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Author:Rev. C. Bouwman
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Congregation:Smithville Canadian Reformed Church
 Smithville, ON
 www.smithvillecanrc.ca
 
Preached At:Yarrow Canadian Reformed Church
 Yarrow, BC
 yarrow.canrc.org
 
Title:The Creator of Marriage Wants Man and Wife to Remain United in Marriage
Text:1 Corinthians 7:10,11 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Marriage
 
Preached:2006-02-19
Added:2010-01-04
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Ps 11:1,2                 

Ps 38:8,10

Ps 106:19,20,21,22

Ps 31:15

Ps 55:11,12

1 Corinthians 7:10-16

Deuteronomy 24:1-4

Jeremiah 3:6-14

1 Corinthians 7:10,11

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. C. Bouwman, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


 

1 Corinthians 7:8-16: NASB:

8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.

9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.

10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband

11(but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.

13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.

16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

 

Beloved Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

Divorce in the ancient city of Corinth was about as prevalent as it is in our society today.  Only, in that city and culture, official documents were not even required to formalize a divorce; you just moved out, or sent the spouse out (Fee, pg 293).  It was that easy.

The prevalence of divorce in the city invariably had a spillover effect in the young congregation of Jesus Christ.  How tempting for those in tense marriages to take the easy way out….  And the message for the youth was inevitable: if your marriage doesn’t work out, there’s always the back door out of your marriage….

Paul wrote a chapter addressing various matters of marriage.  On the topic of divorce he is categorical: the wife is not to leave her husband, and the husband is not to divorce his wife.  Marriage breakdown may not happen among the people of God, Paul insists, and grounds his teaching in the Lord God Himself.  As He never disowns His own, so the Christian spouse may never disown his (her) own.

I summarize the sermon with this theme:

THE CREATOR OF MARRIAGE WANTS MAN AND WIFE TO REMAIN UNITED IN MARRIAGE.

1.       The authority behind Paul’s instruction.

2.       The all-pervasive extent of Paul’s instruction.

3.       The options available when separation happens anyway.

1.  The authority behind Paul’s instruction.

Paul had received a letter from the Christians of Corinth, in which was the statement he quoted in vs 1: “it is good for a man not to touch a woman” (1b).  Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Paul took the opportunity to reply.  On the one hand he emphatically disagreed with that statement, for husband and wife are ‘one flesh’ all the time, and hence to give care to each other, cherish each other, deny the self to benefit the other.  That has implications for sexuality  (vss 2-7).

On other hand, Paul agrees with the statement.  He knows of the bitter effects of the fall into sin, how two sinners being one can bring its own explosions.   Hence his advice in vss 8 & 9, that the unmarried do well to remain unmarried. 

This latter instruction could give opening to married couples to seek dissolution of marriage.  After all, Paul agrees that “it is good for a man not to touch a woman.”  Especially those who had decided that sexuality was this-worldly, and didn’t appreciate Paul’s instruction to “stop depriving one another” (vs 5a), could be most tempted to turn vss 8f into encouragement to “unmarry” themselves; after all, in Corinth it was so easy to do….  The apostle addresses that possibility head on in vss 10-16.  He is categorical in his position: the wife is not to leave her husband (10b), and the husband is not to divorce his wife (11b).  He allows here no leeway, no backdoor out of the marriage state.

The apostle’s statement is most surprising.  We are used to thinking of adultery (any form of sexual licentiousness) as a legitimate ground to terminate a marriage.  Well now, if there was any city or culture known for its licentiousness, it was Corinth.  That’s the reason why Paul reminded the Corinthian Christians that “neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders … will inherit the kingdom of God,” and then adds: “that is what some of you were” (6:9ff).  In fact, some of them were still like that, for one of them “has his father’s wife” – an evil Paul distinctly terms “sexual immorality” (5:1).  Others of the congregation considered that the body was for sex, and so gave themselves readily to prostitutes (6:12ff).  It was this practice that prompted Paul to tell the Christians to “flee from sexual immorality” (6:18) and to tell the married to “stop depriving one another” (7:5).  To a congregation caught in that kind of licentiousness we would at the very least expect the apostle in his discussion of divorce to mention the possibility of an out when there’s adultery.  But there’s nothing of the sort; there’s simply his plain and straightforward prohibition: the wife is not to leave her husband (10b), and the husband is not to divorce his wife (11b).  We wonder why this might be.  Is Paul here not too hard?  Does adultery not break a marriage?  Does Paul not overlook a part of Jesus’ instruction, when the Savior said divorce was unacceptable “except for sexual immorality”? (Matthew 5:32).

The answer to our question lies in the apostle’s own words.  He begins the text like this: “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord)”.  His point with the words “not I, but the Lord” is that Paul has a direct quote from the Lord Jesus Christ on the matter of divorce.  Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, feeds back Jesus’ instruction on divorce with the words of our text: the wife is not to leave her husband (10b), and the husband is not to divorce his wife (11b).  As we turn now to Jesus’ instruction (to which Paul appeals), we need to bear in mind that Paul’s words are an accurate summary of what Jesus said.  Jesus instruction on the topic is found in Mt 5:32; 19:3-9; Mk 10:2-12; Lu 16:18.

Matthew 5:31,32

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus interacts with the teaching of the Jews as described in vs 31: “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’”  The point here is that the Jews of Jesus’ day considered divorce acceptable, provided it come complete with a ‘certificate of divorce’ – an instruction they gleaned from Moses’ teaching in Deuteronomy 24:1-4.  As it turns out, the point of Deut 24 was not at all that those who divorce must give a certificate to the divorced party.  Rather, the point of Deut 24 was that God distinctly disapproved of divorce.  The fact is that divorce occurred in Israel in Moses’ days (cf Lev 21:7,14; 22:13; Num 30:9), occurred despite the clear instruction of Genesis 2:24, where God ordained that a man was to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and so was evidence of Israel’s “hardness of heart” (Mt 19:8).  In Dt 24 God regulated that where a woman was married to husband A, then was divorced from husband A, turned around and married husband B, then was divorced from husband B, then husband A was not to marry her again.  Such a remarriage, said God, was an abomination –why?- because then husband A was officially condoning that a third party had received a place in a relationship God had declared as a twosome-being-one (Gen 2:24).  That was grossly unacceptable because it was husband A’s fault that husband B entered the picture in the first place, for he had divorced his wife to begin with, did not cleave to her, did not respect the fact that they were one-flesh.

When the Jews of Jesus’ day, then, appealed to Deut 24 as evidence that God approved of divorce (provided there be a certificate), Jesus corrected that wrong reading of Deut 24 and drew out the correct reading.  That correct reading is: “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife … causes her to become an adulteress” (Mt 5:32).  For a woman by herself, without the protection of a modern social security system, was open to all sorts of financial and emotional abuse; she needed a protector in the rough and tumble of daily life.  That’s to say: she was driven into the arms of another man, and that is adultery – for a third party gets into the relation of two-become-one.  Similarly, “anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery,” again because a third party gets into the relation of the two whom God made one when He united them in holy wedlock.  The point is clear: divorce does not undo the “one flesh” aspect that characterizes a marriage relation.  Neither (physical) distance nor (emotional) disgust breaks the oneness God instills between husband and wife. 

In the quote from Mt 5:32 above, I skipped the well-known words “except for marital unfaithfulness” (or adultery).  We are accustomed to reading those words as the exceptive clause that makes divorce permissible before God.  There are, however, a couple of arguments that plead against this understanding.

  1. Jesus’ words in Mt 5:32 are in point of fact a commentary on God’s instruction in Deut 24.  Deut 24 disallowed husband A from remarrying the wife he divorced if in the meantime she had married husband B.  Such action would be an abomination because husband A would thereby be giving his approval to the entry of a third party into their relation.  Yet one can speak of a third party only if their divorce never terminated the ‘one-fleshness’ of their first marriage.  If Jesus now in Mt 5 would be saying that adultery does break the one-fleshness of a marriage relation so that divorce is permissible, He would be speaking against God’s instruction in Deut 24.
  2. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount is not replacing Old Testament law with a new ethic, but is drawing out the actual meaning of the Old Testament law in the face of the Jews’ twisting of that law.  A twist the Jews gave that law is addressed in Jesus’ words “except for marital unfaithfulness”.  For when there was adultery, the Jews permitted the ‘innocent’ party to give the adulterous spouse a certificate of divorce – and that was the end of the matter.  But the Lord had decreed that adultery (both parties!) was to be punished with death (Deut 22:22).  That is: according to the law, divorce was not an option in the event of adultery. 

Jesus in Mt 5:31f addresses the practice of giving a certificate in the event of divorce.  With the words “except for marital unfaithfulness”, He is interacting with the Jewish habit of giving a certificate of divorce in response to adultery, and saying that His comments do not cover that practice.[1]

Jesus’ point in Matthew 5 is then clear: despite the Jewish habit to permit divorce, Jesus insists that God does not approve.

Matthew 19:3-9

In this second passage in which Jesus speaks about divorce, the Pharisees came to Jesus to test Him.  There were in Israel two schools of thought about when one could divorce.  The one (adhering to the position of the teacher Shammai) held that the ‘something indecent’ of Deut 24 meant adultery, while the other school (adhering to the position of Hillel) held that the ‘something indecent’ was as vague as the term could be and included something so miniscule as burning the beans.  Hence the Pharisees’ question: “is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” 

In His reply, Jesus drew out the ordinance of God in the beginning: the Creator made man “male and female”, told them to leave father and mother to cleave to each other, and be one flesh (Genesis 2:24).  Man may not separate what God has joined together (vs 4-6).  The Pharisees replied with the same thinking that Jesus had addressed already in Matthew 5: but Moses permitted divorce, so divorce is OK!  No, said Jesus, that is not so.  ‘Moses’ (= God in Deut 24) took the hardness of your hearts into account (and so regulated that husband A may not remarry his wife after she had husband B, for then he condones the third party), but from the beginning there was no place for divorce.  Then Jesus repeats in vs 9 the drift of what He’d said in Mt 5: “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”  There is no place for a third party in a relation where two have become one![2]

The disciples concluded from Jesus’ instruction that there is simply no room out of a marriage relationship.  They were not used to such categorical language, and so responded with dismay: “if this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”  Jesus replied with His word about the three types of eunuchs: some men are born impotent, some are castrated, and others give up sexual activity because their marriage no longer has room for it.[3]  Jesus’ point is clear: when two become one in holy marriage, their one-fleshness is not and cannot be broken by distance or disgust; the norm from the beginning leaves no place for divorce.

Mark 10:2-12

This passage relates the same incident as Mt 19.  Jesus prohibits divorce with His appeal to Gen 2:24.  Here, though, Jesus does not mention any exception clauses (for example, adultery).  Man is not to be ‘wiser’ than God, who gave no opening for terminating the ‘one-flesh’ bond He established between husband and wife.

Luke 16:18

Jesus insists that not a dot of the law (vs 16f) will disappear, and mentions God’s law about marriage as an example.  He insists that if one divorces and marries another, one is guilty of adultery, and when one marries a divorced person one is again guilty of adultery.  The passage mentions no exceptions, and leaves room only for the conclusion that the one-flesh of Gen 2:24 cannot be broken at all.

 

Jesus’ instruction on the topic of divorce was categorical, and radical to the Jews of His days.  Yet His words presented nothing new.  Jesus took seriously the norm God established in the beginning, and simply insisted on it. 

Yet Jesus, we need to know, bases His instruction on more than God’s words in Genesis 2 (and Deuteronomy 24).  Jesus Himself repeatedly said that He through His words and deeds showed people what the Father was like (cf John 14:7,9).  Well now, the Lord God established His covenant with Israel, and therein claimed this people as His own.  When the Lord forbade worship of other gods, He described that transgression with words drawn from marital unfaithfulness.  The Holy Spirit relates that after the people settled in the Promised Land they “prostituted themselves to other gods and worshipped them” (Judges 2:17).  It’s a theme that recurs throughout the words of the prophets (see Ezekiel 16; Hosea 1-3).  Yet the Lord God never considered Israel’s adultery as a reason to reject Israel in favor of another bride, eg, the Egyptians or the Chinese.  Despite all Israel’s unfaithfulness and harlotries, the Lord remained faithful to His bride.  In fact, so faithful was God to His adulterous bride that He gave His only Son to pay for her sins, her adulteries included, so that Israel might be righteous before Him (cf Zech 3). That Jesus Christ had come to earth was living evidence of God’s unceasing faithfulness to His bride – though she deserved it not!  Should this Jesus, now, give opening for divorce in the face of adultery?  He Himself was the evidence that God did not act that way!  By His words on divorce, Jesus showed what the Father was like – and hence what the men and women of Israel should reflect in their lives.  It comes down to the Lord’s words in Mal 2:16: “I hate divorce”.

The apostle Paul addresses the Christians of Corinth on the topic of divorce.  He says nothing new, but repeats what He has learned from the Lord Jesus Christ: the wife is not to leave her husband (10b), and the husband is not to divorce his wife (11b).  He leaves no room for considering the ‘one-flesh’ bond of marriage to be broken.

It strikes us as a hard teaching.  Have we really understood Paul well?  Or does he in the following verses perhaps tone his position down?  It’s our second point:

2.  The all-pervasive extent of Paul’s instruction.

The apostle brings up a problem specific to the Corinthian situation.  Prior to the apostle’s arrival in Corinth, the people of the city lived in their unbelief, including the style of licentious living that characterized Corinth.  As a result of Paul’s gospel, however, some came to faith, two in this home, one in that.  Those homes where both spouses came to faith could work with the instruction of the apostle in vss 2-7, and take to heart the command (of Genesis 2:24) to “pay” their “debt” to each other, ie, cherish each other, give of self for the benefit of the other.  But those homes where one spouse only came to faith faced very different problems.  The one who changed was the Christian; that spouse suddenly had a new worldview, a new lifestyle, new values.  The unbelieving spouse (this is Corinth) was used to taking his wife along to immoral parties, or was used to her husband letting her hang out with other men.  But that’s now changed, and that invariably brought its own set of tensions and displeasure in the home.  That’s what Paul now proceeds to address.

Unlike in his word to “the married” (vss 10f), Paul now does not have a quote from the Lord to which he can appeal.  That’s why he replaces the phrase “not I, but the Lord” (vs 10) with its inverse, “I say, not the Lord” (vs 12).  With that new phrase Paul does not mean that his newest instruction is not inspired.  Rather, since the Lord Jesus Christ did not speak directly to the question of how to respond to the frictions that arise as a result of being married to an unbeliever, Paul has to draw out the principles of the Old Testament and of Jesus’ instruction.  That’s what he now does, and he’s convinced that even now the Holy Spirit guides his writing (cf vs 40; 1 Timothy 3:16f).

What, then, does Paul say?  He insists that “if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her” (vs 12).  Similarly, a woman who has an unbelieving husband must not, if he consents to live with her, send her husband away.  Though living with an unbeliever (especially in a licentious society) may be so very difficult and require that one walk on eggs (so to speak), Paul knows no give; as long as the unbelieving spouse consents to remain with the believer, the Christian spouse must give him (or her) space to do so.  Paul adds the reason: “for the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband” (vs 14a).  The term ‘sanctified’ does not here mean that the unbelieving partner has become holy in the sense of 1 Corinthians 6:11, ie, renewed by the Holy Spirit, regenerated.  Rather, with the word ‘holy’ Paul describes the sphere of influence into which the Lord has led the life of the unbelieving spouse.  The believer produces the fruit of the Spirit, including “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal 5:22f).  This is the aroma the unbelieving spouse needs to inhale, so that he/she might in turn come to appreciate something of what God is like – and under God’s blessing also come to faith (cf 1 Peter 3:1f).

So: drive him out?  Leave her?  Paul says No.  Instead, see your marriage relationship as an opportunity to show to this special neighbor something of the love and mercy God has shown to you!

 

What, though, if the unbelieving spouse can’t tolerate the change in the spouse, and leaves?  Paul addresses that scenario in vs 15.  “Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases.”  Notice here the term ‘bondage’.  According to Genesis 2, a married couple is ‘one flesh’, and neither distance nor disgust can change that fact.  That’s why the Lord Jesus left no room for divorce, and it’s equally why Paul instructed the wife not to leave her husband and the husband not to divorce his wife (10f).  More, that’s the reason why the believing spouse is not to send the unbelieving party away (vss 12ff).  But does that now mean that the believer must follow the unbelieving spouse out of the family home and into his new home, and insist on moving in with him again?  Paul says No, on the grounds that marriage is not a slavery; your ‘one-fleshness’ with your spouse does not mean that you must follow him even when he flees from your faith and hence from you.  To do so is to turn him off further from the faith you have come to love.  The fruits of the Spirit include not just faithfulness (first of all to your spouse), but also peace.  In the circumstances that means that you need to give the fleeing spouse space.

It should be added here that the NIV (like the RSV before it) mistranslates this verse.  The NIV renders Paul’s word “not enslaved” with the phrase “is not bound”.  Not only is the phrase ‘not bound’ an inaccurate reflection of the Greek, but it’s also misleading since in 1 Corinthians 7:39 Paul wrote that “a wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives” – where the Greek uses a word that distinctly means ‘bound’.  When the NIV uses that same word in vs 15 (though Paul speaks of slavery), the NIV gives the impression that marriage to a hardened unbeliever provides an exception to the principle of vs 39.  Here the NIV gives support to the thought that divorce on grounds of spiritual incompatibility is acceptable.  Though some Christian have taken that position for some centuries,[4] it is incompatible with the tenor of Old Testament teaching, Jesus’ teaching and Paul’s teaching – and based solely on equating the word ‘enslaved’ with the word ‘bound’.

The apostle would have the believer let the unbelieving spouse leave, if he so insists.  To chase after him in an effort to bring him to faith (because of the atmosphere of the gospel referred to in vs 14) may be futile; no spouse knows whether “you will save your husband” or wife (vs 16).  That is something one needs to leave to the Lord God.

Does the apostle, then, give evidence that his summary of Jesus’ teaching in vss 10 and 11 is not so categorical after all?  Does he give room for an escape out of the marriage bond?  He does not.  In a context of much immorality and unbelief he mentions neither as legitimate grounds to terminate a marriage.  His conclusion is straightforward: “a woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives” (vs 39; cf Romans 7:2f).

But: we all know that separation or divorce can happen to a Christian, despite one’s best efforts to prevent it.  What is one to do then?  That’s our last point:

3.  Options available when separation happens anyway.

Paul answers the question in the first part of vs 11.  He’d said at the end of vs 10 that the wife was not to leave her husband.  He adds: “but if she does, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband.”  The same, of course, holds true the other way around; if the husband leaves his wife he too must remain unmarried or be reconciled.  One wonders: why does Paul give this instruction?

Once again, the apostle takes his cue from the teaching of the Lord God in Paradise, and the Lord’s subsequent working with that teaching in the Old Testament and in the words of Jesus Christ.  The ‘one-fleshness’ of the marital unity remains, no matter what (physical) distance or (emotional) disgust may stand between husband and wife.  The option of a third party entering the relation is simply not there.  The options are either to remain unmarried or be reconciled.

The example of the Lord God is here instructive.  He Himself says in Jeremiah 3:6 that He gave His people Israel a certificate of divorce (see also Isaiah 50:1).  God explains the reason for His giving her that certificate: “I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries” (vs 8).  Yet God’s purpose in giving this certificate was not that He might be done with Israel, free to enter a new relation with another people; His purpose was instead to drive home to Israel (and to Judah!) the seriousness of their transgressions.  What God wanted was repentance and return.  Hence the mandate to the prophet to proclaim this message to Israel after the divorce certificate was given: “‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,’ declares the Lord” (vs 12).  And again, “‘Return, faithless people,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I am your husband’” (vs 14).   The purpose of this divorce was to save His ‘marriage’!  God never cast Israel aside in order to adopt Egyptians or Chinese as His new children-by-covenant, but stayed faithful to Israel even in the deepest crisis of His ‘marriage’.

This faithfulness comes out also in the New Testament dispensation.  God’s covenant was with Israel, and that is why the apostles brought the gospel first to the Jews.  But when the Jews rejected the gospel, the Lord did not reject Israel; He rather cut the dead branches off His tree and grafted in new branches – people of any tribe and race (cf Romans 11:17ff).  The result is, says Paul, that “so all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).  The point is clear: God remains faithful to His promises, faithful to His bride! 

This is the data with which the apostle works.  His command to the Christians of Corinth who find themselves separated or divorced is that they either remain unmarried or be reconciled.  The optimum is reconciliation, and then the instruction of vss 2-7 applies again.  In the event that reconciliation does not happen (due, we realize, to the hardness of sin in one party or the other), the Christian partner is to remain unmarried.  That is, no third party is to enter the relation that remains implicit in the separated or divorced couple.  This is in line with Jesus’ instruction in Mt 19:11f about being eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.

 

It may sound so harsh and so hard.  Is one really to be consigned to a life of singleness and aloneness?  Humanly speaking, that is indeed very difficult, if not impossible. 

Yet the Corinthians could not forget what Paul had written a dozen verses earlier, and we may not forget it either.  The Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit (6:19).  This Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the God who created the institution of marriage in the beginning and remained faithful to His spouse-by-covenant throughout the Old Testament and New, regardless of her prostitution.  The Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of the Son of God who laid down His life for the sake of His unworthy bride.  Can that Spirit not give strength to His own to bear the burdens He in wisdom places on the path of His children?  Does this Spirit not work the fruits of the Spirit, including love for the neighbor (even the unfaithful spouse), and peace with the neighbor (including with the antagonistic spouse), and patience with his weaknesses, and kindness and goodness when one receives no kindness and goodness, and faithfulness too, yes, faithfulness even when the spouse is unfaithful?  Who would dare to underestimate what God can give??

 

Our world is characterized by unfaithfulness, and hence by licentiousness and its twin sister divorce.  This world needs so very much to see something of what God is like, and turn to Him in repentance.  The world will not see it when God’s children divorce as the world does.  On the other hand, the world will see something of God’s faithfulness and patience and mercy and love when His children remain devoted to the spouse God has given, in good days and bad, till death them do part.

 



[1] cf JvB, both in his Commentary on Matthew and in his study on 1 Corinthians 7.

[2] See further vanDelden, For As Long as You  Both Shall Live.

[3] Again the NIV interprets Jesus’ words instead of translating them.  By rendering “have made themselves eunuchs” with “have renounced marriage”, the NIV has the reader conclude that Jesus is speaking here of persons who choose to remain unmarried.  In point of fact, Jesus is speaking of married people whose marriages are so strained that sexual activity is no longer possible.  Yet they do not divorce or seek another partner.

[4] Cf, Westminster Confession, Art 24.5.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. C. Bouwman, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2006, Rev. C. Bouwman

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