Quotes by Robert Rayburn
Brownlow North, the Scottish lay evangelist of the 19th century, has a sermon on this subject in which he calls this sin, the sin of spiritual intermarriage, the worst sin, the most catastrophic sin of all the sins identified in the Bible that can be committed by a Christian man or woman. In his own words: “In reading my Bible I find no sin there recorded, if we except the sin of our first parents, which has brought greater curse upon the earth, or which is more positively forbidden, both in the Old and New Testament” (Wilt Thou Go with This man? p. 112). For, you see, that sin corrupts the stream of believing life and may lead to the damnation of thousands, as it did many times in the Bible.
Mixed marriages violate the nature of the intimate relationship that marriage creates. Marriage creates a family and God’s people are to serve Him in their families. Families are the primary unit of spiritual nurture in the covenant of God because they are the instrument by which and the setting in which children are not only born but raised. Families have a great deal to do, in the economy of God’s grace, with the transmission of the faith from one generation to another. They must because of the nature of the relationship between parents and children: the intimacy, the constancy, the dependence, the trust, the example, the instruction that happens in a family and, especially, in a godly family. To take an unbeliever to wife, to bring into that family circle, in the key role of wife and mother, a woman who does not love God or know his salvation, who does not reverence his Word and law, is to violate the very purpose of a family and render it incapable of being and doing what it has been created for… He made the family, the godly family the instrument of his grace in the children’s lives. But a spiritually mixed marriage injects poison into the children’s milk.
The Bible never discusses this psychological fact of human unhappiness in marriage when it discusses the inviolability of marriage and when it forbids divorce. Christians in our day need to face this fact, for fact it is. To put it as bluntly as the Bible does, the Lord is as much as saying, I know you are unhappy but your unhappiness does not change your obligation to your marriage. I know you think your life would be much better if you were out of this marriage or could have another woman for your wife, but that does not in any way diminish your obligation to remain faithful to your wife… Listen, "The Lord knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust." He is full of a perfect sympathy for the trials and tribulations of human life. There can be no thought of His not caring for the pain caused to his children who find themselves in a loveless marriage. He wants us to be happy. But, he wants us to be holy even more! And, the fact is, there are a great many things that are very hard to do in the Christian life but which Christians must do, come wind, come weather. No one can read the Bible and conclude that the Lord would never ask his children to suffer for his sake, to make sacrifices for His sake, even punishingly difficult sacrifices.
Anything which makes it easier for us to worship should be encouraged while anything that draws attention to itself rather than to God should be eliminated from the corporate services.
It is never said in so many words that we are to give 10% in the NT, though it is worth pointing out that the tithe was not original to Moses and the Mosaic law. It is found early in the life of God’s people. Abraham paid a tithe to Melchizedek in Gen. 14, if you remember. There is some case there for arguing that the tithe is basic to human life as God ordered it. But, if you are not persuaded of that, remember that if the 10th is not our rule any longer, surely in the NT we are not going to argue that we should give less! We are not going to argue that having seen the Lord on the cross, having witnessed the resurrection, knowing as we now do what price was paid for our redemption, we should give less than they did in the OT? Surely not. Jesus, remember, makes a point of calling attention to the generous gift of a poor woman when she was worshipping at the temple and Paul makes a good deal of the sacrificial financial stewardship required of Christian believers. Now, perhaps we like the tithe after all!
It is man’s most monumental effrontery to imagine that a selfish, petty collection of unworthy desires such as himself belongs in the center, even of his own life. The insidious nature of pride is such that men and women rarely appreciate how proud they are, and the index of pride’s power over the heart is that even the purest motions of the Christian soul are deeply affected by it.
Pride is the idolatry of the self. It is the nature of pride as competition with God – the displacing of God by the self at the center – that has led many Christian thinkers through the ages to regard pride (superbia) as the mother sin and the essential element in all sin.