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Peruse Bible teachings and church happenings

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Advice for a Guest Speaker Series

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Next week, we’ll begin a four-day guest speaker series with Kenny Chumbley. Brother Chumbley has a special balance to his preaching that few others achieve: the ability to speak deep, thoughtful truth with clear, understandable simplicity.

There’s an inherent blessing in being able to hear the Gospel spoken by different personalities. In the same way that the different Bible writers’ methods strike chords for different readers, a guest speaker can strike different chords and bestow evergreen insights into the word upon us.

There are a handful of different approaches that people take toward guest speaker events at a church. Here they are, brought out into daylight, for us to consider which is our usual and which is the best approach for us to take to next week’s series:

  • We wonder if the speaker “will be any good.” We think that the event’s purpose is to be impressed with a speaker’s ability, and so if he’s great, we consider the event a success. And if not, then we are tempted to think that our time was wasted.
  • We expect that a single event will revive our personal feelings of excitement that we have experienced at special moments of spirituality in the past. And so if that doesn’t happen—if the very next Sunday feels like most other Sundays—then we are tempted to think that our time was wasted.
  • We expect to learn something new that we’ve never heard before. If we do, then it we consider it a success. But if we cover familiar territory and receive well-timed, needed reminders about faithfully living for Christ… we are tempted to think that our time was wasted.
  • If the speaker does his work with excellence and we do feel a sense of revival, we start to develop feelings of envy and a desire for more than what we believe our local church can offer us. This sense of comparison steals joy from the event and from the long-term relationships with our local church family.
  • But at the end of the day, if the lessons declare the truth, speak it with clarity and reverence for God, help us live more faithfully for God, and speak with sincere love for God and his revealed word… then we’ll know that God is glorified and that our time is well spent.

Events like these should in no way be treated like an exhibition or opportunity for comparison. We should come to this like any occasion where the word of God is preached: with our hearts open wide to receive the truth as revealed by one of God’s servants.

I can’t wait to share these times of learning and worship with you!

- Dan Lankford, minister

Marriage & Sexuality, part 7: Polygamy

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

This series of articles has covered most of the basics of Biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality. In fairness to the Bible’s overall teaching, let’s consider this one final discussion in the series: the matter of polygamy (or polygyny), which is the practice of being married to multiple spouses at the same time. This practice hardly needs to be warned against in the cultural moment of twenty-first-century America, first because it’s illegal in all 50 states, and second because the practice seems almost inhumane to us. America’s sensibilities are trained by a Judeo-Christian thought heritage in which the thought of marriage usually carries the idea of exclusivity with it, and we are so accustomed to that thought that we even struggle within the Bible to make sense of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, and other men who had multiple wives at the same time.

I don’t want to over-explain something which seems obvious to so many, but it bears saying out loud: Genesis 2:24 says, "Therefore a man [singular] shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife [singular], and they shall become one flesh" (clarifications added). From that statement and plenty more, Biblically speaking, it’s wrong for more than two people to be married to each other, and that’s all that needs to be said in direct address of the matter. But let me make three quick and relevant observations that are slightly more indirectly related to this practice.

First: As mentioned above, we struggle to make sense of the many examples of polygamous unions throughout the Bible, especially by men who are held up as great examples of faith in God. A couple of realizations can help us reconcile this. First, we should pay careful attention to how the stories are written and what those men are actually commended for, because we will search the Bible in vain to find a place where their polygamy is commended. Second, we should keep in mind that those Bible characters are not held up as examples of perfection, but of faith in crucial moments. And that helps us to see that they were imperfect like we are, which makes us all look to the one example of human perfection: Christ. The Old Testament narratives are often not telling the stories of what should have happened, but rather what did happen. They show us the human players in God’s grand drama with honesty; not as morally whitewashed men who did all things right.

Second: You may occasionally hear the term ‘polyamory’ bandied about in the cultural conversation about modern sexual ethics. You should know that this term does not refer to polygamous marriage, but rather to multiple unmarried sexual partners. Obviously, in a world where many are calling evil good and putting bitter for sweet (cf. Isa. 5:20), we expect this behavior from the world and yet we see it for the sin that it is.

Third: There is a lingering thought among many religious people that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints endorses the practice of polygyny. According to official teaching from the church, this is no longer true. It was accepted by that religious organization over a century ago, but it is strongly condemned in their official teachings today, and it has been for a long time. I point that out here for the benefit of any of us who get into conversations about the Gospel with a Mormon friend: we would do well not to criticize their religious beliefs regarding this matter, because while their church once taught that it was okay, the person that you’re talking to probably has a strong belief in one-man-one-woman marriage.

Again, it’s easy to see that polygamy/polygyny is a sinful practice. It appears to have been one of the many things in “the time of ignorance [which] God overlooked” (Ac. 17:30), but it was never given divine approval. And so we are thankful that this sinful practice is largely out of fashion in our time and place, and we pray that our culture will be reformed to see all other sexual and marital sins with the same sort of repulsion with which this one is generally viewed.

- Dan Lankford, minister

 

PS – I had thought that this article would hardly be meaningful in our cultural context, but then the matters of monogamy, polyamory, and sexual infidelity came up in this article from USA Today on Monday of this week, which just reminded me that these matters of right and wrong are always relevant.

Marriage & Sexuality, part 6: Lust

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

So far in our series of articles about marriage & sexuality, we’ve addressed the biblical sexual ethic, the need for permanence in marriage, the problem with adultery, the nature of divorce, and the righteous regulations for remarriage after a death or divorce. In this writing, we’re bringing some of the darkness of human thought into the light of God’s word. We’re talking about lust—a sin of the will which is prone to lead to other sexual sins.

By its simplest definition, the word “lust” only means desire. But in common usage and in Biblical usage, it almost always means an ungodly sexual desire. This is clearly what Jesus was talking bout in these words from the Sermon on the Mount: “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt. 5:27-28) This kind of unholy sexual desire is also what David was experiencing when he saw Bathsheba on a far rooftop and then continued the process that eventually brought them to bed together (2 Sm. 11:2-4). It’s also what the prophets had in mind when they used the word to accuse Israel of their “whoredom” with gods other than YHWH (cf. Ez. 16:36ff, 23:11-17ff, Jr. 2:24ff).

Jesus’ words, quoted above, are the clearest moral statement on the matter to be found in the Bible. Obviously, there is such a thing as temptation which arises, as one author said, “like a hiccup, unchosen and unwanted.” Christ even said in another place that, “temptations are sure to come.” (Lk. 17:1) But in Matthew 5:27-28, he is addressing unrighteous thoughts or fantasies that each person can control—those that indulge in a moment of temptation, choosing to dwell upon what our senses desire even though we know it is unrighteous. That is what Jesus means by looking at someone “...with lustful intent.” (ESV). The unchosen temptation is not inherently sinful; the knowing and willful dwelling upon our desires is. Each of us have to be honest with ourselves and with God about the difference and choose to do what’s right, rather than making excuses for our thought behavior. Especially for those of us who are married, the choice (and it is a choice) to look at or dwell on someone other than our spouse adulterates our faithfulness to him and to his perfect design for marriage. Jesus’ words about “adultery in his heart” should not be taken as an additional exemption for righteous divorce, but they should teach us the seriousness with which we should control our thoughts.

All of this obviously prohibits all Christians—married or single, male or female—from looking at pornography (whether we consider it ‘hard’ or ‘soft’), “checking out” anyone other than your spouse, or allowing our daydreams to circle around an ungodly lust. It should also caution us heavily about watching shows or movies in which characters are dressed such that viewers are provoked to “lustful intent.”

All of this is a matter of keeping our minds and hearts pure for God’s glory. Are we faithful to him in everything, including “the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hb. 4:12)?

- Dan Lankford, minister

Humans Never Change. Or Do We?

Sunday, September 10, 2023

“What does [mankind] gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” (Eccl. 1:3)

Philosophers and those who seek wisdom are in a constant pursuit of answers to the biggest questions of existence and reality. “What is the origin and purpose of mankind?” “Are we just animals? If not, what makes us something more than them?” “What is the highest and best state of existence for a person, a community, or a society?”

The Bible offers us a comprehensive set of answers to those questions, and one core element of that is the above quote from Solomon. In one simple and probing question, he reminds us that while humanity is special, there is still so much that eludes us. Namely, he asks us to consider: What ultimate good does mankind, as a collective, accomplish? What qualitative, documentable advancements have we made in the overall state of humanity down through the centuries? Have we stopped wasting time, hurting others, falling prey to sickness and death, or repeating our mistakes? Have we achieved international peace thru technological advancements, multi-national pacts, or worldwide educational systems? Have we learned to speed up or slow down time, stop the aging process, and remove the threat of death? No. We go around and around the sun, year after decade after century after millennium… and so much of humanity stays the same. It’s rather depressing to realize that we have not permanently fixed so many of the common challenges that humanity has faced for centuries.

So should we resign ourselves to hopelessness, a belief that nothing good will ever happen to humans? No. Because we have been told that thru the power of God—not our own power, but his—Christians can make positive, enduring impact on humanity. As Christ said, “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world.” (Mt. 5:13, 14) Our job is to be faithful to God and believe that he will bring about the good that all humanity needs.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Marriage & Sexuality, part 5: Remarriage

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

In recent weeks, these midweek articles have addressed the Biblical ethics of sexuality and marriage. As a direct follow-up to last Wednesday’s article about divorce, let’s give some quick consideration the the New Testament’s statements about remarriage.

The first situation in which remarriage is Biblically validated is in the case of a spouse's death. A widowed spouse is free to remarry, and that is clearly not sinful or even morally suspect. Paul enumerates this truth plainly in Romans 7:1-3 and in 1 Corinthians 7:39. He even says that under some circumstances, younger widowers and widows should remarry (1 Tim. 5:14), especially if they will be excessively tempted to sexual immorality (1 Cor. 7:8-9).

The second situation in which remarriage is Biblically validated is in the case of a spouse against whom adultery has been committed. This is necessarily inferred from what the Lord spoken in Matthew 19:9. There, he said, “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” The implication is that any remarriage which follows a divorce not brought about by sexual infidelity is unlawful. And therefore, any remarriage which follows a divorce brought about by sexual infidelity is lawful.

Beyond these two, the New Testament’s only other mention of the subject is up for some debate. Obviously, I’m talking about the same unclear section of 1 Corinthians 7 that I mentioned in last week’s article. This situation is one which needs to be worked out on a case-by-case basis, with much prayer and with as much fidelity to Scripture as we can achieve. I will avoid addressing that matter directly in this writing, and I will do so for this purpose: So that we can see the parts of the New Testament which are plain teachings. And so that we can align our hearts to believe them and live them out.

Is this a hard teaching? Yes. Even the apostles thought so (cf. Mt. 19:10-13). And yet, Jesus stated the truth on the matter. It’s a matter of what God wants for us, what pleases him, and ultimately what is righteous in the grand scheme of all holiness.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Marriage & Sexuality, part 4: Divorce

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

In our recent series of midweek articles, we have discussed the Biblical sexual ethic, the permanence and exclusivity of marriage, and the problem with adultery. Now, it’s time to discuss one of the hardest batches of truth in this series: what the Bible says about divorce.

This is a hard batch of truth for two reasons: 1) Because the Spirit has shown us the where hard lines of right and wrong are drawn on these matters, and 2) because many of us find that these teachings are fraught; emotionally hard to hear and hard to think about for a variety of reasons.

The Bible does have enough to say about this matter for us to clearly understand that divorces have never been God’s intention for married people. When Jesus was asked whether divorce is approved by God, the conversation went like this: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” (Mt. 19:4-9)

His words call for little explanation or clarification. They come down to a few core points:

  • Divorce is not God’s intention for married couples. It breaks a union that is put in place by God (see Gn. 2:24). The intent was always that they would be joined by God and therefore not separated by mankind.
  • Divorces have happened often throughout the history of God-fearing people groups, but they are not an equally valid option in the plan that God put in place. Jesus’ perspective on the Law of Moses’ teaching about divorce was essentially: “Yes, Moses allowed you to divorce your wives under certain circumstances, but that was never what God intended for you.”
  • A divorce is always a bad thing. Sometimes, it is the lesser of two (or more) evils that can present a path through a particular situation, but it’s never morally neutral or morally good. That doesn’t mean that every person who experiences a divorce is at fault for it. Nor does it mean that every divorced person has sinned by getting divorced. But it does mean that in every divorce situation, something has gone wrong. It is never a thoroughly good thing in the eyes of God.

Jesus’ teaching on the subject is a concise recapitulation of what we would learn from elsewhere in the Bible. Jesus quoted the words from Genesis and showed how they ought to be instructive to all of his followers. And Malachi said, “the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts.” (Mal. 2:16) And it’s the same in the New Testament. Admittedly, some of what the apostle Paul wrote about marriage and divorce is unclear, especially in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16. But even in that context where some things are unclear, the apostle’s underlying assumption is that married Christians will stay together (“To the married I give this charge… the wife should not separate from her husband…and the husband should not divorce his wife.” [1 Cor. 7:10-11]). The choice—and it is a choice—of whether to stick with one’s spouse or not is something about which God has spoken clearly. The command, with one exception mentioned in Scripture, is to stay with our spouses through the whole of life.

Now, there is one circumstance of which the Lord spoke in which a person may divorce their spouse righteously (the exception previously mentioned). It’s this: one who is the innocent party in a marriage that has been adulterated may righteously divorce the guilty spouse. Jesus said this in Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:9, and other passages in the Gospels which repeat these same occasions (cf. Mk. 10:1-12, Lk. 16:18). And it’s important that our awareness of this righteous exception leads us to be compassionate toward our Christian brothers and sisters who have suffered a divorce resulting from a spouse’s infidelity. Theirs is a pain that should be handled with compassion and care by the church. We will address the topic of the difficulty that many of them face in overcoming a perceived stigma from their Christian family in another venue, but for this writing, let it suffice to say that those whose life pathways have led them through this door should NOT be treated as guilty, damaged, or spiritually inferior because of it. They have suffered the consequences of someone else’s sin, and they are not the guilty ones. The Lord said that their divorces are righteous ones.

Divorce is something that married Christians should not even consider as an option, except, as Jesus said, in cases of sexual immorality. Among those of us who are married, our default position should be total devotion to faithfulness in our marriages, with no consideration of a way out. Does that sound like a lot to ask of a person? Yes, it does. And we’re not the first people to think so. The apostles answered Jesus’ words in Matthew 19 by saying, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” (Mt. 19:10) Essentially, they were saying that if marriage is going to be so permanent, even in bad times, then maybe it’s better to just never enter one. While that wasn’t what the Lord was teaching, it does belie the great weight of commitment that is the warp and woof of godly marriage.

A few other things are worth a quick, passing mention:

  • Divorce is a sin of which a person can repent and be forgiven (like any other sin).
  • People have often said that, “Half of all marriages end in divorce,” but that isn’t true any more. In fact, it may never have been true. The method used for the initial study that revealed that truth were almost certainly mishandled, and things have actually trended in a better direction in America since that stat was first published.
  • Christians should think of being committed to our marriages rather than stuck in our marriages. One can understand why the difference in verbiage would make a big difference in our daily lives.
  • Homosexual “marriages” are not something that God recognizes as holy; likely he does not even recognize them as marriages. And so in the case of two people of the same sex who are ostensibly married to each other, when one or both of them come to Christ, that “marriage” would need to be ended, including a legal filing of divorce if that was what was required by the laws pertinent to them at the time. A similar rationale would apply in cases of transgender people’s relationships when they come to Christ and repent of the old ways of their former life.
  • If you and your spouse find yourselves struggling to make good things happen in your marriage, and especially if you worry that your only options are either divorce or a life of marital misery, then make some time to click here and listen to this sermon for some good starting guidance toward repairing the relationship.

As God’s people, we want to protect ourselves from the evil of divorce. God’s intent was that a man and a woman become one flesh, cling to each other through all of life, and that mankind does not separate what God has joined together.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Well-Practiced Obedience

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Training had come to an end. There had been twenty-two months of it, more or less continuous. The men were as hardened physically as it was possible for human beings to be… They were disciplined, prepared to carry out orders instantly and unquestioningly.” (Stephen Ambrose, Band of Brothers, p. 60)

I know that many of my church members are accustomed to a daily workplace in which following orders is taken far more seriously (Colorado Springs has a very large contingent of military personnel), but I live and work in a world where that kind of ready obedience to orders is anything but commonplace. I regularly hear griping about laws and workplace regulations and educational requirements in conversations with my work colleagues at the restaurant where I work part-time. When I punish my sons for disobeying a parental instruction, I feel compelled to look over my shoulder in fear that a stranger will think me too harsh. And I hear news outlets glorifying rebellion against some form of authority which should rightfully be obeyed.

But then when I read my Bible, I find stories that admire the devotion of many who “followed orders” completely because they had faith in God who gave the orders. I read of people like Abraham, Gideon, Joshua, and others who simply did what they were told whether it “made sense” or not. In fact, I find it surprising to note that the Bible rarely explores the psychological processing of things like that. We tend to speculate at great length, asking, “What must he/she have thought when God asked them to do this?” But the Bible doesn’t tell us how those obedient ones wrestled with their decisions; it simply says that they did what God told them to do.

I wonder how many of us are as obedient to God as the soldiers in the quote above were to their CO’s. I wonder if we have the faith to simply read the commands of God in Scripture and obey like them: instantly and unquestioningly.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Marriage & Sexuality, part 3: The Problem With Adultery

Thursday, August 24, 2023

In the last two midweek articles, we started an exploration of the entire framework of Biblical teachings on marriage and sexuality. First, we talked about the Bible’s teachings on righteous sexual behavior, and then we addressed the importance of permanent and exclusive marriages. The plan is to continue to explore these topics in the next several writings, making a straightforward—and hopefully concise—case for what the Bible has to say on the following topics: adultery, lust, polygamy, divorce, and remarriage.

—————

Adultery is what’s commonly called “cheating” on a spouse or “having an affair.” It’s when a married person has sex with anyone who is not his or her spouse. And there’s no wondering whether it’s a behavior that the Bible considers right or wrong—the Bible is clear that it’s wrong, and speaks in volumes on that subject.

The Ten Commandments forbid adultery (Ex. 20:14, Dt. 5:18). The Law of Moses exacted punishments on both adulterers and adulteresses (Lv. 20:10ff, Nm. 5:11ff). The wisdom of Solomon warned in strong terms about the damage that adultery can do to the one who commits it (Pr. 5). The prophets used the obvious wrongness of adultery as metaphor for Israel’s long-term unfaithfulness to their covenant with God and their worshiping other gods (Jr. 3:9, Ez. 16:38ff, 23:37ff, etc). And Jesus spoke clearly on the subject, noting that adultery (“sexual immorality,” Mt. 5:32) dissolves a marriage and releases the righteous spouse from it if they so choose to be released (19:9ff). He also added greater depth of heart to the Law of Moses’s command that, “You shall not commit adultery” by warning that, “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt. 5:28) And even though Jesus once released a woman who was caught in adultery from the hypocrisy of those who wanted to put her to death, he still admitted that she had sinned by committing adultery, saying, “Go your way and sin no more” (Jn. 8:11). And the apostles also spoke with a firm understanding that the act of adultery is sinful in the eyes of God, no matter which of God’s covenants a person may live under (Rm. 2:22, Rm. 13:9, 2 Pt. 2:14, Rv. 2:22).

So it’s clear that adultery is a sin. And that knowledge might bring about different reactions from different people, depending on what point in life we’re at.

  • For a person who has committed adultery, it may seem that such a thing is too damaging and too bad to ever be forgiven. But there is forgiveness available for those who have committed adultery and then have repented and confessed that to God, just like with all other sins.
  • For those who are currently married and trying to serve God, all of this reminds us of the same truth from last week’s article: That it’s crucial for married people who want to serve God faithfully to protect our marriages and to be faithful to our spouses.

Whether the world around us thinks that such a thing is right or wrong, God says that it’s wrong, and we must fight any temptation to commit adultery. Our families depend on it, society at large depends on it, and each of our souls depend on us being faithful to God by resisting the temptation to commit this sin.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Creation Speaks of His Glory

Sunday, August 20, 2023

A familiar Christian hymn says, “This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair; In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere.” And a familiar psalm says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” (Psa. 19:1-2) The earth and its fullness all demonstrate part of the glory of the God who created them.

But this is an important distinction that right-minded Christians must retain: that even while it speaks volumes, creation “speaks” only part of God’s glory. Truly, even the apostle Paul noted that the natural world demonstrates God’s eternal power and his divine nature (Rom. 1:20), but this knowledge barely scratches the surface of what can be known about him. The natural world tells us that there is a transcendent creator God, but it leaves us wondering as to his nature, his personality, and the nature of his relationship to humanity.

So how can we come to know him further? Is it only through the observations we make about the natural world? No. To know him more fully (though never exhaustively on this side of eternity), we look to the sacred texts in which he has revealed himself—the inspired writings contained in the Bible. And if we want to see him fully, we listen, not just to hear him pass in the rustling grass, but to his son, of whom he said, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3).

All creation speaks to the glory of God, but only the word and The Word that became flesh speak in all fullness of the God whose handiwork surrounds us every day.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Marriage & Sexuality, part 2: Marriages That Are Permanent & Exclusive

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

The Bible speaks clearly about the importance of faithfulness to a marriage covenant. As long as it is within our power to do so, those of us who are married are commanded to be enduringly faithful to our spouses, as the traditional vows say, “forsaking all others.”

This is a simple truth stated by Christ himself when he said, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mt. 19:6) And unfaithfulness is one thing for which God gives very strong criticism of his people during the time when they were rebuilding after Babylonian exile. In Malachi 2, he said, “the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant… So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” (Mal. 2:14-16) And in many of the prophets’ words, the idolatry of God’s people is held up as a parallel evil to the unfaithfulness of a spouse who forsakes their marriage vows by committing adultery (cf. Ezk. 16 and Hos. 3).

There are a few notable exceptions to the permanence of a marriage that God proclaims to be righteous, but this writing is focused on what ought to be the rule among Christians: that in attitude, in action, in word, and in prayer, we are devoted to healthy, lifelong, exclusive marriages.

This requires a high level of devotion, akin to the devotion that is called for in a life of faithfulness to God. It reminds us that marriage is a commitment of the will to the other person, regardless of how our emotions toward them may undulate over time. This requires us to protect our hearts and our marriages from flirtation with others, from lustful intent, and from all-out adultery. It requires us to be willing to repent of our own sins against a spouse and to forgive a spouse’s sins against us. It means that we should pray for God to give us all the good blessings that come from a righteous marriage. It requires that we must each make up our minds from the very beginning that we will truly “forsake all others” and cling to our spouse, putting a hand to the plow and not looking back (cf. 9:62) as God has called us to.

Again, there are a few notable exceptions in which the permanence of marriage may be undone with God’s approval, but let’s be clear that they are exceptions—not the rule. And so may God bless his people more and more with married couples who keep the vows that we make to him “until death parts us.”

- Dan Lankford, minister

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