What . . . God has joined together, let no man separate.
What if your mate is guilty of adultery in the bed, or even adultery in the head? Is that grounds for divorce? Jesus followed His teaching on sexual immorality with a radical call to marital fidelity. We are to seek not only purity in our moral lives but also fidelity in our marriages. Look at how Jesus addressed this issue head-on in Matthew 5:31-32: “It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
This passage does not represent the whole of what Jesus taught about marriage. In Matthew 19:3, the Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” The Pharisees focused on divorce, but Jesus focused on marriage. He pointed them back to God’s original plan for marriage: “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (vv. 4-5). In the beginning, God created one man and one woman, Adam and Eve. There were no spares in the garden of Eden–either they got along, or they lived separately.
Jesus continued, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (v. 6). God is the one who joins people together in marriage, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually. If you are married, at some point you may have thought, “I guess I am stuck with this person.” No, you are stuck to your mate, like superglue.
I once had a couple of photos that had gotten stuck together with glue, front to front. I tried to pull the pictures apart, but when I did, I tore the faces off both pictures. That is a great picture of why God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). He does not hate divorced people, but He hates the process of divorce because divorce not only destroys a relationship–it also destroys the two individuals within that relationship. No man should separate what God has joined together.
But Jesus did give one exception. In Matthew 19:9, He repeated the concession He gave in the Sermon on the Mount: “Whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” He was talking about the case of one partner in the marriage being guilty of adultery. No, there is no command to divorce your mate if they are guilty of adultery, but there is an allowance for it. Adultery leads to the destruction of marriages.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Straight Talk About Your Sex Life” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2022.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org