Wednesday, January 30, 2019

By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
Max & Donna were married on Oct. 8, 1955. By the grace of God, they will be celebrating their 64th Wedding Anniversary on October 8, 2019. This article was carried by the Cry of His Coming Magazine, 1981. Max Solbrekken's book, 'The Sanctity of Marriage' was published in 1969 and 'Helpful Hints for a Successful Marriage' in the 1970s. His new Book to be released soon will be a compilation of all the above, including 'Christian Marriage: One Man and One Woman'!

   “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
- Jesus Christ. (Mark 10:6-9)
   It is a serious thing to break the commandments of God. The Scripture tells us that “The carnal mind is enmity against God”. (Rom. 8:7) 
   “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God! whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God”. (James 4:4)
   St. Paul warned the Christian Church to clean up their act and be sanctified because they were starting to act once more like the Gentiles (heathen) they once were. They had accepted the Gospel message but their lives were still undisciplined and impure just like the pagan.
    In fact the great Apostle said, “It is a shame to even speak of those things which are done of them in secret”. (Eph. 5:12) He warned, “Because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them”. (Eph. 5:6-7)
    Because of which things? “But fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 
     "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” (Eph. 5:3-5)
St. Paul states emphatically, “Be not ye therefore partakers with them. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them”. (Eph. 5:7, 11)
    In his letter to the church of Colosse, St. Paul continued on the same line admonishing and warning, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 
  "For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them”. (Col. 3:5-7)
    The pagan lived in debauchery and sin, but the clear-cut message of the epistles and writers of the New Testament was to straighten up and remove oneself from this cesspool of carnality. Since we are saved we do not live as the Gentiles who know not God!
     Even today - take the pagan religions for example and the way they treat their women - like the mud on their feet! Only Christianity has lifted the women out of a place of inferiority in this world and given them a place of dignity and honour among men.
    St. Paul makes it very plain that in the Christian way of life we must treat our wives properly. “Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it: That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
    That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself". (Eph. 5:25-28)
    Christianity respects the wife and makes it very plain that a man cannot have more than one wife! Western civilization has put this principle into effect by passing a law against polygamy. Muslim and other pagan countries have no such law; women are abused, and often men have from four to over twenty wives in large harems.
   The Mormon cult subscribed to this pagan practice in order to satisfy the lustful cravings of their founder and other early leaders such as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
     St. Paul wrote, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife”. (1 Tim. 3:3) “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well”. (1 Tim. 3:12)
   If a man loves his wife like himself, and if he has Christian convictions he will treat his wife with dignity and not discard her like an empty cigarette package after she has borne his children and helped him build his career!
    Some men trade in their wives for a newer model just like they do with their automobiles - the same is applicable to women to a lesser degree.
    Jesus said concerning divorce, “In the beginning it was not so. God made Adam and Eve as male and female.” God made only male and female. Perversion is man-made and the product of sin and the devil.
    God blessed them and it was only because of the hardness of their hearts that Moses allowed them to divorce one another, which only proves another point which I have also found to be so true:
    Broken marriages in many cases are the product of one or two hard hearts! Hard hearts that will not communicate and will not bend at all. Jesus was not in favor of divorce and I am certainly not in favor of divorce, generally speaking.
    There are exceptions to the rule as Jesus clearly pointed out when He said, “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery”. (Matt. 5:32)
                     WHY NOT HEAL THE MARRIAGE?
    Even in the case of fornication, I believe there is sufficient grace in God to forgive and restore if there is genuine repentance on the part of the one who is guilty. The Bible says, “Love covereth a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
    When the Pharisees brought an adulterous woman to Jesus they challenged His theology and His willingness to adhere to the letter of the law, but Jesus in His great wisdom salvaged the woman’s life and soul: He answered them thus, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”. (John 8:7)
    Then Jesus said to the woman, “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more”. (John 8:11). 
   Just because there has been unfaithfulness in the marriage and problems have arisen that have broken hearts and brought the marriage to the brink of disaster, even though confidences have been shattered, that still does not justify divorce in every case.
    Why not get God on the scene to solve and salvage as well as rejuvenate the marriage, rather than be hard hearted and say, “Now I have my rights; I want a divorce: my partner is guilty of adultery and as a Christian I am entitled to a divorce”. Try a little common sense! What happens after the divorce?
    Life isn’t going to suddenly be a bed of roses. Much better to salvage the marriage with God’s help and some good old fashioned advice from the preacher!
                     WHAT ABOUT ANNULLMENT?
    Now, don’t read me wrong. All marriages are not solvable, and some marriages are better off dissolved for all concerned, unfortunately, but many that are doomed to fail can be saved if both partners are willing to but give it an honest try with faith in God.
     What are some cases that can be annulled or dissolved legally in the light of the Scriptures?
1. Homosexuals, lesbians, other sexual perverts and deviates. I have dealt with homosexuals who have been married to beautiful girls. We have prayed together and God has saved and delivered them, and they have received grace from God to live a normal married life.
     Just last year (1981) a man who was delivered by God’s power over 10 years ago from the demons of homosexuality was married. He had been bound for 20 years when Jesus set him free. Thank God!
   Then there are the others however, who do not desire deliverance. They love their perversion and have broken the hearts of normal, clean, pure young ladies who trusted them with their love.
   In such a case, if the homosexual husband does not want deliverance I recommend a quick divorce, because such being the case the marriage was not an honest transaction. There is a statement that we ministers include in our wedding ceremony - It reads like this:
      "If either of you know of any impediment why ye may not be lawfully joined together in matrimony, ye do now confess it. For ye be well assured, that if any persons are joined together otherwise than as God’s word doth allow, their marriage is not lawful”.
     In such a case when a man or woman has been deceived and married to a pervert, or an impotent, senile person, the victim should go immediately to his or her pastor, receive counselling and guidance.
     If the case is deception and there is no change, an annulment should be arranged, or a divorce if necessary. As I see it, there is no need for the innocent person in such a case to agonize through years of torment. Scripturally, there is a way out - divorce, and with no restrictions regarding remarriage!
   In the case of a good marriage gone wrong - that’s a cow of a different color; try to salvage the marriage. The former love can come back and you also have something to build on; also in many cases children are involved.
     Try to save the marriage! If you can’t, then separation or divorce are the only recourse left. In a case like this I cannot see, according to the Scriptures, where either party can remarry.
     There are however preachers who feel strongly that the innocent party can remarry, quoting the words of Jesus, Except it be for fornication” a reference not only to the right to divorce, but also the right to remarry.
   The best would be, do not divorce. Forgive your partner and restore him or her. And, if you must divorce, do not remarry, but seek God for His grace and power to live a holy life and give your time to God and your children.
    There is one more thing however, in Old Testament times when a woman was taken in adultery she was immediately taken out and stoned to death. Men seemed to have been exempt. Certainly in such cases there would be no problem with remarriage, for the innocent party.
    In the same way some feel that the guilty party is spiritually dead and the innocent party is then free to remarry. Remember however, the words of St. Paul,
    “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth, but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband, so then if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from the law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man”. (Rom. 7:2-3)
    What about those who have already messed up their lives? You cannot unscramble scrambled eggs, and in many cases you are unable to rectify wrongs performed in a mix-up of marriages, divorces and remarriages.
     Many people hear our programs over the radio or see me on television and attend our crusades; some of them from unsaved homes, and many have messed up their lives, then they answer an old fashioned altar call and are converted.
     They receive the Holy Spirit, are baptized and become burning witnesses for Jesus. Oftentimes they have been married and divorced and remarried - some two or three times! What do you do in cases like these?
     Since the Holy Spirit has accepted them and Jesus has added them to His body, the Church, who are we to reject them? We have no right to turn them away since Jesus has not turned them away! We must receive them, believing that God has in fact done a work in their lives as He did in ours!
     St. Paul warns in his letter to the Romans, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 
     "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and who he justified, them he also glorified”. (Rom. 8:29-30)
     If God has called someone and saved that person we have no right to criticize or lay upon them a heavier burden than we could bear either, or which Christ would ask them to bear!
      Notice the words of the Apostle, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? 
     It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us”. (Rom. 8:34-35)
    If God has justified someone, we must stand with God! The Scripture states that God gives the Holy Ghost to those who obey Him. 
     Often He fills people with the Holy Ghost, whom we wouldn’t; people who we personally feel are not ready to receive the Holy Ghost; yet God fills them before we have a chance to ask them to rearrange their lives!
    We should let God do His business in the way He so desires, instead of trying to do everything our way. “We are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.” (Acts 5:32)
     If a marriage is failing we should try to salvage it. If a man or woman is divorced and remarried once, twice or whatever, I believe they should remain in the married state they are in. 
    I do not believe people should try to reconcile themselves with spouses two or three marriages before; that causes nothing but confusion, especially where there are children involved.
    If a family accepts Christ, regardless of how many times they have been married in the past I believe they should remain as they are and not disturb the children, but bring up the family to serve God and live for Jesus as a unit. 
   If people are taught that they should go back to their first husband or wife in many cases it is not possible, and even if it was, it would involve the breakup of possibly one, two or more families, which would cause more trouble than you are trying to rectify.
     The break-up of a home is no more right in a case like this than any other case. We cannot sacrifice the lives of precious children to the whims of some stubborn, pharisaical, senile old preacher who sits cloistered behind the stained glass windows of his church, or in a monastery somewhere!
    When you get into the mainstream of life and begin to reach souls, lives and families for Christ you see the common sense of the Holy Scriptures as they are applied to real life situations!
     St. Paul said, “But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. 
    "Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called”. (1 Cor. 7:17-20)
    Marriage, divorce and remarriage is a most complex subject and I believe there has been given unto us a bit of leeway in giving direction to people in awkward positions, since St. Paul uses his own philosophy and expounds his own views a number of times. i.e.: “But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.” (1 Cor. 7:6)
     “But to the rest speak I, not the Lord.” (1 Cor. 7:12) “But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor. 7:40) 
     On very important issues however, St. Paul made it clear that he had a definite commandment from the Lord! “And unto the married I command, Yet not I, but the Lord.” (1 Cor. 7:10)
    Very definitely, when a Christian is married he cannot do as he pleases! He has certain responsibilities which he cannot dodge.  
    “Let not the wife depart from her husband: but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband, and let not the husband put away his wife”. (1 Cor. 7:11) If you will notice Paul says this is a command from the Lord! (vs. 10)

No. 1 - God is against Divorce! It is not God’s perfect will. Only one ground for divorce - adultery or fornication - even then it is better to reconcile, forgive and forget in order to save the marriage and the home.
No. 2 - If you are married to an unsaved person you must stay with them if they want you! (unless of course they are beating you or threatening to kill you, or unfaithful to the extent of bringing social diseases upon you; disrupting the children’s mental health; homosexual, extreme alcoholics, extreme mental illness)
    Every case must be judged on its own merits or lack of merits. Love your partner and lead him or her to the Lord.
No. 3 - If you leave your husband or wife for any reason other than adultery or fornication (I unequivocally add perversion, like sodomy, lesbianism and homosexuality) you are unable to remarry.
No. 4 - Some theologians teach that the innocent party in a divorce can remarry. The reason they hold to this view: In the Old Testament the innocent party was free to marry, as the adulteress was stoned to death. In this case the adulteress or adulterer, not wanting to repent, would be in a backslidden or sinful state, dead in Trespasses and sins!
No. 5 - If you find yourself married to a pervert, lesbian or sodomite, you are in my opinion, free to divorce and remarry. (unless they want to be set free from demons and become a child of God)
   This is also the case if someone is sexually malformed with an impediment that he or she held from each other before marriage, thereby nullifying the marriage. (severe mental illness and schizophrenia could also be included in this list, as well as bigamists, necromancers and perverts)
   Anyone who has been misled or deceived in these areas has a right to ask for annulment, since the marriage contract was made under false pretenses.
No. 6 - Hasty marriages are very foolish and spending time together with your intended as well as his or her family for a longer period of time in discussion and fellowship would solve most of the problems found in paragraph No. 5.
    Have your parents and friends meet your fiancee; also make sure your pastor gets to know him or her and takes time for proper counselling before marriage.
    Marriage is too important, vital and long to rush into without doing a proper check. Even in breeding purebred horses or cattle we check out the pedigree. We can do no less with the future of ourselves and our children.
No. 7 - If you are contemplating divorce or remarriage, consider very seriously the Scriptures, as well as the words of warning, admonition and advice in this book. Always remember your testimony for Christ, the state of your children, as well as your future.
No. 8 - If you are mixed up, divorced, remarried, or living common-law, come to Christ and let Him work things out for you.
     Serve Christ and bring your family up to live for Jesus. If you are living common-law you must stop doing it. If there are no children involved between you, separate and go back to your husband of wife is possible. Common law living is adultery and sin.
     If you have children between the two of you and you cannot go back to your former spouse, get the necessary divorce and get married to one another right away - then go to church and refrain from living a sinful life. Accept Christ and train your children in the ways of God.
    You cannot live your life over again, but you can change and live it differently from today on! You cannot pick up spilled milk or unscramble scrambled eggs, but you can take a stand for Christ now and bring your family to Sunday School and Church, and leave the past under the Blood of Jesus.
     The Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, He is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”. (2 Cor. 5:17)
    Again the Scriptures say, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life”. (John 5:24)
    Above all let us teach our young people that marriage is holy and for keeps - divorce is a result of the hardness of people’s hearts and remarriage is certainly not a bed or roses! 
    Get things straightened out in your spiritual life; seek God for guidance and be filled with the Holy Spirit. If you obey the lusts of the flesh you will die spiritually, but if you follow the Spirit of God you will live.
    Remember God’s Word states, “That which God hath joined together let not man put asunder”. (Matt. 19:6) When you say, “I do”, let it be a sincere, convincing, decisive answer with a ring of sincerity and truth to it. Let it truly be “until death do us part!” Amen.