Matthew, like Mark, begins with the Old Testament picture of divorce (Matthew 5.31). He continues with Jesus' statement, "But I say to you...", which became mandatory on mankind the historical Friday He died. You and I need to pay attention to verse 32.
Matthew, in both references, sets forth God's condemnation of man disjoining what He has joined. Divorce will lead someone into the sin of adultery. The man who sends the woman away sets her up to commit adultery (5:32).
Both Matthew accounts have the exception clause. The exception rests on one companion being sexually disloyal. The pivotal word in the exception clause is unchastity, according to the New American Standard Bible (NASB). The King James Version (KJV) uses fornication, and the New King James Verson (NKJV) uses sexual immorality. The original Greek Word means "1. illicit sexual intercourse a. adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc. b. sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18 c. sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,..." (StudyLight.org)
What is the point of this textual word study?
If one party of the marriage, "A", has any sexual intercourse outside of the marriage, then "B", the innocent party, struggles to make painful choices. "B" may choose:
- to forgive "A", getting a promise from "A" to join "B" in beginning the task of bolstering the battered relationship, or EDITED TO HERE
- to separate from "A" (or allow "A" to leave), never to consider another mate, or
- to divorce "A" (or allow "A" to initiate the proceedings), never to consider another mate, or
- to divorce "A" (or allow "A" to initiate the proceedings), leaving the option of another mate open for consideration at a latter time.
Because God, in the New Testament age, has chosen to include an exception clause for the sake of innocent parties, some innocent individuals may now remarry without any fear of God's wrath.
Yet even with the exception clause, there is no possible way to describe the continual sharp pain caused by a separation or divorce. Both parties will never be quite the same ever again.
And none of this discussion has looked at the monumental harm done to the children of a shattered family.
GOD KNOWS WHAT IS BEST and divorce is not an option.
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