Matthew 5:31-32: “Let No One Separate”

Read: Matthew 5:31-32

When God created marriage, he put one man and one woman together (Genesis 2:24) and said, “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:6) This line is often quoted in wedding ceremonies after a man and woman have taken vows before a congregation and God to affirm their lifetime commitment to form a new family and live together in spite of anything that may happen. When God gave the law though, he did allow for the dissolution marriages because as Jesus says, the “hardness of the hearts” of the people. This, however, wasn’t the way in the beginning when God created marriage (Matthew 19:8). Malachi 2:16 in some translations declares that “God hates divorce”. Jesus raises the bar over that which was written in the law concerning what God intended for marriage. The Pharisees in Jesus day were fairly strict on ceremonial law, but in many cases were rather loose on moral laws, particularly divorce. They would issue a certificate of divorce for something as trivial as burning dinner. God’s standard though is much higher.

The Bible uses marriage and divorce often times as a metaphor to describe the undying relationship that God has with Israel. The book of Hosea uses Hosea’s life in the same way. The story goes where Hosea takes a harlot as a wife who has children who’s father is not Hosea. In all this though Hosea redeems her when he has every right to put her away. The metaphor not only shows God’s undying devotion to his people even when they don’t deserve it, it also shows God’s attitude toward marriage. Divorce is one of those things that is permissible, but not necessarily right. The higher road is to stay married and not even consider divorce. In most cases, divorce is the symptom of a problem that started long before one started to consider a divorce.

God’s high standard of marriage is still in effect even in modern cultures. Studies upon studies have shown the positive affects of children raised in families with one mother and one father while showing the negative affects of broken families, single parents, and other non-biblical unions. While cultures have time and again attempted to redefine marriage, the long-lasting standard that God created in Genesis is still in affect and will outlast any culture’s view of marriage. Christians should not let the cultural definitions or norms concerning marriage influence their view of marriage, rather should cling to and strive for what God intended for marriage. Marriage requires a selfless, sacrificial commitment to another person. Paul uses marriage to describe Christs love for the church who sacrificed his life for her so she could be blameless and pure (Ephesians 5:21-32). In the same way, a married Christian should reflect this sort of selflessness toward his or her spouse. In doing so, divorce will be the furthest thing from one’s thoughts.

Lord, help me love my spouse as Christ loved the church!

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