Jesus said, Mat 19:9, “Whoever leaveth his wife not being an adulterous, and taketh another, committeth adultery. Moreover, whoever taketh her that is divorced, committeth adultery.”
When questioned, He added, “Not all men can receive this saying, but those to whom it is given.”
The question that begs an answer, to whom is this ‘saying’ given? Jesus’ parting words were, “Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things which I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age, Mat 28:19. It would appear that, that saying would be given to all baptised disciples; those who are taught to observe all the things that Jesus had taught.
One would like to believe that, that would be ‘end of story’; divorcing, except due to adultery, is forbidden for baptised believers. Moreover, the one found guilty would not be fit for God’s kingdom and whoever marries that one too, is not fit for God’s kingdom, 1Co 6:9, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.”
It does, however, not appear to be ‘end of story’. South Africa, a so-called Christian Nation, is ranked one of the highest in the world concerning divorces. In addition not only do we not understand the thought behind this saying we, too, have no idea the meaning of reconciliation. The latter is obvious by the introduction of our Affirmative Action and other employment laws.
Christians are Christians because they have been reconciled to God, 2Co 5:17-, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
In the New South Africa, ‘old things have not passed away’. We, ‘a Christian Nation’, had rejected the one and only way to the Father. We opted for ‘freedom of religion’ that, in spite of, Joh 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the (only) way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
On the other hand, if a murderer, an adulterer or fornicator is reconciled to God the past is forgotten. To be justified means ‘just as if I’ve never sinned’, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God,” 1Co 6:10.
Paul writes (my paraphrasing), Tit 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we did ourselves, but in the measure of his mercy, he made us whole through a washing of a new birth even the giving of a holy Spirit, which he gave us freely because of what Jesus Christ our Saviour did on Calvary.”
The above, too, could be ‘end of story’ were it not for the age-old Tempter, “Yea, hath Jesus not meant, ‘And I will sprinkle clean water on you so that you may be clean: from all your unclean ways and from all your images I will make you clean. And I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you: I will take away the heart of stone from your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh (Eze 36:25)’ when Jesus said, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’”?
Paul warns against that ‘old Serpent’, 2Co 11:3-, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
The keywords in the above, I believe, is ‘so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ’. ‘The gospel’, ‘the good news’, has become so complex that ‘if all the teachings which, if they would all be written, I suppose that even the world itself wouldn’t have room for the books that would be written.’
May I refresh your mind? Mar 16:14-, “Finally he appeared to the eleven disciples while they were eating. He rebuked them for their unbelief and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who had seen him after he had risen. Then he said to them, “As you go into all the world, proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who doesn’t believe will be condemned.” To cut a long story short; the good news is Christ has risen from among the dead.
It could be ‘end of story’ for whoever believes that Jesus has risen, allows baptism and obeys everything He taught. Baptism not only meets the ‘you must be born again’ command it also nullifies one’s union to Sin making it possible for Jesus to ‘marry’ one, Rom 7:1-, “Don’t you know, brothers (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man for as long as he lives?
“For the woman that has a husband is bound by law to the husband while he lives, but if the husband dies, she is discharged from the law of the husband. So then if, while the husband lives, she is joined to another man, she would be called an adulteress. But if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she is joined to another man.
“Therefore, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ (Rom 6:-5-, ‘For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection’) that you would be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit to God.” Sin, Satan won’t die therefore the believer dies to Sin, 6:2.
A personal word of encouragement, from Paul, to all who had uttered those magical words, Act 8:36-, “And the eunuch said, ‘Behold, water! What prevents me to be baptized’? And Philip said, ‘If you believe from all the heart, it is lawful.’ And answering he said, ‘Yes, I do, I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and baptised him,” is, Eph 1:1-, “To all his holy and faithful people who are in union with Christ Jesus. May grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be yours!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm, just as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his presence. In love, He predestined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will, so that we would praise his glorious grace that he gave us in the Beloved One.
“In Him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our offences, according to the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us, along with all wisdom and understanding, when he made known to us the secret of his will. This was according to his plan that He set forth in Christ…”
Soon, Rev 19:7, “Let us rejoice, be glad, and give him glory, because the marriage of the lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready,” will come to pass. Will she have made herself ready? The preparing environment is one’s home, “It’s a great secret; it refers to Christ and to the assembly,” Eph 5:-32-.
The technique to perfection is love. Each action, each word spoken even one’s thoughts governed by love, 1Co 13:4-, “Love is always patient, Love is always kind, Love is never envious or vaunted up with pride. Nor is she conceited.
“Never is she rude nor, does she think of self or ever get annoyed. She never is resentful. Is never glad with sin; always glad to side with truth. Rejoices whenever the truth triumphs. She bears up under everything; believes the best in all. There is no limit to her hope; never will she fall. Love never fails.”
An athlete’s strife is ‘green and gold’; for that, they practice self-control in everything, 1Co 9:-25-. The ‘bride of Christ’s’ strive is to be clothed in delicate linen, dazzling and pure. The delicate linen represents the righteous deeds of the saints, Rev 19:8. First is to acknowledge it’s not one’s spouse, not one’s child, not one’s father, not one’s mother, not the servant, nor is it the ‘family dog’ but, as the song goes, “It’s me, O Lord, standing in need of self-control”.
Allow love be your daily key.