In the Sermon on the mount, Jesus teaches about true righteousness. The Pharisees and the scribes of His day taught and believed in false righteousness. They had bought into the lie of the enemy and believed that sin was a physical act and not an act of the heart. In this passage, Jesus teaches about divorce to confront the Pharisees about their adulterous behavior. It was common in that day for men to divorce their wives for petty and insignificant reasons. They did this by terribly misinterpreting Deut. 24:1-4, in which Moses gives commands regarding divorce. Jesus’ teaching on the matter affirms the true meaning of the command.
Devil’s Lie: Marriage is a contract.
Many Jews and especially the so-called religious leaders were guilty of treating marriage as a contract. If their spouse did something they did not approve of, then they would send them away and even divorce them.
So it is with many people today. People are guilty of treating marriage as a contract. If you get tired of dealing with one another, then just tear up the contract and throw it away.
God’s Truth: Marriage is a covenant.
A covenant marriage is a binding agreement between two people and holy God that is meant for a lifetime. God gave us the example of covenant through his relationship with Abraham and the Hebrew people. God said, “…I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; so shall you be a blessing; and I will those who bless you and curse those who curse you, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Gen. 12:2-3).
The covenant relationship is also put on display in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Devil’s Lie: All divorces are justified.
As they did in Jesus’ day, people have fallen into the trap of believing that all divorces are justified. In Jesus’ day, it was not uncommon for a man to divorce his wife for burning a meal. Modern day Americans are no less guilty. We will find any possible reason to justify a divorce.
God’s Truth: Few divorces are justified.
Scripture gives two reasons for a justified divorce. The first is unfaithfulness. The Greek term for this is porneia, which is a broad term that refers to all sexual immorality. The second reason for a justified divorce is abandonment by an unbelieving partner. 1 Cor. 7:13-15 explains this.
Devil’s Lie: Divorce is the answer.
Satan wants you to believe that your marriage is too far gone for God to restore it. He wants you to believe that divorce is your only option. This is a lie.
God’s Truth: Reconciliation is the answer.
God’s desire is for forgiveness and reconciliation. There is no challenge strong enough to tare a marriage apart if it is centered in Christ.
What the world needs desperately are Christian homes. Homes where Christ binds people together their entire life. Homes where the Bible is taught and honored and children see their parents committed to loving Christ, loving each other, and loving their children through the struggles of life. If you are finding yourself considering divorce as an option, cling desperately to your faith in Christ. Believe that He can bring reconciliation to any situation.