As we say back home—Red Alert!
We have come to the most critical moment. A most sobering moment spiritually. Before Christ will come for His Bride, spiritual adultery must be harshly dealt with in the hearts of His people. To illustrate the gravity of what I’m about to say, let me ask you—would you consider marrying your town prostitute? As we say back home—marry the town whore? Please forgive me if I offend your sensibilities. I don’t mean to. It’s just, I cannot emphasize enough the significance, the importance, of removing spiritual adultery from our hearts if we’re to know Christ and follow on. Our hearts must become pure. We must stand before Him as virgins in the spirit.
There’s no better passage in the Bible to illustrate what we’re discussing than Hosea chapter two. The life of Hosea is a very moving love story. God told Hosea to marry a harlot. “The Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go and marry a girl who is a prostitute’” (1:2). Though the story tells of Israel’s backslidings, Israel’s idolatries and spiritual adulterous living, the story is also, I’m convinced, referring to Christ’s love for His current bride, the Church.
“Behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness and speak comfort to her… And it shall be in that day, says the Lord, that you shall call me “My husband,” and no longer call me, “My Master… I will betroth [marry] you to Me forever. Yes, I will betroth you to Me…and you shall know the Lord.” (Hosea 2:14,16,19-20)
What do we mean, and how do we get rid of, Spiritual Adultery?
Note, Hosea’s language is saturated with lover’s talk:
- “I will allure her”…
- “and speak comfort to her”…
- “I will betroth [marry] you to Me forever,,,”
- “You shall know [intimately] the Lord…”
- “You shall call me ‘My Husband’ and no longer call me ‘My Master’”…
There is a realm in God where one’s spiritual affections, where one’s heart is completely—I mean completely “sold out” to Christ and He becomes our Bridegroom, our Lover. The relationship changes from Lord to Lover. A servant, for instance, serves his master because he desires to obey. A bride, however, serves her husband because she desires to please. There is distance between a Master and his servant. The master sleeps in his bedroom; the servant sleeps in his bunkhouse. No distance between the bride and her lover! They share the same bed. And the motive to please one’s lover is ten thousand times ten thousand times stronger than the motive to obey one’s master!
I’m saying, spiritual adultery is always a result of distance, always a result of a lack of intimacy between two lovers. Unfaithfulness often follows. I could go down the list. Do we love our denomination more than Jesus? Our careers more than Jesus? You fill in the blank. That’s spiritual adultery, if we do. Then how do we get rid of it?
Again, one of our Lord’s parables, I believe, gives us insight into our discussion. The parable of the marriage feast in Matthew chapter twenty-two. Jesus said, “Many are called but few are chosen” (Mt.22:14). In the parable of the wedding feast, a certain king arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out invitations. Most refused to come.
My point is—the invitation is to all. To all the Body of Christ, but not all accepted. Out of the Body of Christ comes forth the Bride of Christ—those who do say “yes” to the invitation. Those who decline—most—stay in their traditions.
Many Called, Few Chosen
“For many are called, but few are chosen” (Mt.22:14).
These are the days when the bridegroom is ushering forth his invitation; the days of removing spiritual adultery. These are the days when believers from different backgrounds and sects are laying aside their differences and falling passionately in love with the Bridegroom God, Jesus, the Christ. To really drive home and paint a picture in your mind, can you visualize believers from the following Christian groups coming together in a spirit of love?! I can.
- Roman Orthodox Catholics
- Greek Orthodox Catholics
- Oriental Orthodox Catholics
- Protestant Orthodox Catholics
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,
- The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod,
- The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
- African Methodist Episcopal Church.
- African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
- Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection (Wesleyan Methodist Church)
- Association of Independent Methodists
- Bethel Methodist Church
- Bible Methodist Connection of Churches
- Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
- American Baptist Association.
- American Baptist Churches USA.
- Baptist General Convention of Texas.
- Conservative Baptist Association.
- Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches.
- Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
- General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC)
- National Association of Free Will Baptists.
- LDS Church
- RLDS (aka Community of Christ) Church
- Restoration Branches
- Aaronic Order
- Apostolic United Brethren:
- Church of Christ (Fetting/Bronson)
- Church of Christ (Temple Lot)
- The Church of Christ “With The Elijah Message,”
- Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)
- The Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Bride & the Body
Yes, the Bride of Christ is chosen from the Body of Christ. Just to be clear, our Lord doesn’t want you removed from out of your pew, from your church. He wants to remove spiritual adultery from out of your heart. It’s a matter of—which do you love more? Your church or Him? He’s not asking you to leave your church. He’s asking you to fall head over heels with the Lord of the Church. He wants to become your bridegroom God. He wants your total devotion and loyalty.
I have a friend who’s one of the Mission Presidents within his denomination. One day he pulls me aside and says, “Brother Lynn, our church needs to refocus on the Lord of the Church more than the Church of the Lord.”
This article is part 1 of part 2 in a series of articles by Lynn Ridenhour.