This Week’s Focus Passage: Ezra 10:10 ‘Ye have trespassed, and have married foreign women.’
This Week’s Focus Passage: Ezra 10:10
‘Ye have trespassed, and have married foreign women.’
What a bane it was upon the house of Israel that many that many of that separated nation, God’s chosen people, violated the express commands of Jehovah their God and took unto themselves ‘foreign’ wives. Is this not a bane upon the church of Jesus Christ in our day as well? May these words not need to be declared to many individuals in the visible Church of our day in the U.S., ‘ye have trespassed, and have married foreign women’? The prevailing ‘ethic’ of our day in this land of freedom is, ‘don’t talk about politics or religion.’ Sadly, many even in the church abide by that supposed rule; religion is often one of the last things, if ever, to be discussed between persons proposing to unite in marriage. ‘Brethren, these things ought not to be so.’ What disasters have befallen the name of the church of Jesus Christ, even as disaster befell the nation of Israel because they refused to hear the voice of God in the matter of marriage.
We need not rely solely upon the record of the Older Testament in order to recognize that God would have His people to marry only within the community of believers. The apostle Paul was inspired to speak pointedly upon this issue, and his denunciations are no milder than those spoken through Ezra. He declared unequivo-cally in 2 Corinthians that believers are not to be yoked with unbelievers, for this, he said, constitutes a yoke that is unequal. It is taught here as Paul states elsewhere that Christians ought to marry ‘in the Lord.’ ‘What fellowship,’ he asks, ‘have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness?’ While the language may seem excessive in our day, these are the words of the Holy Ghost through an inspired apostle, and they are for our day as they were for the day in which they were originally penned. But Paul goes on to, ‘what concord hath Christ with Belial? How can one indwelt by the Spirit of Christ join themselves in any way with an evil spirit? If any reader or hearer of these questions fails to comprehend ge tconcern of the apostle to the Gentiles, he spells it out further in terms impossible to be misunderstood, ‘what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? Believes are not to marry outside of the Lord; out of His people. Again, in the simplest terms, we say that Christians are to marry Christians. They are not to marry foreigners, as in the days of Ezra, they were denominated. And are they not foreigners? Does not Paul speak of unbelievers in such terms as in Ephesians 2:19, when he has spoken of those ‘who were once far off,’ being made nigh in the blood of Christ,’ those who are now, ‘fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,’ he contrasts them with ‘strangers,’ i.e. foreigners. Saints are contrasted with foreigners even as those in the light are contrasted with those in the darkness. ‘Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,’ Paul declares. And, ‘what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? he inquires.
Is it not the case that many of the instruments of Satan are young women who turn the hearts of the young men of the church away from that place where God has been pleased to grant His presence in the gospel and in the fellowship of His own people? This, of course, is no less of a problem with respect to young men turning the hearts of young women in the church away; it is only that Scriptural examples seem to speak more frequently of men being lured away by women. But the danger knows nothing of gender discrimination; the issue is that of joining a temple of the Spirit [which temple we are] with a temple of demons [all sorts of idolatry].
The society in which we live has almost completely embraced pluralism, and the person that would suggest that all roads do not, in fact, lead to God will be severely ostracized. This society which prides itself on its supposed toleration of all religions is, in truth, intolerant of Christianity; all others are welcomed. We are blind if we imagine that this sentiment does not influence those within the churches of Jesus Christ, and especially the young people. Many have believed a lie. They believe that it is unkind to make a distinction between a Christian and an unbeliever, and more than unkind to oppose the marriage union of such. An argument will be put forth that at least the unbeliever says that they believe in a God. But does he or she? If you truly accept that as a viable position, explain why there is, in our present society, such an inveterate hatred for the truth as it in in Jesus Christ; yea, explain the hatred that nailed our Savior to the cross. Christ expressed this to His disciples as it is recorded in John 16:3, speaking of those who are lovers of themselves, ‘these things will they do because they know not the Father.’ Some will yet contend that by marrying an unbeliever, the believer puts themselves in a better position to be an instrument of conversion for that unbeliever. Do not believe that lie; it is a lie from him who was a liar from the beginning. Is our God a god of pragmatism; does the end justify the means; especially when those means are conspicuously a violation of the commands of God Himself?
The case of a Christian marrying a Jew is only one example among many; we are not singling out Jews in any way whatever, although that would not a terrible thing in itself, in this American society of supposed Judeo-Christian heritage, where we tolerate [and many so-called Evangelical Christians donate money to, what is laughingly named, The Fellowship of Christians and Jews; we ask, seriously, and yes, strongly; how can a lover of Jesus Christ have Fellowship with Jews?] such unions between believers and make-believers? We concern ourselves with Christians joining themselves knowingly with any unbeliever, whether Jew or Gentile, Atheist or Agnostic. See what the writer of Proverbs has said concerning the foreign woman in verses, 2:16; 5:2; and 7:5, where Solomon warns young men regarding the strange woman whom he equates with a foreigner. And Solomon is one who learned by sad experience the consequences of foreign wives. He was warned that they would turn his heart away from his God, and so they did to the detriment of the entire nation even as such unions are to the detriment to the churches of Jesus Christ in our land today. How lightly marriage is entered upon in this day and age, even by professing Christians. What is love? It is not infatuation! True love, as one has rightly written, “True love is that intelligent and principled affection that wills, and then seeks, the good of its object even at great personal cost.” Is this not the precise manner in which Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it?
Some may say; yes, it may be said, that Christ has betrothed Himself to a foreigner, having given Himself for us while we were yet sinners, yet the reply may be made that the Bridegroom will not come for His Bride until every spot and wrinkle has been taken away; when she is conformed to unto Him at the last; when she is like Him, or she shall see Him as He is. There will be no foreigners at the marriage supper of the Lamb, and the ideal, of course, in the church, is that there be no ‘foreigner at the Lord’s Table.’ If this is so, and it is, then care must be taken by the Christian, to avoid and prevent, ever hearing those terrible words of denunciation; ‘Ye have trespassed, and have married foreign women.’
David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church
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