Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | June 8, 2018

“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 19:1-11.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+19&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”  And He answered and said, “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’?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”  They *said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND HER AWAY?”  He *said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives;  but from the beginning it has not been this way.  And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

The disciples *said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.”  But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.  For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb;  and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men;  and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.  He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”  Matthew 19:3-11.

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“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”  Verse 9.

There is difference in opinion as to what this verse means.

There are strong Reformed believers who believe that even in the case of immorality, if a man marries another woman after his divorce on the ground of immorality, he has committed adultery.

As is generally my policy, the purpose of my Reformed Doctrine Daily Devotions is to state my opinions.  My purpose is not to state other people’s opinions nor the reasons therefor, at least in detail.  They can and should state their own opinions and the reasons for it, in their own words.  As I state in the “About Me” introduction, which can be accessed by the tab on top of the page at my web site:  “Although I do my best to present true teachings, these are my teachings as a layman.  (I am an attorney, not a minister).  And, although I have been taught by and otherwise influenced by certain Reformed denominations through the years from a very early age to date, my teachings are not necessarily the teachings of the Christian Reformed Church, the Protestant Reformed Churches, nor any other denomination.  The reader is advised to follow the example set forth in Acts 17:11:  “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”

I believe that this verse 9 means that there are two events that could constitute adultery, that is, one event is a man divorcing his wife on a ground other than immorality, and another event is that same man who divorced his wife on a ground other than immorality marries another woman.  Thus, one man could commit two adulteries if he divorced his wife on a ground other than immorality (first adultery) and then that same man who divorced his wife on a ground other than immorality (first adultery) later marries another woman, he has committed a second adultery.  But, if the man who divorced his wife on a ground other than immorality does not later marry another woman, he has only committed the first adultery and does not commit a second adultery by marrying another woman.  And, if a man who does divorce another woman on the ground of immorality later marries another woman, he does not commit either event of adultery.

Whichever opinion is true, this teaching is tough to swallow.

“It is better to live in a corner of a roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.  Proverbs 21:9 and Proverbs 25:24.

In other words, even if you are married to such a contentious wife, her contentiousness that drives you to live in a corner of a roof is not an excuse to divorce her.  And, if you do divorce your wife on a ground other than immorality (first adultery), you could commit adultery again (a second adultery) if you do marry another woman.

We are reminded of Matthew 18:8-9.

“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you;  it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire.  If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you.  It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.”  Matthew 18:8-9.

Thus, we better understand verses 10-12.

“The disciples *said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.”  But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.  For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb;  and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men;  and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.  He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”  Verses 10-12.  In other words, there are those who do not marry at all to eliminate the possibility of committing adultery.

But, there is hope!

What God has joined together for His elect, He has blessed.  “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone;  I will make him a helper suitable for him.”  Genesis 2:18.


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