So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
– Genesis 2:21
To our post-1970’s divorce culture these words, spoken by Adam and penned by Moses, aren’t too controversial, so long as everyone agrees that the “become-one-flesh” part is a human, sexual, gradual, “natural law” process. That way, any number of “ribs” are perfectly interchangeable, even though the Lord saw fit to take only one rib out of the man. But living spouses aren’t morally interchangeable! Jesus didn’t agree at all that becoming one-flesh (sarx mia) was a gradual or even a primarily sexual process. He came along and said a whole bunch of things in one short, controversial passage, Matthew 19:5-6, that strongly suggested this process is not at all natural, gradual or interchangeable as the humanists would like, but supernatural, instantaneous, individually God-accomplished–ahead of and independently of the physical consummation.…and (therefore) inseverable. Then Paul followed along to confirm twice that only death severs this God-created one-flesh entity, going so far as to say in Ephesians 5…
He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
This topic has been urgently on SIFC’s heart over the past several weeks due to a trio of recent events. There is a Thursday night conference call arranged and hosted by one of the “standers” as part of his ongoing ministry to other covenant marriage standers where typically someone gives a detailed testimony, then the call is opened up to questions from others on the call. One recent Thursday, the featured speaker was a pastor with a congregation who teaches the biblical truth that man’s divorce does not dissolve holy matrimony, and that remarriage after man’s divorce is almost always adultery–other than the rare instance where the divorce was a repenting divorce and where only one of the partners has a living, estranged true spouse. On the same call was also a second marriage permanence pastor who joined in to the question period. SIFC took the opportunity to commend both pastors, but was concerned about all the crazy, heretical teachings out in the “marketplace of (evangelical) ideas” that compete with the biblical truth, even among the stander community, and asked,
“Praise God that both of you courageously preach the truthful ‘what’ of marriage permanence. But it’s one thing to speak of ‘permanence’ and quite another thing to more precisely speak of ‘indissolubility’. Do you ever have occasion to preach on the concept of one-flesh, or the ‘why’ behind Jesus calling remarriage adultery?”
There was a long moment of quiet as thoughts were gathered by the two preachers on the call. SIFC asked if they understood the question, and realized that this might actually not have occurred to either one of them before. They both said they understood, but SIFC clarified that the question was based on Matthew 19:6, and Jesus describing a supernatural, instantaneous process by the hand of God, and that the New Testament speaks in several other places about the implications of that truth — so, do they ever speak on that topic? Both preachers on the call said that they didn’t think their congregations could “handle” that kind of packaging, saying… “we try to bring the hard truths to our people as gently as we can, without running them off. There are people in our congregation who would be offended due to their loved ones being remarried.” (Therefore, due to the sensitivities involved, those congregations only get the “what”, but at least they get that much of the truth, which is better than the silence or false teaching that most congregations get.)
The second incident relates to a certain brother in the permanence movement who seems to be growing weary after a few years in his stand for the rebuilding of his covenant family, and he seems to be “re-evaluating”. He and others are currently embracing an extrabiblical theory, that God only joins two believers in this inseverable one-flesh state, therefore believers shouldn’t be “unequally-yoked” with unbelievers, and furthermore, God would never so “yoke” them. This seems to be the “heresy-du-jour”, such as satan brings along every few months, seeking whom he can devour, perhaps even supplanting, for now, the pair of wicked Judaizing heresies we were so fiercely wrestling with a few months ago. We standers live daily on the fierce front line of spiritual warfare, fighting with all our might for our families, and giving satan a major black eye every day. Our lives are filled with wearying conflicts with many others in our world, including other believers whom we love and respect. The emotional exhaustion makes any one of us a prime target at any time for falling into deception. This man knows his bible well, and the Good Book is chock full of historical examples in both the Old and New Testaments against this false notion, so we can only pray the emotions and urges he is suffering will subside, and this brother is refreshed in the Lord again soon. Until then, may our faithful Father place dense thornbushes in this brother’s path to keep him from walking out the deception.
(Update: this man has now apostasized and entered into an adulterous “marriage” with another man’s estranged covenant wife. Willful, unrepentant adulterers forfeit their inheritance in the kingdom of God, and, losing their freedom in Christ, they come under the dominion of satan.)
Most marriage heresies are quite easily discredited with a firm and steadfast understanding of the biblical one-flesh concept because most such heresies ignore or violate this truth, but in this instance, satan seems to be whispering (Pssst…did God really say?) against even this core truth, by falsely claiming that God only joins a certain few (believers only) in that instantaneous, supernatural inseverable entity.
Therefore, as this carnal reasoning goes, the battle-weary stander should be able to remarry after a valiant effort at standing, without Jesus calling it adultery if their unbelieving spouse civilly divorced them. By this same logic, however, most marriages that ever existed throughout all time in any culture have been mere fornication under civil-paper unions, including Mr. & Mrs. Potiphar, Ahab and Jezebel, Herod and the daughter of Aretas, Herodias and Philip, and Timothy’s parents. Under this logic, John the Baptist only laid down his head on the executioner’s block for the sin of “incest” (since supposedly God did not join either of the pagan unions involved), and Paul was urging believers to remain in a fornicating civil-only relationship in the hopes of evangelizing a spouse who wasn’t born again…
But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. – 1 Corinthians 7:12-14
Sanctification without an authentic, supernatural one-flesh joining in place, and without God covenanting with that entity? Not likely!
The third incident happened to SIFC at a recent weekend retreat held by the womens’ ministry at a former church, where Day 2 of Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s “Revive 17” conference was being simulcast to remote audiences. This year’s theme was Titus 2, which begins….
But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
Various segments of the excellent day-long presentation featured speakers who each addressed some aspect of verses 3 to 5 of Titus 2: Reverent behavior, Self-Control, Loving husbands well, Being a worker at home, Submission, and….Purity. Each segment was preceded by a clever skit to set the tone for the speaker. Just before the lunch break came the segment on Purity, and that skit unfolded thusly:
Two young married ladies were meeting up in a coffee shop at the request of one of them (Girl #1) in order to talk about her unhappiness with her covenant marriage, and the (married) man she had just met who, of course, was “wonderful in every way”, unlike the toad she was married to. Girl #2 listened attentively, then attempted to bring a reality-check into the situation by asking various questions. Girl #1 finally figured out that she was not going to get any approval for her plans to pursue an adulterous relationship, so she lit into Girl #2: “it’s all easy for you to say, since you’re married to Mr. Perfect-and-Wonderful. You think I don’t deserve to be happy just because I made a mistake in who I married.” A moment of heavy silence, then Girl #2 says “There’s something I have to tell you. Steve is my second husband. I committed adultery like you’re thinking about doing, and my first husband divorced me. It was only by the grace and the mercy of God, who brought Steve to me.” [END].
The conference participants were then called to prayer with their tablemates…while sitting right next to SIFC was the church secretary who had two years ago “married” a divorced man for the second time (her first had unfortunately passed away in his state of sin, but had been a loyal elder in the church.) SIFC prayed aloud for sound doctrine to land in the session, based on what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:27-32, so that everyone would be able to see that there are actually two practicing adulteresses in this skit, and not just one. This skit and prayer was then followed by a presentation by Dannah Gresh, where the main theme was that biblical purity is accomplished by the “grace and mercy” of God in our lives. When the lunch break was announced afterward, the two leaders of womens’ ministry called SIFC outside for a “sisterly admonition”, details of the severity of which will be spared here.
SIFC responded to these two women’s ministry leaders that charges of “legalism” are not valid when a heaven-or-hell issue, according to biblical instruction, makes clear that real souls are at-stake. Since Titus 2 begins with a call to “sound doctrine”, it was not “inappropriate” in an audience that included impressionable teenage girls (their own daughters, as a matter of fact), for Christ’s directly relevant teaching to bring the skit back into alignment with the scriptural truth. One of the two pleaded that the remarriage(s) in question were not adultery because the original marriage(s) and divorce(s) occurred before some of the parties got saved, so nobody’s going to hell due to “God’s grace”. It ended with “an agreement to disagree”, and was followed up two days later with a rebuking email to SIFC from the senior pastor of that church, who levelled a charge of “disrespect for leadership”, to which SIFC responded, in part:
“I am well aware of your close friendship with C___ and G___, and perhaps it was even you who performed their wedding (hope not), but if you really love them and want to share eternity with them, I urge you to study a lot more on this topic before you jump to the conclusion that I and a growing number of pastors (now found in quite a variety of denominations), are “wrong”. I deeply regret that I didn’t take the opportunity to speak with C___ before that wedding as I did have an opportunity, but at the time I was still honestly questioning whether “not inheriting the kingdom of God” was the same thing as going to hell….Remarriage adultery almost always takes people to hell in pairs, at a minimum, if not physically repented before death. There is an excellent book written in 2007 by Joe Fogel called “One Flesh” that I just gave away my last copy of to the board of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) in response to The Nashville Statement. I will be ordering more copies for the work I am now doing full time, and would like to bring you a copy when my supply is replenished. It does an excellent job of explaining the “why” behind all of this in an impeccably-scholarly manner. It needed to be of this high caliber because each of those board members is a PhD seminarian.” ( A brief “bible study” was also engaged on the oft-hijacked topic of The Unpardonable Sin in that email. These leaders all insisted they were “not going to debate” with this blogger. Both this pastor and Nancy D-W will be receiving a letter this week about the skit, with a complementary copy of Joe Fogel’s book. The letter to Nancy will be covered in a separate blog post. )
The readers can readily notice that the conflict in incidents 2 and 3 are both based on the same extrabiblical premise, namely, that our vows and resulting covenants “don’t count” if they happened before we got saved. “Standerinfamilycourt” dealt with that abusive notion in one of the blogs in the “Debunk Series” in 2015.
How did Jesus get around the “black hole” of excuses, exceptions and permissions when He had to take the same wildly unpopular stand in order to usher in the kingdom of God? Matthew 19 and Mark 10 both tell us….He deliberately skipped past Moses’ regulations designed to mitigate carnality (the conversation the Pharisees all hoped to have with Him) and went all the way back to the Creation to which He was personally a witness, and Moses was the historical author. That way, He could focus the conversation on the only thing relevant to the New Covenant — namely, the old one-flesh design “from the beginning” that Mosaic regulations had trampled under foot. Excuses, allowances and exceptions, after all, are only for those not willing to lose their life to follow Him. Those who claim that God “made an allowance” for man’s weakness or “hard-heartedness” are pagans and phonies. To them, anyone who preaches even the “what” is a “legalist”. Chances are, if anyone preaches the “why” to them, they will be slandered even more severely as a “fundamentalist”, but at least then the rebellious will choose their sin over following Christ with the full information on the table, as well as its accurate context. If even one of the already-perishing actually repents, the result would be well worth it.
Here are the top eleven additional reasons why anyone who wants anyone else to take #1M1W4Life to heart, must be educating people about the true, biblical nature of one-flesh as the indispensible “why” behind the “what”.
11. The culture war within Christ’s church is just as fierce and high-stakes as the outside culture war, and neither will be won otherwise.
There is a cognitive dissonance among evangelicals that makes them resistant to define adultery differently than the culture does. Even when they embrace Christ’s Matthew 5 definition, they only embrace the part about “mental adultery”, and they gloss right over the part about marrying the God-joined spouse of another found in verse 32, even though Jesus repeated it two more recorded times afterward. This can be seen in a response by a Moody Bible Institute representative to a recent letter by SIFC asking them to stop broadcast programming that promotes “blended families” as not being sinful, so that true disciples can conscionably donate to their godly ministries. Said that Programming Manager, “However I fail to see where the content in the programs you listed [ Family Life Blended and Focus on the Family] are sanctioning adultery.” This, despite our original letter citing several explicit scriptures stating that to marry a divorced person is adultery.
10. All marriage heresies (“annulment”, “Pauline Privilege”, “Matthean Exception”, elevated Torah observance) have the common characteristic of being mutually exclusive of what Jesus taught in Matthew 19:6.
(Self-explanatory: all are unauthorized and illegitimate human attempts to put asunder what God has inseverably joined and only death can separate.)
9. Permanence and indissolubility are not equivalent concepts.
Even an adulterous union can hope for “permanence”, but such a union lacks indissolubility because of the absence of the authentic, God-joined state and lack of divine covenant. Permanent adulterous unions by Christ’s definition lead to an eternity in hell (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Heb. 13:4; Rev. 21:8)
8. Even Jesus did not consider it enough to give “rules” without kingdom-based justifications.
He painted a very graphic picture in Matthew 18 of what will happen if we take justice into our own hands and refuse to forgive; In Matthew 5, He warned that fornication and adultery are so addictive as idols that we’re better off losing the means to commit them than wind up in hell for all eternity; again in Matthew 18, He warned that if children / grandchildren are abused and rejected because they’re in the way of our carnal desires, their angels will take up their case before Him and He will treat the transgression as if it was directed at Him. In that vein, pastors will have a very difficult time ceasing to perform adulterous weddings over the already-married-for-life unless the groundwork of teaching and preaching on one-flesh and indissolubility occurs beforehand. The “exceptions” must evaporate entirely, because every such “exception” endangers souls.
7. Correct one-flesh understanding knocks down barriers to genuine repentance and restitution needed for cleansing of sin.
God doesn’t just “hate divorce” in Malachi 2. He was actually saying He hated the economic and spiritual abandonment of the one-flesh spouse of our youth, and covenant children – literally, “putting away”, with or without civil sanction. We don’t actually need a “culture of marriage” in the church. Instead we need a culture of repentance, restitution and obedience. Unfortunately, wicked shepherds have spent five decades creating a situation that will entail some repenting divorces. That is not the fault of those convicted to repent, but instead the fault of those who twisted biblical doctrines to accommodate grievous, society-destroying sin.
6. Correct one-flesh understanding demonstrates just how immoral it was for the Reformers to cede authority over holy matrimony to the civil state.
The Roman Catholic Church falsely taught that only a wedding within that church and between two baptized members created a valid and indissoluble state of “sarx mia”, whereas Jesus taught that all valid vows between eligible couples (i.e., not already one-flesh with another living person) created inseverable “sarx mia”. This RCC distortion directly led to an overreaction by Luther and the other “Reformers” to misuse the state to create an aura of legitimacy over that which Jesus repeatedly called adultery by restoring access to manmade “divorce” as it was among the Hebrews before Jesus abrogated those Mosaic laws. No access to divorce is ever needed in a society unless the motive is to attempt to legitimize an immoral relationship through the illusion of “dissolution” and “remarriage”. This is the only wicked reason for the civil state to have power over families that God never delegated. There are other ways for the civil state to hold the adulterer responsible for his or her illegitimate offspring without claiming to “dissolve” his or her biblically valid state of holy matrimony. Adultery partners, on the other hand, don’t deserve state protection that shields them from the natural consequences of their sinfulness at the expense of the God-ordained covenant family. They need the consequences and censure in order to repent and redeem their soul, since they are never morally interchangeable with the living covenant spouse. Today the civil “marriage contract” reflects no part of the definition of biblical marriage that Jesus gave in Matthew 19:4-6 in any state in the U.S., and any pastor who signs a civil marriage license these days as an agent of the state is saying, in effect, “I (and possibly NOT God) have joined these two people for as long as they don’t grow weary of each other or lust after someone else, of the opposite or same gender, despite the words of God I falsely spoke over them.”
5. Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state robs believers of their anointed walk in the gifts of the holy spirit, and robs the church of all power among the pagans.
Jesus promised we would be sealed with the Person of the Holy Spirit as soon as our lives are surrendered to His lordship. When we backslide and choose to live immorally after that event, the Holy Spirit does not depart from us, but Paul tells us He is instead “grieved” and “quenched” when we do things like sleep with someone other than our God-joined one-flesh under a blanket of man’s paper and the false blessing of our church. Such a church, in turn, is deceived out of all moral authority against satan’s schemes and attacks. This has been recently played out in the religious freedom court wars over Christian wedding professionals being legally compelled to participate in sodomous “weddings” in an earlier blog post.
4. Failure to respect and uphold the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state robs the church of leadership opportunities in legislative efforts and judicial influence toward the overall good of society.
If the church deems all heterosexual marriages as morally interchangeable based on civil law, there is little incentive to conform civil law to God’s law, nor to stand up to those who claim it’s “wrong” for civil law to reflect God’s law, or for civil law to promote what’s good for eternal souls. This likely explains how “no-fault” repeal bills could have been before the legislatures of several states in recent years, and in two adjacent states in 2017, but barely elicited a yawn from the churches of those states. Failure to comprehend the insult to God, that violation of the one-flesh precept of God constitutes, can probably also explain why the only churches sending busloads of people to national marriage marches were the inner city and minority churches most adversely impacted economically by immoral family laws, and why issues like pot, gambling, and bathroom access take the highest priority with Christian family policy groups in various states, with endeavors to influence family laws getting little or no funding. To stand idly by while the nation’s family laws have been irrefutably shown to lead to the mistreatment and deprivation of innocent children instead of their “best interests”, leading to eventual derangement of our citizens in all sorts of manifestations, is a shirking of the Creation mandate of God for His people to take dominion and to rule righteously.
3. Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state creates an implied moral equivalence between heterosexual and homosexual unions, despite all “hot air” to the contrary.
Remarriage that Jesus repeatedly called adulterous (marrying any non-widowed divorced person) is immoral for precisely the same reason that homosexual “marriage” is immoral: there’s no God-joining, hence no one-flesh entity created, with which He has unconditionally covenanted. This would have been far less difficult to explain to the world if the church had not abandoned these principles in pursuit of unrighteous mammon, but as it stands, even the pagans know that serial polygamy is immoral rebellion against God, and that it is destroying society. Cynically, some actually hope it destroys marriage (and assessments of biblical morality) altogether. Indeed, the need to explain these principles to the homosexualist community probably would never have arisen at all, because the Almighty would not have needed to go to such extremes to gain the attention of His bride.
2. Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state causes church discipline to be carried out unjustly, and on the wrong members.
This point is very eloquently expressed by the testimony of a repented prodigal named Dave, who was shunned by the church for divorcing out of an immoral union with another man’s one-flesh wife:
DAVE: “They don’t teach about the one-flesh covenant marriage relationship, so, in their eyes, a person divorced from a legitimate marriage is in the same boat as a person divorced from an illegitimate marriage. So, can I ever marry again and not be living in sloppy-agape?
Now follow my logic here: A marriage can’t be legitimate and illegitimate at the same time. If you divorce from a legitimate marriage and remarry anyone else you are committing adultery. But, if you divorce from an illegitimate marriage and marry a life-long single person, you are not committing adultery!”
( As with SIFC’s recent experience of being censured at the ladies’ retreat for speaking out against satan’s lies which profoundly marred a ministry event, we must aim to please God rather than men, and remain accountable to Him when our leadership refuses to be. God is never going to ask us how faithfully we followed our denomination’s doctrine. He is going to ask us how faithfully we purposed to obey Jesus with our life choices – and He’s already going to know the answer!)
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord. – Proverbs 17:15
1. Failure to comprehend the divinely-created, inseverable one-flesh state causes severe disorder in the homes of believers, and missed opportunity for sanctification of unsaved family members.
If legitimate husbands and wives truly saw themselves as an inseverable one-flesh entity, each would realize that they cannot bring harm of any sort to their spouse without bringing the same degree of harm to themselves. We, of course, see Paul admonishing the men to this effect in Ephesians 5, but if it works that way for husbands, it’s equally true for wives. We see this validated in scriptures like Proverbs 12:4:
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.
We even see the one-flesh state as something of a designed-in spiritual weapon in 1 Corinthians 7:14:
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.
This is, of course, not a guarantee of success against satan’s domination or control of a one-flesh spouse. After all, a sword is a weapon, but if it is not skillfully wielded, or if it’s laid down too soon, it might be used against its owner! We daresay that the brother mentioned in the second incident described at the start of this post, who grew weary enough of the Lord’s timetable for rebuilding his satan-ransacked covenant family that he turned a deaf ear to both Christ and Paul, will soon feel it in his own flesh and bones (and offspring) if he does not repent on his face before the Lord of his lust to marry another (and thereby compromise the very soul of another) – with whom he cannot ever be one-flesh.
“Standerinfamilycourt” concludes by challenging all of God’s shepherds to muster the most righteous courage you will ever need to muster, short of actual life-and-property persecution conditions (which obedience in this area might actually avert from God’s hand), and begin the process of gaining Spirit-led knowledge about the divine, supernatural one-flesh state, sarx mia, not to be confused with satan’s counterfeit, hen soma. Then preach it boldly, and let the chips fall where they may. The most likely result is that all of the false converts in your pews (who would not be there, had your MDR doctrine not been falsified to accommodate their sin) will indeed rush for the doors, but true disciples will soon replace them. Revival will then explosively follow, but it will appear to be moral chaos to those who don’t understand one-flesh, because a massive wave of repenting divorces and reconciliations will be an inevitable outcome, for the sake of many souls that now hang in the balance. Those who do understand these events because the groundwork was laid by a return to the faithful teaching of one-flesh will compare it to the purging described in Ezra, chapter 10 and realize that Christ’s bride will not be purified enough for admission to the wedding supper of the Lamb until these things inevitably come about.
7 Times Around the Jericho Wall | Let’s Repeal Unilateral Divorce!