Difficult Verse #5
Divorce and Celibacy
By Pastor David Stogsdill
Matthew 19:3-12 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
These verses clearly state God’s intention of what defines a marriage. Male and female, created He them, and they are to be married. This marriage is to last a life time, and if it breaks then you are to remain unmarried or be reconciled (1 Corinthians 7:11). Within the Eastern world the contract to be married is as important as the contract of marriage. In Matthew, Jesus’ mother is referred to as Joseph’s wife (Matthew 1) while they were espoused to be married. This is where the confusion in our Western world begins. We believe an engagement is of no consequence and that it can be made and broken with little more than heartache to pay. But, in the OT and in the culture of the East it was not permitted to break this promise, except in the case of fornication. Fornication is classified as sex before marriage, and adultery is classified as an extramarital affair. There are those who do not need to marry, or will not marry. They are found in three forms. The first is the fact that some are born without the need to marry, second are those who by man’s hands are made to not marry and lastly those who chose to not marry. While it is difficult to be in a situation that disqualifies you to marry, God gives you the option to not marry and be a pure single person.