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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Teen Stresses: Divorce, New Testament Biblical Reflections

     If you are one of the multitude who have been hurt over and over by the well-meaning Christians who just want you to know the ”truth” about your current “divorced” status and just want to skip this post so as not to be hurt again, please finish this series of posts. You might be surprised. It is my intention to let God’s truth heal those wounds you have suffered, not condemn you further. There is real hope in God’s Word for the people who are divorced. God is against the practice of divorce because of the effects it has on everyone, which is why He set up laws against it. God is not against the people who have been divorced; He loves them. It is our legalistic society that makes people feel condemned and abandoned at the time they need support the most. God is there. Let me show you.

     Let’s begin this look at the New Testament reflections on divorce with a foundational understanding: There is no change in what God expected of the people in the Old Testament from His expectations of those living in the New Testament days. His laws and His Word are for all people of all cultures and for all generations. The arrival of Jesus on Planet Earth did not change God’s laws. Jesus, Himself, declared this. As recorded in Mathew 5:17-20:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

     So, Jesus is telling us that each of us is responsible to obey God’s laws and not just rely on what the leaders or teachers tell us. If they are leading us astray, as some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law did in Bible times, it will still be held against us. Going to a church that allows people to behave in any way they think right for themselves, will not benefit the person at all when he or she is standing before Almighty God. God’s laws are absolute so it behooves us to know and obey them.

     Okay, on the matter of divorce then, let’s take a look. The law said that if anyone was found to have been caught in adultery, he should give his wife a certificate of divorce. When Mary turned up pregnant and Joseph knew it was not his baby, the law would advise him to divorce her. It was on Joe’s mind, for sure, though he really did love her.

“Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1:19)

     After the Holy Spirit paid Joseph a visit, he no longer had to divorce Mary; she had been faithful to him, just as she claimed.

     Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth, the Pharisees were focused on tripping Him up in what Jesus was teaching the people. The matter of divorce was no exception. In fact, the Gospel of Matthew records two, specific, incidents where Jesus was questioned on divorce.

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