trends of the world around us. They should also teach their children that a commitment in marriage is something they should think very carefully about and plan for ahead of time and then once made; see it through to the end, if at all possibly. In the world we live in today, especially in the USA; divorces are what keep some attorneys busy and happy, as divorce is a common thing in this society—but commitment is very rare. Those who tend to circulate in the lime-light or the world of glitter and glamour, change marriage partners often and some do not even bother to get married, because those relationships are so short lived. In other cases, and among the general population, if those who chose to live together for a time would have to get a divorce in order to “split up”; the divorce rate would be so much higher than it now is! Divorces among those getting married are already above 50%.
So let us give some serious thought to this from the Biblical perspective and what it reveals!
The converted will seek to correct any divisive situations that come up in the marriage by peaceful means, if at all possible and apply the attitude and approach of being forgiving and committed to the marriage. For one who has already been baptized and received the Holy Spirit, they should follow the guidelines of Scripture for their marriage. For those who are already married and only one becomes converted, the Scriptures give guidelines for those as well. Among those, when the unconverted show they are not pleased to dwell together in peace and if no reconciliation and forgiveness is sought to save the marriage, Scriptures show how to deal with such problems. (1Cor.7) However, Eph 4:1-3 says; “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you (COG) to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” This applies equally to those within the body of Christ even today!
There are instances like the above when troubles do happen, even when two people who are seemingly “happily” married and begin learning the truth of the Bible together, to be potential members in the COG somewhere. What is seen on the surface of each however may not be what is hidden beneath; if only one becomes convicted they need to follow that truth they are now learning—seeking baptism and conversion. People can also change and may lose the commitment they once thought they had. There are many reasons, in the way of the world for getting a divorce—but that should never be the mindset of those seeking true conversion or already having the Holy Spirit. Any truly converted person will seek God’s way first, then commit to it to the best of their ability, trying to continue in the marriage, if at all possible. Heb.12:14 says; “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:”-- certainly this would apply within a marriage where both claim to be converted. The unconverted, in their carnality will normally be the ones who will try and take advantage of the convictions, kindness and commitment of the converted, when trying to save the marriage, so this can put undue pressure on the convert. It is sad but that is just the way the carnal mind works with this “get” mentality of the world. Unbelievers can leave and the marriage is not bound—but a believer has to try and make it work, without compromising their own faith! If not possible, then any separation should be done as peaceably as possible and the converted should seek to try and settle matters within the COG realm if possible, (1Cor.6:1) only using the courts and lawyers if necessary and as little as possible. The unconverted and mean-spirited will use the courts in trying to get as much as possible and may drag the convert into a court settlement.
The apostle Paul was inspired to write about this for the COG and what procedures should be followed when Christians find themselves in what has become an unequally yoked situation. However, in this day and time of a more predominate “Laodicean” spirit, (Rev.3:14-21) the laid-back lukewarm and compromising approach to actually being Christian may also begin to affect the marriages of those in the COG. Many are deep in slumber and very lukewarm when it comes to actually following what the Scriptures have to say about marriage and divorce. These, under the influence of Satan and perhaps other family members also not converted, therefore may yield to carnal pressures and have little conviction & commitment under those pressures, to do things God’s way. These tend to break commitments and even the Commandments and seek divorce, sometimes with unwarranted hostility and bearing false witness, trying to “get” all they can, by prefabricated lies instigated by lawyers and other untruthful or dishonest means.
For anyone in the COG to deliberately ignore the inspired word of God and marry outside the Church, is a departure from God’s instructions and reveals their lack of commitment to God and His ways. God will not be in a marriage of dishonesty and disobedience, to give it sanctity. Women of today’s society (The unconverted) normally do not like the man to be the head of the household and family, as the Scriptures instruct. The unconverted should seek to become converted first (in the case of sincere love for the converted) before there is a marriage, in order to avoid violating the Scriptural instructions of entering into an unequally yoked marriage and the grief that can come from such a union.
However, it is possible and does happen that a convert can soon find himself/herself in an unequally yoked situation, even when marrying inside the membership of the COG today. Not everyone is converted who claim they are, so it is wise to move forward with caution and counsel, to avoid deception and fraud. Some people pass themselves off as true Christians, being very deceitful, manipulative & using dishonesty with subtle charm to get into a marriage with a convert. There are various reasons this happens in a “get” oriented person’s life and this is seen as a “fraudulent marriage” Biblically speaking. The COG is scattered today into several organizations and it is the time frame of Laodicea, so this also should be considered when those marriage covenants and commitments are being considered. Some of the more lukewarm of ministers have even counseled and then performed unequally yoked marriages—going against the clear word of God, setting a very bad example. These ministers should be avoided, especially in counseling for a potential marriage, to avoid their slanted views and perhaps lukewarm or even wrong advice. However, counseling should be considered by a dedicated and faithful servant of Christ, who has a track record of steadfastness and honesty with the Bible.
Contemplate these things and if you desire to know more information about these differences between the carnal and converted; the next section will continue on where we are now leaving off and go into more Biblical details for those interested. (See Divorce Vs. Commitment-Pt.2)
(Written for TCOGMSO.COM by the editor)