God is constantly reminding us in scripture that he is more concerned with the posture of our heart than our outward actions because our actions are motivated by our heart.
3And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”a
This post has huge potential to offend. Be warned.
God couples sexuality and marriage as two sides of one coin. Sex is for marriage, and marriage is for sex. There is no right marriage without sex¹ and their is no right sex without marriage². The two are coupled together in a love covenant³ and we call that covenant matrimony. A covenant is a promise honored by a lifestyle over a lifetime. God loves covenant, and he loves marriage – he made it.
Likewise, sexual immorality is coupled with divorce⁴. The act of committing adultery is an act of divorce. The act of committing divorce is an act of adultery⁵.
If I commit sexual immorality against my wife, I am making a statement of my heart; “My love for you is less important to me than my momentary gratification.” Such a love is not covenantal, it is not marriage. The person who lives this way has divorced their spouse from their heart. – – –
If I stop loving, (serving, doing life with, and giving my life to) my wife, I am making a statement of my heart; “My love for you has an expiry date, and it’s overdue.” Such a love is not covenantal, it is not marriage. The person who lives this way has divorced their spouse from their heart. – – –
– – – Because they do not honour the promise to love the other with a lifestyle over a lifetime. A covenant is a contract of the heart, if it is broken, it is broken from the heart. Not on legal documents.
In Matthew 19:2 Jesus reminds us how God’s people pushed him to allow divorce. They wanted divorce and to want divorce is to be inwardly divorced while staying outwardly together for social/political reasons. So God, in aggravation, regulates divorce. He does not commission a right and holy way to do divorce. Rather, he brings the posture of the divorced heart to a documentable level by requiring a certificate of divorce for those who will not reconcile their broken covenant of love in marriage.
Interestingly, “marriage” the verb doesn’t show up until Moses marries a gentile woman⁶ – But, God had been referring to a man and his sexual partner as husband and wife from the day they came together as one in flesh–sex⁷. God is less concerned about the marriage ceremony and legal contract⁸, and more concerned about a man and woman entering a covenant of love⁹, consummated and signified by their sexual intimacy with one another. Therefore, a decision to renege the covenant of love between a man and woman is divorce–with or without a certificate.
In Matthew 19:2 God’s people approach him and say “Is there anyway we can get out of this covenant of love?”, what they’re really saying is, “Hey, I’m not interested in loving this person anymore. When can I stop pretending I am?
God is constantly reminding us in scripture that he is more concerned with the posture of our heart than our outward actions because our actions are motivated by our heart. ¹⁰