Thursday, January 24, 2008

THE MARRIAGE BOND REMAINS

"Can a man divorce for any reason at all?" How ridiculous was the question in Matthew 19:3? These people should know better. God would not permit such a thing as He would not permit what He hates. In Malachi, it says God "hates divorce" (Mal. 2:16). Jesus explained that "the two shall become one flesh" and that "what God has joined together, let no man separate." Anyone with a right spirit readily admits that you can't divorce for any reason. But what if you do? Are there consequences?

Just as there are now, there were then liberal and conservative positions on divorce. An "indecency" from Deuteronomy 24 meant marital unfaithfulness, but for those looking to please the Herods of the world, its meaning is more broad like the modern "irreconcilable differences". From Deuteronomy 24, it's obvious that God did not command divorce, but He only legislates the possibility of divorce and the conditions the wife cannot be taken back. And Deuteronomy does not say that the divorced woman had grounds for remarriage: it only acknowledges that it happens. Our understanding of Deuteronomy ought to be seen in light of what God said from the beginning. That should clear up all misconceptions or abuses.

God wants marriage to endure. Without sin it would. And while the Pharisees are looking to trap Jesus, Jesus says don't look for any easy answers here. Neither Moses nor Jesus permitted divorce for any cause. For the married, unless a spouse commits porneia, God is not recognizing new marriages.

Many modern churches are filled with couples involved in multiple marriages - I liken it to polygamy, only it is done one at a time. Not preaching against this is a travesty where indeed men and women are divorcing for any cause and are remarrying to live in adultery. Liberal churches have learned nothing from what Jesus said. Jesus gave a difficult teaching, but these modern churches make it easy to enter the kingdom of heaven. They are guilty of discarding the "eye of needle" for an opening a Mack truck could drive through.

How do churches get around the clear teaching of Matthew 19 and Matthew 5? They try to say that the adultery was a one time act when the bill of divorce was given. They try to say that the teaching in Matthew 19 was Old Testament teaching which was done away at the cross. They try to say that Paul gave additional reasons for divorce and remarriage. These are transparent attempts that contradict what God intended from the beginning and they nullify Jesus' words.

Why did God give the concession through Moses to Israel? First, the concession of permitting someone to divorce was not a concession to divorce for any cause. Second, the concession might apply to a truly wronged spouse just as it accomodated a hard-hearted man. To the latter, no compassion or love came into the picture. I get the idea that God conceded to their desire to be out of the marriage, while still only permitting it under the strictest rule that the wife must be indecent or unfaithful. Besides making the concession, God legislated that the first husband could not take the woman back if she married someone else and then divorced again. Once again we see a limit to who canmarry Again. Those who create an easy way out of their first marriage do not have the right spirit and do great harm to themselves by not heeding the words: "what God has joined together, let no man separate."

The consequences of divorcing unscripturally has led many to turn from Christ, just as the Rich Young Ruler did later in the same chapter, with great sadness. Unless the spouse has been maritally unfaithful or is dead, those who marry another find themselves in the unfortunate condition of living in adultery.
but I--I say to you, that whoever may put away his wife, save for the matter of whoredom, doth make her to commit adultery; and whoever may marry her who hath been put away doth commit adultery (Mt. 5:32, YLT).
No matter how many reasons the State permits for divorce, God does not permit it. With the dramatic number of divorces these days, in the eyes of God the majority are still bound to their first spouse. And the only way for them to be right with God is to get out of the adulterous marriage as Herod was told to and as Nehemiah to the people of Israel to do after they had married foreign women.
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Marriage is not 'bondage'

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