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Recovering God’s purposes for life … Matthew 5:31-32. Marriage & Divorce. The Divine Commentary on the Law Matt. 5:17-48. Christ, the law and the Christian 5:17-20 : God’s intentions behind the Law so that we may fulfill God’s heart requirements;-

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the divine commentary on the law matt 5 17 48
The Divine Commentary on the Law Matt. 5:17-48
  • Christ, the law and the Christian 5:17-20:

God’s intentions behind the Law so that we may fulfill God’s heart requirements;-

      • in relationships to our brothers/sisters 5:21-26
      • in relationships to members of the opposite sex 5:27-30.
      • in relationships within marriage 5:31-32
      • in our conversation (oaths) 5:33-37
      • in relationships to our 'enemies' 5:38-48
following in the master s footsteps
Following in the master’s footsteps …
  • John 8:2-11

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her …. ““… Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

contemporary yet a ncient s truggles
Contemporary yet ancient struggles …

  • Domination and exploitation of others, ̶ Slavery, and particularly sex-slave trade
  • Equality and mutual significance of men and women
  • Pressure to redefine male and female so that all differences are eliminated
  • Sustaining long-term in-depth relationships, esp. marriage

slide5

Marriage in the Ancient world

Historic Context

  • Marriage in most cultures of that day was about a man’s exclusive rights over (possession of) a woman for the purposes of child-bearing & inheritance.
  • A wife’s faithfulness was essential to be sure of the child’s identity, therefore strongly monitored.
  • A husband’s sexual liaison (“porneia”) with other single women were tolerated (especially with “pornai” or slaves)
  • A husband’s sexual liaison with a married woman was NOT permitted as it infringed the rights of the other man!
slide6

God’s challenges to the Ancient world

Some counter-cultural Biblical teaching

  • Gen. 2:24 movement of the man to a new centre for his life – his wife, to form a new family unit.
  • Deut. 24:1-4 protects a divorced woman by fully releasing her from the man, making her free to re-marry (her main hope of long-term protection)
  • 1 Cor. 7:1-5 mutual possession of one another’s bodies in marriage
slide7

Controversies over divorce Matt 5:31-32; 19:3-12

Historical Context of Matt 19:3-12:-

  • O.T. basis –Deuteronomy 24:1-4.
  • Contemporary to Jesus were two religious schools of thought, named after two Rabbis:
    • Shammai– a strict party, saying the sole ground for divorce was the specific grave offence of adultery, with which Jesus here agrees using the characteristic of “porneia”
    • Hillel– a liberal party saying divorce could be granted for any cause whatsoever - including bad cooking or even merely if the husband found a woman of better complexion! The Pharisees tended to this view, as did much of the public, hence the question Matt.19:3 '… for any cause?'
slide8

Focussing on Marriage not Divorce Matt 5:31-32; 19:3-12

3 points of contrast in Matt 19:3-12:-

  • Pharisees absorbed with the grounds for divorce -Jesus:with the institution of marriage.
  • Pharisees called Moses' words a commandment for divorce -Jesus:a concession because of the sinful hardness of the human heart.
  • Pharisees (especially for men) regarded divorce lightly: -Jesus:seriously as an action against God, leading to adultery, except for the casewhere adultery is already taking place.
slide9

The call to Faithfulness in Marriage Matt 5:31-32; 19:3-12

Jesus: the high standard of the Kingdom of God

  • Sexual activity in thought or action outside of marriage is sin (5:28-30)
  • Marriage is for life
  • Divorce (“to set free and send away”) is only to be considered in the case of a spouse who is characterised by “porneia” - sexual unfaithfulness
  • Any other reason for divorce puts both spouse and any subsequent partners in the wrong
the necessity of divorce
The “necessity” of Divorce
  • Matt 19:8-9; Deuteronomy 24 the hardness of the fallen human heart – self-willed & sinful
  • God’s involvement with Divorce
    • The relationship between God and Israel ended when God divorced Israel - Isaiah 50:1-3, Jeremiah 3:1-12
    • God restores his unfaithful wife - Hosea 1-3
  • So Malachi 2:16 when God says “I hate divorce,” he does so as one who personally knows the pain of it, not as a detached moraliser!
the agony of divorce
The agony of divorce …
  • A Release from abuse
    • Adultery
    • Emotional/physical
  • Sense of betrayal
  • Loss – a grieving process
  • Damaged childhoods
  • Loss of trust – uncertainty as “permanent” relationships are broken
  • Complexity of connections that are partially but rarely totally disconnected:-
    • Memory of sexual union and intimacy
    • Children
the grace of re marriage
The grace of re-marriage
  • Divorce as defined by God released a woman from marriage in a protected way, thus allowing for an honourable re-marriage.
  • Purpose:
    • Historically to protect the woman
    • Morally to preserve the fallen human race from sexual chaos
    • Sociologically: to maintain the care of children within family homes as stable as possible.
  • Must be founded on humility, honest confession, forgiveness, tolerance of the “other” and grace.
some assumptions
Some assumptions …
  • God exists, he is personal, community orientated (Trinity) and made us for relationships with himself and one another.
  • God has spoken: God has revealed sufficient absolute truth that we have a basis on which to learn to distinguish between what is right and wrong
  • God has a plan: God has a definite purpose in all that he does, therefore there are some definite reasons for marriage
discovering what god intended
Discovering what God intended

Genesis 1:26-31; 2:15-25

  • Human beings, male and female reflecting and sharing his glory,as they, being distinctive and different yet in perfect cooperative harmony, reproduce, work and manage the world he had created.
some key aspects of biblical marriage
Some key aspects of Biblical Marriage

Marriage is

  • of Divine origin
  • Creational – to do with original design for humans
  • Complementary between two differentgenders (Matt. 19:4-6)
  • Relational in an exclusive, life-long and specific sense
  • The social relationship that anchors the wider community (primary stable care base for children)
some key aspects of biblical marriage1
Some key aspects of Biblical Marriage

Marriage is

  • Physical as well as emotional, physiological, spiritual and social
  • Intentionally linked with reproduction and parenting -has as a fundamental possibility the bearing and raising of children who are the exclusive biological product of the male and female joined in marriage (conjugal definition)
  • Reflects covenant relationships between God and His people – faithfulness, life-long, exclusive, sacrificial love
  • At a personal level it is a gift/grace as an alternative to singleness
a biblical definition of marriage
A biblical definition of marriage

“Marriage is an exclusive heterosexual covenant between one man and one woman, ordained and sealed by God, preceded by a public leaving of parents, consummated in sexual union, issuing in a permanent mutually supportive partnership and normally crowned by the gift of children.”

John Stott

defining yourself
Defining yourself …
  • Not by gender or sexuality, because God is neither male nor female yet both masculinity and femininity find their source and definition in God
  • Not by married or single status, because marriage is not an eternal entity
  • But as a child of God
    • part of the “image and likeness of God” on earth (Creational identity)

and

    • “in Christ” (Redemption identity) Galatians 3:25-29
consequences of sin
Consequences of sin
  • Curse on serpent – animal world
  • Warfare between Satan and the woman’s offspring
  • Increased pain in child-bearing
  • Conflict and tension between woman and man
  • Curse on the ground making production difficult
  • Increased pain in crop/fruit production
  • Certainty of physical death
the key to restoration submission
The key to restoration … submission

The Tree of the knowledge of good and evil

… the authority to determine and define what is right or wrong

I will do my own thing ..

Jesus Christ

“I have not come to do my will but the will of God who sent me …”

“My Father … not my will but yours be done.”

restoring humanity god s plan
Restoring humanity - God’s plan
  • By God sharing in our Humanity !Hebrews 2: 10 –18 - Christ died for us
  • By Holy Spirit Transformation2 Corinthians 3:18
  • By our daily choicesGalatians 5:16-24
r estoration in christ
Restoration in Christ …

The new breed of humanity (2 Cor 5:17)

  • “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord …” 1 Peter 3:15
  • “… put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:10
  • “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” Ephesians 5:15-21
practical restoration in marriage
Practical restoration … in marriage
  • “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” Ephesians 5:15-21
practical restoration in relationships
Practical restoration … in relationships
  • Ensure that regarding male/female I am - informed by God’s plan (restoration) - not a pawn in Satan’s hand (destruction)
  • Resist the contemporary sexualisation of life.
  • Connecting intimacy with other people to intimacy with God.
practical restoration in identity
Practical restoration … in identity
  • Learn to follow Christ faithfully
    • with the measure of the gender that I have.
    • with the single/married status that I have.
seeking clarity on god s intentions
Seeking clarity on God’s intentions …

In God’s plan, why marriage?

  • Genesis 1:24-31; 2:4-9; 15-24;

5:1-3; 9:1-7 – union of the different

  • Matthew 19:1-9 – creational and permanent
  • Ephesians 5:18-33 – The cosmic significance of marriage
  • 1 Corinthians 7:1-40 – Pastoral instruction for a fallen world of marriage
discovering what god intended1
Discovering what God intended
  • Humans, both male and female, are “the image and likeness of God” on earth.
  • Intrinsic equality – made of the same stuff
  • Absolutely necessity - both male and female
  • Marital complexity
    • Adam given responsibility for Eve
    • But must leave home to be joined to her(woman taken out of man, but man must re-join with her to fulfil creational purpose) Gen. 2:18-25
  • Equal, distinct and complementary
a more detailed definition
A more detailed definition …

Marriage is

the voluntary sexual and public social union

of one man and one woman

from different families.

This union is patterned upon the union of God with his people the bride,

the Christ with his church.

Intrinsic to this union is God’s calling to lifelong exclusive sexual faithfulness.

Christopher Ash

understanding marriage
Understanding Marriage
  • Covenant –leave and cleave
  • Union – one flesh (conjugal union), the union of distinctly different genders, the union of the two “others”
  • Image of God – in the union of the different genders there is the more fuller expression of God himself – male and female he made them.
  • Procreative possibility –creationally fundamental, yet in fallen world not always possible.
faithfulness in speech marriage
Faithfulness in speech & marriage
  • All my words, even more so my promises, should be faithful and true – and kept!
  • How can I,the peacemaker/reconciler of Matt 5:9, ever seek a divorce? Read God’s own example - seeking reconciliation with adulterous Israel (Hosea chps 1 & 2) right up to Christ's death.
  • Recognise the role of grace and forgiveness, without which we will be lost in a legalistic maze of marital disconnections
  • Understand that the concession (grace) of divorce with the in-built freedom to re-marry is critical.
basis for defining marriage
Basis for defining marriage …
  • How and why do people live in initiate long-term relationships?
the problem
The problem …

Eating from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil

… the authority to determine and define what is right or wrong

I will do my own thing ..

consequences of sin1
Consequences of sin
  • Curse on serpent – animal world
  • Warfare between Satan and the woman’s offspring
  • Pain in child-bearing
  • Conflict and tension between woman and man
  • Curse on the ground making production difficult
  • Pain in crop/fruit production
  • Certainty of physical death
finding our identity living in harmony
Finding our identity & living in harmony

Men and women:-

  • Understanding the conflict and recognising my problem
  • Discovering what God intended and seeking restoration
debunking common myths
Debunking common myths
  • God is male
  • Man is superior to Woman

?

?

debunking common myths1
Debunking common myths
  • God is male ?
    • God giving birth to the world, the Spirit “brooding” over the waters.
    • El Shaddai – God, the All-sufficient One
    • God as “Helper” providing for the lack in the other person – as Eve did to Adam.
    • Jesus as protector, gathering us under his wings as a hen does.

God is neither male nor female,

but both masculinity and femininity find their source in God.

debunking common myths2
Debunking common myths
  • God is male ?
  • Man is superior to Woman ?

God is neither male nor female,

but both masculinity and femininity find their source in God.

Neither is superior to the other:

They were created equal to represent God as partners.

discovering what god intended2
Discovering what God intended
  • Humans, both male and female, are “the image and likeness of God” on earth.
how do you define yourself
How do you define yourself?

How do you introduce yourself?

I am defined:-

  • by my personal history
  • or by others appreciation of me
  • or by what I do,
what is my image of myself
What is my image of myself?

False Images …

  • I am God - Genesis 3:5
  • I am nothing – Genesis 4:14-15
  • Female or Male is God - Genesis 3:16
what does it mean to be in the image of god genesis 1 26
What does it mean to be in the Image of God?Genesis 1:26
  • Male and female are visible reflections of who God is.
  • Yet distinct from God – not divine.
  • Having certain unique capacities unlike animals:-
      • Intelligent creativity
      • A Developing knowledge
      • Free-will, the ability to rationally/spiritually choose
      • Able to form human & spirit relationships
      • To love profoundly, intimately and sacrificially
image of god what are the implications for life on earth
Image of God – What are the implications for life on earth?
  • The dignity of human life
  • Equality among human beings
  • Universality of Ethics & Morals
  • Accountability/Responsibility to God
  • Community
      • Male/Female equality
      • Male/Female Distinctiveness
      • Male/Female Complementarity
discovering what god intended3
Discovering what God intended
  • Humans, both male and female, are “the image and likeness of God” on earth.
  • Intrinsic equality – made of the same stuff
  • Absolutely necessary - both male and female
  • Marital complexity
    • Adam given responsibility for Eve
    • But must leave home to be joined to her(woman taken out of man, but man must re-join with her to fulfil creational purpose)
  • Equal, distinct and complementary
god created human kind in his image genesis 1 26
God created human kind in his image (Genesis 1:26)

Balthasar - a clear theological definition of self:

“Without God there can be no human person:-

  • Not merely in the sense that it is the divine creative power and word which has brought human persons into existence,
  • Or in the sense that the human person is, in some deep mysterious sense, the image of God the absolute person,
  • But in the sense that it is the relationship to God as transcendent source and goal that calls forth from each individual his or her unique self-hood.”

God created me

God made me to be like him

I need to be plugged into God

the image of god as god s master plan
The Image of God … As God’s Master Plan
  • God created human kind in his image
  • Sin has damaged this image of God in the human race
  • God in Christ re-creates the image of God perfectly in humanity
2 sin has damaged this image of god in the human race
2. Sin has damaged this image of God in the human race
  • Distorted view of God, self & others (1 Cor. 2:11; Jeremiah 17:9)
  • Unable to consistently do what is right (Romans 7:15-19)
  • Yet still able to be creative & do good (James 3:9; 1 Cor. 11:7)