Marriage and Divorce and Celibacy

 

The Lord Gives His Final Decison (v.6) - "One Flesh"
- this is the ultimate conclusion.

Matt. 19.4, three points deduced,
- that marriage is instituted by God since He made both male and female.
- monogamy is God's will for He made only one Adam and one Eve
- God dislikes divorce because the Lord in answering implies that it is not a question of the law, but a matter of origin.

Note these points:
- (A) marriage already commences when you have sex.
- (B) if an unsaved person has sex with one who had sex before then nonetheless they are both under the blood of Christ and there should be no putting away. This means that indeed the law has passed, and there is no right to divorce for any cause as was the case under the law which was permitted. Moses did not command this but permitted it ("suffered"), and now we are no longer under that law.
- (C) if you have sex with someone who was put away (divorced or separated for fornicating), then you commit yourself adultery.
bottom line: the Bible gives very little significance to ceremonial weddings since marriage takes place when two people have sex and are made one flesh. As a Christian you would not go to their wedding, not because they should not be married but because they reject Christ. People will blame you for not going to their ceremonial weddings and blame you for all kinds of speculative reasons, but the reason you don't go is because they still refuse Christ. If they still refuse Christ, as is often evident by the fact they don't have any interest in reading God's Word or have shown you their contentions, then according to their own hearts, they are not bound by anything, living in their own ideology and clamorous life.

 

I for one have peace in knowing why I don't go to non-Christian weddings, as it should be.

 

Concerning Divorce, Matt. 19.3-12

Mat 19:3  

And there came unto him Pharisees, trying him, and saying, Is it lawful [for a man] to put away his wife for every cause?

This verse inaugurates a new problem: the kingdom of heaven and man’s natural relationships.

 

"For every cause"—The Jews at that time advocated divorce at will. The Pharisees liked the idea of divorce, yet they had some uncertainty about it too. Therefore, they asked the Lord this question.

Mat 19:4  

And he answered and said, Have ye not read, that he who made [them] from the beginning made them male and female,

Gen 1:27; 5:2.

 

"He who made them from the beginning made them male and female"—Three points may be deduced from this statement: (1) that marriage is instituted by God since He made both male and female; (2) that monogamy is God’s will for He made only one Adam and one Eve; and (3) that God dislikes divorce, since in answering that God made one Adam and one Eve, the Lord implies that this is not a question of law but a matter of origin.

Mat 19:5  

and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?

Gen 2:24

 

Although the relationship between parents and children is most intimate, there is another relationship—that between husband and wife—which is even closer. If the relationship of parents to children is almost unbreakable, how much more inseparable must be the relationship of husband and wife!

Mat 19:6  

So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

 

"One flesh"—Due to this fact of man and woman becoming one flesh, women are usually not numbered in Biblical accounts. The husband and the wife are one number in the sight of God. "So that they are . . . one flesh"; therefore "let not man put [such union] asunder"—and this is the final decision.

 

Mat 19:7  

They say unto him, Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorcement, and to put [her] away?

 

Most naturally the Pharisees proceeded to quote from the law of Moses. They presume that if they bring out Moses they can overturn the Lord. They assume the word of the Lord to be in conflict with Moses.

"Why then did Moses command"—Actually Moses did not command, he only permitted ("suffered"). The Lord alone can discern the difference.

 

Mat 19:8  

He saith unto them, Moses for your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it hath not been so.

 

Moses allowed the children of Israel to do a certain thing because of the hardness of their heart. But such is not God’s original will. Hence the law cannot regenerate people, neither does it make any distinction between the regenerate and the unregenerate, nor can it make anyone perfect. Heb. 7.19, "(for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, through which we draw nigh unto God".

 

Mat 19:9  

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery. Or fornication.

 

The one and only proper cause for divorce is fornication. According to the law of the nations, there are all kinds of legal divorce. But before God, only one reason is acceptable. Let us note that the Bible does not put too much emphasis on the engagement or marriage ceremony. The real beginning of a marriage is the voluntary (not forced) sexual relationship, for according to 1 Corinthians 6.16, "Or know ye not that he that is joined to a harlot is one body? for, The twain, saith he, shall become one flesh", the two partners shall become one body, one flesh. Such physical relationship in marriage is most holy, because it is established by God. Irrespective of law, society, custom, and so forth, the fact remains that if there is a physical relationship, the two become one flesh. For this reason, in the Old Testament period, if a man should break the virginity of a woman, he must marry her—because physical union is one of the chief factors in marriage. Now fornication is an act which destroys the union of two as one flesh. And hence divorce simply confirms the broken union before God. We may therefore conclude that (1) fornication destroys the union before God, and (2) except for fornication no divorce is allowed. We believers ought to follow God’s will, not the fashion of this age or man’s law.

 

"And he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery"—If the woman is put away because of fornication, then marrying her will be committing adultery. If a man married a divorced woman before he is saved, all are under the precious blood: there should be no more putting away. Or if a believer has a wife who has committed fornication, according to law and the word of the Lord he is allowed to put her away; yet if the wife repents, he can forgive her according to the grace of the Lord (John 8.3-11 ).

Jhn 8:3  

And the scribes and the Pharisees bring a woman taken in adultery; and having set her in the midst,

Jhn 8:4  

they say unto him, Teacher, this woman hath been taken in adultery, in the very act.

Jhn 8:5  

Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such: what then sayest thou of her?

Jhn 8:6  

And this they said, trying him, that they might have [whereof] to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground.

Jhn 8:7  

But when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Jhn 8:8  

And again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground.

Jhn 8:9  

And they, when they heard it, went out one by one, beginning from the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the midst.

Jhn 8:10  

And Jesus lifted up himself, and said unto her, Woman, where are they? did no man condemn thee?

Jhn 8:11  

And she said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn thee: go thy way; from henceforth sin no more.

Mat 19:10  

The disciples say unto him, If the case of the man is so with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.

 

The disciples, too, had secretly endorsed this concept of divorce at will. So they said, "It is not expedient to marry"; but this is also contrary to God’s original will.

Mat 19:11  

But he said unto them, Not all men can receive this saying, but they to whom it is given.

 

"Receive"—It is a matter of capacity. None can be forced not to marry. Just as coercing people to be divorced is sin, so forcing people not to marry is likewise a sin. For not all men receive the gift of remaining single.

"But they to whom it is given"—The Lord discloses on the one hand God’s original will and on the other hand, God’s gift to certain people for celibacy.

 

Mat 19:12  

For there are eunuchs, that were so born from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs, that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

 

To whom is the gift of celibacy given? Three classes of people are cited: (1) those who were born eunuchs—a physiological situation; (2) those who have been made eunuchs by men—a circumstantial situation; and (3) those who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake—a spiritual situation. Paul is an example of the latter category. For the sake of God’s work some people do not marry. Those who thus make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven have their special place in the kingdom (Rev. 14.4, "These are they that were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These [are] they that follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were purchased from among men, [to be] the firstfruits unto God and unto the Lamb"). And in order to avoid any misunderstanding, our Lord purposely adds: "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it" (v.12b).