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Saturday, January 26, 2013

What Sin Hath Wrought

The audio from this message is here:

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, …Ye shall not surely die… And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; …and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:1-13)

The tragedy of tragedies! What happened in these few verses was the beginning of every tear, every broken heart, every evil thing that has ever been done on the earth, and every death. The reason that life is so hard is found right here. The whole creation is groaning with pain since this event took place. (Rom. 8:22) There is no way to calculate, or even comprehend what immense suffering and misery has been wrought from this first act of sin. How could it have happened? But the greater question is "Why has the same thing happened in every one of our lives?" The way of the transgressor and the tactics of the tempter are always the same. If we can see what happened in the Garden we can surely gain some wisdom about our own lives.

The tempter's approach never changes. He brought the object God had forbidden before Eve's eyes and provoked her mind with questions about it. He got her attention on the forbidden object and she began to gaze upon it and think about it. This is the first step in all temptation.

Then he twisted the truth with subtle words in order to cast it in a negative view. He said,

"Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"

Although it was true that they were not to eat of EVERY tree of the garden this is not what God had said. THIS is precisely what God had said:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: (Genesis 2:16)

That is a very positive statement, but the Serpent framed his words to cause the listener to think about God's command in a negative way. He left out God's liberal benevolence and goodness toward man and spoke as if all God was concerned about was keeping things from them.

There was a negative part to God's command, but even it was designed for their benefit out of his love for them.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:17)

The devil and all those who are deceived and used by him do the same thing - they always look at the commands of God as something negative. They only hear "thou shalt not." They focus there on the forbidden rather than on the benevolence and liberality of God toward man. However, it is curious how they do not have the same way of thinking when it comes to sin,. They look only at the perceived benefits and pleasures that are offered and ignore all the negative aspects. Is it not amazing how people will trust the Serpent's lies so willingly and yet refuse to trust in God's truth so stubbornly? Is it not amazing how people will ignore the blessings and benefits of living for God and dwell on the negative, while at the same time they dwell on the promised benefits of sin, for which there is no evidence whatsoever, while ignoring it's obvious negative results? Only blind and deceived people can reason in such a way.

The next step in the tempter's subtle scheme is to direct her thinking so that she will come to a wrong conclusion. This is where the deceit happens. He simply made a statement that was not true at all and absolutely contrary to what she knew God had said. He did that with the intention of setting the wheels of her mind in motion. Every sin begins with a lie, and from that point the reasoning is flawed and headed in the wrong direction. The mind is working with false data, working from the basis of a truth that is not true at all. The lie starts begetting other lies and deceit in the mind, just like a snowball rolling down a hill. The first lie of the tempter is not to convince you, but to simply set your thoughts in motion to consider the thing and enflame your desire for it.

Next, the natural progression is to question WHY the thing forbidden is wrong. When there is doubt about what God has said, or doubt about God's motives, then the authority of God's Word is laid aside because it is no longer respected. The mind becomes obsessed with the idea that you are missing out, or being denied something. Then you become convinced that God or someone else has lied to you in order to keep you oppressed and under their thumb. Then rebellion rises up in that deceived and blinded heart and you step up into the place of God and determines for yourself what is right and wrong. Because your heart has been blinded and deceived it will approve what God has made clear that He disapproves.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, …

At this point she still has not sinned, but she is only a heartbeat away from it. This is temptation at its fever point, and all the red lights should be going off for anyone who has any understanding at all. It has become all about her now. God is no longer a consideration. Her husband and their lives together are not a consideration. The idea of facing her husband and God with what she is about to do is not even in her thoughts. The way this is going to affect her relationship with her husband and God is not a part of her thoughts at all. What appears to her to be sound reasoning and justice for herself is foolish and blind thinking that leaves out everyone and everything else in the universe. She has convinced herself that she is going to be able to do this and it will make no difference in anything except that she will "know" what it is like and will surely be better for it.

..she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

She crossed the line and stepped in. She stopped considering it and acted upon her flawed and deceived reasoning. This is the precipice from which there is no return - once you take this step you cannot take it back. It changes things forever and your life will never be the same again. Yes, it is possible to obtain forgiveness for sin from God, but most never do. Even if you do find forgiveness things will never be the same again.

And the eyes of them both were opened,

Oh yes, their eyes were opened, but it sure did not look like she expected it to look just a moment ago. The devil had led her mind to believe that things would be better, but he is a liar. Sin never makes things better.

…and they knew that they were naked;

There was immediate shame and a feeling between Adam and Eve that they had never experienced before. It would benefit us all to think deeply about that for a few moments. It was not pleasant, it was not good, it was not something to be desired, … and they sure did not feel wise anymore. They now had a lot of new feelings to deal with. Now they know what regret feels like. Now they know what it feels like for your heart to hurt. Now they know what fear feels like, and what it feels like to be a transgressor against God.

Guilt is not what people anticipate feeling before they "take of the fruit" and cross the line into sin. It is a cruel surprise that mocks them and torments their soul continually.

…and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

They ran for the darkness, for any place, or any way to hide themselves. This is what all sinners do. They are really trying to run from the guilt, but cannot escape it. As long as there is a God in heaven there will be guilt in a sinners heart. This is the one and only reason men try to get rid of God and ban him from their life and their thoughts. This is why it is so hard to get people to come to a church where God visits. The consciousness of God makes their guilt unbearable. When even the thought of sin passing through the mind leaves a stench behind it, what does it's real and permanent presence do to a soul? Adam and Eve saw their lives forever downgraded to toil, sweat, blood, tears, pain, and sorrow. This is what they saw when their eyes were opened. Satan is a liar, and he is deceiving people right now with the same tactics he used on the first man and woman. Sin ruins life, and if fact brings death when it is finished.

But thanks be unto God, He sent another Adam to take away the sin that the first Adam introduced into the world. The last Adam came to take away the sin of the world. He can actually take away the guilt of sin and make a man just before God. He can reverse the whole thing and He starts by introducing the truth into our thought process rather than the lies we have all believed.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)

Just as you were led into sin by believing a lie that made you frown at righteousness and smile at sin, the process is reversed and the truth makes you look favorably on righteousness and unfavorably on sin. The mind which hears and begins to consider the truth will come to some conclusions about themselves and God and will eventually take that step over the line into redemption and salvation and forgiveness.

Next: What Sin Hath Wrought - Part 2

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

What Went Wrong?

NOTE: These blog posts are based upon messages preached at Straight Paths Bible Church. To hear the audio version of this message go to

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:27-28)

God prepared Adam to live in harmony with God and others.

In creating the physical world God took what was "without form and void" and arranged it all in perfect order. Not only that, but He made it so that order would be sustained as long as the earth remains. When God made man He also started with the dust of the ground that was without form and void of life. Then he formed man out of the dust and breathed into him the breath of life and man became a living soul - a living, breathing soul apart from God that had the ability to reason, make choices, feel emotions, and love. Then God began the work of preparing the man to live with others.

God never intended for the human race to consist of only one man and one woman. From the beginning God's plan was for them to multiply and fill the earth. Since this is the first man the things that God does to prepare him to begin the human race are very important. First, the Lord God planted a garden and there He put the man. God "planted" a garden - this means He did not just speak it into existence. He did not seek out a really nice place that had grown up wild. The garden was "planted" by God, so therefore it had been thought of, planned, arranged and given order and purpose by a Maker. This showed Adam by example how he was to exercise his role as the one having dominion over the things of the earth. They were there for him to manage and arrange and cultivate, as well as for his pleasure and his sustenance. Adam was to give order to his dominion and life, just as God does with his.

Then God taught Adam how to communicate with language, which is most important if the human race is going to consist of more than one man alone. Man now has the ability to communicate what is in his heart - thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams. He is also able to comprehend and feel what is in the heart and mind of another beside himself.

God established a moral sense in Adam so he could live in harmony with God and others and not be selfish.

Then God taught Adam the basis of morality and established in him the fact that there were boundaries for his behavior. The law God gave to Adam was very simple - of all the trees of the garden he could freely eat, but of one certain tree he was not allowed to eat. It was the most basic and simple way to instill in Adam that he was free to choose for himself, but that in choosing he must take into account the wishes, rights, and authority of another. It was the most basic and simple way to teach Adam how to choose NOT to satisfy himself, and to yield to the desires of another. Adam must yield to God's authority and rights before he will consider the rights of another person of any importance. This is why a person who is submitted to God's authority and lives with God's law in view will treat others with respect and will defer to them rather than please themselves at the expense of someone else.

For even Christ pleased not himself; … (Romans 15:3)
This simple command established in Adam's mind that there were boundaries for him to live within, and that all his choices were not to be made simply on the basis of satisfying himself. For even two people to live in harmony there must be laws to govern their behavior, and God, not man, establishes these laws. If there is more than one person in the world then an individual cannot do as he pleases without affecting others. Even in a world that starts out perfect, if people choose to disregard the moral law of God and live selfishly, without any regard or concern for others, it will soon degenerate into misery and hatred and violence. Instead of everyone being free to do as they please they will all find themselves being abused by the lusts, hatred, and violence of others. They will find that life has become filled with fear and worry, and about little more than struggling to avoid the abuse and oppression of others. So there must be some rules to govern men or this thing will not work, and will eventually simply self-destruct. This is what God is establishing in the beginning by forbidding Adam from eating of the one tree in garden.

So now all is in order: God is the King, Adam has his domain, a free will, the ability to communicate with God and others, a place where he belongs, a job to do, and well defined boundaries for his behavior and the fulfillment of his God-given desires. Now it is time for God to put the final finishing touch on his creation - a woman for Adam.
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (Genesis 2:21-22)

 There is no doubt that Adam communicated to his wife everything that God had done up to this point. She knew their place in God's creation, and she knew the boundaries for their behavior that had been set by God. Eve heard the commands of God from her husband, who heard them from God.

Enter the serpent.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Genesis 3:1-6)

Satan came in the form of a serpent to the woman. We know it was the devil because the Bible identifies him plainly.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (Revelation 20:2)

Eve's first mistake was in taking counsel from an inferior creature.

Satan appeared to her as a serpent and she is conversing with this creature that is her inferior. We should always look up for counsel, not down. When we begin to listen to the lower elements of this wicked world and allow them to reason with us about what God has said and what is right and wrong we are on the same road to destruction that Eve in here in Genesis 3.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Psalms 1:1)

The devil lied to the woman and boldly contradicted what God had plainly commanded her husband. This was the first lie that was ever spoken on the earth and it was the first lie the woman had ever heard. An innocent mind is very vulnerable to lies because they naturally believe what they are told to be true. Words are supposed to be true, you know.

Eve is not the only one who has listened to the serpent's lie - all of us have. Every sin begins with a lie and ends in misery and death. Eve became convinced that there was really no danger in sin and in fact, there was actually some benefit to be found in it. She thought she would be better off after she had eaten the fruit. All temptation to sin follows the same path. There is not one of us who has not done the same thing as Eve, but she did it only once and we have done it many times.

The devil's lie that won her over was that she would be as a god.

What he was saying was that she would be able to make up her own mind about wat was right and wrong. She could become her own moral authority. He suggested to her that she had no need of any other authority in her life - she could make up her own mind. Thus, the devil's first lie was about "freedom of choice."

So the devil convinced Eve with lies that all men should have the right to decide for themselves what is right and wrong and live accordingly without any regard for what God says. Does that sound familiar? Is not this the philosophy of the generation in which we live? Almost everyone, including most professing Christians, believe they have the right to decide for themselves what is right and wrong, and very few really believe the Bible is true anymore, so they have believed the same lie the Serpent's has used from the beginning. The devil convinced Eve that God was lying to her and oppressing her and was depriving her of what she could have out of life. The devil convinced Eve that her rights superceded everything else and that life could only be lived to the fullest if she indulged herself in everything that was pleasant to look upon, good for satisfying her lusts, and might make her wiser than others.

Her faulty reasoning, based upon lies, led her to cross the line and take that step that changed everything forever.

With this she took of the fruit of the tree and did eat thereof. She flushed her entire life down the drain with one little decision and one little act. At this point her husband did not matter. His feelings, his life, and how the consequences of her actions might affect him were not even considered by her, and if they were she did not care. Their life together was forever changed but in her moment of temptation and deception she threw it all away. It was not only the two of them who were affected by what she did but death was brought upon all God's creation, and the entire human race.

That is what went wrong with this world. That is what is still wrong with this world. The Serpent is still doing what he did in the garden and his original tactic works so well he has never had to change it. We sin because we listen to the lies of Satan and not because we have defective DNA or some physical quality that "makes" us sinners. In a perfect world with perfect, undefiled bodies, Adam and Eve sinned; how much more difficult is it in a world defiled and filled with sin now! We not only have the voice of the serpent wooing us and lying to us, we have the billions of sinners who are just like him saying the same things to us. Until we understand the truth about WHY we sin we will never have any hope of being delivered from its power.

The good news is that God did not abandon us because of what happened in the garden.

The Bible refers to Jesus as the "last Adam" and He is called the "KING of KINGS and the LORD of LORDS." He is able to reverse the process and set things back in the proper order in the lives of those who will hear and believe the truth, instead of lies. By beginning to reason based upon truth instead of lies a person can be brought into the light and to a saving knowledge of the Gospel of Christ. They enter his kingdom and Jesus becomes their King when they are born again. From that point their lives are ordered by God and his Word, instead of their lusts and opinions. Since they are accountable to God they treat their fellow man differently than sinners do. Since they live under the direction and influence of God they love other people and try to be a blessing and a help to them instead of using and abusing them for their own selfish interests. They are made to be overcomers, and do not live under sin's power any longer. This makes it very easy to distinguish them from those who are still in bonds of iniquity.

NEXT: What Sin Hath Wrought - Part 1

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Prepared for a Help Meet

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:21-25)

God did not create the woman immediately after he created Adam

There was a period of time between the creation of the two. During that time God prepared Adam to have a wife, and to live with other people. Adam learned language and acquired the ability to communicate his thoughts and feelings. God gave Adam a job and a purpose, which was to dress and keep the garden. Before God made the woman He made all the animals to pass before Adam so that Adam met and was acquainted with his inferior. God made himself known to Adam, so that Adam met and knew his Superior in his Creator. This gave Adam bearings on his own position so that he was prepared to meet his equal. Before God made the woman He instilled in Adam his moral character, which is the most important quality for a being who is going to live with and have dominion over other creatures. God made Adam to understand that there was right and wrong, good and evil, and to distinguish between the two.

The command to not eat of the tree was given to Adam before Eve was made.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17)

God commanded the man, and since He is his Creator He has that right. Since God is the One who made him God has every right to grant him rights or forbid him rights, and God is the only One who has the understanding and wisdom to know what to grant and what to forbid. It is the "Lord God" who makes a distinction between "good and evil" and establishes a reward of life or death as the consequence of man's choice.

Before Adam was ready to have a wife he had to learn to submit to God himself.

He had to recognize and submit to his rightful place in God's divine order. He had to recognize God as his Creator and Lord, and therefore as his superior - this is the basis of morality. Anything else is simply an individual setting himself up as a little god and defining his own morals according to his own lusts and imagination.

Adam had to learn that although he was given dominion over all the earth he was not the lawgiver. He did not have the right to make the rules. It was not his to decide what was right or wrong, but to choose whether to obey or not. The whole issue with the forbidden tree is God's authority over the man and the man's faith in God's goodness toward him. With nothing forbidden there is no concept of right or wrong, or good and evil. With no boundaries and nothing forbidden we would trample on the rights and property of others, thus morality requires that there be things forbidden. If there were only one man in the whole world he could do as he pleases in everything and not transgress against anyone, but since there are others in the world there must be boundaries for every man's behavior.

Remember, the whole creation is set up in opposing elements and principles without which we could not even survive. Our reasoning is designed to choose between two things at a time and approve or reject one or the other. In our mixed up world everyone has been brainwashed into being "tolerant." In other words, to agree with both sides of every issue, and reject all moral absolutes. With such foolish philosophy we have completely lost our way, and the world is more polarized and divided than ever. There ARE absolutes and they are established by the Lord God, they are forever, and they are meant to make it possible for all of us to live together in harmony and peace. Rejecting these God-ordained absolutes of morality is what brings chaos and violence and war.

Adam was free to eat of all the trees of the garden …but one.

Most people overlook the overwhelming benevolence of God and accuse Him of injustice because of the one tree that the man was forbidden to eat from. By the command of God NOT to eat of a certain tree Adam was made to understand that there was right and wrong, good and evil. Life was complete and full and wonderful without that one tree - everything else was given to Adam to do with as he pleased. There was only one exception to the complete indulgence of all his desires.

If Adam is going to live with others like himself, then any rights given to him must be given with a reserve to protect the rights of others. Adam must learn that he is not the center of the universe in spite of his exalted status as head of the race and ruler of the world. He must be made to realize concern for the rights and welfare of others, both those superior to him and those inferior to him before he is ready to live with someone his equal. All other creatures are not there simply to serve him and for him to take advantage of and use at his pleasure.

No man is ready for a companion until he is more concerned about pleasing God and others than himself. The tree was merely the thing reserved to mark boundaries and cause Adam to recognize God's rights in preparation for recognizing the rights of another like himself. There was nothing about that tree that was poison or magical and we have no reason to believe that some physical element in the fruit of that tree introduced sin into the world. It was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and to be desired to make one wise - but God had said not to eat of it. The sin was disobeying God and failing to trust Him. That is where they obtained the knowledge of evil - experimental knowledge of disregarding God's clear command.

The shallow-minded infidel argues that God did evil in placing the tree in the garden to tempt the man. But even if there had been no forbidden tree, Adam would still have had to acknowledge the rights and authority of God at some point and in some way, because Adam was created in the image and likeness of God as a moral being. Adam would still have been capable of transgressing against God or another person by putting his own selfish interests first and disregarding the rights and welfare of others. The tree was the simplest way for God to teach Adam this important lesson and establish the basis of moral responsibility in his heart. Adam was made to have dominion with his wife over all the earth, but before he is qualified to be a just overseer he must have a proper sense of right and wrong, and his place in God's order. Without a moral sense he would be on the same level of existence as the animals.

Morality is about recognizing the rights of others.

Jesus expressed it as doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (Luke 6:31)

These words of Jesus prove that the moral law of God is written in the hearts all men. We know what is right and wrong simply by how our own heart responds to what other people do when we are on the receiving end. Since man is a moral being, not only his own rights, but the rights of all creatures must be defined, and they are defined by God, who wrote his moral law the heart of every man. The command concerning the trees of the garden show that our rights are granted by and derived from God - not inherited simply because we are born, or given to us by our government.

By understanding these things and being submitted to God there arose in Adam's living soul a sense of responsibility, of right and wrong, and of duty. He understood God's order and God's plan for life to have peace and harmony and joy. The man must first have these qualities before he can live in harmony with another like himself. Before he can have a wife to love, fellowship, commune, and live with intimately he must be the kind of being that desires to love and do good to others without putting his own selfish interests before theirs.

Thus, the entire moral law of God is reduced to two simple truths by Jesus Christ:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)

This was what God taught Adam before he made a woman to be his companion. This is still the only preparation that will bring peace and harmony to marriages, homes, churches, and nations.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Marriage - True Intimacy

God created male and female so man could have fellowship.

The woman was the first person Adam had to know and get along with. The starting place for peace and harmony for the human race is still found in the home between the husband and wife. The Scripture tells us that Adam "knew Eve his wife" in Genesis 4:1. The word "know" means more than physical knowledge, or union. It means there is an open line of communication between two people where they know and understand one another's thoughts, ideas, and opinions. It is a transparent sharing of our spirit with someone else. Fellowship is more than knowing someone else's name - it is when we open up to one another and begin to share thoughts and ideas - to talk and communicate, and to care about the thoughts and feelings of someone else. Fellowship is when we do not just pass someone by, or take them for granted, but stop to talk to them and get to know them, and allow them to see into us, also. We may fellowship with a lot of people as we live day by day whom we never get to know very well. Fellowship is the first step in getting to know someone and it remains pretty shallow with most of the people we are around. Nevertheless, it remains an important part of the marriage relationship. It is the every day, shallow water you wade in together. This is where courtship starts and it is also where the breakdown of a marriage begins. Without exception, the communication shuts down between husband and wife long before the divorce papers are filed. Why does this happen?

Sin in either husband or wife will cause the communication to stop.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

If both parties are not walking in the light there cannot be any fellowship between them. If either has secret sins they will not be willing to be open with their spouse, but will be continually hiding from and deceiving them. There will be a wall around their heart with the gate shut tight. If a person is hiding their soul it is either because they have darkness in their heart, or it is because their companion hurts them when they try to open up. A person who walks in darkness will keep the curtain drawn on their soul and whatever fellowship anyone has with them, including their spouse, will always be limited to very shallow and insignificant matters.

So the marriage relationship, by God's design, is very conducive to holiness and walking in the light. Being completely open and transparent with your spouse is a great obstacle to walking in darkness - you simply cannot do it and maintain fellowship, communion, and intimacy. Therefore, it is called "Holy Matrimony." A godly marriage makes living a holy life much easier to do.

Continued fellowship can lead to communion.

Commune - To converse; to talk together familiarly; to impart sentiments mutually, in private or familiar discourse.

Communion is a step further than mere fellowship. It is when you begin to share each other's feelings and sentiments. It is when you reach out and touch each other's soul. It is when you begin to be concerned more with the happiness and wellbeing of the other than yourself. It is when you begin to understand each other and get close - you begin to be dependent on one another, and develop a real need for each other that goes beyond the physical. We have all heard it said about a certain couple that he or she could not live without the other, and we have seen examples of it in older couples who die sometimes within hours of each other. True communion is when you do not tire of each other's presence and company. To develop true communion with your spouse requires time and effort, it just does not happen any other way. You must regularly make time for each other where you have each other's undivided attention. Communion is important, but most people try to leap from fellowship to intimacy while skipping this important part of the relationship. Skipping communion of the hearts and then substituting physical intimacy for true intimacy leaves both feeling guilty, frustrated, unsatisfied, and used. This is what has happened in our loose-living world that has tried to make sex an amoral issue. True communion leads to true intimacy.

True intimacy is when love has developed beyond the shallow waters of fellowship and the communion of two hearts.

It is when you have completely believed in one another, and you are no longer being driven by physical attraction alone, but by the character of the soul you have come to love. They have completely convinced you of their undying love for you, and have won your heart. It is when the two become one - one in mind, in heart, and in purpose, one in priorities and in affections. It is when you reach that point where you cannot live without the other. It is when you come to the point of giving yourself completely to your spouse without reserve. There is complete openness because there is nothing to hide and no secrets to keep. Therefore, there is no obstacle to total commitment to one another. For intimacy to be real and blessed of God it must flower behind the veil of commitment. This is what constitutes marriage and distinguishes it from fornication and adultery, also known in our day as just "living together."

Intimate - When the thoughts are entrusted to another without reserve.

The Bible gives us a very good description of intimacy in Psalms 139:

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. (Psalms 139:1-4)

Then later in the same Psalm David makes this request of God, even though he has already acknowledged that God knew everything about him:

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: (Psalms 139:23)

By God's design husband and wife are to experience this same type of knowledge of one another. They are to have this same kind of open access to one another's hearts. This is true intimacy, and it does not exist between a couple who will not publicly commit to one another, or who maintain their own separate secret places where the other is not included or welcome.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Gen 2:25)

It requires absolute transparency. No secrets in the things we do and the places we go. In the other people with whom we fellowship. But it must go much, much deeper than that and include transparency in the innermost soul. A man cannot KNOW his wife if she will not open her soul to him, and a woman cannot KNOW her husband unless he will do likewise. So any kind of secrets or sin in either shuts down the intimacy and the relationship is grounded and severely limited. Although they may continue their physical intimacy it is unsatisfying and frustrating. Their relationship is more like that of good friends or roommates. They may know a lot about one another and have a lot of common experiences, but they never find that oneness of soul that God intended when He created a help meet for Adam. They may have feelings for one another and have no desire to break up their marriage, but they have missed what it is all about and robbed themselves of the greatest blessings of life.

Fellowship, communion, intimacy - this is the order in which the husband-wife relationship is supposed to develop.

When they think about it everyone knows this to be true, yet they skip carelessly down the path of courtship to marriage deceiving themselves about one another and their openness. It is considered by most people now to be domineering by the man to want to really know his wife, or his future wife. It is considered controlling and clinging if a woman really wants to know her husband, or her future husband. Everyone seems to be of the opinion that everyone needs their space and there should be parts of our life that are closed off to our spouse. We need to use some common sense here and not be unreasonable and ridiculous. It doesn't mean that we must be together every moment of every day. Obviously, there are some situations where it is not appropriate or not possible to be together. There are situations and activities where the man or the woman would be out of place or even in danger. Neither my wife nor I would be comfortable if she were by my side while I was cutting trees down or thrashing through a briar patch. Neither would I be comfortable at a quilting party or baby shower with her. But there should be no place or activity that either is involved in that the other is barred from knowing about, as well as who is there with you and what you do while you are there. If one has the desire to be apart from their spouse in order to fellowship with people and do things without their knowledge it is a sure sign that they are not intimate, and trouble is about to knock down the door of their marriage.

In spite of the obvious truth of these matters most people reject it and pretend to be fellowshipping, communing, and intimate, when they are really only casual acquaintances. They go ahead and get married under these conditions and soon find themselves in deep trouble. This is also why unfaithfulness is so devastating in marriage. The one to whom you have given your most intimate self and trusted completely has counted your love and trust as nothing and betrayed you. Because marriage is such a deep and intimate relationship the very soul of that person is deeply wounded and scarred, and will struggle with ever opening up again. Then what about the children? They watch as the foundation of all the order in their life is blown apart and annihilated. They see what was thought to be love turn to hatred and bitterness. We see the damage all around us with all the broken marriages and immoral relationships. Our society is like a giant train wreck that is happening in slow motion. When some of the wheels leave the track there is so much force behind them that it is impossible to get them back on the tracks again, and their being off the track causes those coming along behind them to derail, also. 

The relationship between God and man is reflected in this husband-wife relationship.

Most people do not have fellowship with God or his people at all. This is the basic reason that marriages are in such disorder and failing so miserably. Most people who do fellowship with God at all are very careful to stay in the shallowest water they can find. They just go to church once in a while and say religious things on Facebook sometimes, but do not search the Scriptures, meditate on them, and pray. Some people commune with God, but it is limited to set times and places and the rest of their time and life is spent with others. Then there are the few who find real intimacy with God. They are the ones who open up the secret places of their heart to God and allow him full access to their entire being. They are those who abide with him and keep no secrets from him. They fellowship and commune with God always, and have special intimate moments with him where the entire world and every other person is excluded.

So in order to be able to get along with our fellow men and have a happy and successful marriage, we must have a proper understanding of God and a right relationship with Him first. Do not miss your opportunity to know God.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6)
All this is why Jesus said the greatest business of life is:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; ... (Matthew 6:33)

Better get to it …