Till Death did us Part:Non-sequitur in Luke explained by Cross-reference

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom
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    Till Death did us Part: Prerequisite for the Bride of Christ
    Christ's Non-sequitur explained by Cross-reference

    Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery..."
    Luke 16:14-18. This verse 18 in itself seems very clear, but what is odd - at first sight, at least - is the place we find this verse. Consider the whole context:

    14. Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.
    15. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
    16. “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.
    17. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.
    18. “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.

    Does verse 18 have any connection to the previous passage? For that matter, does it have any connection to the verses that follow afterward? Either way, it seems to be an orphan; the idea of divorce and remarriage not fitting anywhere else in the context of which this verse is in the middle. Many commentators have picked up on this incongruity - and then proceeded to find some way to make the fit. A few even suggest that the verse has no place here, but was added by an unskillful later redactor.

    It is true that God's commands and restrictions concerning verse are an example of the law mentioned in verse 17, yet the incongruity and question remains: Why just single this one command out?

    I believe that Christ, once again, is speaking spiritually - just as He did of the temple and of leaven in the previous examples. I believe that He is speaking of spiritual divorce in this passage, not a physical, personal one. A good cross-reference, I believe, is Romans 7:1-6:

    1. Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?
    2. For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.
    3. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.
    4. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
    5. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.
    6. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.


    In these last two passages, Romans and Luke, we have identical terms: Law, divorce, wife, adultery. I believe that the application is the same in both, both referring to spiritual adultery.

    Paul told the Roman Jews that they were married to the Law, and that their marriage was for life. We have been set free from the law by death. It was literally "till death do us part". That is exactly what happened; death - Christ's death on the cross - is what killed the believing Jews - and us. New life in Christ means first that the old life - as the old wife - died. That first marriage was a tough, exacting one. There was no satisfying the requirements of that marriage. Thank God that all things are new and old things are passed away!

    Now, both Jesus and Paul warn against the absolute sin of living the new life with the old wife: Law. According to Jesus every "jot and tittle" of the Law must be followed. According to Paul we are "adulteresses" if we try to live as if we were married to Christ yet still serving under the "dominion" of that old slave-driving first wife.

    But once the demands of the Law are past, through death, Hebrews 9:16-17, the new life of the New Covenant come into effect. To try to live the new life the old way is adultery - and futile. To recognize the death of all that is the key to wholeheartedly living the new life.

    This article was originally part of my piece on several non-sequiturs of Christ. However the subject here seemed too important to bury as a mere sub-topic.
     
    #1 asterisktom, Dec 31, 2011
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  2. 12strings

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    Good article, but would you say that this merely ADDS to the teaching of scripture concerning marriage and its representation of Christ and his bride...OR are you trying to subtly say this somehow TAKES AWAY from the strength of the case against divorce? I would say the former.

    The reason I ask is simply that often, when someone points to a text and begins their explaination by saying it is speaking "spiritually" not literally, they usually go on to argue that the text doesn't mean what it seems to say on first reading.

    Also, as to the title, the "till death do us part" doesn't seem to apply to Christ and his church...perhaps a different title would fit better.
     
    #2 12strings, Dec 31, 2011
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  3. asterisktom

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    My main emphasis is what these two passages teach about the Law and our severed relation to it because of Christ.

    About these two choices you propose I will have to wait til later. Family is waking up and this post has to be curtailed. But I really wasn't trying to add something subtly here.

    Not that I don't ever do that!
     
  4. Van

    Van
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    A few points:

    I agree with 12 strings, verse 16 adds to Christ's teaching on earthly marriage and divorce.

    But it also seems sound to accept that when we entered our relationship with Christ, we died to the requirements of the Law against our sin. We were baptized into His death meaning the Law's hold on us died because that debt was paid in full.

    Where folks part company is whether or not the Law has application to the unsaved, or like before the Law was given, punishment follows our life based on violation of God's will.
    Thus the Law's ongoing purpose is to lead us to Christ because of our awareness of our sins and with Paul our sinful ways, such at we cannot but continue to pile up wrath against us. This is my view but other views might be the right one. In other words, my confidence is sufficient to post it, but not sufficient to claim it is clearly biblical.
     
  5. Martin Marprelate

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    I think that if you put the words, "For example" between verses 17 & 18, our Lord's meaning becomes more clear.

    Steve
     
  6. 12strings

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    If only Luke, or Jesus, had thought of that!
     
  7. asterisktom

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    At first I thought this was truly a "for example" situation. But then I noticed how Paul himself seemed to use this passage.

    By the way, there is an interesting study in itself of Paul's use of Luke's writings. Somewhere I have a list of Paul's obvious and his probable uses of Luke's writing, especially his Gospel.
     
  8. Martin Marprelate

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    If you browse though a KJV, NKJV or NASB, you will see all the words that the translators have supplied in italics. I don't think there is a problem adding the words in question here.

    There is no doubt that Paul, in Rom 7 picks up on our Lord's teaching on divorce (whether in Matt, Mark or Luke) and, under the Holy Spirit, transfers the context to that of the law.

    I do not think, however, that there is any evidence that our Lord was thinking in terms of the permanence or otherwise of the Law. Rather, He was illustrating the hypocrisy of the Pharisees in proclaiming their allegiance to the law whilst simultaneously undermining it with their traditions (cf. Mark 7:9-13).

    Steve
     
  9. asterisktom

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    I would disagree here that Jesus was not thinking of the passing of the Law. The immediately preceding verse indicates that this was very much part of the context.

    "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it."
     
  10. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    The term 'Law and the prophets' invariably refers to the Old Testament Scriptures. Our Lord said specifically that He had not come to destroy them (Matt 5:17).

    Steve
     
  11. JesusFan

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    How would we get the "spitualized" meaning from though JUST a plain reading of the biblical text though?

    Did Jesus commonly used terms such as wife to actual NOT mean husband/wife relationship, but that of law to His followers?
     

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