Betrothed to One Husband

2 Corinthians 11:1-4 ESV

“I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”

A Divine Jealousy

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, through dying with Christ to sin and being resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, Jesus becomes not only our Lord and Savior, but he becomes our husband, and we, the church, become his bride. And, by “church” is meant only those who believe in Jesus with God-given faith, not an institution of men.

So Paul, in essence, by sharing the gospel with people, and by them responding to the gospel message with faith in Jesus Christ, saw his part in this union – between the believers in Jesus and their Lord – as kind of like the pastor who performs a marriage ceremony between a man and a woman. He was joining them together in marriage, though literally it was the Holy Spirit who does that. Paul was just the human vessel of God.

So, when he introduced the people to faith in Jesus Christ, by what he taught them regarding that faith, it was clear that they were being betrothed to Jesus Christ as their husband and that they were to see their relationship with Jesus as his bride, and their commitment to that union as that of the vows of fidelity and love in a marriage.

Being Led Astray

But now the people were being tempted and they were being led astray to “other lovers,” like a husband or a wife might be tempted or might give in to the temptation to seek after “other loves” in place of the love of their spouse. And, so Paul was jealous for them almost as though he was the jilted spouse himself. I feel with Jesus, too.

So, how were the people being tempted to stray? How were they being deceived? It was through hypocritical liars and wolves in sheep’s clothing who were coming to them with smooth talk and convincing messages which were teaching them a Jesus different from the one in the Bible and a gospel message, too, different from the one taught by Jesus and by his NT apostles.

And, the problem was that the people within the church were putting up with these false messages. They were entertaining them in their minds, and they were doing nothing to stand against them or to stop them from being spread. And, at least some of them were receiving and were accepting this teaching of a false Jesus and a false gospel into their own hearts and lives.

Another Jesus

So, what is “another Jesus” that is predominantly being taught in the church today, at least here in America? It is a Jesus who is soft on sin, who forgives sin, and who promises heaven, but who requires no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to himself as Lord. And, he asks for no one to honor him as the holy God that he is.

It is also a Jesus who was a good man who just went around performing “good deeds” and “loving on” everyone and blessing everyone, too. He was well liked by everyone because of his charismatic personally, because he didn’t judge anyone or anyone’s sins, and because he just made everyone feel good about themselves, even if they were steeped in rebellion.

And, it is a Jesus who never said a cross word to anyone, who never challenged or confronted anyone in their sin, who always had a smile on his face, and who just gave out a message of unconditional love to the whole world so that they would be comforted in knowing Jesus loved them.

A Different Gospel

So, what is the “different gospel” that is predominantly being taught in the churches in America today? And, maybe in other countries, too?

It is that we can “believe” in Jesus with some obscure not very well explained “faith” which sounds more like an intellectual or emotional decision or assent to who Jesus was and to what he did for us on that cross, although that is skewed, too.

And, it is that we can have this obscure faith in Jesus, be forgiven our sin, be bound for heaven when we die, but we can still live in our sin, doing what we want to do, and still be ruling our own lives, making our own decisions, without having to consult God, and while living for self-pleasure, too.

It also implies or says directly that we don’t have to repent of our sins or walk in obedience with our Lord or submit to his Lordship over our lives. For, it says that is “works-based salvation,” so we don’t have to do any of it. We just have to acknowledge Jesus, accept his grace, then we are good to go until we die, and it doesn’t matter how we live from this moment on. Wrong!

[Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6]

Pure Devotion to Christ

We do not have permission to continue in sin now that we are under grace. We died with Christ to sin that we might walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:17-24).

We were crucified with Christ in death to sin, by faith in Jesus Christ, that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to (addicted to) sin.

For, if we present ourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, we are slaves to the one whom we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness, which then leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life with God (Rom. 6:1-23).

So, this is a lot like when we marry. We should not marry with the idea that we can continue living like we are single, but with the idea that our “singleness” is now being put to death. And, we should marry with the idea that we are now committed to this other person as our “only love,” to whom we promise love, faithfulness, purity, and devotion.

God, Our Helper

We do not come to faith in Jesus Christ in the flesh or according to our man-made ideas of what that faith entails. It is the Holy Spirit of God who transforms us and who turns us from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. But we must cooperate with that work of grace. We must do what God says. We must obey our Lord (Rom. 6:1-23; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).

And, God says we must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and his righteousness. He says that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who WALK according to the Spirit and NOT according to the flesh. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (Rom. 8:1-17).

So, please know this because your eternity depends on it. But, please know also that you don’t have to do this on your own or in your own strength. You couldn’t anyway, for this can only be accomplished in the power of God’s Spirit, for this is a spiritual transformation, not behavioral modification.

So, yield your life over to the Lord and submit to him and to his ways, and follow him wherever he leads you, and he will empower you with strength from on high to do everything he has called you to do for his glory and for his praise.

God is With Us

An Original Work / June 11, 2019
Based off Psalm 46

God’s our refuge. He is our strength,
A present help to us when in pain.
Therefore, we will not be afraid,
Although the earth beneath us gives way.

Though the mountains be moved to the sea,
Roaring waters abound so free,
And the mountains now tremble so,
We will not fear, God is near, we know.

God is with us and He makes glad
The hearts of all who to Christ have fled.
Christ is in us, so we’ll not fall
When on our Savior our hearts do call.

God will help us, as mornings arise,
To be faithful to His design.
Nations raging, and tempers flare.
Our God is with us. We know He cares.

Come and see the works of the Lord.
He’s armed for battle with His great sword.
He’s the Word, and He is the Life.
He gives us strength in all of our strife.

Be still and know that He is our God.
He’s exalted where’er He trods.
The Lord Almighty, with us still;
The God of Jacob, our citadel.

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