When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” Mark 10, verses 10-12.
If you divorce for any unsanctioned reason, you’re living in adultery. In several places in the New Testament, Jesus explains God’s policy on adultery; see Matthew 5, Matthew 19, Mark 7, and Luke 16 among them. Unless you’ve been the victim of adultery, if you divorce and remarry, you’re guilty of adultery yourself. What’s worse, when we live unfaithfully in many ways, we’re guilty of adultery against God Himself. Idolatry, coveting are forms of adultery. Blasphemy and apostasy are spiritual adultery. Lust in our hearts and lust occupying our thoughts are adultery. There are many ways we can cheat on our spouses and on the third partner in our marriage who is Jesus.
Yet on that happy note Jesus may just be giving us a ray of hope.
You see, Jesus was outlining boundaries that we shouldn’t cross. He was discipling His disciples. They asked Jesus a question and He gave them God’s answer. In it, He built them up. Implied between those lines of the law was a marriage of grace and beauty. The opposite of divorce is marriage; the opposite of adultery is faithfulness. The opposite of sin is grace, and the opposite of evil is God. In drawing out those white lines of what constituted adultery, Jesus was also reminding His followers that the marriage God intended didn’t include rebellion, idolatry, coveting, lust or adultery.
Instead, Jesus intended for His married followers to live as God intended, man and woman united into a bond stronger than either of them alone. “What God has joined together, let no one separate.” Jesus didn’t intend for us to divorce; Jesus didn’t intend for us to live in marriages of hurt and sin and pain. Jesus intended marriage to bless men and women for the procreation of children and the furthering of His Kingdom. When divorce happens, Jesus intended that it would be an exception, not a rule because adultery and divorce cut us to the core in ways other things can’t.
Don’t lose sight, too, of how He did this in private. In public, the Pharisees had questioned Him, trying to set Him up and cage Him in with their verbal sleight of hand. They tried to humiliate Him in public. He responded by correcting their errors without humiliating them in return. Yet when He wanted to teach His next valuable lesson, He took it behind closed doors to an audience who He knew would listen. If you think about it, He still does the same thing. I can’t help but think of how He brings down the mighty and builds up the humble. Then He teaches us in private, deep inside us where the public can’t intrude. Such is the reward for humbling ourselves because, when we humble ourselves before God, God rewards our humility with His grace.
In my experience, there is nothing more humbling than to take your sins of adultery to God and honestly ask Him to forgive you.
Lord, forgive me for my terrible sins. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done. If there’s a hole in my relationships, fill it with Your presence. Let my story help someone else.
Read Mark 10, verses 13-16.