On Sunday we continued to make our way through the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus continues to strike at the man-made external religion of the Pharisees that emphasized looking the part and saying the right things with very little consideration of the inner life.
Jesus never wants us to just go through the motions as we serve and obey Him. He wants us to give Him our all out of love and devotion.
The problem of adultery and divorce is as old as people. Since the fall of man, there has always been lust, dissatisfaction, and disharmony. Jesus reiterates the traditional standard of sexual purity which they have heard from their childhood. They were taught that if you didn’t commit the physical act of adultery, you were fine. Jesus teaches that God hates not only the act of adultery but that which leads up to it. He is dealing with adultery in the head, not just in the bed. The principle here is that anything that stands between you and Him must be removed.
With this as a backdrop, Jesus goes on to address the subject of divorce. I would venture to say that no two verses in Matthew 5 have been more debated, interpreted, reinterpreted, poured over, wept over, and argued over more than these. I recognize that there is nothing easy or black and white about divorce. It is often complicated, messy, and emotional.
The big takeaway of all that the Bible has to say on this subject is that divorce was never part of God’s will for us. He has allowed very few exceptions and only because of our fallen state, but make no mistake, this is not the ideal.
Marriage is a high and holy calling. It takes the determined effort of both husband and wife, along with the enabling grace of God to make it work for His glory.