Of Instruction Concerning Marriage
Jesus said, "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh, What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matthew 19:6)
By His words, Jesus sets forth the fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith concerning marriage and also human sexuality. His words were an answer to the leaders of the people and their question about divorce, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" (Matthew 19:3) They wanted to teach that divorce for any reason was acceptable. Jesus, however, in answer pointed them to the first book of the Bible, Genesis 1:27, and said, "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female?" (Matthew 19:4) God made the sexes. God made men and women. God made marriage. Determining the nature of human sexuality in the beginning, He ordained that a man should desire and cleave unto his wife, and the wife unto her husband.
Therefore Jesus pointed the leaders to Genesis 2:24 where God had said, "For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh." (Matthew 19:5) Since God made marriage, it is His institution, not man's. He made the man to dwell with the woman. God performed the first wedding, and still today, it is God Who joins a husband and wife in marriage.
From this truth Jesus draws a conclusion. In harmony with Genesis 2:23 He says, "Wherefore they are no more twain but one flesh." (Matthew 19:6). Marriage is a union which binds a man and his wife together in such a bond of life and communion in every aspect of their life that they cease to be two and become one flesh. God joined them together. God alone has the right and authority to separate them. This God does through death. Man's sin has corrupted marriage and human sexuality. God ordained the union in lawful marriage between a man and a woman. All human sexual activity outside that God-ordained union is sin, a depraved corruption of a good gift of God.
For man to separate that union of one flesh is the destructive working of sin, which is why Jesus added, "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matthew 19:6) Jesus teaches that marriage is a permanent, unbreakable bond in God's sight. Man has no authority from God to tamper with marriage by unlawful divorce. Nor are Jesus' words limited to a certain kind of marriage, one which acknowledges God in some way, such as a marriage solemnized in a church. When He speaks of marriage and divorce, he says, "whosoever." Marriage as an unbreakable bond is rooted in God's creation, whether the marriage of believers or unbelievers, whether performed in the church or by civil authority.
Jesus says of divorce and remarriage, "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery." (Luke 16:18) In Jesus' sight divorce does not terminate the original marriage relationship. Therefore He calls remarriage after divorce "committing adultery." Jesus teaches that marriage is a permanent lifelong bond, as did the apostles in obedience to Christ (Romans 7:1-3).
Is this how you see your marriage? Do you believe in this Jesus Who calls men to obedience to the will of God in marriage? Does your marriage show it? "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." (Hebrews 13:4)
By Rev. Thomas Miersma, Missionary Pastor
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