Will and Jada Pinkett Smith are two of the biggest movie stars on the planet. With numerous movies to their name each, their net worth is easily in the hundreds of millions of dollars. But while I wouldn’t commend every life decision that they’ve ever made, what is especially interesting is their perspective on marriage. In a 2008 interview, Will said that “divorce is not an option. It’s really that simple. And I think that’s the problem with L.A. – too many options. So a huge part of the success for Jada and I [for their relationship] is that we just removed the other options.” Notwithstanding the fact that Will himself is on his second marriage, the point remains a viable one. Once you remove the option of divorce, then you are left dealing with the good and bad of a relationship with the knowledge that you’re in it for the long haul.
Other cultures have long held onto this idea as well. Arranged marriages that are performed in the middle east, and places such as India, have extremely low divorce rates, with some sources reporting them as low as 4%. The reason? When two people are put in a marriage where the cultural stigma is extremely negative to anything but success, the pressure is to make it work, no matter the problem. That being the case, couples work out their problems the best way they know how, utilizing all the resources they can, without the “get out of jail free card” of divorce.
Allow me to switch gears here (I bet you thought this was going to be an article on marriage, divorce, and remarriage didn’t you? Don’t worry, the principle’s still the same). In our relationship with Christ, eliminating the aspect of sin is the only way that we can have be successful in growing with Him. Too many of us are concerned with that old Faustian mindset of making a deal with the devil, that “I’ll be good for this long, but then after that, I get to do what I want to do.” In other words, when the going gets tough, that’s when I get sinning. But when we eliminate the possibility of sinning – little white lies, stealing paperclips, second glances at a short skirt – then we start on the path to what true holiness is all about: sanctification. To be truly set apart from the rest of the world, and carry an abhorrence to sin that Christ knew, and that we should come to know as well.
In Romans 6:1-2, Paul writes, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” There’s not a trace of two timing in Paul’s statements, and no evidence of planned sin in the future (see James 1:7-8). Rather it’s a resolution that what he put to death is dead, and there is an inability to walk in it – it’s not an option (Colossians 3:1-4). Once we attain this mindset in regards to our relationship with sin, the very sin that Christ went to the Cross to forgive us of, then we’re able to do the works of God with much more simplicity, with no “alternative” to doing the right thing.
The opposite of this is precisely what Paul condemned Peter for doing in Galatians 2. While Peter may have not thought twice about playing the hypocrite with his new gentile friends, Paul saw it as a direct violation of the law of Grace that they were now under. “If, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! For if I rebuild that what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor.” (Gal. 2:17-18). Amen to that. Likewise, in Acts 8, when Simon the sorcerer tried to buy the Holy Spirit so that he could have the same power that Peter and the rest of the Apostles did, Peter responded with a scathing rebuke: “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have no part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord, that if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity” (Acts 8:20-23). Pretty harsh for a sin that many of us might find rather innocent.
There are no “halfsies” with God. When we put on Christ in baptism, sin ceases to be an option for us. Will we fall? Yes, but don’t make it a habit, since Christ has no part with things that are unholy (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). It is despicable, a stain upon the very fabric of our souls, and an expense that no Christian can afford on their card.Last modified: January 22, 2019