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More from Hosea 3

January 12, 2007


But lest anyone misunderstand this gospel and think it is a license to sin without consequences, we read now in verses 3-4 that…

II. The children of Israel shall dwell many days without… (read 3-4)

The things that Israel shall be without in verse 4 is an odd list combining things holy and things profane.  They shall be without the king and without the temple worship of God, but they shall also be without their idols.  The exile will accomplish both of these.  It will be a disciplinary denial of the blessings of the kingdom and the joy of worship, but it will also purge them of their idolatry.  



The key phrase for understanding these verses is Hosea’s words in verse 3 “so will I also be to you.”  He tells Gomer that she must no longer play the whore. She must no longer, literally, be to a man, and also I to you.   It’s a bit obscure, but what it means is that for a time Hosea will deny her marital intimacy.  He’s purchased her back for himself, but for a time he will abstain from sexual relations with her.  The marital union is as real as ever, but the intimacy has been temporarily interrupted.   So in our lives when we sin and play the whore with our idols, our legal union with Christ is not dissolved, but our experience of the intimate joys of his presence are lost, at least for a time.   I hope this phrase from John Piper might cut to the heart.   I heard him say one time, “Jesus will not kiss a drunk bride.”   We’ve got to sober up from our idolatrous pleasures before we can expect the surpassing pleasures again.  It’s enough to make one weep with remorse over how much we have sacrificed for so little.   We forfeit the surpassing pleasures of communion with Christ for raisin cakes.  



So let me make now two simple arguments against thinking you can abuse the unfailing love of God and make it a license for immorality. 



First, if you sinfully pursue idols and it doesn’t bother you, it doesn’t disturb your peace, if you laugh about how you’ve found a loophole and are happy that you can sin all you want and still get away with it, then you have reason to question your own assurance.  God cannot be mocked.   High-handed grace abusers need to examine themselves to see if they are in the faith.  They are most likely not in fact betrothed to Christ at all.   They are not Christians and are in for a rude awakening when Christ returns and casts them into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.



Second, if you really are betrothed to Christ, then by your idolatries you are just making yourself miserable.   You are forfeiting the joys of intimacy with Christ for worldly things that can never satisfy your soul.   Jesus will not kiss a drunk bride.  And if you stubbornly persist in pursuing satisfaction apart from Christ, the disciplinary consequences will become severe indeed, even as Israel learned in exile.  If you really are betrothed to Christ, then he will have your heart by whatever means necessary.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 13, 2007 2:04 am

    I like how you used the phrase, “God cannot be mocked” (I know it’s a Bible verse. I just like how it fit so well with the paragraph.).

    And regarding your last paragraph, I was reading through Jeremiah 2 and found a verse that’s pretty relevant:

    “for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

    (Yeah, the verse caught my eye because John Piper mentioned it in his Christian hedonism sermon, and enacted the scenario quite memorably =P.)

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