September 19, 2009

There is a Place for Grace; a Blog for Single Christians

There is a place for grace. This sounds contrary to the concept of grace, that it could have limitations or boundaries, for grace is defined as limitless mercy and unconditional regard. As Christians, we spend so much of our time pondering grace and how we might become more filled. We stretch ourselves to have grace towards the AIDS patient, the Wiccan, the homosexual, the prostitute, and the heroine addict. It is a priority for a Christian to surrender his tendency to judge in order to be more like Christ. We do well to grow in grace. And we are commanded to do so, therefore, it is difficult to imagine circumstances under which we should withdraw grace.

The downfall of many single Christians is our generosity with grace. I have been taken down by it many times. In the name of “grace” we accept too much in our significant others. We turn a blind eye to recurring patterns of sin in our boyfriend/girlfriend. In other words . . .

WE ACCEPT SIN.

When I do this, doesn’t it make me guilty of a sin all my own? That I am more loyal to this human affection than holiness?

There is one command given to the single Christian – Do Not Be Unequally Yoked. Sounds simple enough. And yet we complicate our decision-making about relationships because we want to. We want to give the object of our affection more freedom, more understanding, more room to grow, more grace. Grace becomes a blanket under which we hide sin and suffocate conviction.

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 (NIV)

Let’s note that the scripture technically states not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. That certainly is of upmost importance. But beyond that, I recognize the error in being unequally yoked with another believer. So you wouldn’t yoke an ox with a giraffe; that is obvious, but neither would you yoke one ox facing north to another ox facing south. They wouldn’t go anywhere. Get the picture?

I reflect on the simplicity of Adam and Eve’s one rule in the garden, “Do not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”, and wonder, “How did they mess that up?” I mean, everything was provided for them, everything was allowed, but that one rule existed. Our decision-making as single Christians in choosing a mate is truly as simple as one rule, “Do Not Be Unequally Yoked.” No need to deliberate and discuss with your friends, no need to compromise and conform, no need to implement grace, just obey the rule. It’s pretty clear.

And THEN there is a place for grace.

When the rule is obeyed and the pair is proven to be equally yoked, then God approves of the union, for the glory that the two bring to God together far exceeds the glory each generate independently. When unequally yoked (ox to giraffe or ox facing north/ox facing south) this isn’t possible.

Grace is beautiful, powerful, appropriate and God glorifying, but the call to be equally yoked when deciding on a spouse trumps the call to exercise grace for “ … a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:22-25)

As the woman, I am reliant on my husband to intercede for me before God’s throne for guidance as to our lives and decisions together. First we must be equally yoked. Second we must have grace for one another. There is a place for grace within the bonds of marriage but not between two single people while dating. Dating is a temporary period for discernment which grace only clouds.

Our lives as Christians are to be a constant demonstration of grace, but the storehouse of grace is destroyed when we do not guard it with eyes of wisdom, a heart of obedience and a passion for holiness. When you marry, you invite another person into your relationship with Christ (you become one flesh). As single people, we are independent disciples responsible to the call of holiness. There is a place for grace and that place is after God’s revelation of his choice of a mate for you.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said, friend.

Joy

Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I have a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at thecuriouschristian.blogspot.com.

May I use part of the information from this post above if I give a link back to your website?

Thanks,
Alex

Anonymous said...

Yes Alex, that will be fine. Thank you for asking.