“For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” (Eph. 5:31)
This is Moses’ commentary on Adam’s thoughts about Eve (Gen. 2:24). Jesus tells us that Moses got the commentary from the one who made them male and female in the beginning (Matt. 19:4-6). Jesus adds the result of the union. “What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.”
Jesus said it because God ordained it but we, like the Jews of Old seek to find exceptions. Often we refer to the “man” in that verse as the legal official who gives the divorce decree. Is that the man, or is the “man” the spouse who brings about the separation? Breaking this God made union requires a very hard heart. Jesus said that God allowed divorce under Moses because they had hard hearts. He was quick to tell his questioners that from the beginning (Gen. 2:24) it was not that way. He, God, intended marriage to last until the death of one of the covenant members.
Christians cannot have hard hearts. The love of God and the gift of grace softens the Christian’s heart. The faithful saint learns mercy, grace, and forgiveness. All those evil things Paul mentioned earlier disappear from the new life in Christ. They are replaced by gifts of love. Love one another with a pure heart is not only for brothers and sisters in Christ but for husbands and wives as well.
This is the picture of the church. Think about it for just a moment. The church is the wife of Christ. Their union is to make them one flesh. Jesus so loved the church that he redeemed it with his own blood. He washed it in that blood and made it clean. He intends to spend eternity with the church. Suppose Jesus decided to divorce the church? What would we think of his promise, his commitment?
There are two reasons this won’t happen. One, Jesus took the church as his bride without spot or blemish, therefore, he cannot find fault with her. Two, Jesus loves the church and love covers all faults and wrongs.
I am not condemning divorce wholesale. There are situations that are beyond the control of one spouse and we know that. The question is, should the Christian be the one that is providing the means or reasons for the divorce? Should the Christian partner be the one “man” who brings the separation?
Task for Today: Let your love for your spouse be the means by which all faults are forgiven and washed away and buried. Spend each day renewing the “bond” God joined you with. Give no reason for your spouse to wish to separate what God has joined together.