Fornication…

“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife”
~~Exodus 22:16

Many believe that in our present day and age, the enforcement of the Exodus 22:16 verse/law would be a great encouragement to fornication. Some also think applying Mosaic Law in the New Testament dispensation is like crucifying Christ again.

In others view too, if the focus of the new testament is only about fleeing fornication, then what happens in a situation when someone is unable to follow the rules all the way through and where do we find a remedy for that situation. Are they totally condemned because they couldn’t flee?

Again, others feel there should be a balance so we don’t try to live the Christian life only on the basis of the New Testament, after all the Bible in its entirety is our manual, not just the New Testament.

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So what do I think? I think both verses (Exodus 22:16 and 1 Corinthians 6:18) being in the Bible makes the Bible a holistic book.  Though there are some varied histories behind the Exodus verse and what was the norm in those days, I do not believe the verse is meant for pagans; neither do I believe it is there to encourage promiscuity or the lack of self control. And whether or not its application or relevance should be left to die with the practice of old and not brought into modern day Christianity, the reality is that I believe God in His infinite wisdom knows that even in today’s Christendom, some will get caught up in a situation where they are unable to exercise self-control and have “unmarried sex” and maybe have pregnancy on their hands before marriage. And what should then be the Bible’s requirement when that happens to a virgin or woman of marriageable age? Judge and condemn them because “fornicators” shall not inherit the kingdom of God, and on that basis prevent them from getting married because of the sin? Should they be made to look like the worse of sinners as some Churches do or be allowed to marry even when they are willing?

I do not see the application of Exodus 22:16 as condoning wrong or encouraging sin but just the recommendation of the Word of God. Repentance will not be required of Christians and mentioned in the Bible if God was oblivious of the fact that Christians do sin or will sin (not as a habit though). All sin is sin; fornication (whether a one-time act or serial act) is an equal sin as any other sin. Christians do mess up, don’t they?

Far from it, I’m not encouraging fornication; just sharing my thought on the Exodus 22:16 verse. Premarital sex is a sin and that’s undisputed! Premarital sex is sexual immorality and all sexually immoral (I believe those whose actions have become a conscious habit and not just someone who once fell into sexual sin and repented) will NOT inherit the kingdom of God!

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But what’s the atonement for every form of sin as the Christian knows and lives by? Isn’t it simply a genuine repentance and change from one’s old ways (though some consequences of one’s sins cannot be undone)? And aren’t all Christians, including Pastors, only being perfected in that regard? Is it not true that we all are not perfect; at least, not yet?

So yes, I’m not encouraging premarital sex. I’m only saying that the practice where a Christian brother and a Christian sister are made to feel like the worse of sinners when either by “mistake” or some unrestrained passions they fornicate and even refused marriage by the Church even when they are willing to is too extreme and not a balanced Christian principle in my view. Of course I do not expect the Church to encourage sex before marriage or preach it, but neither do I expect the Church to assume that Christians are without sin. Christians were sinners before accepting Christ and Christians are not without sin after accepting Christ.

What do we sometimes see in Churches? Some churches decline such folk marriage even when the people involved have acknowledged their sin, repented and are willing to. Some churches say they have to punish or discipline the people involved in order to maybe purge out the sin or serve as deterrent to others. To do this therefore they instill certain rules. In some churches the Church Pastor brings them before the whole congregation and shames them, telling of their act. Then, the “fornicators” (not the appropriate tag because I don’t believe someone who fornicates and then repents still qualifies to be called a fornicator) when in Church cannot sit among the congregation but at the far back of the church in specially reserved seats for such folks. He/she is also not allowed to partake in communion; neither is he/she allowed to come near the “altar”, among other restrictions.

The Biblical basis for such actions is sometimes “absurd” to me; but surprisingly many Christians submit to these kinds of treatments by the Church, maybe out of respect for Church elders or “Church discipline”. Those who are unable to handle the ill treatment just leave the Church altogether.  Church discipline especially regarding dating and relationships is a very sensitive and divisive issue to many Church folks anyways.

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When two people are unable to exercise self-control which leads them to fornicate, I’m convinced the Biblical solution is to pray for them and encourage them to repent and mentor them. And should pregnancy be the outcome, they should be made to consider marrying especially if they are of marriageable age and offered as much help that the Church can in that regard.

Isn’t that what Exodus 22:16 recommends? Even if marriage is not the option they want to pursue, a lot can still be done for them other than shaming? Why a Church will rather chose to not encourage the praying for, mentoring and marriage option, but be interested in shaming and “disciplining” instead is what is sometimes not [biblically] clear.

Nonetheless, here’s how one Dr Lawson Stone interprets Exodus 22:16:

“Clearly this text has no idea of justifying or legitimizing any kind of sexual intercourse prior to marriage, but is a sanction enforcing marriage as the only setting for sexual union. The Church’s emphasis on sexual sin appears selective, harsh and hypocritical”

Well, the thing with opinions; they are so varied!

God help us!

(PS: Fornication is sin; as much as you can, flee it!)

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

A matchless love…

What manner of love can this be?

A love as strong as death,

A love as mighty as the Lion of the tribe of Judah,

A love that endureth the trials of a cross,

A love that endureth the torment of a shameful death,

A love that bears all iniquities,

A love that despises every shame,

A love that is glorified over all,

Surely it is my Beloved’s love,

Yes, my Beloved,

The incomparable lover of my soul,

Yes, my Beloved,

Who fans aflame His love in my heart,

And excites the ardour of my spirit,

Never such love like my Beloved’s,

That excites emotions within,

And turns my weaknesses into strengths,

Never such love like my Beloved’s,

In whose light I discover my ungratefulness,

And in whose touch I am made anew.

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Image source:
www.logomoose.com

God help His Church…

We have said it a billion times!
Our churches have lost it!
Both the “sane” and “insane” churches
Our people both literate and illiterate have lost it too!
In the name of spirituality…we have all lost it!
We have argued many times
How far church discipline should go
We have argued a billion times
Where the Churches assumed role of “parenting” ends
We have raised it a million times
How church “membership” ought to be defined
And where the church’s “authority” over its “members” ends
We have voiced out a thousand times
How non-ethical our church leaders are operating
How manipulative and cunning they have become
How the main purpose of the Church has shifted
How “secular” our churches have become
How we can no longer differentiate
Church from a Business or Secular Organization, etc
But for fear of being labelled “carnal”
And put in some particular stereotypes
And for how wrongly we have been brainwashed
In interpreting the “touch not my anointed…” scriptures
The “it is God speaking through me” gimmicks
That makes us take every message/direction from the pulpit
Hook, line and sinker!
We ourselves have become unwise and “stupid” followers
How brainwashed we have become
How undiscerning we have become
How dead in our spirits we have become
Because we do not know the Bible for ourselves
Because we fail to realize
Our lives are not sold out to churches to do as they please
Our lives are to be led by Christ and not the Church
Church leading you and Christ leading you…
There’s a whole lot of difference!
The day you know…you will be liberated!

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

(PS: Sentiments entirely mine! Don’t steal it! And don’t hate when you don’t share same sentiments! Leave me to Christ…lol 😂😜)

Temptations…

A holy character does not stop one from being tempted. Neither does seclusion nor the utmost consecration of spirit.

Remember our Lord Jesus Christ, most Holy and full of the Holy Spirit was tempted even while in the wilderness?

Temptation does not respect many things; it will always knock on your door. And you can’t only choose to pray it away…you must resist also. That means work on your part; not the tempter’s part. Marriage does not ward off temptation either; marriages face their own dose of temptations. Your actions will determine whether or not the temptation will lurk in the darkness to continually afflict you. With every form of temptation, you’ve got to make a choice. According to the wisdom of Martin Luther:

“You can’t prevent the birds of the air from flying over your head, but you don’t need to let them build a nest in your hair”.

That means you may not be able to prevent temptations from coming your way, but you have a choice to make.

For married people, one Dr. Beverly Yahnke, a Christian psychologist admonishes that we:

“make the tough decision to honour your spouse even if it means you won’t ever know what a relationship with someone else would have been like”.

Perhaps the grass on the other side that looks so green, tempting and relishing to you is just artificial grass. Better still, if you would focus on your own grass and put in the work, and create favourable conditions for growth, sooner or later your own grass would be greener…and rather more tempting to others (but there too you will have a problem o. Haha).

Many times we make the mistake of thinking that what we can bear, our partner can also. We are all different and the very thing you take for granted because for you it can never lead you into temptation is what will lead your partner into it. Someone said he’s been away from his wife for 3 years and all the while didn’t cheat on her and doesn’t understand why the wife did. Well, maybe you could handle that length of distance; maybe she couldn’t (not justifying her action). But the posture of taking it for granted that absence easily predisposes her to temptation than you should not be encouraged. Maybe you don’t crave attention so don’t see the need to offer it…but maybe for your partner, that’s what feeds his/her love and without it can predispose him/her to temptations. Maybe you can do without sex for days; maybe your partner can’t and will fall without it. Maybe outings don’t mean anything to you; maybe it’s the prime need of your partner. Maybe public display of affection (PDA) means nothing to you; maybe that’s what makes your spouse feel super and as little or frivolous as you may think that need is, don’t do it and you put him/her at risk of nursing feelings for someone who does. Maybe you think building heart-to-heart friendship with your spouse is a waste of time and that women are just too annoyingly emotional; maybe they will soon fall for someone who tries to bond with them at that emotional heart-t0-heart level. Don’t take things for granted.

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May God grant grace that we do not create unfavourable conditions in our marriages/relationships that easily predisposes our partners to give in to all manner of temptations. May we find grace to create suitable environments in our marriages that our partners will not be drawn to nursing thoughts of looking elsewhere to have their needs met…but can look to us and have their every need met.

So get to work and watch those prime needs now…don’t leave them unmet! It could be a need for attention, friendship, companionship, a lot more affection, cutting down the times apart, a lot more talking, a lot more kind words, a lot more playfulness or fun time together, a lot more sex, a lot more respect, a lot more empathy, a lot more creativity or spice, a lot more surprises,….a lot more of everything! If you have to, readjust your plans or life goals to create the much needed balance all marriages need.

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God help us!

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

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Image sources:
http://revivenations.org/blog/
unveiledwife.com

 

New month!

How Thou didst commend Thy love
When Thou didst whisper in my ears
“I am thine and thou art Mine.”
Kind were those accents
When Thou saidst,
“The Father Himself loveth you.”
And sweet the moments, passing sweet
When Thou declaredst to me
The love of the Spirit.
Never shall my soul forget
Those chambers of fellowship
Where Thou has unveiled Thyself to me.
SO I PRAY TODAY:
Precious Lord Jesus,
Give me a fresh draught
Of Thy wondrous love
To begin this month with.
And let Thy love be shed abroad
In every heart that’s willing to receive.
Excepted from:

http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/jesus-love

Image source:
http://www.happyholidays2014.com/hello-february-2015-pictures-and-images.html