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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         14
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

if a divorced person marries, are they in adultery?


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Jordan, there is already a thread about this subject going on now. This subject has been beat to death on this and other forums, as well as in churches across the country and across time itself.

Somehow people just don't keep up with subjects and just keep asking the same old tired questions again and again. If you have been saved for any length of time and/or are going to bible college, you should be well past small issues and well on your way into the "meat" of bible study.

 

I just tried to find the thread that this subject is in, but it escapes me right now. It is the one about qualifications for a pastor. In it the subject of divorce is hashed out extensively. 

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Jim is probably referring to the thread I'll link to below since by the title of the thread it wouldn't be obvious that much of the posting has revolved around the issue of divorce.

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I've seen a lot of these over the years, but no one thickens the broth -- shall we?

Okay:

Bill  marries Sally. The pot toking partiers do fine until their first child dies. Bill is finding life to be vanity, Sally starts drinking heavier and snorting for relief.

Bill gets saved a year later, in 4 months Sally says, "I'm outta here, Bozo" and files for divorce. 18 months later Bill marries Vera.

Across town, Fred and Jennifer get a divorce. 2 years later, Jennifer marries Barry. The following year they both get saved.

 

Fast forward 7 years; Sally died years ago from an OD, Barry has died of a heart attack, Fred and Vera were among the 11 fatalities of a 23 vehicle collision.

Bill (1st wife divorced him and is dead, 2nd wife died) and Jennifer (1st husband divorced and now dead, 2nd now dead) marry. Is Bill qualified to be a deacon? Why or why not?

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I've seen a lot of these over the years, but no one thickens the broth -- shall we?

Okay:

Bill  marries Sally. The pot toking partiers do fine until their first child dies. Bill is finding life to be vanity, Sally starts drinking heavier and snorting for relief.

Bill gets saved a year later, in 4 months Sally says, "I'm outta here, Bozo" and files for divorce. 18 months later Bill marries Vera.

Across town, Fred and Jennifer get a divorce. 2 years later, Jennifer marries Barry. The following year they both get saved.

 

Fast forward 7 years; Sally died years ago from an OD, Barry has died of a heart attack, Fred and Vera were among the 11 fatalities of a 23 vehicle collision.

Bill (1st wife divorced him and is dead, 2nd wife died) and Jennifer (1st husband divorced and now dead, 2nd now dead) marry. Is Bill qualified to be a deacon? Why or why not?

You forgot the lidocaine powder

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I've seen a lot of these over the years, but no one thickens the broth -- shall we?

Okay:

Bill  marries Sally. The pot toking partiers do fine until their first child dies. Bill is finding life to be vanity, Sally starts drinking heavier and snorting for relief.

Bill gets saved a year later, in 4 months Sally says, "I'm outta here, Bozo" and files for divorce. 18 months later Bill marries Vera.

Across town, Fred and Jennifer get a divorce. 2 years later, Jennifer marries Barry. The following year they both get saved.

 

Fast forward 7 years; Sally died years ago from an OD, Barry has died of a heart attack, Fred and Vera were among the 11 fatalities of a 23 vehicle collision.

Bill (1st wife divorced him and is dead, 2nd wife died) and Jennifer (1st husband divorced and now dead, 2nd now dead) marry. Is Bill qualified to be a deacon? Why or why not?

Yes. The easy explanation is, all former spouses are dead, so that's easy, even under the law. Under grace, it is also fine because Bill is still the husband of one wife, even if Jennifer's divorce was for bad reasons, though you don't give the reasons for her initial divorce. 

I have heard the argument from a couple pastors of how a person who is a widow/er should not remarry, and preach it from the pulpit, but it has no biblical bearing or support.

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I have heard the argument from a couple pastors of how a person who is a widow/er should not remarry, and preach it from the pulpit, but it has no biblical bearing or support.

It certainly has not!

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I have friend that was pastor of a IFB church , his wife up and left him saying she was tired of being married he tried hard to find out how they could reconcile their marriage but she refused to cooperate and divorced him .the church deacons took a vote to fire him because of the divorce (in which he contested but the judge granted the divorce) shortly after the divorce his wife committed suicide leaving him a letter saying she was at a fault in sin of a affair ,though some believe she had mental troubles was the cause. Since this time he has been not been able to pastor another church because of the divorce, he doesn't talk about what happen and has excepted responsibility for his wife's actions and regrets that the church split causing many to leave because of him being fired.i know him very well and he has always been a strong man of God ,but I don't understand why the church fired him being he had not committed adultery or any other sin.

Any Pastors thoughts and scriptures are welcome.

God bless

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I used to preach on the radio years ago.  After my half hour broadcast, I would stick around the station to answer telephone calls.  Most were prayer requests and calls of gratitude for the week's broadcast.  occasionally, therae were pastors who would call, asking if I would preach at their Church.  Many, after learning I was not married, would cancel thei speaking engagement.

funny how they loved my preaching over the radio, but when they heard I was not married, they no longer cared for my preaching.

i am reminded of Paul, "to the unmarried and widowed, I would that ye remain; even as I".  Do these Churches who frown on preachers who are not married not preach out of the Pauline epistles?  Paul was a preacher of the Gospel, if I remember correctly.

and, for Churches that frown on ministers that have married more than once in life, do they reject the Psalms?  David had as many as eight wives.  Solomon's writings?  Look at all the wives he had!   then there's the Prophet Hosea, married to a woman of whoredom named Gomer...  Do they reject that book?

God can mightily use a man whether that man has never been married, widowed, or divorced.  If only others would just get over themselves, submit to God and allow Him to speak through those He chooses to speak through.

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Consider Ezra 10. Several questions always come to my mind that kind of muddy the waters of the divorce/remarry/adultery question.

  1.         We see that these people were married to “strange wives of the people of the land”. Could this not be likened to people who are married prior to being saved?
  2.               Ezra 10:11 says: Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. Divorce seems to be mandated here. Now I realize this is during the time of the law, but this certainly cannot qualify as a Levitical dictate. This is clearly a problem because God’s people (today’s church?) are married outside the faith to people of the world that seem unwilling to become a part of God’s people.
  3.       Ezra 10:44 then points out: All these had taken strange wives: and some of them had wives by whom they had children. Doesn’t this even further complicate the question?

My brother became a Christian after he had married and his wife adamantly refused Christ. Not only did she refuse, but she soon became involved in some VERY repugnant behavior. He tried desperately to save his marriage, but she would have none of it and eventually filed for divorce. This whole thing tore my brother up, but he had no recourse.

My brother is the type who really cannot be alone. He needs to have someone at his side. After several years he found a woman with whom he was much more compatible and remarried. Is he now in adultery? I look at Ezra 10 and have my doubts if God looks at it that way.

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Consider Ezra 10. Several questions always come to my mind that kind of muddy the waters of the divorce/remarry/adultery question.

  1.         We see that these people were married to “strange wives of the people of the land”. Could this not be likened to people who are married prior to being saved?
  2.               Ezra 10:11 says: Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. Divorce seems to be mandated here. Now I realize this is during the time of the law, but this certainly cannot qualify as a Levitical dictate. This is clearly a problem because God’s people (today’s church?) are married outside the faith to people of the world that seem unwilling to become a part of God’s people.
  3.       Ezra 10:44 then points out: All these had taken strange wives: and some of them had wives by whom they had children. Doesn’t this even further complicate the question?

My brother became a Christian after he had married and his wife adamantly refused Christ. Not only did she refuse, but she soon became involved in some VERY repugnant behavior. He tried desperately to save his marriage, but she would have none of it and eventually filed for divorce. This whole thing tore my brother up, but he had no recourse.

My brother is the type who really cannot be alone. He needs to have someone at his side. After several years he found a woman with whom he was much more compatible and remarried. Is he now in adultery? I look at Ezra 10 and have my doubts if God looks at it that way.

 

"But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace."  (1Cor 7:12-15) 

Many take the fact the Paul attributes this to himself as not actually being something we can follow, but I suspect Paul would not write this if he wasn't absolutely sure it was according to God's will.

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"But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace."  (1Cor 7:12-15

Many take the fact the Paul attributes this to himself as not actually being something we can follow, but I suspect Paul would not write this if he wasn't absolutely sure it was according to God's will.

This is true, but the reference in Ezra has the believer departing from the unbeliever.

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Ezra was dealing with a specific situation, under a specific dispensation, with a specific people. New Testament believers are under a different dispensation. That difference is not insignificant. I would give far more credence to Paul's instructions than to what happened in the time of Ezra.

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Ezra was dealing with a specific situation, under a specific dispensation, with a specific people. New Testament believers are under a different dispensation. That difference is not insignificant. I would give far more credence to Paul's instructions than to what happened in the time of Ezra.

Ezra was during the Dispensation of the Law of Moses which did allow for divorce (male or female) for limited reasons; those given in Ezra not being among them. But then we must look at what the Word (Jesus Christ) says on the subject:

Matthew 19:3-9 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Bottom line, divorce is not at all what God intended or ever wanted. The problem always comes where sinful man enters into the mix. Jesus, God in the flesh, the Word incarnate is pretty adamant here about His position on divorce. His position does not match the law, it does not match Ezra, and it does not match what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians. Who is right? I side with Jesus and yet this does not match what was allowed in three separate areas of the Bible.

Salvation can be a huge road block in a marriage. It can lead to many difficult, onerous, and even violent situations in the life of the one saved. I am merely stating (not dogmatically) that God may not be as antithetical in this area as many would wish to believe.

 

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Well, of course, marriage is very important, the solidity of marriage, particularly in the New testament, though in the old, as well.

Marriage has always been a picture of God's relationship with His people. In the OT, Jehovah God often refers to Israel as His wife, though disobedient and often adulterous, yet He was always the faithful, loving Husband.

In the NT, of course, the husband/wife relationship represents Jesus' relationship with His church. So marriage and faithfulness in marriage is important, because of the picture it produces. Just as Jesus is always faithful, loving and sacrificing for His church, so a husband ought to be for his wife. And just as a church SHOULD be always seeking to be pleasing and obedient to her Husband, so a wife should be with her husband.  But bear in mind that Jesus Himself has, at times, threatened to remove a church from before Him if they are disobedient, or forget their first love, so that would indicate to me the possibility of a divorce for reasons of infidelity. And of course, a church with NO believers in it, Jesus is not bound to that, though they call themselves a church, just as a believer is not in bondage to an unbelieving spouse who chooses to leave them.

I believe divorce is acceptable in certain areas and cases, but I also believe that it should ALWAYS be important enough to try to keep one intact.   

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I have a problem with the term "living in adultery".  Adultery is a single act.  Even if a Christian is not righteously divorced with cause and remarries another, their wedding night, or their first joining of the flesh was the act of adultery, not every other night the rest of their lives if they remain faithful and married to that person.  David obviously committed adultery with Bathsheba and after paying the consequences of that horrible sin with the death of his first born son from that union, they remained married and God blessed them with King Solomon from that originally "adulterous" relationship.  

Bro. Garry

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I have a problem with the term "living in adultery".  Adultery is a single act.  Even if a Christian is not righteously divorced with cause and remarries another, their wedding night, or their first joining of the flesh was the act of adultery, not every other night the rest of their lives if they remain faithful and married to that person.  David obviously committed adultery with Bathsheba and after paying the consequences of that horrible sin with the death of his first born son from that union, they remained married and God blessed them with King Solomon from that originally "adulterous" relationship.  

Bro. Garry

Romans 7 clearly says that a woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. David had Uriah killed. therefore it would cease to be adultery from that point on.

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Romans 7:1 (KJV) 1  Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

Romans 7:2 (KJV) 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to [her] husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of [her] husband.

Romans 7:3 (KJV) 3 So then if, while [her] husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

Romans 7:4 (KJV) 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, [even] to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

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