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Home -- Content: Series 7 (Laws) -- Translation: English -- Book: 2 (Gospel) -- Chapter: 21 (Conduct 3) -- Text
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The Sharia of Christ in the GOSPEL
G - Commandments of Christ related to our Duties towards Men (CONDUCT)

3. MARRIAGE, ADULTERY AND DIVORCE IN THE NEW COVENANT


Summary


Matthew 5:27-32 -- 27 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ' You shall not commit adultery. ' 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 31 “Furthermore it has been said, ' Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. ' 32 "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery. (Luke 16:18, 1 Corinthians 7:10.11)
Matthew 8:14-17 -- 14 Now when Jesus had come into Peter's house, He saw his wife's mother lying sick with a fever. 15 So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them. 16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses."
Matthew 19:3-10 -- 3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" 4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' 5 and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh '? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." 7 They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" 8 He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." 10 His disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry." (See Mark 10,2-12)
Matthew 15:15-20 -- 15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, "Explain this parable to us." 16 So Jesus said, "Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man."
John 8:2-11 -- 2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. 7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" 11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."
John 4:15-21 -- 15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." 16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." 17 The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' 18 "for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly." 19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship." 21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Luke 7:36-50 -- 36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, "This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner." 40 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he said, "Teacher, say it." 41 There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?" 43 Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have rightly judged." 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." 48 And He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." 49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" 50 Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

Summary

He who studies the law of marriage in the different religions, with its terms and principles, with the rights of a man and a woman included therein, will be astonished, for he will not find many words about this in the Gospel. Jesus did not primarily establish rights but duties for his followers. And these duties are not laws, but address what comes natural by way of love and trust. The question in Christianity is not: “Which one is the master of the house? He, or she?” but: “Who does voluntarily complement the other and serve him?” Both men and women are sinners as regards the glory and love of God; and therefore, they both continuously live from the forgiveness of their Savior. In this way, husbands and wives by constant practice and learning are used to forgive each other and to forget each other's shortcomings.

Jesus did not write a legal code about marriage, but he confirmed and deepened the provisions made in this regards by the biblical passages about creation. He did not allow polygamy, but confirmed God-prescribed monogamy. Jesus taught that God in creation indissolubly joined together as “one flesh” one man and one woman, both created in his image.

Jesus also confirmed that marriage creates a physical and emotional union between a man and a woman joined in wedlock. The married couple, according to the Bible, are no more two, but one. Each one of them belongs to the other, as long as they live. This implies a growing communion of love and harmony in all problems of marriage and of bringing up children, as well as in pressing social problems.

This oneness of marriage does not mean that each of the partners in wedlock no longer has his/her own opinion -- on the contrary. However, in love they will strive to find a common denominator and together patiently look to Jesus for direction in all matters. Jesus did not bring a Law, the way Moses, Hammurabi, or Muhammad did, but He gives Spirit, love and power, to overcome our own ego. Marriage means to deny oneself as well as to honor and protect one's spouse. Whoever thinks that divorce is indispensable, should, together with the spouse, first have a counseling session with Jesus, to find out what He wants, and what He advises.

Jesus’ caution to his followers against adultery was so strict and solemn that he suggested one should pluck out his eye and cut off his hand for the sake of keeping away from adultery. Jesus fully and strictly condemns man’s lust for a stranger. He by no means justifies adultery of a married man or woman. The commands of Jesus condemn our souls, and our societies, especially that erotic advertisements displayed openly in the streets, pornographic movies, and indecent clothing of our time defile the atmosphere of our natural relations with a pollution of cheap sex. Without daily forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ, the true Christian would despair in such a situation. The disciples of Jesus did not understand his instructions about cutting off parts of the body in a literal sense, for we do not read that anyone of them plucked out his eye, or cut off his hand. Rather, they decided to exercise self-control in the power of the Holy Spirit, both in marriage and in celibacy, asking their Lord to keep them and their wives in his love and power.

At the same time we read about the great mercy of Jesus towards adulteresses and harlots who were shamelessly exploited by men. He saw right through them and in kindness exposed their sins. But he first condemned the goodly hypocrites who urged him to pass a judgment against the adulteress. Jesus touched their conscience when he said: "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." (John 8:7) With this statement the Lord confirmed the commandment to stone adulterers and adulteresses, but at the same time he also exposed the accusers in their true character as adulterers. No Pharisees, no disciple, no scribe, and no ascetic was able to withstand this powerful word of the eternal Judge. All of them left, not saying a word. According to the Law of Moses, Jesus then would have had to cast the first stone at the woman, but he did not do it. In this, Jesus did not transgress the Law of Moses, but took the sin of the woman upon his heart and died in her stead. As to the woman, he sent her away with a word of peace admonishing her to sin no more. The law of the love of Jesus Christ surpasses our comprehension and is more merciful than our narrow-minded hearts. Jesus has zero tolerance towards sin but unlimited mercy towards sinners who want to become pure. “For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:13)

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