The New Law

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by npetreley, May 1, 2010.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    Some time ago on another board I started a thread asking if the following passage amounts to Jesus establishing a new law of divorce:

    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.

    To my shock, some people said, "yes," including people I never would have guessed would say "yes." They interpret the above to mean, "The old law says you must give her a certificate of divorce... but I am giving you this new law, that you must not divorce for any reason but sexual immorality." Pastors are even enforcing this new law in their churches.

    Since no part of the Bible contradicts any other part, we must apply the same reasoning to this text that immediately precedes the above:

    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.

    Therefore Jesus introduces here a new law. He is saying, the old law says you must not commit adultery. The new law says that if you look at anyone with lust, that makes you guilty of being an adulterer just like you would have been if you actually committed the offense of adultery.

    Now, granted, it's tough for Pastors to enforce this new law unless they can read minds. But I can guarantee that you pastors have a flock of adulterers on your hands, and I bet you're one of them (not that you'll ever admit it).

    Since the pastor isn't likely to enforce this new law, it's up to us to enforce it upon ourselves.

    What can you do to comply with this new law? Well, for one thing, Jesus said to pluck out your eye. If you don't, then you'll go to hell. It's better to go to heaven without an eye than go to hell with one. It's your flesh that is sinning, so get rid of it. That is, after all, what the new law says.

    Now, that sounds kind of harsh, but there's an upside to this new law of adultery. It essentially frees you from the new law of divorce. Since everyone experiences lust at one time or another, you can be certain your spouse has experienced it at least once during your marriage. He/she has therefore committed adultery, which means you are free to leave your spouse at any time and still claim, rightfully, to have a Biblical divorce. Right? Come on, now, let's be consistent.

    Regardless -- if the atonement rescues us from the fact that we are unable to follow the OT law, then why would Jesus issue new laws that are far more difficult to follow than the old ones?
     
  2. jbh28

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    Jesus wasn't giving any new laws, but showing how people were missing the point of the law. The pharisees kept giving out their own rules about the laws that totally missed the point. It's the heart that Jesus is after. that is why in the adultery Jesus said that if you lust, you are sinning. Adultery is just the outward expression of the heart sin of lust. Jesus didn't say you had committed adultery, but that "committed adultery with her in his heart." The passage about divorce is the actual outward expression of adultery. Also, lust will many times lead to adultery if it is allowed to continue.

    James talks about this in chapter 1 verse 14-15

    "But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. ​

    Jesus was going after the heart issue, not just the outward appearance.
     
  3. npetreley

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    You think that was the point Jesus was making? Apply that to the paragraph on divorce, then, please. Tell me what point they were missing about the mosaic law of divorce, and how Jesus cleared it up for them.

    For example: "Write your wife a certificate of divorce" should have taught them the lesson that divorce is not permissible unless your wife commits adultery or another sexual sin. Yeah, hard to see how they could have missed that lesson.
     
    #3 npetreley, May 1, 2010
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  4. jbh28

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    Yes I think that was the point he was making.

    Here is the divorce passage
    "It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' ​
    That is what the law had said. Jesus then says this...

    But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. ​

    Jesus' point was that yes, the law permitted you to give a certificate of divorce, but that wasn't God's plan. Just because there was the ability to divorce doesn't mean that you should be divorcing. Jesus had more to say in chapter 19

    Matthew 19:3-9
    And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?" He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."
     
  5. npetreley

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    That doesn't match your original answer. You said, "Jesus wasn't giving any new laws, but showing how people were missing the point of the law."

    I'd like to know how they were supposed to get the "point" that divorce is wrong except in the case of adultery from the law, "give your wife a certificate of divorce."

    Suffice it to say I think you're WAY off.
     
  6. quantumfaith

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    I concur with your pespective jbh, but I do have one honest question. From Matthew 19:8 "Moses permitted you to your wives.... What can one draw (if anything) concerning Mosaic Law, was Moses granted "freedom", was this principle intiated by God, or just "allowed" by him because of the condition of peoples hearts?
     
  7. jbh28

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    Did you read the Matthe 19 passage I quoted?

    They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?" He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."

    Jesus said from the beginning marriage wasn't meant to be divorced.

    Mark 10:2-12
    And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away." And Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." ​
     
    #7 jbh28, May 2, 2010
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  8. jbh28

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    It sounds from Jesus' words in Matthew 19 and Mark 2 that God never had a plan for divorce but allowed it because of the hardness of the hearts of people.
     
  9. npetreley

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    I think you folks have completely and totally missed the boat on this whole passage. The key to understanding the point of what He is saying is how He begins it:

    17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Immediately afterward, He basically tells you how watered down the Mosaic law was - and how even the slightest infraction will disqualify you from the Kingdom of Heaven.

    The question which leads to understanding this passage is, "If it takes having to live without anger, lust, or having endure an intolerable marriage, how could I ever get my righteousness to possibly exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees?"
     
  10. jbh28

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    So, are you saying that Jesus made the law more strict or less strict?
     
  11. npetreley

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    Neither. He didn't change anything in the law in this passage.
     
  12. jbh28

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    That's what I have been saying. Jesus wasn't changing the law. He wasn't adding anything to the law. He was going after the heart. The pharisees were "obeying" the law on the outside. By appearance.
     
  13. kyredneck

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    The passage in Mt 19 is referring to fornication, not adultery. The fornication would occur BEFORE the marriage, adultery afterwards (consider poor Hosea).

    This is why the [shocked] response from the disciples, 'Then it's best NOT to marry'!
     
  14. kyredneck

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    13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,
    14 and lay shameful things to her charge, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came nigh to her, I found not in her the tokens of virginity;
    15 then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel`s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate;
    16 and the damsel`s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;
    17 and, lo, he hath laid shameful things to her charge, saying, I found not in thy daughter the tokens of virginity; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter`s virginity. And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. Dt 22

    This is the fornication Christ was referring to , which techinically, by the law, was the only justification for divorce; and that was on the morning after the consummation of the marriage if the man found her not to be a virgin.

    Incidentally, the letter of the law cared not if there was any love involved in the marriage.

    [edit; the bloody bedsheets would be 'the tokens of her virginity'.]

    Aren't you glad that Christ has set us free and has redeemed us from the curse of the law?
     
    #14 kyredneck, May 3, 2010
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  15. npetreley

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    1 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, 2 when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, 4 then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

    2 The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him.
    3 And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?”
    4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.”
    5 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.

    Summary: "This was the Mosaic law. But it wasn't how it was intended to be at creation."
     
    #15 npetreley, May 3, 2010
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