Mixed Marriages and the Government of God

 •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Is that which you find in your heart the thought of one that loves God? Is it a thought in accordance with the will of God-a thought suitable to one whom Christ has so loved as to humble Himself even to death for? Stop, poor soul, and ask yourself if you are allowing the thought which occupies you, because it is agreeable to Christ, to the Christ who gave Himself for you, to save you? He has your salvation at heart; He loves you; He knows what tends to ruin you, to make you fall in the wilderness. He will govern by no principles except His own, those of holiness-those which belong to the new nature. He cannot deny Himself. (2 Tim. 2:1313If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2:13).) He desires that you should not incur the terrible discipline which awaits the soul that has wandered. He desires that you should not suffer the losses into which your folly will drag you, if you allow yourself to follow your own will. He desires that you should not lose the enjoyment of His communion, and that the proofs of His love towards you should not be suspended or weakened in your heart. He speaks to you in His word, He judges the thoughts and intentions of your heart. Would you rather hear Him judge you, than ask Him to deliver you from what is too mighty for you? Or will you say like Israel, " I have loved strangers and after them will I go." (Jer. 2:2525Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go. (Jeremiah 2:25).) You know that this thought does not come from Christ; you have not consulted Him, although you may, perhaps, have dared to ask Him to bless your intentions and direct you. You know that the word judges what you are still keeping in your heart, and what has power over you; you are the slave and not the master of your thought. No, that thought is not from Christ, and while you allow it, you are neglecting God and His word. Well, you are bringing on you the chastening of God. God is full of mercy and has compassion on us and on our weaknesses. He is tender and pitiful in His ways; but if we are determined to follow our own will, He knows how to break it. He governs everything, and He governs His children in particular, He is not mocked, and what a man sows he will reap later on; (Gal. 6:77Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7).) The worst of all chastenings is that He should leave us to follow our own ways.
The second point 1 wish to lead you to remark is the government that God exercises with regard to His children. He warns them by His word, and if they do not listen, He interposes in His power to stop them in order that He may be able to bless them; (see Job 36:5-14;33. 14-30.) In the dealings of God salvation is not brought into question. He looks upon His children, and chastens those whom He loves. The persons of whom the Holy Ghost is speaking in Job are called " the just." God does not withdraw His eyes from them, and He says also to Israel by the prophet Amos, " You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore will I punish you for all your iniquities." (Amos 3:22You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. (Amos 3:2).)
In the Epistle to the Corinthians we see that, when the Christians turned the Lord's Supper into a scene of dissoluteness, God laid His hand upon them. Some of them were sick and others had even fallen asleep, (that is, had died); and the Apostle in calling attention to it adds, " If we would judge ourselves we should not be judged. But when we are judged we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." Solemn thought! We are under the hand of the Lord who punishes sin wherever He finds it. He is a consuming fire, and when the moment is come, judgment begins at His house. What a difference between such relations with God, and the joy of His love and communion when one has not grieved His Spirit, and when one is walking under His eye and in the light of His countenance! I do not doubt that a large part of the sicknesses and trials of Christians are chastenings sent by God on account of things that are evil in His sight, which the conscience ought to have paid heed to, but which it neglected. God has been forced to produce in us the effect which self-judgment ought to have produced before Him.
It would, however, be untrue to suppose that all afflictions are chastenings. Though they are sometimes, they are not always sent because of sin. There are things in the soul connected with the natural character, and which need to be corrected in order that we may live more in communion with God and glorify Him in all the details of life. What we do not know how to do with regard to these things God does for us; but there are many children of God who commit faults which their conscience ought to feel, and which they would discover if their soul were in the presence of God.
Jacob had to fight all his life against himself, because God had known his ways; and in order to bless him. God must wrestle with him too, and on this account also He was not pleased to reveal His name to him. It is totally different with Abraham. A thorn in the flesh was given to Paul to hinder evil; for in his case the danger did not arise from carelessness, but from the abundance of the revelations which he had.
Where there is a real affection which acknowledges God and all the relations in which He places us with Himself, it is absolutely impossible that a Christian should allow himself to marry a worldly person, without violating all his obligations towards God and towards Christ. If a child of God allies himself to an unbeliever, it is evident that be leaves Christ out of the question, and that he does so voluntarily in the most important event of his life. It is just at such a moment that he ought to have the most intimate communion of thought, affection and interest with Christ; and He is totally excluded! The believer is yoked together with an unbeliever. He has chosen to live without Christ; he has deliberately preferred to do his own will and to exclude Christ rather than give up his will in order to enjoy Christ and His approbation. He has given his heart to another, abandoning Christ and refusing to listen to Him. The more affection there is, the more the heart is attached, the more openly has something been preferred to Christ. What a fearful decision! to settle to spend one's life thus, choosing for a companion an enemy of the Lord's. The influence of such a union is necessarily to draw the Christian back into the world. He has already chosen to accept that which is of the world as the most beloved object of his heart,; and only things of the world please those who are of the world, although their fruit is death. (Rom. 6:21-2321What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:21‑23).) "The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." What a dreadful position! Either to, fail in faithfulness to Christ, or to have constantly to resist just where the tenderest affection ought to have established perfect unity. The fact is, that unless the sovereign grace of God comes in, the Christian man or woman always yields and enters little by little upon a worldly walk. Nothing is more natural. The worldly one has only worldly desires. The Christian, besides his Christianity, has the flesh; and further, he has already abandoned his Christian principles in order to please his flesh, by uniting himself to one who does not know the Lord. The result of such an alliance is that he has not a thought in common on the subject which ought to be most precious to his heart, with the person dearest to him in the world, and who is like a part of himself. They will have nothing but quarrels, for it is written, " How can two walk together except they be agreed?" (Amos If not, they must first yield to worldliness and thin take pleasure in it; but this sad result is lost sight`` of when they first place themselves in the position which renders it inevitable. The Christian is drawn away little by little he is not in communion with his Savior, and he can find pleasure in the society of a person who is agreeable to him without thinking of Jesus. When he is alone he does not think of praying; and when he is with the one whom he loves, though his conscience or his Christian friends may warn him, he has no strength, and Christ has not sufficient power over his heart, to lead him to turn from his way and give up an affection which he knows to be disapproved of by the Lord. He binds himself more or less by other motives, such as a feeling of honor, sometimes, alas! by more detestable motives, such as pecuniary interest, and he sacrifices his conscience, his Savior, his own soul as far as it depends upon him, and at all events, the glory of God. That which at first was nothing more than a fancy, has become unrestrained will.
There is another remark which the history of this young person leads me to make. The first start of a converted soul, however sincere it may be, produces anything but the judgment of self and the flesh, which by unveiling to us our weakness, causes us to lay down our burden at the feet of Jesus. We then seek for strength only in Him, and we confide in Him alone. The confidence which a soul that knows and distrusts itself has in Jesus, is what gives it a lasting and solid peace, When it has understood, not only as a doctrine, but by the acceptance of the heart, that He alone is our righteousness. But we only arrive at this when we have been in the presence of God and have them made the discovery that we are only sin, that Christ is perfect righteousness and God perfect love. From that time we distrust ourselves, we fight against ourselves, and the flesh and the enemy have no longer the same power to deceive us.
I do not think that the young person of whom these pages speak, had been stripped of self. There are many Christians this condition, and although we may all be exposed to the same dangers, yeti such have more particularly to dread the wiles of the enemy, because they have not learned how far the flesh deceives us, and do not know with how terrible a traitor we have to do. When we have come to a knowledge of this, although there may be a lack of watchfulness, yet Christ has a larger place in the heart, and there is more calm, and less self.
Observe how deceitful the heart is, and how it loses all self-command when it departs from God. That poor young girl (when she was getting further and further into the slough, on the borders of which she had been trifling, to use her own expressions), asked her mother's friend to do all she could to remove every obstacle; and she, who was a woman of some piety, was surprised that A. should be disposed to unite herself to a worldly man. How wily and deceitful is our heart! What slaves does an idol make of us! For although we may endeavor to escape the danger, yet we take means to secure the accomplishment of the thing we desire, even while we flee from it! What a terrible thing it is to get away from God! This young person, before she was entangled through this affection, would have shrunk with horror from the idea of such an action. When the heart has abandoned God, it dreads man more even than God. The God who loved A., and who was beloved by her, must needs take her away from this world, where she had not courage to return to the right path. God took her to Himself. She died in peace, and through pure grace she triumphed.
The Christian, whilst enjoying peace in his last moments, should always feel that it is God whose hand is there. What a solemn lesson for those who wish to depart from God, and from His holy word, in order to satisfy an inclination which it would have been easy to have overcome at first, but which, when cherished in the heart, becomes tyrannical and fatal! May God grant to the reader of these lines, and to all His children, to seek His presence day by day.
(Continued from No. 2.)