Third, Jesus Disallows Divorce Because of Adultery
Jesus said, “It was also said . . . But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matt. 5:32). Note the contrast, “It was said . . . But I say to you.” Jesus interprets God’s will about marriage and divorce. Moses allowed divorce. But Jesus says that God disallows it. God’s will, Jesus says, is that no marriage should be divorced. No divorce should break a marriage.
As an application, do not allow anything you say and anything you do to destroy your marriage.
A couple of kids were in their attic reading old letters their parents had written years ago. The boy said to the girl: “These aren’t the names they call each other now.”
That’s a good point. Do not allow words or actions that can destroy your marriage. Hateful words can destroy your marriage. Sexual sins can destroy your marriage. But the grace of forgiveness can save your marriage.
Jesus teaches that divorce causes adultery. Now this is a shocking idea. The Jews of Jesus’ day thought divorced people who remarry do not commit adultery. But Jesus says that a divorced woman commits adultery. Jesus says that divorce causes adultery on two grounds—on the part of the man who causes the divorce and on the part of the man who marries the divorced wife.
Why does Jesus teach this? The reason is theological. A man divorces his wife. But God does not recognize that divorce. In the eyes of God, she is still married to her husband. If she marries another man, she commits adultery. The reason is that she is still married to her husband. Conversely, the man who marries that woman commits adultery. He commits adultery because he marries a still-married woman. She is still married because God sees her as married. God does not recognize her divorce.
Thus, you may divorce your wife and remarry another woman. The government might recognize that marriage. Your whole family might recognize that marriage. But God does not recognize that marriage. God sees that as adultery.
The theological ground for Jesus’ teaching is found in Matt. 19:4-6. 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 they shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
My father and mother were separated when I was only in Grade 5. One day,
my mother told me how some Americans have courted her. I asked my mother why she does not want to get married to an American. She told me something worth thinking. She said that she is still married to my dad. She believes that their marriage is inviolable before God. She can only marry when my father is dead.
I don’t know if my mother reads the Bible every day. But she knows something about the will of God about marriage. The man and the woman become one flesh. God has joined them together. What God has joined together, let no man therefore separate. That is the will of God.
I looked into the Greek. The verb, “has joined together,” (suzeugnumi), is aorist indicative. It indicates a completed act in summary fashion. God has joined together the man and his wife in marriage. The verb, “separate” (chorizo), believe it or not, is spelled like chorizo, but is pronounced, koridzo. It is a present imperative. The imperative mood is a command. Jesus commands to let no man separate the man from his wife. That is the command of God, the will of God. Divorce is out of the question in the will of God.