Holy Matrimony Batman!
1 Corinthians 7:10-16 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. 12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
Paul now gives rules on marriage. The Corinthians would not have known God’s laws. They only knew the laws of their city, where basically anything and everything was lawful and sexual immorality was rampant. Paul is teaching these believers what is holy and what is common before the Lord. It is important to recognize that we as Christians need to know the difference between the clean and the unclean, the holy and the common. The priests in Israel during the time of Ezekiel were severely condemned by the Lord for not teaching the people what was of God and what was not of God.
Ezekiel 22:26 Her priests have [a]violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.
To profane the name of the Lord is to confess that you know Him and be called by His name, but live in a way that is contrary to His Word.
Paul is teaching the church the difference between the holy and the unholy so that they will not profane the His name.
I command, yet not I, but the Lord.— The point of the contrast is between a subject on which our Lord Himself while on earth gave direct verbal instruction, and another subject on which He now gives His commands through His Apostle Paul to the church. Paul is not giving his own command about marriage, he speaks on behalf of the Lord as an anointed and appointed apostle.
What does this mean to you? WE need to recognize what is holy and what is common.
Marriage is HOLY not common. In Scripture, holy refers to that which was to be dedicated to God. The common would be to approach something in a manner that lacks the fear of the Lord. Think about the Ark of the Covenant. When David tried to move it, he did not do it according to God’s way. Uzzah touched the Ark to steady it, and he died.
2 Samuel 6:5-7 5 Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the Lord on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. 6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and [a]took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his [b]error; and he died there by the ark of God.
Why did Uzzah have to die? HE treated the Ark as a common thing. It was not common. It was holy
From the beginning of creation- God made them male and female, bringing them together in holy matrimony. IT is the ONLY union on this earth where we become ONE with another person. We do not become one with our kids, only our spouse.
Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be[a] joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Matthew 19:4-5 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who [a]made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 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’?
This word “joined” means “glued”. Take two pieces of paper and glue them together. Let it dry and then try to take them apart. What happens? You cannot fully remove either piece of paper in its original and whole form. It will be ripped and torn.
God sets the rules for marriage, not you. HE ordained it in the garden, you do not get to change His rules.
The #1 rule for marriage is for one male and one female. Anything outside this union is not a marriage, but is an abomination. This is not a political arguing point. This is a foundational truth
It is important to remember that the marriage covenant is an earthly representation of Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:22-33 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might [a]sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, [b]of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Marriage is holy. It is a picture of Christ and the church. It is to be held onto tightly and to be defended at all costs. It is the foundation for a godly family and ultimately a strong church.
Rule #2: Marriage among Christians are only to another Christian.
Christ and the church:
James 4:4 [a]Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
But even then, you should equally yoked- are you called to ministry? I know many churches that suffer because the pastor’s wife wants nothing to do with the ministry. When pastor Matt asked me if I was called into the ministry, I did not know. But what I told him was that I would do and go anywhere He asked of me and I would do His will. I was willing
If you marry a heathen, you WILL have trouble. I know people that married a nonbeliever and their life has been miserable. Do things God’s way and get God’s results. I also know believers that married a nonbeliever and ended up falling away from the Lord, following in their spouse’s footsteps. Christ’s bride is not a friend of the world.
The book of Ezra records God commanding priests to divorce all their pagan wives they married.
Ezra 10:1-12 (Read in Bible)
You should take His Word seriously. “Do not” is not a suggestion.
Rule #3 YOU cannot divorce for whatever reason you want.
Let not the wife depart from her husband — Willfully leave him, on account of a disagreement between them. But if she depart let her remain unmarried, or let her be reconciled to her husband — This means that if you leave a marriage because you just cannot get along, you are not to get remarried. You are to be reconciled to your spouse.
And let not the husband put away his wife — Except for the cause of adultery. The obligations lying on husbands and wives are mutual and equal. The apostle, after saying concerning the wife, that if she departed from her husband, she must remain unmarried, or be reconciled to him, the same goes for a man.
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
“We cannot get along”. Suck it up and fix it! I know many that have divorced their spouse for NO reason and remarried someone else. They are adulterers. Just because the state acknowledges your divorce does not mean that God does. HE took your vows seriously. Marriage is sacred and binding
Matthew 19:3-9 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who [a]made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 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’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” 8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for [b]sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
Now, there is a caveat. If you were married and divorced before Christ, you are a new creation. Your past is under the blood and did not know any better. You were blind. BUT now you see. It is only when our eyes are opened, that we are responsible to the Lord.
Years ago when we were still in the school, I had a lady who wanted to teach a marriage class. She gave me a book to read that she wanted to base the marriage class off of. I do not remember the name, but I remember what it was about. I called my mom. She has been married 3 times. Her marriage to my stepdad now has been for 37 years. They were both saved right around the 7 year mark. The author of this book says that my mom was only married to the first person she married (which was not my bio dad). So she was to leave the marriage she was in now, and go and find the first person she married and stay with him.
Yes books like this exist.
Can you be forgiven for divorce when you are in Christ if you did not have a Biblical reason? Yes. I do not believe divorce is the unforgivable sin. But, you have to repent and YOU may have to remain single the rest of your life. There are always consequences for disobedience.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Some people in the church are consecutive polygamists. You cannot continue to be married and divorced, married and divorced, married and divorced. THIS is not godly. You will answer to the Lord for how you treated this holy union. Consequently, many do this to the church. For more on that, buy Ps Matt’s book, “The Church is the Ark”
Adultery is the only Biblical reason for a divorce. It is also the standard that the Lord has set for the church. We cannot fornicate with the world and think that we will still be married to the Lord. HE is returning for a faithful church. Faithfulness to the covenant of marriage is a requirement of being holy, just as faithfulness to the covenant we have with Jesus is a requirement of our salvation.
It takes zero talent to be faithful.
Rule #4: A mixed marriage- one between a nonbeliever and a believer. THIS IS THE ONLY KIND OF MIXED MARRIAGE TALKED ABOUT IN SCRIPTURE! Up to this point Paul has alluded only to Christians; he has spoken of the duties of unmarried persons, of widows, and of those already married. There still remains one class of marriages concerning which differences of opinion existed—viz., mixed marriages. In a church like Corinth there would have been, no doubt, many cases where one of the partners was a heathen and the other a Christian, arising from the subsequent conversion of only one of the married couple. The words are emphatically, “If any man have already a wife,”
The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife.—Any thought which a Christian might have felt as to whether their union with an unbeliever would be unholy is here removed. If you come to Christ and are already married, and your spouse will not come to Christ; the marriage is still clean and holy before the Lord. You are not responsible for your past BEFORE CHRIST.
The children of such marriages were considered holy because marriage is holy the fruit is holy. This does not mean that the spouse or your children are automatically saved. It must be remembered that the “sanctification” and “holiness” here spoken of is not that inward sanctification which springs from the action of the Holy Spirit in the individual heart, but that consecration which arises from being in a holy union.
But if the unbelieving depart.—Supposing, however, the desire for separation arises from the unbelieving partner, how is the Christian partner to act? A brother or a sister, in such cases, is not bound to insist upon the continuation of the union. “Let the unbeliever, if he so desire, depart.” In such cases, when the unbelieving partner wishes to depart, let him or her do so. The Christian is not, under such circumstances, bound by the marriage to continue together. Their doing so might destroy that very peace in which God has called us.
This permission is in no way contrary to our Lord’s permission of divorce on only one ground, for the Apostle has carefully reminded his readers that our Lord’s command does not apply to the case of a marriage between a believer and a heathen. In such cases we have no command from Him. Remember Ezra? HE made the priests divorce their pagan wives. In some instances, historically God allows it.
Rule #5: Win your spouse to the Lord. But how do you know that as a believer staying and submitting to the marriage that you will not bring your spouse to salvation? We should be concerned with the salvation of all men, how much more so to the one we are married to? This is of so much importance that the Christian should be willing to submit to much, to bear much, and to suffer long, in order that it might be accomplished.
Paul said that it was desirable to endure with a nonbelieving spouse even if they are unkind and unfaithful or perverse and irritable, if there is the hope that they may be converted. I am not advocating staying with an abusive person. Get out and get to safety. But should we not be able to endure for sake of your spouse’s soul? You loved them enough at one time to marry them.
1 Peter 3:1-2 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.
1 Peter 3:7-8 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
You should take marriage seriously and treat it as a holy thing, not a common thing. The world treats marriage as if it is common. Many enter into the marriage relationship with the option of divorce. This should never be the mindset of the Christian. Christ did not enter into a covenant with us with the option to divorce. It is a last resort, after exhausting every means.
If you have been divorced for a Biblical reason. Be set free tonight. If you are in a bad marriage, make it right by the power of His Spirit. If you need to repent because you have done it all wrong, then repent and be forgiven. If you are married, treat your marriage as a holy thing and put guard rails around your covenant.