Together in Christ: 'No Longer Two But One' — Matthew 19:3-6

Monday, November 11, 2024

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Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: "Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?"
&nbrp;
"Haven't you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. "They record that from the beginning 'God made them male and female.' And he said, 'This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together."
— Matthew 19:3-6 NLT

Key Thought

Jesus' answer to the trick question the Pharisees asked revealed several essential truths about relationships. We have looked at some of these in the previous days' devotional thoughts. Today, let's look at one of the main points Jesus wants us to hear:

  • When people get married, God does not want us to tear apart our marriage union by divorce, sexual immorality, abandonment, coercion, exploitation, abuse, or any of the many ways people destroy their union in marriage. [1]
     
  • God not only joins the two people who marry, but they also enter into a marriage covenant with Him. God is the one Who joins them together as they share a one-flesh relationship of complete intimacy. [2]
     
  • God's ideal for marriage is that each person loves, cherishes, blesses, supports, builds up, encourages, forgives, pleases, honors, and sexually blesses the other. [3]
     
  • As Jesus' comments revealed, the principles of marital union are built on the foundation of several other principles taught in Scripture:

    • Sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage and the person a person is married to, and it is to bring delight to both the husband and wife. [4]
       
    • A man must leave his family to make a new home with his wife. [5]
       
    • God defines marriage as the union for life between a male and a female. [6] Scripture does not suggest this is a cultural variable that changes over time or with cultural changes. God's commands and definitions of marriage are based on His revealed identity and His will. [7]
       
    • No one should be guilty of destroying the marital union that God brought together, whether the marriage partner sins by seeking someone or another person outside the marriage chooses to involve themselves with a married person. [8]
       

    Many today might respond, "This is old-fashioned, naive, and overly restrictive!" That is how Jesus' disciples responded. [9] So, Jesus gave another option. Remain single and chaste, controlling our bodies in holiness and honor. [10] Jesus did not back down from God's plan for marriage, nor did the early church. [11] We must not either. That, however, does not mean that we treat people who violate God's commands as enemies. Jesus becomes our guide in these matters. When people are willing to come to the Lord, follow Him, and turn their life around to live by His will, He restores life and freely shares His grace. [12]

    Let's value marriage as God does. Let's obediently respond to God's call for holiness with grace, love, and support.

    [1] Hebrews 13:4; Malachi 2:10-17.
    [2] Genesis 2:24-25; Malachi 2:13-17; Matthew 19:6.
    [3] Marriage is for love, about love, and to enhance genuine love. So, 1 Corinthians 13 and the "one another passages" in the New Testament provide an excellent framework for building this kind of partnership and loving relationship.
    [4] Genesis 1:31, 2:21-25; Proverbs 5:18; 1 Corinthians 7:1-7 and the whole book of Song of Solomon.
    [5] This command was great protection for wives and put them on common ground with their husbands since most ancient cultures required the wife to move in with her husband in his parents' home.
    [6] Genesis 2:24-25; Proverbs 5:18; Malachi 2:15; Matthew 19:1-9.
    [7] God gave many of the scriptures about marriage when His people lived in cultures as sexually super-charged as ours, or even more so — 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. God anchored His commands on marriage and sexual intimacy in His nature and His creative design and not cultural changeabilities so that we could know His will for age — Genesis 1:1-2, 26-27, 31, 2:18-25; Exodus 20:2-3, 14.
    [8] 1 Thessalonians 4:6-8; Hebrews 13:4.
    [9] Matthew 19:10.
    [10] Matthew 19:11-12; 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, 25-35; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5:1-6.
    [11] 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Hebrews 13:4.
    [12] Romans 5:6-11; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; Ephesians 2:1-10.

Today's Prayer

Dear Father, many of us have watched society decay as marriage has become less valued, homes have become more unstable, and children are caught in the crossfire of painful family messes. Give us inspired Holy Spirit wisdom to know the best way to obey Your call for holy relationships and help others who struggle to find their way to You and Your plan for their lives. We need Your help, forgiveness, strength, graciousness, and wisdom as we seek to navigate the troubled seas of our culture, which seems fixed on its sexual appetites and not upon loving others sacrificially. Please, pour out Your Spirit on Your people to be examples of what a blessed life should be as a married couple. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Malachi 2:10-17
  • 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 1 Corinthians 7:12-17

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Illustration

Illustration of Matthew 19:3-6 NLT — Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: "Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?" &nbrp; "Haven't you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. "They record that from the beginning 'God made them male and female.' And he said, 'This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together."

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.