“‘The sky will disintegrate and the earth dissolve before a single letter of God’s Law wears out.

Using the legalities of divorce as a cover for lust is adultery; using the legalities of marriage as a cover for lust is adultery.'” Luke 16:17-18.

This seems like an odd combination of ideas, the eternal nature of God’s word and a warning against using legal ways as an excuse for adultery. But there is never anything random about Jesus’ thinking. He always came from the perspective of God and His ways rather than the natural, human way of thinking.

The concept of adultery has far wider implications than simply breaking a marriage relationship. It is a violation of the essence and nature of God Himself and the power that holds the universe together.

According to the Shema – the Hebrew confession of faith – “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4 (NIV), which an Israelite would recite more than once every day, God is one (echad – in Hebrew), not in uniformity but unity in diversity. Those who deny the Trinity or reject the deity of Jesus or the personality of the Holy Spirit have not grasped the significance of this unity. God is three persons, separate, but in essence and nature, perfectly one.

This oneness is reflected in the universe. Everything in the universe is interactive and interdependent. Everything on earth functions as one; man is a unit – every system in his body functions as one and when one system malfunctions, the whole body is affected.

God created a man and a woman and brought them together in marriage to function as one as a perfect reflection of His being. So, according the Genesis 2:24, marriage is primarily to be a visual aid of the unity of the Godhead. “For this reason (that the woman was fashioned from the body of the man), a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” The purpose of marriage is not primarily for companionship, procreation or legalised sex but to express the unity of God. 

Is it any wonder, then, that Satan targets marriage and the family as his most potent expression of hatred against God? Our so-called sexual ‘freedom’ has done more damage to the fabric of society than any other deviation from the ways of God because it has caused the whole of society to unravel.

Adultery is not just the disruption of a marriage partnership. It is a denial of the nature of God and attack on society as a whole and every human being in particular. The consequences of adultery are not only individual, they are universal.

Since God’s word is the manifestation of Himself in another form, it cannot be destroyed. It is as eternal as He is. His word is not broken – those who reject or disregard His word are broken by it and whatever is broken will land up in the trash.

Jesus warns that we must not think that we can get away with lust by disguising it under a legal divorce or even a legal marriage. Using divorce as a way of getting free to marry someone else does not fool God and neither does legal marriage as a cover-up for lust. These are the ways in which the selfishness that breaks ‘echad’ can be expressed. The only legitimate motivation for marriage is the sincere purpose of becoming one as a true, though imperfect, expression of God’s echad-ness.

Here is the Apostle Paul’s take on marriage. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord…Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy…and to present her to Himself as a radiant church…In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies…’For this reason a man must leave his mother and father and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and His church.” Ephesians 5:22-32 (NIV).

God’s word on marriage does not change because society has decided otherwise. Unity inside a monogamous union is the only way in which marriage can flourish because tha’t the way God planned it and that’s what He said.

Luella Campbell

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