Marriage - overview
The subject of marriage and divorce affects most people's lives, that is - what is marriage? who is truly married? what are the permissible grounds for divorce and remarriage? If a pastor or a teacher gets this subject wrong he can expect a lost eternity as his punishment, get it wrong and you can ruin large numbers of people's lives, and involve them in adultery, yet many so called teachers in churches have a foolish, shallow attitude toward the subject.
A starting point.
Marriage issues can be very complex because of the vast number of situations people involve themselves in. In order to lead people into the truth I believe it is necessary to establish a sure and certain example of what a true marriage is, discuss the issues of divorce that would surround such a marriage, and then expand out into the more complex issues. My plan presently is -
1) Two virgin Christians marry. < the starting point.
This is the starting point.
Having established God's Law on this I then intend to expand outwardly with the following plan:
2) The differences between the Mosaic Law and the law in the new and better covenant under the "law of Christ" (Gal 6:2, Matt 7:24).
3) The teaching of Jesus to stay a virgin before marriage.
4) 1 Corinthians 7 and the subjects of being saved and.....
a) Are you to stay married to your unbelieving spouse?
b) What happens if your unbelieving spouse leaves you (deserts you) or divorces you?
c) Should you return to your first spouse if, before you were saved
5) Can a person who committed fornication many times then legitimately marry a virgin? Either before or after being saved.
This subject is far more involved than people think. It involves
a) men living in sin without marrying the woman (is that to be thought of as a "common law marriage"?)
Are there really "two different laws" about marriage?
All these subjects also involve the question "Was the person really born again" when in marriages. That is if you adopt a theology were marriages before salvation "do not count" (somehow or other) imagine the fantastically high spiritual discernment a pastor is put under when divorcees start saying "I was just a nominal Christian in that marriage, I was not born again, and never knew the Lord in then, I had no relationship with God".
Such theology puts a pastor in a position where it is exceptionally difficult to keep a church clean of open adulterous remarriages. This is one good argument to deny there are somehow "two laws on marriage" one for believers and one for unbelievers, and perhaps an even bigger refuting argument might be the other question "What happens when a believer disobeys the command of God and marries an unbeliever?" Or to complicate that "What if he marries a person he thought was saved but turns out they were not saved"? Suddenly we have a crossover of two different theologies that seems to refute the entire idea - that is a Christian is supposed to marry for life. The only thing that seems to make any sense of all of this is that when Jesus said "whosoever divorces and marries again commits adultery" he meant it when he said whosoever, and there is one law, not two.
In my view when Peter spoke of Paul's teaching saying:
"As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness." 2 Pet 3:16-17
He was speaking partly about marriage issues and the vastly complex situations people involve themselves in.
Prudery and Laxity- two errors.
In the subjects of marriage and sexuality you are just as much an heretic if you preach over strict theology as you are if you teach lax theology. Lax theology will turn your church into one similar to that of the Jezebel cult in the Book of Revelation, but theology on marriage that is too strict can ruin and devastate people's lives just as easily. So beware. If you take upon yourself the responsibility of being a teacher in church it is a very serious task, one that requires being called to it. You will (for instance) have to be such a strong man of God as to be so strong in theology you can make a stand against the modern sin of changing the bible itself, with the specific topic of the changing of the translation of the word "porneia" in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 from "fornication" (KJV) to "marital unfaithfulness" and all the other misinterpretations of the modern versions of the bible, that give the false impression that post marital adultery could possibly be a cause for divorce and remarriage.