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Divorce and Remarriage

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
August 15, 2021 8:00 am

Divorce and Remarriage

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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August 15, 2021 8:00 am

Is divorce ever permitted or appropriate for a Christian marriage? If it is, on what grounds is it acceptable and if it isn’t acceptable, why? Jesus addressed this issue in no uncertain terms in the Sermon on the Mount and His answer is still relevant in this modern age. Join Dr. James Boice on The Bible Study Hour, as he outlines Christ’s response to one of the most volatile and controversial questions in the church today.

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Marriage is an institution created by God for the welfare of man. The picture of a man and woman being joined to one another reflects Christ's union with his bride, the church abundance not to be taken lightly. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically in many ways Christians are held to a higher and different standard than that of the world. In light of that standard is divorce ever permissible and if so, on what grounds join Dr. Boyce as he entangles the broadly misunderstood subject of divorce among believers and shows us why the Christian marriage is to be held in such high regard marriage is for life. The teaching of God's word is very clear on this point in Christian marriage a man and the woman are joined to each other as a Christian is joined to the Lord Jesus Christ in the relationship and each case is permanent one for this life. The other four this life and for eternity. We know of course that all marriages do not attain this permanence and as a result, we are faced again and again, both within the society at large and within the church with the problems of estrangement separation and divorce and remarriage. What is to be the Christian position in these difficult and tragic situations is divorce permissible option for the Christian is it entirely forbidden or are there conditions under which it is possible if there are such conditions as it possible for the Christian, then to remarry over what is to be the position of the church toward those who have done whatever these things are wrong. All of these questions are raised for us not only by the fact that they arise quite naturally out of our previous studies of marriage but also by the fact that the sermon on the Mount goes on from the verses we have been studying to raise these problems directly.

Matthew five verses 31 and 32 Jesus said it hath been said, whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement but I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except for the cause of fornication because of her to commit adultery. And whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, commit adultery of these words should be taken together with the closely related passage in Matthew 19 in which almost the identical words are repeated. The Pharisees had come to Christ testing them with than interpretation of the major Old Testament passage regarding the grounds of divorce. The passage was Deuteronomy 24 first four verses link I asked on that basis. Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause. Jesus answered you read that he will made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and they too shall be one flesh. Wherefore they are no more to but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder this point, the Pharisees asked him well why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement and put her away. Jesus answered Moses because of the hardness of your hearts permitted you to put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not so nice say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife accepted before fornication, and shall marry another commit adultery. And whosoever marry at her who is put away doth commit adultery because each of these passages contains the phrase that gives the one permissible ground for divorce accepted before fornication.

Both of them have always been at the heart of any discussion of these questions on the place to begin the discussion of these texts is not with the exception itself, however, will come back to it later, but with the general direction of the passage.

This quite clearly is to assert in the strongest possible language. The permanency of marriage marriages of God and consequently men are not to disenroll it. In this assertion, Jesus was clearly at one with the entire scope of the biblical teaching.

We find this in Genesis and the Lord God said it is not good that man should be alone I will make a helper fit for him and the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept and he took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh instead thereof in the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman brought her under the man and Adam said, this is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.

These words indicate that marriage was instituted by God for man's welfare, and implied that the union that makes a man and a woman one flesh is to be permanent throughout both of their lives. We turn from the first book of the Old Testament to the last book of the Old Testament and we find the same teaching only here in a more direct form. This is important in itself.

For some teach that the standards given to Adam and Eve before the fall will have become impossible after written that God has come to tolerate divorce as a result, well has he all know, says Malachi. In fact, it was because of the multiple divorces in Israel at that time. According to Malachi that God was no longer hearing their prayers. Here's the way the prophet tells it yet you say why that is why will the Lord not hear us to receive our offerings because the Lord has been witnessed between the and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou has dealt treacherously yet is she thy companion and the wife of my covenant, did he not make one that is one wife for Adam yet had the residue of the spirit as to say he could've made more why one that he might seek godly seed therefore take heed your spirit that is your breath that it might not be mingled with the breath of another woman and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth for the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hated divorce. According to this passage not only does God hate divorce. He still considers the couple married regardless of what the parties to the marriage may have done when the Lord Jesus Christ argued against the common divorce practices of Judaism in his day was to text like these that he drew his hearers attention in the mainline of his teaching was that God does not want divorce invite. He hates divorce, the standard, as I said earlier in these studies is clearly chastity before marriage and fidelity. Afterwards, this is to be true regardless of the conduct of the other person this point someone will say, will I agree with you in general terms. Certainly that's the ideal, but one of adultery doesn't adultery dissolve the marriage contract is not what Jesus Christ was talking about when he made the exception. Except for fornication in Matthew will know I do not believe that this is what Jesus was talking about either in Matthew 19, or in the sermon on the Mount. In fact, I believe the Jesus was teaching that the only justifiable grounds for divorce was impurity in the woman discovered on the first night of the marriage, in which case it would be deceit involved in the marriage contract, and that even in this case, although the man had the right to an immediate divorce under the standards of the Mosaic law. God's perfect will would always be for a continuation of the marriage under several reasons why I believe this must be so. The first place. It's the natural implication of the words. Because you see fornication is not the same thing as adultery and fornication, not adultery is the word that Jesus uses here what is adultery. Adultery is unfaithfulness after marriage. That is the only possible meaning of the Greek word, and it's suggested most vividly by the Latin phrase from which we derived our word adultery in English.

The phrase is deleterious poem which means to another's bed.

Thus it's simply a violation of the marriage relationship fornication is a much broader term in Greek.

It's a variant of the verb meaning to sell and it refers to prostitution. This would include the prostitution of a hard look the prostitution involved in any of the basic sexual perversions, and then by extension, any sex act performed outside of marriage. The Latin term includes this idea also because it's based on the Greek noun for X meaning the arch of the temple where the temple courtesans collected must refers in a general way to any sexual impurity.

Unless there are strong reasons for thinking differently. The natural implication of Matthew 532 is that although the man may divorce a woman immediately after marriage, if he finds are not to be a virgin which case she was allowed by the law to remarry and was not to be called an adulterer, he may not divorce or for any other cause. If he does well then he forces her into a position in which he may be forced to remarry and thereby forced her to become an adulterous. By doing so now.

The second reason why this must be the meaning of the passages in Matthew is that each is in essence an explanation of Deuteronomy 24 verses one through four, which teaches precisely what we've already been saying the passage in Deuteronomy is the only statute for divorce to be found in the entire Old Testament and it was the one upon which the Pharisees had base therefore more liberal standards.

It says in part when the man has taken a wife and married her to come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes because he found some uncleanness in her, then let him write her a bill of divorcement and give it in her hand and send her out of his house when she's departed out of his house. She may go and be another man's wife characteristic fashion. The people of Christ's day had become most punctilious about the bill of divorcement they become entirely liberal in their interpretation of the crucial word uncleanness. Thus there were scribes who taught that the reference could be so trivial thing is spoiling the dinner being troublesome, more quarrelsome, more speaking disrespectfully of the man's parents. This Christ clearly rejected, is he actually this is not the meaning of the passage at all and the meaning is clear from the immediate context the first place. The word uncleanness is actually the word for nakedness, or nudity, and a host of passages show that nakedness was always associated with sex or in this case, with its impurity.

Moreover, it's evident that there is no reference here to adultery because adultery was punishable by death.

If it was proven in this case there were quite obviously be no need for divorce. What is uncleanness them well if it's a sexual sin. The woman, and if it's not adultery, which would be a sexual sin after marriage. Clearly, it must be a sexual sin before marriage. In other words, fornication. Thus, Jesus was reinforcing this Old Testament teaching precisely also knows the Bible well may object at this point, but isn't it true that fornicators were also punished by death in Israel. The answer to that is that although this was the punishment for some types of fornication was that the punishment for all and consequently there would be some girls in Israel. Perhaps many who were not virgins. At the time of their marriage third been uncleanness during the engagement weld and the penalty was death just as it would've been for a married woman because the engagement was considered nearly as binding as the marriage. However, if the girl had been molested or had become unchaste before, there had been an engagement.

Then she was not executed and although in some cases there were penalties she was free to marry is worth noting. By the way that Joseph took advantage of the legal distinction here when he determined to put Mary away privately after he discovered she was pregnant, rather than ever. Stoned is an adulterous IOC against this background is evident that Deuteronomy 24, one through four, only refers to a case in which a bride or her family has deceived the husband and it grants divorce in this case and in this case only.

In all other cases, and this one also, according to Jesus of a man acts as God would actually want him to act the standard of marriage is total fidelity and this, regardless of the actions of the other partner. This is true for the husband as it explains in Deuteronomy, but it must also be true for the wife who has an unfaithful husband.

In other words, the standard for God's people is to be the love of God for Israel, which is a love in spite of infidelity or the love of Christ for his church which is the love of one who loves us in spite of our unfaithfulness or are running away. Colette is a high and a difficult standard and it's acutely difficult for many people who were involved in situations of estrangement, divorce and remarriage in the first place. We must say that these are standards for Christians, not for the world. This means that believers must not seek to impose their standards upon all men generally, we believe, of course, that follow Christian standards would tend on the whole, to make men happier than they would be apart from them and we can point with justifiable alarm to any weakening of the family structure within our society, but the majority of men just are not Christians, and it would be both wrong and irrational to expect them to lead Christian lives. Because of this, I believe that CS Lewis was entirely right when he suggested that there ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage, one covered by the laws of the state with rules enforced on all citizens, and the other governed by the church with rules enforced on her own members. The distinction he says ought to be quite sharp so that a man knows which couples are married in the Christian sense, and which are not second because there are many persons who become Christians after they have been married and divorced, sometimes more than once. We must never forget that their previous conduct, along with all of their past is wiped clean by their conversion to Jesus Christ that they therefore have the right to marry for the first time.

As Christians the church at Corinth must've been composed largely of persons in this category because all rights that many of them were fornicators and adulterers, idolaters, and so on. Yet he turns them new creatures in Christ.

Clearly when a new creature in Christ meets another new creature in Christ in God leads them together. Then they have a right to marry and to establish a Christian home, regardless of their previous history. Third, there cases in which one of the spouses is a Christian and the other is not what is the Christian to do in the circumstances. Well, this is a situation that Paul also face not only in Corinth, where he writes about it, but throughout all of the Greek cities and his advice was this first, that the Christian should always stay with the unbelieving spouse, if at all possible because as Paul, how do you know that you will not be the means by which God will save your husband or your wife. However, it's also possible that the unsaved spouse will not stay with the Christian in that case Paul second point of advice is to let the non-Christian go but he says the Christian is thereafter to remain unmarried, my fourth point is based on the fact that we live in an imperfect world.

This means that there will always be circumstances in which a Christian will have to choose between the lesser of two evils in some circumstances, I believe this could be divorce. Let me illustrate. Suppose there's a woman married to a brute of a husband who spends her money on drinking and desserts. Her while she must raise and educate the children all under the laws of the United States and other countries. Also, if there is no divorce it's entirely possible for the man to return at some later date.

Just when the children are ready to go to college on the little bit. The wife is earned and then claim the money and waste it. In this situation. I believe it would be better for the wife to initiate the divorce, even if she is a Christian because responsibility is also to the children and to their future. Finally, it's also true that Christians who marry out of God's will and get divorced remarry off and Christians, and that God seems often in his great grace to sanctify and bless the marriage. Does this mean that in this case, God has changed his standards, no not at all, but it does mean that even divorce and remarriage serious though they are, are not unforgivable that God is always able to start with his children precisely where they are and bring blessing. There is hardly a matter in the Christian church today that is treated with more laxity than divorce and remarriage. As a result, it is always easy to get our standards from what other people do or say or what we would like the Bible to say that we must not do that we must be people of the book, and we must not lower its standards. Perhaps you're saying but how can I do that for me. The standards are far too high.

But if you're saying that the answer is that God will help you to keep them. The Bible says that God is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. If you're still saying, but I have questions about the matter will the answer is in John's gospel where Jesus says that if any man really desires to know God's will, whatever it may be he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself, if you will desire to know that then gone will show you the truth about these things and he will lead you in the way that you should go and our father. We admit that we all have difficulty in grasping and receiving some of the truth of Scripture and yet we know that it is old to be applied to our lives and to our thinking that we might do that and that through your people there might be a movement toward the highest possible standards of marriage and home life in our communities and in our land. We pray in Jesus name, amen you listening to the Bible study our featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyd, the Christian marriage was meant to be a witness to the world she was meant to show the possibility of Christian living, even when circumstances become difficult. So what's gone so terribly wrong and what is God really have to say about divorce and remarriage find out in our free CD offer entitled divorce and remarriage. By the late Dr. Donald Ray Barnhouse is free CD offer is our way of saying thanks give us a call at 1-800-488-1888 will be happy to send you a copy of divorce and remarriage that number again is 1-800-488-1888, divorce and remarriage are just two of the many areas of life for which God's people need instruction and clarification as the world standard seek to find their way into the church. Please help us to continue broadcasting the truth of God's word by making a generous donation online at the Bible study our data word. You can also call us at 1-800-488-1888, and our mailing address is 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601. Thank you for your prayerful and financial support by Mark Daniels.

Thanks for listening.

You the greatest and strangest love story in the Bible is that of Hosea and Gomer is a story of the unconditional love of a husband under the very worst of circumstances. What are the stories implications for today find out next time. Is Dr. James Boyce recounts the story and the conclusions we can draw from a marriage that should have been destined for failure. Next time on Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically


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