Rebuilding Broken Homes (Mark 10:10-12) Part 3
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Rebuilding Broken Homes
Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage from the gospel of Mark 10:10-12, part 3
Some marriages look okay, but they’re not. Some years back a witty author wrote a sarcastic article on, “How to Exasperate a Wife”–his goal was to catch the attention of husbands who were doing a bad job. Let me repeat–what I am about to describe is NOT how to be a good husband, but what some husbands have done badly.
The first and most important thing to do is to take a strong stand on male leadership. By strong stand, I mean make certain you yell a lot and loud, not actually be a spirit-filled servant leader. Another frustration technique is to show a great concern over the possible neglect of her vocational gifts and career opportunities. If you play this right, a woman can be maneuvered into working a full-time job alongside the man’s job, all without her being relieved of any of her full-time responsibilities in the home.
The enterprising husband can find himself with one job and two incomes, which gives him the opportunity to figure out ways to spend the money, while she’s spending her evenings doing the laundry. And a wife should not be allowed to spend that money. Carefully encourage her to derive great satisfaction in how long she can make fifty bucks last. In the meantime, husbands can then spend that money on a good bass boat, hunting rifle, videos, that extra cable service carrying ESPN, and beer. If she asks for money to buy some clothes or shoes for herself, the husband should give her the money, but he should act slightly disappointed in her desire to spend money on herself. He should not say anything, and if questioned about his silence, he should say, “No, that’s alright.”
A man should take special care to give his wife permission to homeschool. She’s been asking for years, and if he gives permission, this will keep her quiet for a couple more years. Then when she asks for some direction, discipline, or leadership in the process of education, the husband should gently remind her, “Well, Honey, you were the one who wanted to do this.”
Another proven frustration technique is to show fussiness over meals. It is not important how you’re fussy, just be picky. Maybe you could demand your food at six o’clock, on time. Or you want your food piping hot. Or insist on the entire absence of whatever vegetable annoys you.
A great technique is to make sure you husbands talk about how various women at work, or at church, are good looking. Just make general observations and never be specific. But share your observation that more women are keeping themselves fit these days. And on a related note, a husband should be concerned about his wife’s weight, and he must vocalize his concern from time to time–in a helpful tone of voice. Unless YOU tell her that she’s inadvertently put on a few pounds, she will never know.
Husbands must require that their wives never know more than they do in any area. If by chance she does, then there must be an unspoken assumption in the household that she should keep quiet about it–to do otherwise would be disrespectful. Husbands must make certain that the television is on from the time he gets home, until about eleven pm. It provides a certain wallpaper for the mind, and it fills in those awkward silences. After all, the wife should be given every opportunity to learn what shows and sporting events are important to her husband.
And of course, after 11 pm when the lights are turned off, he should head off to bed like a 6-year-old on Christmas morning, expecting to find “the song of Solomon” come to life every night, now that she is exhausted from her multiple responsibilities.
When selfishness reigns, the marriage will strain. And in our country, when marriage takes a lot of work, one-third of the time a couple will surrender to divorce. God made marriage for one man and one woman, based upon a vow and a consummation to be in the union of two who become one for life.
Just like God is three persons, Father, Son and Spirit yet one–marriage is three persons, a man, a woman and God, yet one. Marriage is for God’s glory and our best, yet divorce seriously mars the glory of God, and seriously harms a husband and wife. It is safe to say, divorce is the remedy that’s worse than the marital disease. It looks like an easy answer, but it’s actually a cruel one.
One attorney said this, “There are two processes that must never be started prematurely–embalming and divorce.” Martin Luther hated divorce so much, he said, “I prefer bigamy to divorce.” How do you like that?
Divorce is an explosive issue today, and it was a divisive and dangerous issue in Jesus’ day–but our Lord tackles the issue with wisdom, love and truth in Mark 10. Open your Bibles to Mark 10 and follow along in your outline as we wrap up this three-week study as we are working verse by verse through Mark. Do you remember where Jesus is?
#1 The CIRCUMSTANCES for clarification on divorce Verse 1
Read verse 1, “Getting up, He went from there to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan; crowds gathered around Him again, and, according to His custom, He once more began to teach them.” The Lord is in Peraea, on the east side of the Jordan River, and is about to head to Jerusalem for his final week of earthly ministry. Large crowds surround Christ as He teaches and heals them, and yet while the Lord shows compassion to people, the hardhearted Pharisees are only trying to trap Him.
#2 The CONFRONTATION over the question of divorce Verse 2
Verse 2, “Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife.” The religious leaders test the Lord, trying to make Him publicly declare His position on divorce, which might make the majority of the population who support divorce resent Him. Plus these evil leaders are hoping, now that Jesus is in Peraea, which is ruled by Herod Antipas, that if they can get Jesus to openly reject unbiblical divorce just like John the Baptist did, maybe Herod Antipas will behead Jesus just like he beheaded John over his outspoken words against divorce. But Jesus does what we should do, when asked a cunning question.
#3 CLARIFYING the true authority on divorce Verses 3 to 4
Verse 3, “And He answered and said to them, ‘What did Moses command you?’” The Lord points them to the Scripture, trying to help them see what Moses really commanded in the Old Testament. He wants them to see that divorce is a break from Scripture. Moses did not command divorce–he didn’t even say, “When you divorce, give her the paperwork.” Moses only commanded not to remarry someone who is unbiblically divorced. But the rabbis misinterpreted Deuteronomy 24.
What was happening in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 24? Apparently there were wives who were committing indecent acts of sin just short of actually committing adultery. These are unknown sinful actions of a wife, stopping short of adultery, so the death penalty cannot be applied. But she commits these vile things so her husband is divorcing her.
Misinterpreting the Old Testament, the Pharisees said to Jesus in verse 4, “They said, ‘Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.’” But that is not what Deuteronomy 24 commanded. Moses actually said, “God commands you to not remarry a woman who has been divorced for these unbiblical reasons short of adultery.” Mark 10 is just like the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus said “You’ve heard it was said, but I say to you.”
The Pharisees were saying, “Just give her the proper paperwork and it’s all good.” Make her legal, give her the paperwork, give her the certificate–which had to say, “Let this be from me thy writ of divorce and letter of dismissal and deed of liberation, that thou mayest marry whatsoever man thou wilt.” All the husband had to do was hand his wife that “certificate of dismissal” in the presence of two witnesses, and she was now divorced. Bam–#shegone! But Jesus tells them they’ve got it wrong. God allowed divorce only because of verse 5, “But Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.’”
#4 The real CAUSE God allowed divorce at all Verse 5
The real cause divorce is allowed is because of our sinfulness, and the hardness of your hearts, seen in the unwillingness to embrace God’s hatred for divorce. Since the fall into sin and God’s curse of men and women, the natural inclination of a wife is try to control her husband and for the husband is to master his wife. A wife will seek to be independent and dominant, and the husband will try to overpower her revolt.
And instead of pursuing God’s amazing plan for marriage, divorce was allowed because of people’s stiffnecked hearts set against God’s desire for holiness. Their relationship with God became hard and rule-driven, which resulted in their relationship with their spouse becoming hard and rule-driven. Yet God’s plan for marriage is awesome. What’s His plan?
#5 The CALCULATED design of God for marriage, not divorce Verses 6 to 9
Read verses 6 through 8, “But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. 7 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, 8 and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.” God’s original blueprint for marriage is to be an exclusive, loyal, inseparable, treasured gift from God.
Cut the umbilical cord and begin a new family, saturated with oneness, of two becoming one. By the way, that doesn’t mean you wear matching outfits–please don’t. But verse 9, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Joined actually means yoked together, proving to women then and today that God did not make her to be man’s slave or his toy, but his helper–a complement, a counterpart, and a co-pilot together in this life.
Jesus reminds us that marriage is always the work of God, and divorce is always the work of man–and no man has the right to separate, meaning divorce what God has joined together. Those professing Christians who claim the Lord led them out of a marriage are lying, and making God out to be a liar.
I know of a man who, after twenty years of marriage with growing marital struggles, decided to divorce his wife. In preparing the paperwork for the financial settlement, he began to rummage through his old checks. As he was going through them, he saw the canceled check for their honeymoon hotel, then their first car, the check to the hospital for their daughter’s birth, and the down payment on their first house.
This went on and on–tears filled his eyes, and he could stand it no longer. He called his wife, telling her of the amazing memories he had just reviewed. He reviewed with her what they had lived through together as husband and wife, then he asked her forgiveness and begged her if she’d be willing to start over with him in a fresh beginning. They did.
Divorce is not God’s will–Malachi 2:16, “God hates divorce.” But this fact raises some serious questions, and the disciples want answers from Jesus. Look what happens next in Mark 10, verse 10, “In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again.”
#6 The need for CLARIFICATION on divorce by the disciples Verse 10
In verses 2 to 9, Jesus was talking to the Pharisees outside, talking about divorce. Now in verse 10, notice Jesus is inside a house somewhere in Peraea, talking to His disciples about divorce and remarriage. Do you remember the last time someone said something so shocking you asked them to repeat it? That’s happening here. The Lord’s word on divorce was so scandalous to the disciples, they ask Jesus again, “Say what? Say that again?”
They’d lost God’s beautiful design of two being one for life, and they were so used to the idea of easy divorce, where you merely give your wife the proper paperwork and release her, that the disciples in verse 10 question Jesus, meaning they seek further information through interrogation–tell us what you mean by this? So Jesus now gives a clear picture of . . .
#7 The CONSEQUENCES of divorce Verses 11 to 12
Grab your seat and read verses 11 to 12, “And He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; 12 and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.’” Jesus cuts right through their customs, overlooks their culture, smashes their tradition, discards everything the rabbis taught, ignores everyone’s opinion, and speaks the truth. It is only because our culture has moved so far away from God’s truth and His design for marriage that this sounds harsh.
Here is one of the key tests of your belief in the authority of the Word of God. Will you obey God, even when your marriage is agony? Will you uphold what God says here, or will you do what the Pharisees did–misinterpret the Word of God in order to do what you want? The excuses for divorce are plenty–you’ve heard them . . .
It’s better for the children, they won’t see us argue anymore
Divorce is the lesser of two evils–God led me to this divorce
There are irreconcilable differences
I’m not happy anymore
The feelings are gone
I don’t love him anymore
Old songs like, “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” by the Unrighteous Brothers, or Usher’s “Papers”, or “Mr. Know It All”, or “King of Anything” encourage a divorce mentality. Marriage is mocked in every sitcom, redefined by our media, and grossly misrepresented by churches in our area. But marriage is not a business deal, a civil contract, a piece of paperwork, or an acquisition that can be dissolved. God designed marriage to be the welding of two people together into one. So what are you going to do or counsel others to do, when . . .
#1 A father tells you his daughter has biblical grounds for divorce, because his son-in-law has looked at pornography? He has committed porneia, of Matthew 5:32. What will you say? Or,
#2 A couple comes to you and wants to get remarried. The groom-to-be has never been married, but she was married before and divorced. She claims “they just fell away from each other,” and had “no feelings for each other.” Are they eligible to get remarried? Or,
#3 A couple from a Christian college gets married. He leaves her after two years of marriage. He divorces her for no biblical reason, then remarries. Question–is he an adulterer? Is the woman he married an adulteress? (Yes)
Unbiblical divorce brings adultery, and Jesus makes that clear in verses 11 to 12 as He describes the cost to the divorcing husband and divorcing wife. “And He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; 12 and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.’”
Jesus answers them pointedly saying , “Okay, let’s make this really clear. Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she’s committing adultery.” If you divorce your wife and marry somebody else, you commit adultery. If you divorce your husband and marry somebody else, you commit adultery.
God hates divorce, because it results in breaking the seventh commandment–it’s adultery. Mark says the husband who divorces his wife (without biblical grounds), is severing what God has joined together. Not only is divorce a grievous sin against God and one’s spouse, but sin is compounded by marrying someone else, resulting in adultery.
Look closely at verse 11–let me expose what Jesus is saying. “Whoever divorces his wife”—“whoever” is indefinite, meaning anyone. No matter who you are–Herod, Caesar, the high priest, or a Christian. Do you see the two actions in view, the two verbs in this verse—“divorces his wife”, and “marries another.”
Divorce means put away, send away, terminate, set free, abolish. This is the basic sin of unjustly disrupting the indissoluble union God designed. God made you one–to break that is sin. Marry is then to take in marriage. Notice the word that follows it—another, marry another. The word “another” means belonging to another. You marry someone who belongs to another. That new spouse is not yours–they belong to someone else.
Then verse 11 says the consequence of unbiblical divorce then remarriage is you, verse 11, commit adultery against her. Feel the force of this–both verbs “divorce” and “marry” are in the subjunctive mood, suggesting a possibility–saying if this happens. But the result of those two actions, committing adultery, is the indicative mood, describing a fact. If you unbiblically divorce and remarry, then for a fact, you are undeniably committing adultery.
And look at that phrase, “commits adultery against her.” The verb “commits adultery” is present tense, meaning you’re continually an adulterer. The verb is passive, meaning this has happened to you because of your actions of unbiblical divorce then remarriage. God does not want you to miss this. Mark uses the passive voice to strongly communicate if you unbiblically divorce, then remarry, God considers you an adulterer–no matter if you misinterpret the Scripture like the Pharisees did, no matter what some pastor says, no matter what you say–God says you are an adulterer.
Even the term “against her” from “commits adultery against her” is literally “on her”, pointing to the reality that you are marked as an adulterer if you remarry. In God’s eyes, the husband who divorces his wife unbiblically is still married. Therefore, his remarriage to another woman is continual, unrepentant adultery.
So verse 11 says a husband who divorces his wife, separating what God has joined together, is committing a grievous sin, and is aggravating that sin by marrying someone else. That husband is not only sinning against God, but also his wife–involving himself in adultery, and exposing her to adultery if she remarries as well.
Now Mark leaves off any exception clause in his gospel, I think because he’s writing to Romans, who were even more immoral than the first century Jews, and more than we are in the US. This is hard-hitting and direct–God hates divorce. In fact, Mark takes it even a step further.
I’m sure you noticed that Jesus says the very same thing to a wife who divorces her husband in verse 12. Mark alone hits the wives with verse12, “and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.” It was extremely rare for a Jewish wife to divorce her husband. But Mark’s audience was mainly to Romans, and it was not rare for a Roman wife to divorce her husband. So Mark includes the Lord’s statement addressed to wives in verse12, showing us that our Lord Jesus holds both sexes equally accountable.
Often in divorce situations, we run to the rescue of the wife and blame the faulty husband–and sadly his failure to be responsible, to lead, to love, to link with his wife is often the issue. But not always, and the Lord acknowledges that in verse 12. I was close to a divorce counseling situation where a wife showed us bruises on her forearms–they were literally the handprints of her husband on her forearms. Seeing that, the pastors involved were ready to form a lynch mob to string up the husband.
Yet we found out later, the bruises were from the husband calmly restraining his wife to prevent her from killing him with a huge kitchen knife in her hand. He was having to forcibly restrain her until she calmed down. Get the facts before you act. Jesus holds both sexes equally accountable in verse 12. Again, all divorce is contrary to God’s Word and God’s will.
God can forgive divorce, just like any sin, and sometimes divorce is allowed as the lesser of two evils, but it is never pleasing to God or good in itself. For the Christian, it’s never the preferred option. In Mark 10, our Lord explicitly states that unbiblical divorce leads to adultery in the next relationship. So, is divorce or remarriage ever allowed by God? Yes, there seem to be four circumstances referred to in Scripture.
ONE When there is the DEATH of a spouse
Our God actually encourages remarriage for younger widows. First Timothy 5:14, “I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach.” Romans 7:2 and 3 really spells this out, “For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.”
TWO When a divorce or remarriage takes place PRIOR TO TURNING TO CHRIST
Though there are complications and cautions, God does not prevent a new believer from marrying, but only in the Lord, because 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
THREE When there is a particular kind of ABANDONMENT
In 1 Corinthians 7:15, divorce and remarriage might be biblical–it says, “Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.” If a non-Christian couple gets married, then one spouse gets saved and the unbelieving spouse no longer wants to live with this Christian, then the unbeliever divorces the believer because of the faith of the believer, and the unbeliever leaves, that Christian is free to remarry. First Corinthians 7:15 says “they’re not under bondage.”
FOUR When there is ADULTERY
Jesus makes this really clear in Matthew 5 and 19. Look at Matthew 5:32, “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.” Then in Matthew 19:9, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Now what does it mean in Matthew 5:32, “except for the reason of unchastity”? The ESV says, “except on the ground of sexual immorality” in 5:32, and “except for sexual immorality” in 19:9.
The Greek word, “unchastity” (porneia), refers to any illicit sexual immorality, whether the people are married or not. The Lord doesn’t merely use the Greek verb for adultery here. God uses the broader term, porneia, because it is not merely fornication with another woman or man that can break the marriage union. Porneia includes adultery, but also covers a wide range of improper sexual conduct, not merely adultery.
The Greek term, porneia, focuses on fornication, but also includes in the Lord’s day and increasingly in our day, homosexuality, prostitution, incest and bestiality. This Greek term describes any and all actions of fornication with someone else. And those actions can break a marriage and allow for divorce. The Lord could not be clearer–divorce apart from these four circumstances is always wrong. Remarriage, then, is adultery. According to Jesus Christ, the Creator who made us, the Savior who redeemed us, the Sovereign Lord of all–“unchastity”, sexual infidelity, is an “allowable reason” for divorce.
Apart from death and pre-Christ divorce-remarriage, adultery and abandonment are the only circumstances where divorce can be considered as a last resort option for the true believer, who genuinely will not desire it. Adultery breaks the marriage union, and abandonment breaks the marriage vow. Those actions sever what God designed, and what God has joined.
But never forget–though divorce is allowed under those exceptions, divorce is never commanded nor required. John MacArthur writes, “Don’t make the same mistake the Pharisees made by thinking of divorce as a command. This exception does not mean divorce is necessary when a spouse is unfaithful (as if God were eager for the divorce to take place). Divorce is not a command; but divorce is a concession.”
You know the prophet Hosea–he was to demonstrate God’s incredible love to His people. Israel had rejected God, but God loved them so much, one day He would buy them back, just like Hosea did for his wife. God told the prophet to find a wife. Hosea took a wife named Gomer. (I think anyone who marries a woman named Gomer has got trouble coming.) Hosea marries Gomer, and she gives him some children. Then she becomes a prostitute, sells her body, and she’s gone.
And God says, “Go find her. Pay the price to redeem her and take her back.” Hosea goes into the marketplace where she’s being sold on the block, and he buys her back, and treats her like a virgin bride. Just like God is to the nation Israel, Hosea is an example of a person who remained faithful to his immoral spouse. Even if there’s been adultery in marriage, forgiveness and reconciliation is to be encouraged. Adultery is a severe sin with massive consequences, but adultery is not the “unforgivable sin.”
Reconciliation and forgiveness should be sought, remembering God’s amazing forgiveness which was extended to you in Christ. Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Honor the heart of God with your family and friends, by always being in support of reconciliation. Divorce does not have to occur, but Jesus does allow it in a few circumstances.
Anyone who puts away his wife, “except for the cause of unchastity,” commits adultery in the next marriage. Whoever divorces his wife except on the basis of unchastity exposes her to adultery. A man or woman who has no right to divorce has no right to remarry. To do so initiates a whole chain of adultery, because remarriage after illegitimate divorce results in illegitimate and adulterous relationships for all parties involved.
Our Lord’s instruction in Mark 10 is that unbiblical divorce leads to adulterous sin. Rather than curing the problem of a bad marriage, it actually brings the judgment of God. And understand this–the exception implies that the man who divorces his wife because of “unchastity” would not be guilty of adultery by remarriage. Some who wish to believe there’re no biblical grounds at all for divorce, point out that the exception clause appears only in Matthew’s gospel. Of course, God has to say a thing only once for it to be true, so the fact that the exception clause appears only in Matthew has no bearing on its truthfulness. God doesn’t say everything on a subject every time He brings it up.
In Matthew 5 and 19, the clause is included specifically to correct the Pharisees’ misrepresentation of God’s Law regarding adultery. The exception clause in those passages amplifies Jesus’ teaching on divorce, but it does not contradict it in any way. The Pharisees’ open-ended policy for divorce then remarriage was actually promoting adultery all over the place. The Lord hates divorce, and He hates adultery–it mars the perfection and joy of the Godhead’s oneness, which He designed to share with us through marriage.
But this truth is so overwhelming, the disciples respond in Matthew 19:10 with, “The disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry’”–which may be your reaction today . . .
A Singles, live as if you’re going to be MARRIED someday
Faithfulness in marriage starts now as a single. Don’t imagine yourself as some super loyal spouse, yet today you’re addicted to porn, your lusts control your thoughts, and you’re impure in your relationships with the opposite sex. You reap in marriage what you sow as a single. Flee youthful lusts by your clothing choices, don’t remain friends with those who flirt, stay away from places of compromise, and don’t watch anything impure in any media venue.
On the one hand, count the cost of marriage. Hate the huge sin of divorce now, and the reality that you might not be able to marry someone you love because they were unbiblically divorced, or that you won’t be able to marry, because at one point you were unbiblically divorced. Count the cost–pursue purity and be prepared.
On the other hand, I know some of you are waiting for the perfect person to arrive. Look, just find a proven believer in whom Christ lives, one who desires to serve Christ, loves His Word, serves in His Church, and don’t postpone marriage needlessly. Get married! Marriage is the grace of life. We need more kids in the nursery! Hey–hanging around until you’re thirty years of age and checking everybody out–guess what? They’re checking you out, and they’re not thrilled either.
In the last two weeks, I have called you singles to pursue your calling as singles, undistractedly devoted to Christ. Let me balance that with, become a Godly man or woman while you find a proven servant in testimony and ministry. Don’t waste the great years of your youth–marriage is a blessing, a God-designed, God-honoring relationship reflecting His character. Your spouse will be the biggest sanctifying influence in your life, and you can honor Christ and be a witness for Him as marrieds in ways you can’t ever do as a single.
So maintain the tension–flee those things that will undermine your future marriage, but pursue honoring Christ in marriage. One way is to be mentored by and remain accountable to a Christian couple, who can assist you to think and act biblically through relationships. But live now as if you’re going to be married someday.
B Embrace the grace of forgiveness, when there’s REPENTANCE
Adultery is not the unpardonable sin, and forgiveness is to be extended to those who commit adultery. But genuine restoration, where you can function among fellow forgiven sinners is based upon the adulterer’s genuine repentance and genuine remorse, and the actual lifestyle turning away from the pattern of sin. Like Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery in John 8:11b, “Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on, sin no more.’” Are you truly saved? Then this is true of you–turn from sin and follow Christ.
Where there is no repentance, where the pattern of adultery does not stop, that is precisely why there is an exception clause. That is why divorce is allowed when there’re acts of immorality. In some ways, if there is a spouse whose partner is committing adultery, then that innocent spouse, the one who has been sinned against, is to carefully, thoughtfully and prayerfully consider if they are to divorce. Remember in the Old Testament, adultery would be enough to bring the death of that person. Then you’d be free to remarry, wouldn’t you?
As God spares the life of an adulterer, He doesn’t penalize the innocent spouse. There are some who say there is no remarriage, even if a spouse commits adultery. So your husband is consumed with lust and begins to pursue homosexual liaisons. Some would say you can divorce him, but you can never remarry. So God is merciful to him and doesn’t kill him, but now the wife is punished the rest of her life. If the Old Testament law was exacted on him, he’d be dead and she’d be free–free to remarry. So God’s mercy to the one doesn’t become a burden to the other. So where there is grounds for divorce, there’s always grounds for remarriage.
C Cherish the gift of marriage and the WORK of marriage
Again Matthew 19:10, “The disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.’” The guys get it–when you get her, you’re stuck. It’s for good. It is forever–you can’t get rid of her for anything.
Their entire lives, the disciples had been told they could dump their wife for showing her ankles, or messing up her hair. Now they’re getting a picture of God’s holiness and character, and the incredible design for marriage. This is serious stuff. One rabbi said, “A bad wife is like leprosy–divorce her and be cured.” Another rabbi said, “If a man has a bad wife, it’s a religious duty to divorce her.” Now the disciples are finding out, if you’ve got a bad wife, hang on–it’s for life. Get to work turning her into a good wife.
I am overwhelmed by the wife God has given me. I love her more than I did the day we married. She is amazing–far greater than I deserve. I believe she has influenced me to be like Christ more than I have influenced her to be like Christ–that means I got the better deal. But by God’s grace alone, one small contribution I brought to our oneness is the desire to keep working on our marriage.
Whether it is through cheap date nights, breakfasts, babysitting the boys, serving her needs and more–the key is keep working at your marriage. Your kids will leave, your job will end, but your spouse remains. One life, one wife–make it work by working at it. Know the joy of depending on Christ as you work at your marriage. Let’s pray . . . who will commit, no matter what, “I plan to dependently work at my marriage?”
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