The Way Of God More Perfectly
“And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”
Acts 18: 24-26
The Truth is that Apollos did the best he could with what he had to work with. According to the light he possessed, Apollos taught others about repentance (the baptism of John). What is commendable about Apollos, though, is that when Aquila and Priscilla told him about the way of God more perfectly he accepted what it and did even more good for the kingdom of God. I believe that if Apollos had rejected further revelation we would not be reading about him in the scriptures, but because he was open to further truth his example of a gifted man with a humble, teachable spirit is memorialized for all time.
I have discussed the topic of marriage and divorce with some who hold traditional view points on holy matrimony. Many carry on quite a spirited debate but in the end often do not come into agreement about anything. like Newtonian physicists who could not wrap their minds around a further revelation of the true nature of the universe some cannot wrap their minds about the truth about marriage because their laws do not permit it. Special relativity is called that because it applies to a special instance of physics within the broader scope of the much more general laws of motion. Likewise, while God hates divorce their are special circumstances where God will actually break apart marriages in order to bring about Godly unions of His choosing for His purposes. In order to do this God sometimes uses what I term as “Love at first sight” and “divine divorce” to accomplish His will.
Some have fallen into the trap of becoming so entrenched in their doctrine that there is a real danger they will never re-examine what they believe no matter how ridiculous it becomes. India has “sacred cows” who are venerated for various religious reasons and walk the streets of Bombay while people go hungry. To the western mind this seems absurd. Mark Twain, remarking on such absurdities said, “Holy Cows make the best hamburgers.” Likewise, some people’s dogmatic stand on the sacredness of marriage to the exclusion of all reason causes their belief system to become equally as absurd. Here is a truth,
“The hallmark of legalistic doctrine is that it always devolves into absurdity when applied to real life.”
To those bound by legalism it matters not that their doctrine actually works, it only matters that they believe their doctrine is correct. Reason plays little part in their view of the scriptures because their theology does not have to be reasonable. They believe that if their doctrine says it, they believe it, and that settles it. Granted, if your doctrine is true and you are firm in that belief then that can be a good thing. However, if the real world effects of your doctrine, like India’s sacred cows, are ridiculous, then they should just be converted into hamburger.
Legalism is, at best, armchair Christianity, and at worst, it is preparation to accept the coming antichrist. Legalism is theoretical belief irrelevant of practical experience. However, when incorrect dogma meets real world, something has to give. I have seen those bound in legalism, time after time, suddenly modify their strict beliefs in order to accommodate their personal experience. Like tying strings from house to house in order to increase the range of a Sabbaths day journey, neo-pharisees construct work-arounds to the limitations of their own doctrines when they become personally inconvenient. In fact, many times the only time a legalist will change his or her doctrinal viewpoint is when real world application of their belief causes them personal pain.
So it is with divorce and remarriage. Legalists demand that real life marriage conform to theory, and until real life happens them, they never question the real world consequences of their belief system. Until they find themselves is an impossible situation in which their doctrine fails miserably they never consider alternate possibilities of interpretation. They care not that other people suffer for their beliefs so long as they don’t personally feel any pain.
Here is a very difficult truth,
“God wants to divinely author every marriage that takes place. If God does not author your choice of spouse then He is not bound to honor or bless that union. If your choice of mate is not pleasing to Him and/or prevents His plan from being accomplished our Father will, at special times and through His Spirit, lead believers to divorce one another and marry others of His choosing.”
I say this inconvenient truth knowing full well the rage that many may feel towards it. However, someone has to say it so that those who are bound by ill considered unions might have hope. If you chose unwisely, out of the will of God, and your earthly marriage is a cursing rather than a blessing seek God and ask Him what He wants you to do. Your heavenly Father may lead you to stick with it because He intends to do a miracle in both you and your spouse. However, God may lead you to dissolve your marriage so that you and you spouse can be free to marry again, but this time in His will. People around you may not understand how and why you are being led by the Holy Ghost to do that which seems unlawful but you must trust God and obey His voice rather than be cowed by others disapproval.
Here is a truth,
“Marriage was made for man and not man for marriage.”
If you are reading this essay, consider why God led you here and ask Him what He is trying to say to you through it. These truths are not generally understood and rarely articulated so it is possible that your Father has you here for a divine purpose. The point of what I am saying is “trust God more than you own mind.” Allow your heavenly Father to do whatever He wants in your life even if others do not understand it. God’s will is more important than your will and because he wrote the book, you need to trust His interpretation of it more than you own.
Legalism is harmful; it even kills. It is what the pharisees believe gave them nominal “cover” to reject the son of God. In reality the religious leaders delivered Jesus up to be crucified out of envy while pretending to protect the people from a religious heretic. Legalists make and carry out the most terrible choices under the same logic. They are just protecting the poor and helpless masses from error by any and every means necessary. Such Legalism moved the pharisees to move the people to yell “crucify Him!” They rejected God manifest in the flesh, the on true God that they no longer served or knew. Here is a truth,
“If you do not like the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, you do not like God Himself.”
Saul, who was a pharisee of the pharisees, could not and would not accept Jesus until he had a personal encounter with the son of man on the road to Damascus. The prize student of Gamaliel rejected Christ (whom He had never met) based upon the commonly accepted doctrine of his day. It took a real life experience to cause him to change his point of view. Likewise, those who are steeped in their own error often times have to come face to face with actual experience to reconsider their flawed positions. Thankfully, Saul saw the light and became Paul. When Paul knew the way of God more perfectly, he accepted it and became a power house for the truth, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, those bound by religious spirits camp where God has been and refuse to move on to where God currently is. They languish in the hot, dry desert of the “was,” not because it is a good place to be, but because they believe so strongly in their error. Like the children of Israel, who would not stop worshiping on the high places when God insisted they worship at His temple, those chained to legalistic beliefs refuse to change their position even when a new aspect of God’s truth is revealed.
To be where God was is to be absent from where God is. The blessings that are with God cannot be enjoyed if you fall behind and refuse to move as He moves. let us learn from Apollos example of humility and receptivity to a more prefect way. If if you are very strong in a certain teachings, when the way of God is explained to you more perfectly, embraced what God shares with you in the spirit of Apollos. This is the type of teachable heart we can all benefit from and I hope that, together, we can all move on with God as He draws us to deeper understanding in Him.