THE "SINGLES" GROUP
THE "SINGLES" GROUP Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Paul’s gospel of grace is summed up in Romans 7:4: we are dead to the works of the Law of Moses so we may be married to Christ, with the end in view of bringing forth the fruit of righteous behavior to God. We are dead so we may be married, not so God may hold us guiltless no matter what we do.
The spiritual "singles" are living in a state of lawlessness. They are not under the Law of Moses, neither are they living according to the will of the living Christ. They are not married to Him. They are Christians in name only, supposing that their acknowledgment of correct doctrine insures their righteousness in God’s sight. They believe in a grace that saves apart from works. This is a misunderstanding of the Christian salvation.
THE "SINGLES" GROUP
And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. (Isaiah 4:)
Many churches of our day sponsor a "singles group." The singles group is made up of men and women who are not married or who have been married and now are divorced. The members have fellowship with those who share their interests and problems.
There is, however, another kind of "singles" group. It is composed of Christians who are divorced from the Law of Moses but who are not married to the Lord Jesus.
The "singles" group, which is the topic of this booklet, consists of the "believers" in Christ, the Christians-in-name, the churchgoers who think they have died to the Law of Moses but have not been married to Christ.
In them Isaiah 4:1 (above) is fulfilled. They desire to "eat their own bread" (their preferred kind of spiritual food) and to "wear their own apparel" (to behave themselves as they wish without regard to any lord or head). At the same time they take on themselves the name of Christ so they will appear, at least, to have some type of moral and spiritual respectability.
Isaiah could not have described the spiritual "singles" more perfectly if he were alive today.
The spiritual "singles" are living in a state of lawlessness. They are not under the Law of Moses, neither are they living according to the will of the living Christ—they are not married to Him.
They are Christians in name only, supposing mental assent to correct doctrine is the grace that insures their righteousness in God’s sight. They believe the grace that saves us apart from the works of the Jewish Law, concerning which the Apostle Paul wrote, consists primarily of a statement of belief in Christ. Again we say, this is a misunderstanding of the Christian salvation.
Romans 7:4 describes the heart of the new covenant. The heart of the new covenant is marriage to the Lord Jesus—union with Him in His death and resurrection.
Wherefore, my brothers, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Romans 7:4)
At one time we were married to the Law of Moses. We were married to tables of stone.
At one time we looked to God’s written Law for our righteousness. Now we are not looking to a written law. We are looking to a Person—the Man, Christ—for our righteousness. Now we have died to the Law of Moses and are to be married to Christ.
The problem here is, many Christians do not consider themselves bound by the Law of Moses, but neither are they seeking to be married to Christ. They are not bringing forth either the fruit of the Law or the fruit of Christ in their lives.
The Apostle Paul never taught that we could state our belief in Christ and then remain "unmarried."
The Ten Commandments are binding on all people for all time until they die and are raised with Christ, especially on God’s Israel.
Romans 10:9,10 can be construed to mean in order to be saved it is necessary only to confess Christ and profess to believe God has raised Him from the dead. But such an interpretation requires that we ignore the remainder of the Book of Romans. The sixth chapter of Romans teaches that we must, if we would obtain eternal life, choose to be servants of righteousness.
The practice of building our salvation on one or two such "key" passages requires that we separate these passages from the remainder of Paul’s writings and interpret them in isolation from the balance of Paul’s explanation of grace. An examination of all the Epistles reveals that Paul taught righteous behavior as solidly as did the Apostle James.
Paul’s gospel of grace is summed up in Romans 7:4. We are dead to the works of the Law of Moses so we may be married to Christ, with the end in view of bringing forth the fruit of righteousness to God. We are dead so we may be married, not so God may hold us guiltless no matter what we do.
We are dead to the Law of Moses so we may be married to the Lord Jesus Christ!
To die to Moses by means of faith in Christ and baptism in water, and then not proceed to union with the living Christ, is to abide in a state of lawlessness. The spiritual "single" is a lawless individual. He is not under the headship of the Ten Commandments or of Christ.
Marriage to Christ is the all-important issue of the Christian salvation. If we are not married to Him in daily vital relationship, if we are not abiding in His Presence, thinking His thoughts, obeying His every desire, we are not keeping our part of the new covenant. We will not bring forth fruit. We will be removed from the Vine and will wither and die. Our end shall be the fire (John 15:6; Hebrews 6:8).
Let us consider for a moment the nature of the new covenant—God’s means of redemption through faith in Christ.
The new covenant is God’s plan for creating man in His image, for making man truly righteous, truly holy, and truly obedient to God.
The old covenant, the Law of Moses, includes many righteous laws and ordinances. But the old covenant is limited by the weaknesses of human flesh. We humans have a sinful nature. The Law of Moses emphasizes our sin but the Law of Moses has no power to deliver us from our sinful nature.
The new covenant is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus comes to an individual. Christ says, "Here, let Me take your personality—the evil and the good of it. I am ready to accept full responsibility for you. I have the authority, based on My death on the cross, to forgive all your past sins. In addition, I am willing to take the responsibility for all that you are and all that you do from this point forward.
"Because My Father has made Me your Judge you do not have to concern yourself with any other standard of righteousness. Neither man nor spirit can lay anything to your charge. From now on you are My responsibility. I alone am your Judge."
Current Christian teaching proceeds to this point and then departs from the new covenant. It maintains that Christ takes all the responsibility for our sins—past, present, and future, and then leaves us waiting to die and go to Heaven to live in a mansion forever.
The current teaching does not place nearly enough emphasis on what follows our receiving of Christ.
The Lord Jesus goes on to say, "Now that you are My responsibility I want you to live in Me, with Me, and for Me. I want you to seek My face with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. I want you to eat My flesh and drink My blood. I want you to abide in Me in all that you are and do.
"I want you to be married to Me. You no longer belong to yourself. You belong to Me and I require stern obedience to My will.
"I am not interested in part of your heart. I demand all of your heart. If you will not give Me all of your heart and your life, I will not abide in you and with you.
"I am God! I will share your love with no other. I will be first in your heart or I will not remain in your heart. As long as you truly desire that I be your Lord I will remain with you. But I will cast down every other throne that I find in your personality. You shall have no other gods before Me."
We are dead to the Law of Moses so we may be married to the Lord Jesus Christ. Our marriage to the Lord Jesus always brings forth His image in us.
Jesus did not come merely to forgive the guilt of the sin of the world. The Lord Jesus came to remove the sin of the world. Christ destroys the works of the devil (I John 3:8).
The Lord Jesus forgives us so He may save us.
To be saved is to be "delivered" from sin. Salvation is deliverance—not only or primarily forgiveness, but deliverance! What an enormous gulf there is between forgiveness and deliverance!
When we come to the Lord Jesus and give ourselves to Him, He forgives our sins. Christ forgives our sins with the intention of delivering us from our sins.
The Kingdom of God comes to us as Christ enters us and the devil is removed from us. We have entered fully into the Kingdom of God when Satan can find nothing of himself in us, and everything in us has been born of Christ and is in union with Christ.
The moment the Lord Jesus receives us to Himself in the initial act of salvation, He gives us of His Spirit. He begins to feed us with His flesh and His blood.
He knows our sinful state. Christ causes His Life to be born in us and then assists us with various gifts and ministries, those given to us and those ministered to us by others, so His wisdom and virtue can be imparted to us. He begins to create His Life in us.
Because it is difficult for us to see the Lord or to hear His voice, He has provided the New Testament writings as a guide for us. The New Testament writings are not the new covenant. The new covenant is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The New Testament writings serve as a guide that controls our behavior until the Day when the Lord has arisen in our heart to such an extent we can observe Him and hear Him. For it is Christ Himself who is our Law. Christ is the Law of God made altogether glorious and wonderful (Isaiah 42:21; Romans 10:4).
Paul discusses the relationship between Moses and Jesus, in the second chapter of the Book of Galatians, verses 16-20. Paul states we are justified (declared righteous) by faith in Jesus apart from the works of the Law.
Then Paul adds, if we continue in sin we are implying that Christ is the "minister of sin." For us to continue to sin, to build again the structure of sinful behavior that was destroyed when we received Jesus, is to make ourselves transgressors of God’s righteous and holy ways.
We are dead to the Law of Moses, not so we may trespass against the eternal moral laws of God but so we may live unto God in actual righteousness of behavior.
What is God’s provision for our unrighteous nature? It is to crucify us with Christ so Christ, who is the New Covenant, may express His love of righteousness in us and through us.
To interpret the new covenant as a covering of us while we continue to walk in our adamic nature is to destroy all God desires to accomplish by the giving of His Son. Under the new covenant, Adam is to be crucified, not saved.
There are numerous pitfalls along the way of coming to know Christ as our Law (Lord). The New Testament writings serve as our infallible guide and law until the Day of the Lord dawns within us and the Day Star, Christ, arises within us and guides us from the throne of our personality (II Peter 1:19).
We are dead to the Law of Moses so we may be married to the Lord Jesus Christ. The term marriage means just what the word implies. Our life is to be joined to Jesus in a real, living experience of abiding.
Jesus is alive today. He is ready to join Himself to us as we walk in the way of righteousness. But we must turn our eyes toward Him and pray often. The true saint loves to pray because he loves Jesus. He is married to Jesus. He is the Body of Christ. Christ bears full responsibility for all the true saint is and does.
If the saint stumbles and falls the Lord Jesus picks him up. Jesus forgives His fallen saint. Then the Lord Jesus chastens him severely and thoroughly. The Lord is our Savior and our Judge at the same time.
. . . and I will give unto every one of you [Christians] according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)
We have in our day a number of "believers" who are members of the spiritual "singles" group. They have little faith in the Law of Moses or in any other law. They picture the Christian salvation as the removal of the laws of conduct. They think of themselves as being "free" in Christ.
The truth is, they are not free at all. They are the slaves of sin and of their own self-rule and self-love. They are the most miserable of mankind because they have a form of the truth but are not living in the truth.
They are the spiritual "singles" group and are of no use to God or man.
The Christian salvation is the receiving of the Lord Jesus. He alone has the authority to declare us righteous. He corrects us when we are wrong, and sends many blessings, many teachings, and many fires for our transformation into His image.
The task of the saint is to look only and steadily to the Lord Jesus. Our righteousness comes only from Him. Christ is our Lord, our Savior, our Judge, our Shepherd, our Priest, and our Teacher. We live to please Him, and He alone determines if we are acceptable to God.
A Christian can encounter serious spiritual trouble by not walking closely to Christ. We are righteous only as we are "married" to Christ. The moment we choose to live our own life, not seeking the Lord, not doing His will, we become a candidate for Divine judgment.
As long as we abide in Christ we have no fear of Divine judgment. The only judgment that comes upon us is that which is designed to transform us into the image of Christ.
Should we decide to "eat our own bread" and "wear our own clothes," not being careful to live and walk in Jesus, the Law of Moses condemns us to spiritual death because of our lusts and rebellion.
The Christian redemption is marriage to Jesus. It is not a plan to gain entrance to Paradise by accepting the theological facts concerning the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of Christ. Having the name of Christ apart from the Presence of Christ is not salvation.
The present hour is one of the most momentous of all history as far as the Church, the true Israel of God, is concerned. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. The earth and the heaven will be shaken. All that is not of the Lord Jesus Christ will be removed from its place of "security."
Within the Church, the Kingdom of God, are all kinds of creatures. There are saints who are "married" to Jesus.
There are dedicated Christians who have believed in Jesus but who are related to their particular church and its ways to a far greater extent than they are to Christ.
One might refer to these as "church Christians," or denominational Christians. They are married to their group rather than to the Lord Jesus. They are familiar with the house of God but know little of the God of the house of God.
Also, there are genuine "tares" in the Kingdom—lawless individuals who have brought into the Kingdom of God, into the Christian assemblies, their sensual self-rule:
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)
No doubt, every Christian assembly has its share of these false believers. They shall be removed from the Kingdom at the end of the age.
So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, (Matthew 13:49)
The remainder of the church members are lukewarm, living partly in the world and partly in the Kingdom of God. They are condemned by the preaching of the Word but are not strong enough to come out of the world and receive Christ fully.
The "church Christians," the sensual, and the lukewarm are all spiritual "singles." They are not married to Christ. They practice fornication with the various demon spirits of the world.
They are lawless because they have left the Law of Moses but have not been married to Christ. They are without law except for their own rules by which they govern themselves. These rules are not acceptable to God. Those who are not married to the Lord Jesus will not be able to maintain their moral standards in the evil days that even now are coming upon us.
They have defiled themselves with "women," that is, with people, groups, things, and spirits that are not God. They worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator.
The true Bride of the Lamb is not defiled with such "women":
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. . . . (Revelation 14:4)
We are living in the day when the Lord will begin to separate the "married" from the "singles," the wheat from the tares.
As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; (Matthew 13:40,41)
Notice that the tares are gathered out of Christ’s Kingdom, implying that at one time they had considered themselves to be part of the Kingdom of God. Notice also the tares are not those who did not believe the correct theology or make the correct profession of faith in Christ. The tares are those who "do iniquity," who behave wickedly. Without doubt, numerous individuals who attend Christian churches will be removed from the Kingdom of God in the Day of the Lord even though their pastors have comforted them with the thought that if they profess faith in Christ they never can be lost to the purposes of God.
"Thou shalt not surely die" was spoken in the beginning by the serpent. "Thou shalt not surely die" is being spoken today by the serpent to numerous Christian pastors and their followers. "Even though the Scriptures command you to practice righteousness, holiness, and stern obedience to the Father, you shall not surely die if you do not do what the Word commands because you are saved by grace." So goes the current teaching and preaching.
The wheat of the Lord consists of those who are married to the Lord Jesus Christ. The tares are the wicked of the earth. Those who are in the "middle," so to speak, the "church Christians" and the casual, will have to make their decision whether to be married to Jesus or to become a tare. There are multitudes in the valley of decision as the Day of the Lord draws near.
In the present hour the wheat and the tares are growing side by side. They will continue to do so until the Day of Judgment arrives.
In the Day of the Lord the messengers of Christ will go forth and separate from the Kingdom of God all who are not truly married to the Lord Jesus. There will be a clear division between those who truly belong to Jesus, who are living in and by Him, and those who bear Christ’s name but who do not live in and by Him. These are the "believers" who are called by the name of Christ but who eat their own food and wear their own clothes.
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather from his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity [lawlessness]; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:41-43)
Many factors are operating today that are designed to remove the tares from the wheat, the "singles" from those who are married to the Lord. The Lord is speaking to His true Bride to arise and put on her beautiful garments of righteousness and praise. The Bride is being chastened by the Lord and commanded to fight the good fight of faith.
The "singles" will not accept the concept that the Bride is being chastened. They will quickly withdraw themselves from the Lord’s holy fire and will join with those who find their strength and help in their fellow man. "Togetherness" is the cry of the "singles." But the Bride is being guided into the "wilderness" in order to perfect her relationship to her Lord.
The Lord will employ persecution to remove the "singles" from the true Wife of the Lamb. The Bride always is ready to suffer and die for the Lord. The spiritual "singles" look for what the Lord will do for them, how they can profit from bearing His name. When persecution and offenses arise the "singles" will find it convenient to set aside the name of Jesus for a season.
It appears to us that there are true saints in all the Christian denominations. They love the Lord Jesus above their particular group. They belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. They are married to Him. They hear His voice. They are His Bride, His Body, His true Church, His holy city, His Zion, His true Israel.
Today the wheat and the tares are mixed together in the Kingdom of God. We know, therefore, that Christ will not come at the present moment. The way of the Lord has not been prepared. The holy and the filthy are joined together in the Lord’s churches.
The Wife of the Lamb is called to be without blemish. She is the "only one of her mother." She is fairer than all. Her beauty brings the greatest joy to the heart of Christ.
It is not so today. There are "spots" on us and among us. They must be removed.
The Divine fire that even now is coming upon us will test every man’s work to reveal of what sort it is. Only that which can live in Jesus, who is the consuming Fire of God, will survive. The wood, hay, and straw will be burned.
God has many devices for reducing the ranks of His "Gideon’s army." After God removes the greater part of His Church He will refine the remnant who remain until they are perfect in His sight:
And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. (Zechariah 13:8,9)
The time is at hand for the removal from the Kingdom of God of those who profess faith in Christ but are unwilling to be married to Him. They are workers of iniquity, of lawlessness. The name of Christ is on their lips but their heart is in the world.
They are accustomed to the ways of the Christian churches and regard themselves as true servants of God. They say they are "Jews" but they actually are of the synagogue of Satan (Revelation 2:9). They do not know God. The Spirit of Christ is not abounding in them. In the days that are upon us the spiritual "singles" will not be able to stand. The love of Christ is not in them.
All of us need to take heed to our soul. Are we truly in Christ? Are we married to Him? Or are we stagnating spiritually, waiting for the false hope of the "rapture" so we can be carried off to Heaven to live in a mansion and wear golden slippers?
The true saints are beginning to know in their spirits that the "rapture into Heaven" teaching is false. It is not found in the Scriptures. The "rapture" teaching appeals to those who are not married to Christ because it is just one more way in which they can obtain comfort and pleasure without having to live a righteous, holy, and sternly obedient cross-carrying life.
Those who hold to the hope of flying away to Heaven fail to grasp the concept of the Gospel of the Kingdom, that is, the return of Christ and His saints to bring release to the prisoners of the earth. The desire for comfort obscures the need to take the Kingdom, and leaves Satan to inherit Christ’s inheritance—the earth and its peoples (Psalms 2:8; Daniel 7:14,22; Romans 8:19).
The Lord is speaking to His true saints today, to those who are married to Christ, to those who walk each day in the fervent love of Jesus, who meet together with other fervent Christians and talk about their first love, which is the Lord Jesus. They are God’s jewels and He knows them by name.
There is coming, as we have stated, a shaking of the earth and the heaven (Hebrews 12:26). In fact, the shaking has commenced already. Many experienced Christians are discovering that they are being tested by fire to an extent they never thought would take place.
Only those who are living in Jesus, who are married to Him, will be able to stand in the days ahead. Judgment is upon us. It has begun with the house of God (Ezekiel 9:6).
The way of the Lord has not been made straight as yet. The tares and the wheat are mingled together. It is not possible for the righteous to shine in the Kingdom of their Father because there are "things that offend" in the hearts of the righteous and there are those who "do iniquity" grouped together with the righteous.
It is time now for the messengers of God to separate the tares from the wheat. First, the sin and rebellion must be removed from the saints. Then the lawless people must be removed from among the saints. God has the wisdom and the power sufficient for the removal of the false Christians, the "single" Christians, from among the true Christians.
The Kingdom of God has been a net that has brought in of every kind. It is time now for that which is wicked and evil, dark and unclean, to be removed from the Kingdom of God.
The way of the Lord must be made straight. The holy must clearly be holy and the filthy must clearly be filthy. The present mixture is an abomination to God. It will be divided into the righteous and the wicked. Then will the righteous shine in the Kingdom. Then will the Lord return for an unblemished Bride.
The days of judgment, of separation, are here now. The darkness is settling on us. It is time for God’s true Jerusalem to arise and put on her beautiful garments of righteousness and praise. The power of redemption is present to cleanse the saints from their sin and self-rule.
Each of us Christians must set his house in order. Only the pure, the true, will be able to stand in the present hour. Let the reader look to the Lord Jesus in faith. "Lord, what would you have me to do?"
Zion is asleep! Sinners are at ease and amuse themselves in the house of God. The self-seeking and lust of man is predominant. The sword of the Lord is poised over the Christian churches and over the nations that are staggering about in lust, violence, and drunkenness. Such cannot behold the righteous and holy Christ shining in His churches.
The witness of Christ in the churches is not strong enough to guide the nations of the earth into the godly conduct that would result in their acceptance by Christ, that would guide them toward eternal life in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 28:19,20).
The sinners in Zion will be terrified at what they behold in the near future. The hypocrites will be astonished. It is the dark hour just before the dawning of the Day of the Lord. Only those who truly are living in marriage, in union, with the Lord Jesus Christ will be able to resist the deceiving spiritual darkness that even now is settling down on us.
Our contemporary, spiritually weak Christian church cultures no longer will be sufficient to preserve us from the attacks of an enraged Satan and his demons. The Day of which the Hebrew Prophets spoke is at hand.
Who among us can walk with the devouring Fire of Israel?
He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; (Isaiah 33:15)
God’s standard for fellowship with Himself never changes. The spiritual "singles" cannot meet this standard of behavior. Only those who are married to the Lord Jesus, in whom He is working constantly, are being transformed so the righteous and holy ways of the Lord are observed. The married perform God’s law by nature because the Righteous One, Christ, is being created in them and is dwelling in them. Righteous, holy, and obedient behavior are the fruit of marriage to the Lord.
When we put our faith in Christ for salvation and are baptized in water, God counts us as having died to the Law of Moses. Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses perfectly, finally offering Himself on the cross to make an atonement for the sins of mankind. When we put our trust in Jesus His righteousness is ascribed to us.
All of this has been done so we may be free to leave the requirements of the Law of Moses and be married to Christ. If we are not married to Christ, God’s plan of redemption is aborted in us.
God never intended we should be released from the Law of Moses so we then may live without law. Yet, such is the understanding that in many instances is given by current Christian teaching.
The ministers say, "There is no law but the law of love," having, it appears, no specific idea of what they are affirming. How can Divine love spring from the fleshly nature of the believer?
The Apostles who wrote the New Testament stated clearly and emphatically that we are obligated to live a righteous and holy life in the sight of Christ: first, by adhering to the numerous injunctions they gave us; and then by keeping the laws of righteousness by nature as Christ is formed in us and lives in us in true, spiritual marriage (I John 3:4-9).
Indeed, our righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees if we would enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Multitudes are in the valley of decision today. When the Day of the Lord draws near to the Christian he is forced to make a decision. "Should I give myself to Jesus? Or is this some trial that soon will be over so I can continue in my customary self-centered life?"
The believers who continue to evade the cross will be led away from the Kingdom of God, not realizing this is happening. They are the church of Laodicea. They are worthless to God and to man, fit only to be vomited from the mouth of the Savior.
Those who choose to be married to Christ will be brought through severe chastening and fiery trials. Yet the comforting voice of the Lord will come to them and His Presence will sustain them. They are His Bride. They will shine as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.
Let the Bride, the virgin daughter of Zion, rejoice. Her Lord is coming, skipping on the mountains of spices.
. . . and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 14:21)