Matthew 5.31-32 cont.
31 It was said: “Whoever should divorce his wife must give her a letter of divorce.”
32 Now I tell you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on account of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery, and whoever shall marry a woman who has been divorced, commits adultery.
The words of Jesus make it very plain that divorce causes a wife to commit adultery if she re-marries, and also that if a man marries a divorced woman he also commits adultery.
This may appear to be a hard saying, and there are differing opinions as to how we should understand what Jesus said.
Some say that we need to see that the context in which Jesus was teaching was adultery. Therefore, it is possible that other reasons for divorce may not be included here, such as cruelty or desertion. Jesus spoke about this in Mark chapter ten when he said that Moses permitted divorce because of the hardness of men’s hearts.
Others take the more strict view that adultery is the only reason for a divorce to take place.
Whilst we have to recognize that divorce does happen, even amongst believers, and that those involved in divorce need to be dealt with in the humility, love, compassion, and mercy of Jesus, we must also seek to promote that marriage for life is God’s intended best for the happiness of men and women.
We have seen that the early Church faced a world where divorce was common place, unfaithfulness was regarded as normal, and that it was acceptable for a man to have more than one wife.
It was through the preaching of the gospel that this culture was changed so that divorce became rare, unfaithfulness, and having more than one wife were no longer acceptable.
In the Western World over the last few decades we know that there has been an increase in extra marital relationships, which in turn has increased the number of divorces. Perhaps we can see that there is a connection with people turning away from God during the same time period.
The further people move away from God the greater will be man’s desire to do things in his own way, which inevitable increases the sin of man.
However, the word of God tells us:
But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant – Romans 5.20 (NLT).
It is the responsibility of all those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour to always endeavour to fulfil the Law of Jesus to love one another, and so eradicate even the remotest possibility of divorce.