Divorce and Oaths
February 7, 2011
Scripture: Matthew 5:31-37
Jesus has pronounced us “blessed” (Matthew 5:3 – see teaching here) and has turned his attention now to dismantling the “ladder to God’s blessings” set up by the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. Since, as we learned a few weeks ago (here), Jesus is the fulfillment of the law, and his blood has bought our righteousness in the sight of God and makes us “blessed” already, this ladder they wanted set up does not exist. The ideas Jesus is putting forth do not give us more law, they give us freedom to live in such a way that we can spread the blessings of God to everyone. Having dealt with the thought life of followers (here), he now speaks to how we should deal with people.
On divorce (Matthew 5:31-32 and Matthew 19:1-12): The teachers were obsessed with how to obtain one, but Jesus says, “Your spouse is not a piece of property to be done away with on a whim. Marriage was ordained by God at creation and almost nothing (with the exception of adultery) should separate two that God has joined together.”
On oaths (Matthew 5:33-37): In Jesus’ day, if two parties were making a deal and a person said, “I swear by God’s name that I will follow through on the terms of our agreement,” the person felt an extra push to come through on his part of the bargain. However, if a person did not invoke God’s name, he did not consider his part of the deal to be binding. Jesus is saying here, “You cannot take God out of anything you do; he is in everything already even if you don’t want him to be, therefore do what you say you are going to do.”
Recognize the progression here: God is in a marriage, but actually, he is in every conversation we have and a “blessed” one should know that and live as though it were true.