As Jesus taught in Trans-Jordan, some Pharisees thought they’d trap him with a burning issue of the day. Two rabbinical schools of thought on the grounds for divorce vied for popularity. Surely Jesus would take a side and become entrapped.
Jesus saw beyond the facade, and instead addressed the real question, which neither school of thought really addressed.
“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied.
Instead of only touching the surface of the laws concerning divorce, he addressed the heart of the problem – the human heart. He diagnosed that the human heart was sinful and needed fixing, but we ourselves are not capable of fixing it. However, Jesus is not only a great teacher, but he is the great physician and saviour. He is able to fix the human heart, to renew it, to restore it that it can be in right relationship with God. He can soften the heart which has hardened.
For Jesus goes back to the beginning as his basis for marriage. How God had instituted it before sin entered the world. This was to be an exclusive, lifelong, intimate relationship between and man and a woman.
The divorce laws were not to be used as a first resort, but as a last resort. All efforts must be made to nurture a loving relationship. However, even as Christians, our hearts are still imperfect, then the relationship might be beyond repair. It may be that one party is so hardened as to be abusive, or failing in their basic duty to care for their family.
Whilst the bible presents God’s ideals, it is also realistic and shows how we should handle others. For we are not to stand in judgement over others, that is the preserve of God alone. Instead, we are to show others what God word says is the best way to live, but to realise that even we fail to live according to God’s word and that there is remedy to our sinful state, the source of our failing.
As the apostle Paul examines our sinful state, and its remedy available to us by the grace of God, he addresses some erroneous conclusions one might draw.
After all, it’s not beyond imagination to think that if our justification before God is purely by his grace and we can do nothing about our sinful state in, and of, ourselves, then why don’t we just carry on sinning?
Yet, Paul says we should not sin. For, if we have justified by God’s grace, he will put to death our old nature and create in us a new heart. We are born again. We are dead to sin and alive in Christ. We are no longer driven by our sinful nature, but by the Holy Spirit.
Our new nature will seek to glorify God by doing his will. This is not to say there will not be a battle between our old nature and our new nature, for the old nature will be still lurking, but it will be slowly diminishing.