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Marriage and Divorce (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Cross Radio
June 28, 2022 4:00 am

Marriage and Divorce (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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June 28, 2022 4:00 am

Scripture teaches that marriage is a lifelong commitment between a husband and wife. So are there biblical grounds for divorce? Is remarriage permissible after you’ve been divorced or widowed? Hear the biblical answers on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The Bible makes it clear that, designed by God to be a lifelong covenant commitment. So, are there biblical grounds for divorce and if you do divorce is remarriage permissible about getting married after you been widowed today on Truth for Life.

Alistair Begg looks at how the Bible addresses these frequently asked questions regarding our father would like to be able to come tonight worship you and as we think of the society in which we live. We pray that you will make us not only students of your word by men and women who are obedient to your word that we might display our love for by our commitment to commitment. First of all to understand it and so we pray that you would help us tonight as we think of these verses and an understanding that then to have it applied to our lives, no matter how costly it may be, no matter how it may run counter to what our friends in the world may suggest no matter whether it is actually something different than what we would personally like to do teach as Lord. We pray from your word again tonight for Jesus sake, we ask on that. It would seem in listening to people talk that to be single and satisfied is to be amongst a minority not to be married and contented is to be also in a small group of people to be cynical and confused about marriage, its nature and its benefits is to find oneself in an ever-growing crowd as it is with other precious gifts when we take them at a time or in a framework that God has never intended. We will find ourselves in difficulty. So with the matter of human sexuality, and as we've been finding that the Bible is very very practical when it comes to these matters. It is not as nave or as ashamed as we often are to address difficult issues straightforwardly. It would be one thing if the rampant confusion concerning marriage was all to be found beyond the walls of the church, but sadly that is not the case and whoever it is that deals with statistics. They tell us that the issues within the church are as prominent as those outside the church.

But the whole question of marriage and divorce of singleness of the discovery of sexuality of the framing of who and what we are as individuals is often just as chaotic amongst those who would name the name of Christ as it is beyond the walls of Christendom and so is very very important that we would pay careful attention to what the Bible has to say. And in these verses Paul provides clear directives to individuals who find themselves in specific circumstances, and it really breaks down into four groups of people.

The first are mentioned in verses eight and nine as he addresses those who are unmarried and who are Windows. The group obviously would include those who had never married this single population.

If you like, but it also presumably included those who had married and had subsequently been divorced and you will see that he specifically mentions one group of unmarried people, namely those who were now single. As a result of the death of their spouse. The question is what plans should such individuals make when they think about the question of marriage in the first seven verses, we discover that Paul was establishing the fact that marriage was the norm that God had established for men and women, but that singleness is a gift from God when it was given as a gift from God was also very good.

We also noted that Paul was not here speaking is it wearing some kind of rarefied context in an ivory tower, but we noted that it would appear more than likely that Paul himself in at one time been married since he now says that he is unmarried, we have to ask, why is he now unmarried did his wife leave him when he professed faith in Jesus Christ and therefore, the apostle Paul was actually a divorcee or was it simply that his wife die and he now found himself as a widow. In either case, he is addressing things that are not only important to others but were very, very important for himself.

He's presently unmarried.

Now he describes essentially the best situation possible for these people. If an unmarried person would be able to find themselves under no pressure to marry a tall then that he says would really be the best situation.

It is good for them in their seat to stay unmarried, as I am now. Why is this why think verse 32 must always be our point of reference. When we tackle Paul's emphasis year for the unmarried.

Why is he so interested in people living unmarried lives for Christ while he tells us in verse 32. I would like you to be free from concern and unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs. How he can please the Lord.

But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world, how he can please his wife and his interests are divided. However, he says, an unmarried woman or a virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs or aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world.

How she can please her husband.

And so when we try and understand why Paul keeps coming back to this theme. I think his straightforward statements here in verses 32 and following are the key to it all.

The best situation then is for the unmarried person to remain unmarried, feeling no pressure whatsoever to marry the next best situation is that of the individual who finds that they must express their sexuality and that they would do so within marriage. But if they cannot control themselves that they must express themselves sexually. They should marry because it is far better. He says to marry than to burn with passion. However, the least desirable situation is that of the individual who patently needs marriage as a means of expressing their sexuality, but for whatever reason they feel compelled or they try very hard to do without its somebody who is trying to live unmarried, while knowing themselves. They need to be married. Paul clearly does not regard as some did in his day, and others have done. Subsequently, he clearly does not regard the suppression of sexual desire as being meritorious.

The notion that to want to be married and to refrain from marriage would somehow gain you points is it where kind of celibacy that has pervaded the Roman Catholic Church down through the years.

Paul does not subscribe to that view whatsoever.

His concern is that if a person is going to burn with passion and cannot live with singleness or to remain in their unmarried state and honor God. In doing so, then he's is concerned that he would go ahead and get married.

Well, what about the individual who has been married and now finds themselves wondering whether they should or should not, what is it mean to burn with passion. Is that a difference between burning with passion and simply feeling that heats John Calvin in his commentary suggests that there is. He says that feeling that heats if you like is common to man is to be dealt with vigorously in the power of the spirit. However, burning with passion, says Calvin is being sore aflame with passion that you cannot stand up against it.

It is in the words of another to be so consumed with inward desire that scarcely anything else either matters or can be coolly considered.

That's what it means means that the whole fixation of life is driven towards that eventuality.

Clearly, that is to be set on fire with a can with a passionate desire.

Jimmy Phillips gets added when he says, I think it is far better to be married than to be tortured by unsatisfied desire and to be tortured by unsatisfied desire.

Presumably, then, is different from every so often, looking at a married couple and say I think I might like to be married to nurse since he specifically mentions widows, I'd like you to look forward to verse 39 and 40 ready again mentions widows a woman is bound to her husband. He says in verse 39. As long as he live, but if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes that he qualifies that, but he must belong to the Lord in my judgment, what you think is going to say she is happier if she stays or she that's what he is determine he's decided that as he looked back on his life and as his life is expedience. Now he figures that if she can live the kind of first Corinthians 732 perspective to be happier in that way then I think, ironically, he says, and I think that I too have the spirit of God is mean, I think that I do of the spirit of God. He knows fine.

Well, he is the spirit of God. I think this is more of the irony that we noted in earlier chapters, remember where people are acting so smart in the Corinthian church.

They were determining that they knew everything on the decided everything and they could understand everything Paul writes to them, somewhat sarcastically, and he says so you are King's I wish I had become the king and I think this is the end the way we can understand this verse so you all think you understand the spirit of God, well he says I think that I too might have the spirit of God. In addressing these. The fact is that is already express the fight in the very opening verse that he is called by God to the task of apostleship. We want to leave their patrol what he is emphasizing for widows is this. First of all, he emphasizes the lifelong permanence of marriage. A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. Categorical statement. Marriage is permanent and it is lifelong. Secondly emphasizes complete freedom to remarry after the death of our husband or a wife with the proviso that that individual then whom we married must belong to the Lord all but says somebody surely a widowed lady or a widower doesn't need that reminder after all. Maybe there 40 maybe there 50 maybe there 60 maybe when there were 15 or 16, they had to have it drummed into them. Now remember, you should marry a non-Christian very very important because what fellowship does light have with darkness. Make sure that you only date Christians make sure they understood that you surely know when you're 50 or 60 listen.

Have you ever seen a 50 or 60-year-old widow or widower who has begun to miss dreadfully companionship who has begun to long for friendship who has grown tired of sleeping in a great big empty bed and walking around and I keep an eye and a big empty apartment or house. Do you know the pressure on that individual how real it is for someone, often in their declining years because they miss the companionship they once enjoyed so much. Do you know how easy it is for them to marry somebody was in a Christian very very easy because the passage of time does not guarantee the development of spiritual maturity in Paul, the realist says she's free to marry, but don't let her marry anyone who isn't a Christian.

He then goes on to address the second group in verse 10 to the married. He says to the unmarried and the widows he's had this to say. Now he says to the married I give this command. Now what is he addressing here what he's addressing is this what about the people who being married and loving, committed themselves in marriage, for better and for worse. Now feel that they don't need or they don't like marriage. Very practical because every day you meet somebody who has decided that they don't need marriage anymore or they don't like marriage anymore or as you meet them every day. They have made a mistake in getting married at the time in which they got married or that they made a dreadful mistake in the individual whom they married are that they believe they could be far more useful to the Lord if he were only single and I'm sure the Corinthian context of the tremendous pressure along these lines, and Paul himself must've had to be very very careful with this continual emphasis on I wish that you would remain as I am so fueling the notion in the minds of some that if only they could be freed from the responsibilities of marriage which they had yes committed themselves to. If only they could be done with that now they might be the kind of Christian that they really wanted to be know you will notice that Paul emphasizes his instruction in pointing out that in this issue.

He does not simply speak on his own, but that he is addressing an issue where there is revelation which is come from Jesus Christ himself. All right, Jesus himself and given specific instructions concerning these things. Jesus is the one who in Matthew 19 had quoted from Genesis chapter 2. For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and the two will become one flesh.

He had quoted that to the Pharisees in Matthew chapter 19. Also, he made it perfectly plain in Mark records it for us in chapter 10 and verses nine and 11 the words of Jesus himself. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate and 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.

Now you don't have to be a genius to understand what is being said there very straightforward categorical statement which Paul now picks up on and makes the exact same statement. You will notice what he sets to the married I give this command not I but the Lord he says a wife must not separate from her husband if she dies, i.e. if she's disobedient to the command of the Lord.

Then she has two options remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband and a husband must not divorce his wife. In other words, he saying it cuts both ways. When you take these verses in first Corinthians 7 in the verses in Mark chapter 10, you will notice what we find again and again that the commitment to marriage by a man and a woman is for life.

It is underwritten by God, and it is not to be tampered with by human being. The bottom line for anybody considering the possibility of divorce is this, don't consider it. That's what he say divorce is out of bounds don't entertain it as a possibility. If you find yourself in difficulty as a couple. Commit yourself to the marriage in the firm belief that God is well able to read Kindle lost passion to restore lost desires and to renew lost affections as what he saying here in first Corinthians 7 is not what you say I will not consider any exception clauses at the moment is what he is saying here as they had it read for the first time in their fornicating society how it must've been 30 years back against their hats. Can you really be saying what he said you mean worse.

Stuff like this.

And the only option is reconciliation or celibacy, exactly, says Paul, those are your options. Matthew chapter 19 Jesus in addressing the subject of divorce and remarriage qualifies the categorical statement from which we just read in Mark chapter 10.

Same issue, the question of the faults concerning divorce Jesus telling them that Moses permitted you to divorce your wives. Guard your hearts were hard but it was not this way from the beginning and then he says Matthew 99 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery. Other is an exception phrase in the middle of it all.

Notice I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery okay so we know that exception clauses in their we know that Jesus said that and we know that Paul is not standing against. We have, however, to ask the question why does Paul not introduce this exception clause in making this statement here in first Corinthians 7. I think the most plausible explanation would seem to be that the background of these people were so filled with fornication and sin that if he had said to them without the opportunity to sit face-to-face with them as individuals. If any of your granny fornication in your life's anywhere you can all get divorced about 85% of the church would've had grounds to go and get divorced and therefore a lot of good marriages would've been ruined as a result of believers plumbing for the exception clause without ever needing it, nor necessarily even wanting me quote you to give me a quote on this, the Christians at Corinth were not so firmly rooted in the reality of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit as to give them the stability required to deal with a partner who rates up a marquee past.

After a bitter domestic feud. One difficult evening after a bad week at the office. If Paul recognizing the people came from that background were to give them the notion that because of unfaithfulness at any point in life.

Divorce was possible or even inevitable.

Many of them because of the context from which the Vietcong would presumably have gone ahead and go divorce especially if you add to it the notion that there were people going around suggesting that singleness was the only way to be a real Christian. So it was a perfect out for somebody that I think is the most plausible explanation as to why it is that Paul does not apply the exception at this point know you will notice that this instruction is radical and it is vital that we absorb it and that we apply it, and that we resist the title weight of relativistic thinking in relation to these matters. I'm so discouraged with the emphasis on family values. I'm so sick and tired of this claptrap. Family volumes can only be understood in the light of God's plan for the family.

One mom and one that living together in monogamous faithfulness to one another.

Family values negate categorically homosexual or lesbian marriages, family values stand against the tidal wave of divorce and lecture and distraction.

And so, unless we are prepared to talk about family values in the way that God said family values are to be addressed. Why don't we just cashing our chips on the phrase and move on to something else. We don't know anything about. It is sad story state of affairs as we consider the Bible's instruction concerning marriage and divorce it may sound radical but it's clear your listing to Truth for Life with Alister Bragg if you're finding our current series on marriage helpful you want to add to it with the book that comes highly recommended from Alister to book he wrote the forward to its title, gospel shaped marriage grace for sinners to love like saints. This is a book that helps Christian couples view marriage from a gospel perspective. In the book you learn how marriage is designed to picture Christ's relationship to the church.

Jesus calls us as husbands and wives to love each other and he gives us the grace necessary to enable us to do so. Learn how to reflect your faith through a loving, joyful, God honoring marriage. As you read the book gospel shaped marriage. The book is yours by request today. When you give a donation to support the teaching on Truth for Life. You can tap the image on the mobile app or visit Truth for by the way, when you are browsing through our online store. Don't forget to purchase your copy of the new city catechism catechism is a collection of 52 questions and answers that teach and affirm poor Christian beliefs. In fact, Alister is been leading the congregation of Parkside church through the city. Catechism this here Sunday by Sunday catechism comes in the flipbook format. It's it's easily on your desk or your kitchen counter and the format makes it convenient for you to reflect on important truths throughout your day. Each question includes an abbreviated children's answer.

So this can be a resource to share with the whole family look for the new city catechism Truth for Bob Lapine thanks for joining us today sure to listen tomorrow. When will hear the conclusion of today's message and discovered the three biblical reasons why a person may remarry Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life with the Learning is for Living