A friend went to the 2015 Harding Lecture where in one class the teacher taught error on divorce and remarriage saying “I just don’t think God wants a man to live alone for the rest of his life.” Thankfully, a Brother in another class taught the truth on marriage. What’s wrong with this reasoning that says, “I don’t think God would want…”?
First, what a man thinks isn’t as important as what God thinks. Jesus said marriage is for life. God feels very strongly about breaking vows.
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.” Lk 16:18
Second, there are consequences to sin and sometimes the consequences are lifelong; sometimes the consequences last for eternity.
The emotional argumentation, saying, “I just don’t think God would want….” is meant to tug at hearts and is a direct challenge to the justice of God. “That’s harsh; that’s just too hard”, are words aimed directly at Jesus Christ and are a challenge to His teaching. Following this kind of emotional pablum will always lead to more error. Using this kind of argumentation someone could also say,
“I just don’t think God would send someone to hell because he didn’t get wet in baptism”? Or, “I just don’t think God would condemn someone who loved a man instead of a woman.”? Or, “I just don’t think God expects for women to live out their lives in silence.”? Or, “I just don’t think God is so strict He would condemn someone for adding a little life to the worship.”? Or, “I just don’t think God would want us to be unhappy in a bad marriage.”?
It’s sad to me that this is the kind of teaching that is allowed to be heard at a lectureship these days!
Let me ask these weak-livered preachers if God wants children to spend the rest of their lives bouncing between two homes, being divided through custody bouts, suffering loneliness and guilt that they are to blame? Do you think God wants children to have that or does God want children to be raised by the mama and daddy that made them? Do you think maybe that God cares about bigger things like the keeping of vows and that the marriage truly picture the relationship between Christ and the church?
“32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” Eph 5:32,33.
Marriage from the beginning was established by God to show the relationship of Christ and the church. But this godless society knows, nor cares, a thing about that. No fault divorce is rampant so that marriage, the home, and the emotional, physical, and spiritual welfare of children is the casualty. Do you think God wants that? We can’t take a hard stand for marriage and the home if we are going to give voice to those who cave on Jesus’ words.
In the same chapter that Jesus tells the Pharisees, “No, you can’t divorce for any reason”, Jesus says to a rich young ruler that he must give away all of his money if he wants eternal life, Mt 19:21. That was an object lesson showing the sacrifice that is required to follow Christ. Carrying the cross for Jesus sometimes means living the rest of your life as a single man or woman.
Now the little preacher today – who might be suffering from low testosterone levels and should have that checked out – would say the exact same thing to the rich young ruler that, “I don’t think God would want a man to live the rest of his life in poverty.” What you think does not matter. A lifetime of giving up idols is the price we all have to pay if we want eternal life. And whether it’s an adulterous marriage or riches, what God wants is putting the sin away or else an eternity in hell is the fate. And the Preachers and Elders who compromise on this will be doubly judged for leading others astray.
So marry well. And stay married. Work out your problems. A successful marriage is always possible if we act like Christ. Don’t be selfish; but be sacrificial. Honor your wife and wives respect your husbands. Study the Scriptures, instead of man’s books that tell what they think and don’t think, so that you are prepared to teach the truth.
I say this will love for God’s children, but also with a bit of indignation for the false teachers who mislead some.