Both the King James Version (1611) and the American Standard Version of the Bible (1901) use the word “except” in a number of vital passages. The word sets forth a condition or situation that must exist in order for a benefit or blessing to occur or in order to avoid the disapproval of God. Other versions use the word “unless” in several of these texts. The point is that except or unless a certain condition is met or is true the matter is not acceptable to the One “with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). Seriously reflect on the following.
Psalm 127:1a – “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” In context, the Psalmist is talking about the building of a family (note verses 3-5). Unless the Lord’s plan and design for the family is followed, that “house” (family) is doomed for failure. Substituting modern sociology and psychology for the wisdom of God where family life is concerned is an exercise in futility.
God instituted marriage and the family in the Garden of Eden. He joined Adam and Eve in marriage and instructed each of them as to their roles (Genesis 2:18-25). The New Testament elaborates on that relationship and shows that the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church, that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, that the husband is the overseer of his family and the ruler of his children. God says that wives are to love their husbands and be submissive to them and that children are to obey their parents in all things (Ephesians 5:24-6:4; Colossians 3:18-21; Titus 2:1-5; I Peter 3:1-7). (I urge my readers to read and soberly reflect on the preceding passages of inspired scripture). Modern society has despised God’s word regarding marriage and the home for centuries, all to the disintegration and dissolution of millions of homes. But as the late gospel preacher Ira North said, “You can’t do wrong and get by with it!” “Except the Lord build the house (unless a family is patterned according to the word of the Lord), they labor in vain that build it.” “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked” (Galatians 6:7). In other words, you cannot turn up your nose at God and His word and get by with it! What slow learners so many have been in this regard.
Take another look at this same verse. Psalm 127:1a – “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” The Lord’s house is the church (I Timothy 3:15). The Lord’s house is not a physical structure of wood or bricks or stones, but rather a spiritual structure, made up of living stones (I Peter 2:4-5; Ephesians 2:19-22). Christ Himself built the church (Matthew 16:18). He built only one (Ephesians 4:4; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18, 23). Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it, purchasing it with His own precious blood (Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:28). He is the one and only head of the church and its Savior (Ephesians 5:23). All who obey the gospel and are saved from their sins are added to it (Acts 2:47. No one can “join” the church of Christ! One can comply with the conditions for being saved and added to it. Through the centuries men have established many denominations. All such work has been in vain! Jesus declared, “Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up” (Matthew 15:13). Do not wait until it is too late to learn that you were a member of a religious institution that was planted by man and not built by the Lord! “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it.”
Matthew 19:9 – “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication (sexual immorality, NKJV), and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery.” One of the tragic ways that the homes of America are being destroyed is by divorce and remarriage, often multiple times. Two little boys in Hollywood were playing on the sidewalk in front of one of their homes. One asked the other, “Who’s your daddy?” The other gave the name of a well-known actor. The first one said, “O, you will like him! I had him last year.” Sadly, such repeated divorces and remarriages have become true of mainstream America, not just Hollywood.
The Lord gave one reason and one reason only for divorce and a subsequent remarriage. That one reason was fornication or sexual immorality (including homosexuality and lesbianism) on the part of one of the marriage companions. (Let those who say that Jesus never spoke against homosexuality and lesbianism cease their uniformed rantings)! In the case of sexual unfaithfulness to the marriage vow, the innocent party has the right to divorce the guilty party and to enter into a second marriage. Any divorce and remarriage “except” for (or other than) fornication, results in an adulterous relationship. How unutterably sad that God’s “except” is being so widely and flagrantly disregarded with reference to marriage, divorce, and remarriage!
Let us not ignore God’s “Excepts.” To do so is to endanger our soul.
(To Be Continued)
January 26, 2021