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What is Marriage? (Part 2: What does God say about Divorce?)

The Pharisees came to Jesus to ask for his opinion. In fact they had the matter settled in their own mind, and were trying to catch him in his words.

Matt 19:3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?”

The Pharisees pose a question of lawfulness. They want to see what Jesus considers lawful? They wanted to know Jesus’ opinion. They approached Jesus in some sense like we would approach google to search for an answer to a question. We want information to make up our own minds about the matter.

There is an application question for us: Are we interested to hear Jesus’s opinion as one among many? Are we thinking: "I am interested to hear Jesus’ opinion so I can judge for myself.” Jesus’ response points the Pharisees and ourselves to the perfect standard. Not that we may judge it, but that we may be judged by it. Jesus turns to the authoritative word of God: Matt 19:4-6 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast 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 not man separate.

Jesus demonstrates that the problem is not with God’s creation and providential rule. The problem is with man. Man refuses to take responsibility for the Lord’s gift. Man is called to be a husband, united to his wife and responsible to lead his wife according to God’s word. The Pharisees were looking for a way of escaping the responsibility to lead their wives. They wanted an easy way out if their wives were to give them the slightest difficulty. If marriage becomes burdensome or uncomfortable, they wanted to be free from responsibility and free from the guilt in divorcing their wives. The Pharisees wanted God's law to condone their way of living. They did not see themselves as the problem. If God's word really says "What God has joined together, let no man separate." hen the problem is with the Pharisees. In this instance Jesus sides with God's word over the hearts and opinions of the Pharisees.

Adam also looked for a way to escape the reality of God's word. He forsook the word of the Lord as he listened to the voice of his wife. (The problem is not in the listening to a woman, but in Adam listening to the lie of the Serpent as his wife had given him of the fruit.)

Gen 3:17 And to Adam he said, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife ​​​​​​​and have eaten of the tree ​​​​​​​of which I commanded you, ​​​​​​​‘You shall not eat of it,’ ​​​​​​​cursed is the ground because of you; ​​​​​​​in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; ​​​

The Fall came because man did not submit to God’s word! Adam would rather submit to his wife, than to God. The Wife would rather be led by the Serpent than lead by her husband. She would decide for herself whose word she is going to trust.

The fall happened as a result of sin. According to Baptist Catechism And Westminster Shorter Catechism: “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.” We could also define sin as an abdication of God given responsibilities.

What is the result of abdicating God given responsibilities in marriage?

  • Immorality- Sex outside of marriage, Pornography...

  • Divorce- Easy divorce whenever things do not work out...

  • Child Abandonment, Abortion, Homosexuality, Transgenderism…

These sins are often linked together in a chain.

For example:

· A Man rejects the responsibilities of a husband, that leads to immorality and divorce.

· Maybe he becomes Father through immorality or divorces the mother of his child, that could lead to child abandonment or abortion.

The man in this instance has rejected the responsibility of husband, which leads to the rejection of responsibility as a father, which leads to confusion and rejection of children, which leads the children down a confused path of what marriage, sexuality and gender roles are.

How easy is it to reject fatherhood and motherhood after already rejecting the responsibility of husband and wife? If you are willing to forsake one set of God given responsibilities what will stop you from rejecting another set of God given responsibilities? If you are willing to opt out of marriage when it is convenient or comfortable, wont you also opt out of parenting when it is convenient. What is to stop you from opting out of being a man or being a woman? In our world apparently nothing!

The question then is: Why does the state allow divorce and abortion? Again, the words of Jesus in Matt 19 provide the answer, Matt 19:7-8 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?”8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

The state is the instrument of God to terrify the evil doer, not those who do good. Moses allowed for divorce and the reason is clear: "Because of your hardness of heart..." Divorce exists, because men are set on their evil and hard hearted ways.

When a man turns from the responsibility to care for his wife, there is now one more widow and a number of orphans that are left without a husband and father. Who will care for the widow and orphan?

I believe the same reasoning applies to the question of abortion: The state allows abortion because of the hardness of man's heart. The State has turned against us, because we have turned against God. God is using the state as a means of judgement and severe discipline in societies where the government is making more and more allowances for hard heartedness of people.

The wage of sin is death, and God uses the state to pay the wage. By the fall and sin of man, God’s created institution of marriage has turned to ruin and misery. What God has meant for good, has been turned to evil. AND The state is not the savior, but has become God's instrument for discipline.

In Christ

Pastor Hennie

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