Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 12, 1957
NUMBER 32, PAGE 2-3a

Letters To Rosemary -- No. IV.


Dear Rosemary.

In this letter I want to study with you the subjects of marriage, divorce, and adultery. In Matthew 19:3-9 Jesus is being questioned," The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is It lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain but one flesh. What therefore God bath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away ? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: But from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committed adultery: and who so marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." In I Corinthians 7:39 the apostle Paul tells us, "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will: only in the Lord." In Romans 7:2,3 Paul tells us, "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth: but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she shall be married to another man, she shall BE CALLED AN ADULTERESS: but if her husband be dead she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man." Let us go back to the Old Testament and learn a thing or two about adultery. Moses, writing in Leviticus 20:10 says: "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbors wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." This was the punishment ordered by God!

We are indeed fortunate that we do not live under the law of Moses. A lot of people would have had short lives. Let us look at I Corinthians 6:9-11, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you! But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." We see that some of the Corinthians had been guilty of adultery, yet they were saved from their past sins. In Ephesians 5:5,6, we read, "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience." We might notice the story recorded in the 8th Chapter of John's account of the Gospel. This story about a woman caught in the very act of adultery shows that such a person can be forgiven. Jesus tells her, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." In Luke 3:7,8, John Baptist speaks to the Jews who came to him to be baptized, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance." Here we see that when we repent of our past sins, we are expected to change our lives and not repeat those things that are wrong. This even includes such things as dissolving an adulterous marriage. Let us study this problem by comparing it with another situation. Suppose I should steal your automobile. Later on I repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness. Now who does the car belong to? Is it mine because I owned it at the time of my conversion, or does it belong to someone else?

Some people do not remember their marriage vows very well. Let us look at some of the commands given to husbands and wives. In I Corinthians 7:1-5 "It is good for a man not to touch a woman: Nevertheless, to avoid fornication let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband bath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency." Here Paul is telling us that married people are not to do just as they please, but are to please each other. Each partner is to treat the other in such a way that there will be no need or desire for either to become entangled with Satan. In Verses 10,11 Paul says, "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from the husband: But and if she depart, let her remain UNMARRIED, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife." Can it be possible that these passages teach that husbands and wives are not to be divorced so they may marry other people?

In Ephesians 5:22-25 Paul tells us, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it." We learn here that the husband is the head of the family. The wife is to be obedient to him. He is to love his wife even to the point of dying for her. We remember that Jesus said, according to Mathew, husband and wife are not two, but are one flesh. So therefore what benefits one, benefits the other. Each should keep in mind that he cannot do as he pleases, but must do what would benefit both. We see that there is only one cause for divorce and it is a very serious one. After a divorce for any other reason the persons are not free to marry others. Who ever does is guilty of adultery and unless they repent it, will be judged as adulterers.

I have known people who became offended when someone told them they were doing. wrong. Anyone who is concerned about where he is going to spend eternity will not be offended. Paul told the Galatians in Chapter 4, verse 16 of his letter to them, "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? In John 8:32 Jesus says, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." In John 14:6 Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." So we see that we need to be careful with the truth.

Let us see if that wise man, King Solomon, had anything to say about correcting those who make mistakes. In Proverbs 3:11,12, we read, "despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction; For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth." While we are looking over some of the Proverbs, let us meditate a little on the passage recorded in Proverbs 31:10-31, "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants ships; she bringeth her food from 'afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor: yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the show for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates." There aren't many people that measure up to this description.

I hope that I have not offended you so that you become my enemy. However, if such is the case, let us look at the Romans 12:30, "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head."

Let us keep in mind that Judgement Day is coming for all of us. We will all be judged. If we have obeyed the Lord's commandments, we will be told as in Mathew 25:21, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Those who fail to keep the Lord's commandments will hear as in Mathew 25:30, "Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." We will either be saved or cast into the "lake of fire." There is no middle place. Where do you intend to spend Eternity?