Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to 5:31-48, which covers four laws. In verses 21 through 30 the Lord covered two laws that were complemented, the law regarding murder and the law regarding adultery. But the four laws in this section, the laws regarding divorce, swearing, resisting evil, and loving our enemies, have all been changed. What the King decreed in verses 21 through 30 as the new law of the kingdom complements the law of the old dispensation, whereas what the King proclaimed in verses 31 through 48 as the new law of the kingdom changes the law of the old dispensation.
Let us firstly consider the changing of the law regarding divorce. Verse 31 says, “And it was said: Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a divorce.” According to the old law, a man could divorce his wife simply by giving her a writing of divorcement. The law of the old dispensation concerning divorce was ordained because of the people’s hardness of heart; it was not according to God’s design in the beginning (19:7-8). The King’s new decree recovers marriage back to the beginning designed by God (19:4-6).
Verse 32 says, “But I say to you that every one who puts away his wife, except in a case of fornication, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries one that has been put away commits adultery.” The marriage tie can be broken only by death (Rom. 7:3) or fornication. Hence, to have a divorce for any other reason is to commit adultery.
According to the word of the Lord Jesus, the only cause for divorce is fornication. Only two things can break the marriage tie: either the death of one of the parties or fornication, adultery. If either party commits adultery, the marriage tie is broken. This is the principle. Therefore, the Lord Jesus said that there must be no divorce except in the case of fornication. But you should not take advantage of this as an excuse to remarry simply because an act of fornication has been committed. This also is a matter of motive. If possible, the offending one should be forgiven. However, it is different if the guilty party refuses to repent and lives in that kind of sin or marries someone else. In such a case as this, the marriage tie is broken, and the other party is free.
In His original design for marriage, God ordained one wife for one husband. But due to the weakness and hardness of heart of the children of Israel, when the law was given, Moses gave a man permission to divorce his wife with a writing of divorce. But now, with the coming of the kingdom of the heavens, this law regarding divorce is changed, and the matter of marriage is recovered to God’s intention at the beginning. At the beginning God did not create two or three Eves for Adam so he could have one or more divorces. No, there was only one husband and one wife. Hence, the Lord Jesus as the King of the heavenly kingdom brings the matter of marriage back to the beginning.
Here I would say a word to the young people. In this country there are a great number of divorces every year. Some have even been married several times. How deplorable! No child of God should ever have a divorce. This is serious. To divorce and remarry means to commit adultery. In the previous message we saw how serious adultery is. For this reason, I would speak a warning word to the young people who are not yet married: do not leap into marriage in a light way. You must pray to the Lord and wait on Him for His clear leading. Never be directed by your lusts or desires. If you do this, you will regret it later, for the lusts and desires will not last. Before you are married, both your eyes should be open to consider the matter carefully. But after you are married, your eyes must be closed. There is a proverb which says that love blinds you, but that marriage opens your eyes. We, however, need to change this proverb. Our eyes should be opened before marriage and closed after marriage. Young people, before you get married, ask the Lord to give you eyes to see every aspect of the situation. But after you are married, you must close your eyes and be blind. Be a blind wife or a blind husband, always considering your husband or wife so dear. If you do this, there will be no divorce.
I am surprised whenever I hear of a brother and sister who get married after knowing each other for just a short time. Do not get married in a hasty way or in a quick way. No hasty marriage is of the Lord’s leading. If there is any matter that requires prayer, it is marriage. And if there is anything for which you need to present yourself to the Lord, it is your marriage. Present yourself and the other party to the Lord, offering yourself on the altar as a burnt offering to the Lord for your coming marriage. After you present yourself to the Lord, seek His leading and wait on Him for a period of time. I would encourage you to wait for at least another month. Do not be in a hurry. As an old man with much experience, I advise you to take your time in this matter. Even if you get married a year later, it will not make much difference. If marrying a certain one is of the Lord, the Lord will keep that one for you. You do not need to be in a rush. Furthermore, do not make your own choice, your own selection. Be content with the Lord’s will and with the Lord’s timing. This will save you from the possibility of divorce.
Again, I say, once you are married, you must be blind. Blessed are the blind husbands and wives. The wife who tries to be clear-sighted concerning her husband will suffer, but the one who does not try to be clear-sighted will enjoy life. To her, the sky is blue, the sun is shining, and the air is fresh. She does not seek to find all her husband’s faults. She can simply praise the Lord for her husband.
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