Mercy For Marriage

Show Mercy To All, Except Your Spouse?

Mercy For Marriage
Image Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2018 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).
Many denominations and fellowships teach that divorce, and remarriage after divorce, is permitted by Jesus Christ. Did He? Let us go to the Word of God, permitting His Spirit to speak to us.

There has been an assault on marriage over the course of decades and many denominations and fellowships have drifted away from what the Holy Bible says on marriage. Many have catered to the desires of the world to the point that no longer do they interpret the world by the Word of God, but permit the world to shape their understanding of the Holy Bible.

Because of certain things in my childhood prior to my parents coming to Christ, marriage has had a special place within me, especially after surrendering to Christ in 1970. After coming to Christ, I became a minister with the Assemblies of God (AOG) which, at that time, followed the Holy Bible. Sadly, as it happens to many fellowships, the AOG slowly drifted from Holy Bible principles. In the 1990s I felt that if the AOG ever went so far as to deviate from the Holy Scriptures in regard to divorce and remarriage and that pastors and deacons should be the husband of one wife, I would take that as a signal to leave the AOG.

Sadly, the AOG took that course in their General Council of 2001. I waited to see if they would repent in their next General Council (2003), but there was no change of heart or mind.

Though ordained with the AOG, I resigned my credentials with them August 31, 2003, and removed the church I pastored from under them, declaring it an independent work.

A few years later, I delivered the message, Mercy For Marriage {1} to my congregation. The following is an outline of that message. While the previous sermon outlines I have published contained brief comments, this one will not because the outline is extensive. Some of my readers might disagree with what they are about to read (and hopefully hear), but can we agree that more mercy needs to be in marriages today?

My text will be Matthew 19:8, but so that readers can have the context immediately in front of them, I will print the Holy Scripture reading that was used, viz., Matthew 19:1-15:

“Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these sayings, that He departed from Galilee and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.

3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" 4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' 5 and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh' ? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

7 They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" 8 He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."

10 His disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry." 11 But He said to them, "All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: 12 For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it."

13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.14 But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." 15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.”

Before We Address Matthew 19:8

It is always good that we align our thoughts with the Word of God and not with the word of man. In the past decades, "Christianity" has really become "fluffy." However, I feel it has not been as fluffy as it should be towards marriage -- ministers remarrying the divorced, and the divorced referred to as singles. Many ministers and counselors even encourage divorce.

Due to poor hermeneutics or / and erroneous indoctrination many religious authorities will look at a verse like Matthew 19:9 (the one that follows the text for this message) and say that Christ permitted divorce for certain circumstances, which would be adultery for Matthew 19:9. Here is Matthew 19:9 again, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

When compared to other verses we see the focus of Matthew 19:9 is not on the actual act of adultery, but the focus is upon who caused whom to sin. Here is how we can know this. In Matthew 5:32 Jesus says, “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.” Here the wife is caused to commit adultery when divorced for any reason but adultery. Obviously, in the case of her committing adultery, she has already done it. She caused herself to sin. This is true for the man too, if the situation was reverse.

Keeping that in mind along with the larger context of the Gospel of Matthew, in Matthew 19:9 it is indicated the husband causes his own sin unless the wife has committed adultery. If she did commit adultery and after divorcing her he marries someone else, according to the last sentence of Matthew 9:9 the man is still committing adultery, but the point is he was caused to do so.

Any other interpretation would contradict Luke 16:18 (And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.) and 1 Corinthians 7:39 which states, “A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” Again, what applies to a wife would apply to a husband.

There is really no New Testament verse that gives permission for divorce. Any other interpretation results in confusion. That is one reason why there are plenty of books on this topic, with many using Matthew 19:9 as a loophole. However, necessary basic truth is always simple. Evidently some make God out to be stupid and incapable of setting forth simple instructions.

Questions And Thoughts

Why would Jesus permit divorce just for adultery? Surely in His days in the flesh on earth He knew of serious cases of wife beatings and other situations. Surely the Holy Spirit would have shown Him today's drug abuse, financial problems, child abuse, molestation, mental illness, desertion and more. If permission for divorce is granted for adultery then why not these other matters?

What did Jesus say? How many times should we forgive? Christ's reply to Peter (Matthew 18:21-22) was, “. . . up to seventy times seven”. Why would adultery be any different? What did Jesus do with the woman caught in adultery? See John 8:2-11. Why then would he possibly permit divorce? To us, which is worse: adultery or denying Christ? Peter denied Him three times. Christ forgave. How much more should we forgive the trespasses of our spouse!

Divorce Does Not Dissolve A Marriage

This message, Mercy For Marriage, I delivered to my church was spurred on by a "Dear Abbey" article. A wife learned, from a third party, how to have her husband admit he committed adultery. It was tried. It worked. She learned he did commit adultery, and part of the article said the situation might "end the marriage," assuming a divorce would ensue. The Word of God (Luke 16:18 et al.) is clear that divorce papers do not end a marriage.

Do look up all the passages about divorce as well as remarriage after divorce. Compare them to one another, keeping in mind that Christ points us back to the time in Eden. In the New Testament He vividly declares that remarriage after a divorce is adultery. It is very apparent, then, that divorce papers are just papers. Only physical death dissolves a marriage -- not paper and ink from a judge and not the will of the individuals involved.

Instead of encouraging divorce, let us bring the unsaved to Christ, the weak to the knowledge of the Word in true understanding of the Holy Bible, and teach them to forgive and not divorce. Let us be godly and forgive. Let us, by the grace of God, make pearls and be refined like gold {2}.

God Hates It!

Did you know that God hates divorce? See for yourself in Malachi 2:16 – “'For I hate divorce,' says YHVH, the God of Israel, 'and him who covers his garment with wrong,' says YHVH of hosts. 'So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.'” One reason why He hates it can be seen in verse 15 where it is noted godly offspring is sought.

With that in mind, in the longer passage at the start of this article I purposely included what Jesus said about children (Matthew 9:14): “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” It is no accident that account occurs just after Christ's teaching on divorce.

Divorce weakens family, society and nation. Too often divorce is a tool of vengeance. Yet "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay" (Romans 12:9). I knew a lady divorced and remarried a total of three times. She divorced the first two. The last one divorced her -- and she whined to me about it. However, I sensed it was a satanic {3} payback unto her for the way she treated at least one of her other husbands.

There is a better way. Again, Matthew 19:8 records Jesus as saying, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” Let us choose what He points to, and what we can have in Him.

I. Not Hardness 8a

In the time of Christ's earthly ministry, Moses was highly revered by the Jews. Hence, there came a point in Christ's ministry where the Father clearly indicated Christ's disciples now needed to heed the Son. So though Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ when He was transfigured, at the end of that supernatural phenomenom the Father said from heaven (Matthew 17:5), “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

If we carefully read Exodus to Deuteronomy we will see Moses had a most tremendous task of, with God's help, bringing over a million people out of Egypt and to the edge the Promised Land. In addition to this, the exodus occurred millennia before the work of Christ on the cross. Without having adequate knowledge of the future work of Messiah, without having the entire Word of God, without the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, many had great difficulty in spiritual matters.

So, it could be said that many back then were more prone to have a hard heart. Today we have the full written Word, we can have the victorious Messiah dwell within us, we can enjoy the outpouring of the Holy Spirit along with His fruits and gifts. So, why should any Christian have a hard heart? There is no reason except refusing to die to self.

Today’s hardness of heart has been encouraged by non-Biblical counseling, by ministers marrying the divorced to others, and by Christians not taking a stand but going along and congratulating those who get married after a divorce. Contemporary translations like the New International Version take a less than literal approach and tend to encourage divorce and remarriage.

Both divorces and marriages generate money. Divorce lawyers expect to be paid for their ungodly service while most times godly Christian counseling is much more less expensive and even free in some cases. Then, a lot of ministers get paid for performing weddings. Churches gain added revenue from ceremonies held in their facilities. And there are many more ways money is made from divorce and remarriage {4}.

II. But Hope 8b

“. . . but from the beginning it was not so.”

One might well ask if we can go back to the beginning. Spiritually we most certainly can because Christ, Who is all God and all man, is eternal, timeless. What about those who are divorced and remarried? While you cannot undo any marriages (provided they are actual marriages) {5}, one can repent and embrace what God says about marriage and do the will of God {6}.

How was it in the beginning? Marriage before sin entered the world was just with one man and one woman. The union is partly described as being “one flesh” and a commitment to God and to each other (spoken or unspoken) {7} until the physical death of one. Along with much more, it is indeed “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others until DEATH DO US PART.”

How was it just after sin entered into man {8}? Keep in mind Eve gave the fruit of the Tree Of Knowledge to Adam (Genesis 3:6) and he also ate. Did God replace her? No. Instead, as they, clad in leaves, stood before YHVH God, He clothed them with animal skin, – prefiguring His death, His shedding of His own blood for the removal of sins. He forgives. Shall we also forgive?

But not only does He forgive, but He also restores. I have seen first hand what happens when an unsaved husband and wife give their lives to God through Christ. We have seen marriages revived and restored. There is not a hopeless case! Around the beginning of the 21st Century God enabled me to establish some web pages on marriage. Please see the link below for those pages {9}.

About The Lead Picture

The lead picture for this article features my Dad and Mom in the center, and smaller pictures of my sister and I below. There were many nasty, vehement, vulgar times between my parents, but that all changed when they surrendered their lives to Christ. When I get a chance, as God leads, I will write about their situation in the future.

Many marriages have been healed when people meant business with God, fervently and consistently fought in spiritual warfare, and were faithful in following the directives of the Word of God. Again, please see my “Marriage Pages” {9}. God is able, are you willing? There is mercy for marriage. There is hope for any situation.

Notes:

{1} You may hear that message by selecting its link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M50 .

{2} The article, Pearls And Gold, may be found at http://holybibletreasures.expertscolumn.com/article/pearls-and-gold .

{3} For certain reasons, I decline to capitalize that name. Experts Column gives me the freedom to do so.

{4} You may find that image at  http://www.sapphirestreams.com/I/Mrg.html#hardness . In the future, God willing I will be adding another image below it.

{5} God established marriage as solely between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriages, then, are invalid. It is just homosexuality, an expression of inner iniquity that one must deny and embrace all that God is and desires. One can do that by surrendering to God through Christ.

{6} Please see “Help! I Am Divorced And Remarried” at https://oasisofhope.neocities.org/ma22.html . That page also includes Holy Bible guidance for ministers who used to perform weddings for the divorced but have repented.

{7} Please read Strengthen A Foundation Of Marriage: The Vow at https://newsandsociety.expertscolumn.com/strengthen-a-foundation-of-marriage-the-vow .

{8} Used in the proper traditional sensible sense, denoting all people, male and female. I could not care less about being politically correct.

{9} My “marriages pages” are at https://oasisofhope.neocities.org/ma00.html .


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Marriages are still aplenty. There are still many that are done for not so much the right reasons. Marriages have become celebritized meaning more pomp and glamour, rather than spiritual. There are many restrictions when it comes to marriages nowadays including signing of prenuptial agreements. Marriages are losing their time span also sometimes lasting only for a day. We have certainly lost our way.

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