Fornication is not just tolerated in our society but is actually being encouraged. The sin of fornication is being committed even among Christians, as many couples “live together” and have sex before marriage. The Bible tells us to flee this sin. We have counseled Christians of the opposite sex who share an apartment and they told us they were not having sex so this surely wasn’t wrong. Night-crawlers come to mind. The Bible declares these words in 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23; “Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Example: Drinking parties
1 Peter 4:3; 1 Corinthians 6:10 (Bible condemns drunkenness and idiots)
“Revelry” is “a wild party or celebration” according to the dictionary. When one participates in a party where the alcohol flows freely and things are said and done that are unbecoming of Christians, he is guilty of revelry, not just social drinking. Other New Testament passages also condemn revelry (Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:21).
Example: Engaging in illegal activity
Romans 13 condemns the person who breaks the laws of the land.
Not paying taxes, buying stolen goods, selling vehicles with known issues but hidden from the buyer (lemons), lying on applications, speeding, driving without a license, driving without insurance, etc.
By no means do I intend to leave the impression that we should ignore sin because we are in sin. I am teaching that one should take care of his own sin before he starts pointing out the sins in others.
The expressions, “Who am I to talk?”, “I’m no one to talk…”, “I’m in no position to say/judge/criticize something”, an attempt at drawing his attention to his own problems.
(Having warned us about the speck and beam let us move on to the subject on hand about Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage.)
What does God say about marriage?
Covenant between three parties: God, man and woman (Genesis 2:18-24).
Notice the absence of a modern day ceremony.
Modern day ceremonies are acceptable but not necessary (i.e., wedding party, reception, bridesmaids, etc.)
God is the witness of the marriage union (Malachi 2:14). The immoral woman of Proverbs 2:17 had forsaken her husband and “forgot the covenant of her God.”
It is “till death do we part…” (Genesis 2)
There are obligations in the marriage:
Love his wife, love her husband and the relationship is exclusive (Ephesians 5:25).
Provide for his family (1 Timothy 5:8).
Render affection for each other (1 Corinthians 7:3).
Obligated to each other, bound to each other, married to each other for life (Romans 7:1-4)
What does God say about divorce and remarriage? (Malachi 2:16)
From the very beginning God intended marriage to be between one man, one wife and for life!
But, there were man-made problems that God dealt with…
Matthew 19:3-6: The Pharisees questioned Christ about divorce “for just any reason,” He reminds them that God intended for one man and one woman to live together for life. He also said that in marriage a couple is joined together by God Himself.
Matthew 19:7: They then asked Jesus that if this was so, then why did Moses allow the Jews to divorce their wives.
Matthew 19:8: Jesus explained that while God had tolerated their immorality for a while, “from the beginning, it was not so.”
Matthew 19:9: The Pharisees had many reasons to divorce their wives, but Jesus stated that there was but one reason for a man to divorce his wife and be married to another, adultery.
Since it God who joins (marries) a couple together in marriage, He is the only One who can release them from the contract.
It is possible for a person to get married by the laws of the land, but not joined together by God.
This is what happened in Mark 6:17-18, where Herod had married (civil marriage) his sister-in-law and John the Baptist told him that his marriage was not lawful, that God did not accept it.
Romans 7:2-3: The woman in this passage was still bound by God to her first husband as long as he lived, even though she might be married to another man.
To recap the points made:
Marriage was instituted by God in the beginning.
Marriage is between a man and a woman, for life.
Moses allowed the Jews to divorce their wives for “grey-area” reasons, but it was not God’s plan from the beginning-it was tolerated.
Jesus gives us His law in the New Testament and restates God’s original law: One man, one woman, for life.
He also gives us the exception to this rule: A man may divorce his wife and remarry another if she has committed adultery.
If a man and woman divorce for any reason other than adultery they are bound to each other for life, neither one has the right to remarry.
Does God forgive the sin of divorce?
Keep in mind that we are talking about a person who divorces for any reason other than fornication (they are in sin and do not have the right to remarry).
Numbers 5:6-8; Leviticus 6:1-7; Matthew 3:8; Romans 6:1-4; 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38, John 8).
God does forgive the sinner, but the consequences of the sin are not removed.
This means that Romans 7:2-3 and Matthew 19:9 teach that one who divorces for any reason other than fornication can be forgiven if they repent, but can never remarry another person, unless he reconciles with his original spouse. Sounds confusing! But it can be understood.
We cannot ignore Matthew 19:9!
God warns us to make sure that we are not actively sinning before we go and accuse someone of being in sin. Remove the beam from your eye. This means that if your life is full of purposeful and committed sin then you have not right to accuse someone else of sin.
God instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden between one man, one wife and for life. He did not provide man with an exception.
People in the days of Moses wanted to divorce their wives for several reasons, none of which God had ordained to begin with. Moses, because of the hardness of their hearts allowed them to divorce their wives.
Malachi reminds us that God hates divorce. There are several reasons why God hates it: it is not His original plan, it hurts many people and it causes a lot of confusion–to name a few.
Jesus restates the law of marriage and says that man cannot divorce his wife just for any reason and be remarried. He can only divorce (put-away) and remarry for the cause of fornication.
Notice that the Bible does not speak to who does the sinning, how many times the person sins or the amount of times a person my put away a fornicating spouse.
The American Academy Child and Adolescent Psychiatry wrote an article titled: The Teen Brain: Behavior, Problem Solving, and Decision Making and and stated that, “Many parents do not understand why their teenagers occasionally behave in an impulsive, irrational, or dangerous way. At times, it seems like they don’t think things through or fully consider the consequences of their actions. Adolescents differ from adults in the way they behave, solve problems, and make decisions. There is a biological explanation for this difference. Studies have shown that brains continue to mature and develop throughout childhood and adolescence and well into early adulthood.” (http://tinyurl.com/3r6yxch)
Decision making and choices is not just something that teenagers are faced with but everyone has to deal with choices. Good choices and bad choices-in every aspect of our lives. Whether those choices be in what we choose to eat or wear, say or do. Everyone has to make choices. This quarter the Spearsville Road Church of Christ has decided to study how to make Bible based moral choices. There are five yet profoundly important choices every person must make because they will greatly affect our lives: choosing to become a Christian, choosing a career, choosing a mate, choosing your friends, and choosing where you live.
The most important choice a person who has come to the age of accountability-the age where the person knows that he or she is guilty of sin-must make, is whether to become a Christian or not. This is the question that the prophet of God, Joshua asked the Israelites “…choose this day whom you will serve, either the foreign gods or the True God. But as for me and my family we choose to serve Jehovah God.” (Josh.24:15) Will you follow Jesus? Will you become one of His disciples by accepting His gracious offer of salvation as found in Matthew 11:28-30? Jesus offers rest to all those who are tired and burdened down by sin. promising salvation to those who will submit to His will (Matthew 28:18-20). This is one important choice you cannot ignore, you will have to make this choice-you don’t have a choice! This one decision will affect your life more than any other. It will have a bearing on every other decision you make in life and will determine whether those decisions are good or bad.
What do you want to be when you grow up? This decision will either be a detriment to your spirituality or a help to it. From a worldly viewpoint, your choice is important, it can have a lasting effect on your marriage, family and service to God. However, if you make the choice to honor God first your will be blessed. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33) Making a lot of money should not be the primary concern, saving one’s soul should be (1 Tim. 6:9,10).
Perhaps one of the longest lasting decisions a person makes is that of choosing a mate. This choice will determine to a great degree your happiness. Proverbs 12:4 speaks of how much joy an excellent spouse can bring to the home, but by the same token how much pain a bad spouse can bring to the family. The scripture compares a bad spouse to “…rottenness in his bones”. This choice will have a permanent bearing on your children, on their emotional well-being, on the way they will be reared and it may even impact on whether they may become Christians-ultimately determining if they will go to heaven. The choice of who one will marry must not be made lightly. It must be made with God in mind. One must choose a made based on God’s word (Jer. 42:6; Mal. 2:16; Matt. 19:9); knowing that God hates divorce, and that marriage should be between one man, one wife and for life.
The apostle Paul said, “Do not be fooled, bad friends corrupt good morals.” (1 Cor. 15:33). Our choice in friends can bring wonderful blessings (Prov. 17:17), and choosing the wrong friends can bring about curses (Prov. 12:26; 1 Cor. 15:33). God wants His children to choose their friends wisely.
Choosing where to live is also an important choice we must make. It is important because this decision can affect our worship to the Lord, our spirituality as a family. Consider the day when Lot chose the fertile and rich land of Sodom. His desire to farm the fertile land blinded him to the devastating moral dangers that lay in wait for his family. Years later angels had to take him by the hand and lead him out of Sodom. He lost his home and wife in Sodom. Pitching his tent in Sodom was a mistake. Making his home on Gomorrah where there was money was a good business decision but a bad family decision. (Genesis 13)
God has given us a lot of direction to help us make good choices in life and to avoid disasters in the future.
We should start by asking God for wisdom. He has promised to give wisdom to everyone who asks in faith (James 1:5-8). However, we must ask for wisdom with all perseverance and diligence (Proverbs 2:1-9)
Humble yourselves and accept that you do not have all the answers-ask others for advice. Proverbs 11:14 teaches that there is safety in the wise counsel of others, and even more wisdom when we heed their counsel (Proverbs 12:15).
Accept that when we make the wrong choices God will let us know! When He does let us know ask God that we have enough wisdom to know to accept, repent, and change course. Don’t continue doing the wrong things, change!
The Spearsville Road Church of Christ would like to help you study God’s Word. Please accept our offer to come into your home and have an in home Bible Study. We invite you to come and worship with us during our worship times.