“It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:31-32

When God created man He knew that it was not good for man to be alone. “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18) God lives in the unity of the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and it is His plan that man should live in a community as well. Therefore God caused a sleep to come over man and He took a rib from Adam and from it created Eve. From Adam God created the woman and then rejoined them in marriage that they would be as one. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

This was God’s plan that a man and a woman should journey through life together as one accomplishing the work that God had set before them. They, together, had been given dominion over the earth. “God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) The man and the woman had made a pledge together before God and man that they would be as one through life. “I, take thee to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till in death we part, and with this ring I thee wed, and with my body I thee honor, and pledge my faithfulness.” As these vows are made before God, God has ordained the union and there faithfulness becomes a sacred union that should not be broken. “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:6)

The hearts of the people had become hardened to the plan of God that a man and a woman should remain together for a life long partnership, they rejected the God’s plan for marriage and God established the law of marriage and divorce in the Book of Deuteronomy. “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)

From this law man came to two conclusions in his relationship towards the Law of God. it was the belief of most of the scribes and Pharisees that the uncleanness of a marriage was that which was unpleasing to the man. In this view there were not rights afforded to the woman and the man could not be divorced from his wife if he did not so desire. The divorce certificate could only be initiated by the male partner.

The other conclusion was that the uncleanness in a marriage was immorality. But Jesus clearly states that adultery is the only cause that a man or woman can divorce his or her spouse. As we studied last week that adultery is when one has committed their worship to one and given it to another. Divorce is not a tool for convenience but a tool to depart the unfaithful. Any other reason for a divorce than adultery only continues the adulterous behavior. “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:9)

The intention of God was that the two, a man and a woman, become as one flesh. If one cannot be faithful to the other member, then how can that one ever be faithful another? God’s view is that once the marriage is consummated how can it ever be separated? “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:5-6)

When Jesus came into the world He did not come to judge the world but to provide a way that the world might be saved. On the cross Jesus paid the wage of the world’s sin which is death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) This is the promise that we have that if we accept Jesus for who He is and follow Him we shall receive eternal life. If we do not believe upon Him we have been judged already and shall in that day be separated from the love of God. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  (John 3:17-18) This does not give us license to sin for we proof our faith, trust and love by keeping His commandments. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) We have a tremendous freedom by our faith in Jesus Christ and the truth of His Word sets us free from the penalty of God’s wrath. We cannot violate God’s covenant with the appearance of righteous living above evil motives. God knows that heart and will not be mocked. “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.”  (1 Peter 2:16)

So important is the union of marriage to God as it is the same union that the Church will have with the head of the Church the Lord Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul explains the similarities. “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:22-31)

The day is soon coming when the faithful Church of Jesus Christ, His bride will be presented to the Father spotless and without wrinkle. The Church will gather at the marriage supper of the Lamb and be served by their Savior as was once before in the upper room at the Passover Feast and forever more be as one. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” (Revelation 19:7-9)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, April 20, 2016

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