Jesus Answers Question On Divorce

The burning issue for Christians today is the divorce, re-marriage question. This issue is not unique to our generation. It has been around for a long time. It was even a problem when Jesus was on the earth. On one occasion, Jesus responded to a question about divorce for any cause. Although the Pharisees were disingenuous with their question (they were trying to ensnare Him with His own words), Jesus answered it.

Jesus addressed the creation of man in answer to the question (MATTHEW 19:3-6). He emphasized that it was God’s intention from the beginning for man and woman to enter the marriage relationship for a lifetime.

When God created man, He created them male and female (GENESIS 1:27). He gave them the command to “Be fruitful, and multiply” (GENESIS 1:28). The second chapter of Genesis gives an in-depth account of man’s creation (GENESIS 2:7, 18, 21-25).

When woman was presented to Adam, he declared that Eve was “bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh” and “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (GENESIS 2:24). These verses teach that husbands and wives have the privilege of sexually activity. The copulation that occurs in the marriage is God ordained for the completing of the relationship and the procreation of man.

This leads us to the conclusion that humans are to limit their sexual activity to one partner for life. A man takes a wife with whom he becomes one flesh for life. A woman takes a husband with whom she becomes one flesh for life. The sexual act within this context is beautiful. It is something the two shares that is exclusive to their relationship and is not shared with others. God gives two, and only two, exceptions to this rule. The death of a spouse (ROMANS 7:2-3) and infidelity (MATTHEW 19:9). Paul teaches that marriage is also to avoid illicit sexual activity (1 CORINTHIANS 7:1-2).

When either a man or a woman goes outside their marriage to engage in sexual activity, they are adulterers and fornicators (MATTHEW 19:9 & 1 CORINTHIANS 7:1-2). This holds true in every case of divorce and re-marriage unless the exceptions make it otherwise. This is true regardless of sanctions by the government and well-meaning preachers.

The issue of repentance as it pertains to divorce and re-marriage involves sexual activity. This is Jesus’ teaching in MATTHEW 19:10-12. His use of the word eunuch affirms this point. We can all see that Jesus was referring to those men who either could not engage in sexual activity or else chose to abstain from sexual activity. This includes those who have forfeited their right to have sexual intercourse because of divorce for they cannot engage in sexual intercourse without being guilty of adultery or fornication.

What are men and women to repent of in cases of divorce and re-marriage? They are to repent of adultery i.e. illicit sexual intercourse. I can hear someone saying, “They are married.” A marriage license, although it is sanctioned by the government and well-meaning preachers, does not remove their sin.

By Glen Young

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