And Forsaking all Others

Matthew 19:3-6 ESV

“And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’ 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’.”

Divorcing One’s Spouse

The word “divorce” means to separate, disconnect, distance, detach, disunite, and break apart. It also is defined as “The legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body” (Google). But can it be both? Or either? Can one divorce his/her spouse without the legal dissolution of the marriage? I believe so.

For, what do the Scriptures teach about marriage? Is a marriage just a legal contract or a legal union between a man and a woman? Or is there more to a marriage than that?

Let’s start at the beginning. God first created man, and then he created woman out of man’s side to be his helper, to come alongside him, to assist him, to encourage and to help him. They were to work together side by side. God never intended man to dominate the woman, but God intended that he be her protective head, to love her, to honor her, and to treat her kindly.

He was to leave the authority and influence of his parents, and now he was to unite physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually with his wife. And they were to become one flesh, united together under the love, the rule, the authority, and the wisdom of God in order to love one another with his love.

And the man is supposed to hold fast to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So, I find that a particularly interesting order of things. For, if the man does not hold fast to his wife, or her to him, how can they become one flesh? They can’t! If each goes his or her own separate way, they can’t be united as one.

For, this term “hold fast” means to be glued together, to join oneself closely to another, and to cleave. And to cleave is to cling to, to embrace, to hold on to, to stick like glue. It means to bond with another. And this isn’t just about a sexual union. This is a union of heart and soul and mind and emotion.

Marriage Vows

For an example of this are the marriage vows many couples of my age, anyway, took when they got married:

“I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to you.”

I think our wedding vows added, “and forsaking all others keep thee only unto her/him as long as you both shall live.” Thus, it is a vow of purity, of fidelity, of faithfulness, of love, and of devotion. And it is a commitment to leave the single life behind to be united as husband and wife forever.

Therefore, if one or the other does not keep those vows of marriage but separates himself or herself from his/her spouse via adultery, or via living like he/she is single and that he/she is independent of the other, then that is where the marriage breaks apart. In essence, this is divorcing one’s spouse when you or anyone breaks the vows of marriage with adultery.

This is not to say that we can’t each have our individual assignments from God or that we can’t be gifted in different ways, or that we have to do everything together. But it means that we are not to be unfaithful, we are not to commit adultery, and we are not to treat one another like trash. But we are to be united spiritually, and in mind, heart, body, and emotion.

So, when this says, “What God has joined together, let not man separate,” he is not talking just about a physical or a legal separation. He is saying that we are not to disunite from our spouses. We are not to commit adultery against them via romantic of sexual affairs, via porn, via self-gratification, or via any other emotional or sexual entanglement outside of marriage.

If one spouse does this, i.e., commits adultery against the other and lives like he/she is single rather than married, he/she is separating from the other and is thus breaking that union so that the other spouse is forced to live in that separated state or else leave and/or literally ask for a divorce.

And this is because the unfaithful spouse has pushed the other away and has disunified with him/her via adultery, which God commands we should not do, thus bringing about this separation (divorce). Therefore, they are no longer united as one flesh, because one spouse became one flesh with another and another, and perhaps many others, especially via porn.

Matthew 19:7-9 ESV

“They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?’ 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. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery’.”

When a man or a woman decides to be unfaithful to his/her marital partner, he/she may make many excuses or justifications for why he/she thinks that is acceptable. They will rationalize that they are justified in their actions because of whatever excuse they come up with, and so they act on their choice to be unfaithful based on the excuses they make for themselves.

And they will come up with these excuses or rationalizations because their hearts are hard, and because they have already determined in their hearts the course that they want to take, and so they are just looking for any kind of loophole to excuse away what they know is wrong.

But this goes against God’s design for the marriage. So, God does not approve. For marriage is to be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure. Wives are to yield to their husbands’ authority, and they are to submit to one another. And husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph 5:15-33; Col 3:18-19; Heb 13:4).

But we are never to submit to sin. We are not to obey orders to sin against God. God always trumps! There are biblical exceptions to obedience to all human authority, and the line is basically drawn at the point where we are being asked or required to sin against God. The answer is always “NO!”

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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