What God Has Joined Together

“So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Matthew 19:6

What God puts together, man is not to divide. There are some things that belong together because God has put them together.

We are in a world and generation where everything that God has put together the devil is trying to tear apart. He aims at the home, the church, anything that God has joined together. He says separate, and he has a million imps at work to segregate, fragment, decimate, and cause disunion and anarchy—that is his program. “What God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Let’s look at some things that God has put together. “Lord, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob. You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. You have taken away all Your wrath; You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger.

“Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause Your anger toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation.

“I will hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.

“Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Yes, the Lord will give what is good; and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.” Psalm 85:1–13

Notice the two great traits or attributes that are said to meet together. In a beautiful repetition of Hebrew poetry the thought is emphasized. Mercy and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Another of the translations puts it this way: “Loving kindness and truth have met together.” Love and truth, in other words, are joined together in God’s program. The New English Bible translates it: “Love and fidelity have come together. Justice and peace join hands.” Another translation: “Love and loyalty now meet. Righteousness and peace now embrace.”

But why the emphasis on the meeting of these two great attributes? Because the devil has been trying for 6,000 years to separate them. We may call them justice and mercy. We may call them truth and love. One emphasizes a strict hew to the character of God; the other emphasizes His mercy and forgiving kindness. The devil is trying to separate them, but what God has joined together, let not man separate.

No one truly understands one side of the character of God on this matter unless he understands the other side. The two are not disassociated, they are not antagonistic. Each one is a reflection of the other. Mercy and truth meet together. Righteousness and peace have kissed and embraced each other. This was wonderfully and gloriously demonstrated at the cross. At the cross justice and mercy, love and truth met and embraced, the complete manifestation of the character of God.

A most vivid and sublime presentation of this meeting is found in Selected Messages, Book 1, 349: “The grace of Christ and the law of God are inseparable.” Inseparable means you cannot separate them. The devil says, “I’ll try, just watch me.” But God says, “You cannot do it.” There are many things passing for the gospel today that separate these two attributes and when you separate them, you really have neither one when you get through. “In Jesus mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. In His life and character He not only reveals the character of God, but the possibility of man. He was the representative of God and the exemplar of humanity. He presented to the world what humanity might become when united by faith with divinity.” Ibid.

Jesus was not only a substitute, He was a demonstration of what, by the grace of God, can be wrought out in the life of man.

“The only-begotten Son of God took upon Him the nature of man, and established His cross between earth and heaven. Through the cross, man was drawn to God, and God to man.” Ibid.

Here we see the sublime representation of what happened at the cross. Man was drawn to God, and God to man through the cross. Are you drawn to God through the cross? Did God love man more because of the cross? No. At the cross God saw a way, He demonstrated and revealed a way. God, representing justice upon the throne of the universe, saw a way that man could be pardoned without, in any way, weakening the structure and justice of the universe. He saw how man could be forgiven without setting the law aside. He saw how He could bend toward the repenting sinner without accepting or condoning the sin.

“Through the cross, man was drawn to God, and God to man. Justice moved from its high and awful position, and the heavenly hosts, the armies of holiness, drew near to the cross, bowing with reverence; for at the cross justice was satisfied.” Ibid.

Christ on the cross bore everything that justice required and tasted death for every man. He paid the debt. O I am so thankful for that love!

In The Desire of Ages, 762, these wonderful thoughts again are beautifully expressed: “God’s love has been expressed in His justice no less than in His mercy.” We think of the mercy of God as revealing His love. That mercy is infinite mercy. “Grace,” as we sing the song, “that is greater than all our sin.” An infinite love revealed in an infinite mercy. But this says that God’s love has been expressed in His justice no less than in His mercy. Justice is just as much an expression of God’s love as is His mercy. If we don’t agree with that, we either need a different view of justice or we need a different view of mercy. If we correctly understand God, we will see His love in His justice as well as in His mercy, and justice is the foundation of His throne and the fruit of His love.

The world is suffering today because of a permissive attitude toward lawbreaking. Criminals are roaming throughout the world, making life unsafe in both country and city. Why? There is a small chance that a criminal will be caught, a small chance that he will ever be convicted, and an equally small chance that if he is convicted that he will suffer the penalty to the nth degree. The law of averages is all on the side of the criminal and lawbreaking. Man has become so soft, so permissive, that the criminal, high-handed rebel that he is defies the law. The justice of God recognizes that the law must be enforced, wrapping up the peace and order of the entire universe.

What shall we say then of a so-called gospel, that would present the obedience of Christ as something which is a substitute for man’s obedience? It suggests that Christ died for man’s sin, and then man goes free to continue in transgression, yet he is saved because of the sacrifice of Christ. My friend, that is not the gospel.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation from sin, to everyone who believes. In the gospel of Jesus Christ, God’s love is revealed “in His justice no less than in His mercy. Justice is the foundation of His throne, and the fruit of His love. It had been Satan’s purpose to divorce mercy from truth and justice. He sought to prove that the righteousness of God’s law is an enemy to peace. But Christ shows that in God’s plan they are indissolubly joined together; the one cannot exist without the other.” Ibid. There would be no real, lasting, worthwhile, effective mercy in this universe if God’s justice could be set aside and destroyed. Equally so there would be no real justice if God’s mercy could be destroyed. Mercy and justice cannot exist without one another.

When the bride and groom are joined in the wedding service, sometimes they not only join hands but they embrace. There’s a kiss of love and this is the picture here. There is no war between justice, mercy, and the character of God. They are joined, indissolubly joined together. And what God has joined together, let not man separate.

This must be true in our experience:

Truth is knowing God’s will.

Righteousness is doing God’s will.

Faith is man’s response, believing the truth and doing the righteousness; both are made possible through the gift of Christ. He is the truth (John 14:6). He has given man the gift of faith. Faith is one of the gifts of the Spirit. He has given man the gift of righteousness, righteousness that covers every transgression that’s passed to the penitent, righteousness which not only covers him but enters his very mind and soul that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.

“Walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 KJV. This righteousness, truth, justice, and revelation of the will of God, knowing and doing it does not replace love. Love is not a substitute for righteousness, neither is faith a substitute for righteousness. Faith is man’s response to God’s truth and love is an expression of man’s response to God’s love manifested in obedience.

Galatians 5:5, 6 tell us: “For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” What avails? Faith which works through love. Faith is meant to work.

Do you know what people usually do when they purchase something, only to find that it doesn’t work? Send it back. James makes a very strong stand. He says that if your works aren’t the product of faith, then they are dead. Paul is right in harmony.

Working without either faith or love is legalism. The people of the world see those who strive to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus and call them legalists. But they don’t really understand what legalism is. Legalism is attempting to do right without God, trying to be righteous without the forgiving and sanctifying grace of Jesus Christ. It is trying to keep the law without the indwelling Spirit and the sprinkling of the blood. Trying to obey God alone, is impossible to do, but with God, nothing is impossible. Anything God says to do can be done.

Where the word of the King is there is power. As many as received them gave He power. Peter, writing in his first epistle to the people of God scattered throughout various parts of the world, said, “[E]lect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:2. This was meant to include us, written for our admonition as well. This precious grace is unto obedience; that’s the purpose of it. Paul, in Romans 1:5, reading the margin calls it “the obedience of faith.” Does faith obey? Yes. If it doesn’t obey, it is not faith; it is presumption. Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” John 17:17

As I was meditating on these texts, I was thinking about the beautiful rainbow. What color is the rainbow? It’s all colors. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, indigo, merging and blending. All those colors are in every ray of light. In the morning sunlight as those rays of glory stream down, every one of them has all the colors in it. You can’t see it, but it is there. You get a rain shower in the right position with reference to your eye and the sun, and those millions of raindrops act like little prisms breaking up or refracting the light into its various colors. The drops of water don’t add any color; they merely show you what is already there.

At the cross, as the storm and tempest of wrath against sin broke upon the head and heart of Jesus Christ, divine justice and mercy were seen as an expression of the infinite love of God. And now, around the throne forever is that rainbow, representing the union of justice and mercy in the plan of salvation. What God has joined together, let not man separate.

I am afraid of any message attempting to emphasize one at the expense of the other, or any message which seeks to pit one against the other, any message which would hurl epithets against those who would join them together. We need both. White light includes red, blue, yellow, and all the various blends and combinations of all colors. So it is with the character of God, summed up in that one word love, for God is love.

As we view that character and bring it to the prism of Calvary, we see justice and mercy, life and death, glory and shame, forgiveness, justification, sanctification, and righteousness imputed and imparted. As we see all these colors, as it were, of the white light of God’s character, let us not seek to run off with one of those colors and say, “This is it, I’ve got the whole thing.” No, because you don’t have the whole thing. We need every color of the rainbow to make the white light of God’s perfect character.

“Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed.” Psalm 85:10.

What God has joined together, let not man separate.

Pastor W. D. Frazee studied the Medical Missionary Course at the College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda, California. He was called to Utah as a gospel medical evangelist. During the Great Depression, when the church could not afford to hire any assistants, Pastor Frazee began inviting professionals to join him as volunteers. Thus began a faith ministry that would become the foundation for the establishment of the Wildwood Medical Missionary Institute in 1942. He believed that each person is unique, specially designed by the Lord, of infinite value, and has a special place and mission in this world which only he or she can fill. His life followed this principle and encouraged others to do the same.