Verbal and written commitments have far-reaching consequences. They may not be broken. Our salvation is based on the commitment of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. We believe that they meant everything that they said in the Scriptures. For example, the Lord Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).
What if the Lord Jesus were to change His mind? If He did, we would all perish eternally. Our salvation hinges on the fact that God has decided not to change His mind. Our salvation is guaranteed by the fact that God will never change His mind about our salvation. We live in a generation that is devoid of integrity. People make promises and break them at will. They lie and cheat and use the Bible to justify their evils. Many are reading the Scriptures, not to seek the will of God, but to see if some loophole can be found on which they can hang in order to carry out the desires of their hearts. Such is the attitude of the lost. It is also the attitude of those whose conversion is spurious, i.e. false, not genuine.
Those who are genuinely converted know that the Lord Jesus said, “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’, ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:33-37). The Bible says, “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbour no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honours those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts” (Psalm 15:1-4).
The person of integrity keeps his word even when it hurts. When he has uttered a word, he has uttered it. He may not withdraw it. He must keep it at any cost to himself.
The Lord expects those who are born from above to be such that once their word is given, it is given. It may not be withdrawn, regardless of what it will cost them to keep it.
This being so, it is expected that once a believer has told another believer, “l will marry you,” that commitment is absolutely binding and can only be broken from outside – parental refusal, refusal by spiritual leadership, and so on. None of the two who have made the commitment should ever break his word, regardless of what it may cost him. He should keep his word, even when it hurts to do so. This is integrity. This is one of the character traits of those who may dwell in the Lord’s sanctuary; who may live on His holy hill. Such have a blameless walk and do what is righteous. The binding nature of the commitment of believers can be seen in the following: “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’
All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ – which means, ‘God with us.’
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus” (Matthew 1:18-25).
Joseph was only engaged to be married to Mary. However, even before the marriage, Joseph was called her husband. Mary, too, was considered his wife. They had not yet come together; there was no sexual union yet. The final act of uniting, that would have permitted them to have sexual union had not yet taken place. However, they had committed themselves before each other and before others that they would be married. Their word was taken as final and, as such, they were called husband and wife in a limited sense. It was expected that they would never change their minds. The commitment to marry someone is binding. It is not accepted that a young man who is a believer in the Lord Jesus walk up to a sister and say to her, “l love you. Be my wife,” and, while the sister is still weighing the matter before the Lord and seeking counsel, that the same young man move on to another sister with the same request! It is forbidden that a believer should ask another believer for a hand in marriage and it is accepted and in the course of time, before they come together, that he should change his mind and marry someone else. The ‘Yes’ must remain ‘Yes’ at personal cost.
If commitments were binding as we have just seen, then divorce would be nearly non-existent among the people of God. The problem is that in a general sense, the church of the First Born is in poor shape. True enough, there are a few who know the Lord intimately and walk with Him in the fear of Him and in obedience to His word. However, the vast majority of those who claim to be His children are only His legally. There is no experience of union; there is no experience of knowledge of Him; there is no experience of fear of Him; there is no experience of trembling at His word; there is no experience of obedience to His commandments and there is neither truth nor integrity!
Because of this serious lack, promises made to love and to cherish through thick and thin are thrown away at the slightest inconvenience. The more a person has departed from the Lord, the easier it is for him to break his word. The more a person has departed from the Lord, the more his commitment to personal pleasure instead of to holiness and integrity.
The closer a person walks with God, the more binding his word is upon him, and the more ready he is to sacrifice personal
success, for the will of God, truth of God, manifestation of the character of Christ.
To such a person, it would be better to die rather than to break a promise. To such a person, divorce is forbidden, because the Lord forbids it and because integrity forbids it.