Maxey - Broking Discussion
A Critical Review and Defense of
Down, But Not Out

Saturday, December 16, 2000

A Question Posed By Darrell Broking
And The Answer By Al Maxey


Previously you have expressed a desire to refrain from answering direct questions posed to you in this discussion. I want to ask you a question which pertains to our discussion. Your answer will help me as I prepare my next post, so I hope that you will take a moment to consider the question and answer it.

When an individual breaks God's law, does he completely and totally sever and separate himself from God's law and all of its demands and consequences?

Thanks in advance


I hope your move has gone well and that you are now settled in your new location and work. I know relocations can be stressful. I pray this will prove a fruitful ministry for you.

You wrote: "When an individual breaks God's law, does he completely and totally sever and separate himself from God's law and all of its demands and consequences?"

I will be happy to answer your question, Darrell, but first I am going to have to ask you to clarify your statement somewhat. You know me!! I tend to be very analytical, so if a question is worded incorrectly, or if certain information is lacking, it makes it difficult for me to give a clear and concise response.

You speak of an individual breaking God's law. I am assuming you are speaking in very general terms here, and that by "God's law" you mean any command or law or principle of God which is binding upon men. However, with regard to one "breaking" God's law, there are many options, and the answer will vary depending upon which option you have in mind. Is this person breaking God's law knowingly, or is it a matter of ignorance? Let's face it, Darrell, we ALL "break God's law" on a daily basis. That's just a fact. Most, hopefully, do it out of plain ignorance. We may not even be aware that we are in violation of some tenet or teaching. Some may do so out of weakness, and then repent. Do you have this in mind here?

Is the violator a willful law breaker? Or is it a matter of being overcome by temptation or weakness? Does the person simply not care, or is the person struggling as Paul did in Romans 7? Before one can address the matter of consequence, I think the nature of the heart must be addressed. The former is determined to great extent by the latter. Yet none of this is really clarified in your question.

I also need further clarification as to your authorial intent in the question: "Does he completely and totally sever and separate himself from God's law and all of its demands and consequences?" In what sense do you mean one is severed and separated from God's law? Is this a willful separation by willful disobedience? Is one who sins out of weakness or ignorance in the same category? And what specifically do you perceive to be all the "demands and consequences" of God's law? In your view what constitutes all of these demands and consequences from which one is severed and separated? And is a violator of law separated from the consequences of law? Is it even possible for a violator of law to be "severed and separated" from the consequences of law?

There is simply insufficient information available in your question for me to provide an intelligent and relevant response. If you will go back and think it through a little better, and rephrase it, then perhaps I can provide an answer which will be helpful to you in your continued efforts to discover something amiss in my teaching on MDR.


Thanks for your speedy reply. I know that the question was general. I am sorry that the question was so general. Let me see if I can state it a little clearer for you.

Let's say, for example, that a Christian breaks God's law to worship. We can say that he did it deliberately and willfully, for sake of example. Now my question is this: When this brother broke God's law to worship, was he at that moment freed from any further obligation to worship God?


I don't believe anyone would argue such a position, Darrell. If I decide to go 85 mph in a school zone does that violation forever free me from having to obey the speed limit in a school zone? Of course not! The same is true with God's laws. We often break His laws, willfully and ignorantly, but the law still stands as the objective standard to which we must strive to measure up. The woman who was caught in adultery was not thereby forever elevated above that law, but was commanded by Christ to go and sin no more. She was forgiven of that transgression, she was cleansed, it was forgotten and she was freed of the consequences of it, but she was still under obligation to subject herself in the future to that divine law: "Thou shalt not commit adultery." When the Lord forgave her, it was over. She was freed of her sin, but not of her obligation to continue to obey that law in the future.

Let's use the example of a murderer. It is pretty obvious that this person willfully, and likely maliciously, took the life of another person. Does the law "Thou shalt not murder" still apply to him, even after his capture and conviction? Of course it does. The law has not changed. Murder is still a sin. That does not mean the murderer can't be forgiven of his sin. He can be if he repents. And he may even be able to lead a normal life; many have.

Let's just go ahead and apply this reasoning to MDR, Darrell ..... that is where you are not so subtly trying to lead me. I firmly believe, and have always taught, that God decrees "one man for one woman for life." I think that is clearly declared in Scripture to be His IDEAL for the marital relationship. I also believe He expects us to strive with every ounce of our being to achieve this goal in our marital relationships. Sometimes, however, marriages fail. It may be willful on our part, it may not be. But either way, a failed marriage is a failed marriage. It's a tragedy, it's unfortunate, people get hurt, but it happens .... and we all know it does. In most cases, if not all, sin is involved in a failed marriage by either one or both parties (and perhaps some outside parties as well). These are sins, however, which can be forgiven if the one committing them genuinely feels contrition and seeks forgiveness. And I believe God extends that forgiveness.

Are those who have experienced failed marriages still bound by the IDEAL of their Creator that marriages should be permanent? Of course! And they probably realize more than most the intense pain of a failure in this quest. It is even possible they may now be more committed than ever to that IDEAL, and may well strive for it with greater fervor in any subsequent union. It's like the person who forsook the worship of God, and the assembling together with his brethren. Once he came to his senses and realized the extreme worth of worship, he might well be even more committed to it in the future, and a living testimony to the misfortunes and miseries of those who fail to worship their God and assemble with their fellow disciples.

Let me ask you a question, Darrell. Are those who forsake worship, and then repent, forbidden to ever worship again?! Does sin in some area of our life forever ban us from future participation in that area? If I have experienced a failed marriage, am I thus forbidden from ever being married again? I believe you would say that the answer is YES for those guilty of sin in the failed marriage, but NO for those innocent. That is the traditional teaching, but I don't believe it can be validated by an appeal to sound exegesis. To those who have experienced a failed marriage, and where there is no possibility of a reconciliation with their spouse, I believe Jesus would hold up afresh the IDEAL and say, "Go, and sin no more!" And, Lord willing, perhaps their second union would indeed be more in tune with God's IDEAL than the first.

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