Marriage and Divorce Studies in 1 Corinthians Series  1 Corinthians 7:10-24 October 5, 2014 Pastor Paul K. Kim
CONTEXT OF THE CORINTHIANS’ QUESTIONS ON MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE A case of MARRIED couples [believers]: In the first-century cosmopolitan city of Corinth, divorce was easy and common— especially among the Gentiles. A case of a believer marred to AN UNBELIEVER: Some were married before their conversion, which meant that some spouses were still unbelievers. A case of VARIOUS KINDS OF singles: Windows/widowers (v. 8) and never-been-married singles (v. 25, the betrothed) were at the crossroads whether to marry or not. Pursuing spirituality by EXTERNAL CHANGES: What was a general principle in all these questions, which Apostle Paul used for all the churches?
WHAT IS GOD’S ANSWER FOR MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE? 1)If married with a believer: do NOT divorce your spouse. 10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife. (vs. 10-11) In giving a charge to the married, Paul gives the explicit command of the Lord concerning marriage and divorce. What is Christ’s charge? It is that marriage are meant to be permanent [a permissible ground is adultery as exception].
“For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” Malachi 2:16
3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 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’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 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. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” Matthew 19:3-9
WHAT IS GOD’S ANSWER FOR MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE? 1)If married with a believer: do NOT divorce your spouse. 10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife. (vs. 10-11) In giving a charge to the married, Paul gives the explicit command of the Lord concerning marriage and divorce. What is Christ’s charge? It is that marriage are meant to be permanent [a permissible ground is adultery as exception]. God’s design for marriage is a covenant for a lifetime love, which reflects God’s covenantal relationship with us in his steadfast love and faithfulness.
WHAT IS GOD’S ANSWER FOR MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE? 2)If married with an unbeliever who stays: do NOT divorce your spouse. 12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. (vs. 12-14) Their fear of “defilement by association” was an excuse and rationalization for divorcing an unbelieving spouse. Paul’s answer to them: No, it’s actually “sanctification by association”—which is a godly reason to stay married. Hence, as long as the unbelieving spouse stays in the marriage, the believer should remain married with a hope.
WHAT IS GOD’S ANSWER FOR MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE? 3)If married with an unbeliever who separates: let him/her leave. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? (vs. 15-16) On top of Jesus’ exceptional ground for divorce, Paul adds one more here—when an unbelieving spouse leaves. Why? It’s because a believer’s covenant with God supersedes the marital covenant with an unbeliever. The question [v. 16] can be read in two ways: (1) positive and (2) negative. Perhaps, it was purposeful to apply both.
WHAT IS GOD’S ANSWER FOR MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE? 4)A general principle: Live as God has called rather than making external changes for people’s approval or pseudo spirituality. 17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches 20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 24 So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God. (vs. 17, 20, 24)
WHAT IS GOD’S ANSWER FOR MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE? 4)A general principle: Live as God has called rather than making external changes for people’s approval or pseudo spirituality. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. (vs. 18-19)
WHAT IS GOD’S ANSWER FOR MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE? 4)A general principle: Live as God has called you rather than changing external status for people’s approval or spirituality. 21 Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. (vs. 21-23) The key principle is repeated three times (vs. 17, 20, 24): “Recognize that God has called you where you are!” Two examples that Paul gives are (1) circumcision (spiritual status) and (2) freedom from slavery (social status). Happiness/spirituality is not result from changing external status but from internal trust & surrender to God’s will.
Communion “Do this in remembrance of me” 1 Corinthians 11:25-26
THREE PRACTICAL QUESTIONS FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE 1.In what ways are you more convinced of God’s will for the permanence of marriage? 2.If your covenant with God indeed supersedes your covenant with your spouse, what would it mean for you to be faithful to God in your everyday life as well as in your marriage? 3.What will you do practically to recognize God has called you where you are and to serve him where you are? What is your first step?
CE & NW HOMEGROUP GATHERINGS: TONIGHT [10/5]! * Central East [Santa Ana/Tustin]: @5pm * North West [Whittier/Brea]: @4pm Join two homegroups—Central East & North West—in Exodus study [Chap 20, Part 1] HG Gatherings are always OPEN to ALL!!! For more info or directions, call Takashi [CE] at 714.348.6814 or Stan [NW] at 714.872.0726.
SOLITUDE & SILENCE DAY October 18 th, Saturday 8:30am-12:30pm Practice the discipline you’ve learned. Seek God and the guidance of the Spirit unhurriedly with a deliberate space @William Mason Park. Feel free to invite your friends. RSVP to Pastor Paul’s email soon in the coming week!
GET READY FOR ALL-CHURCH FALL PICNIC!!! October 26 th, Sunday Immediately after the Service At a Tustin Park near church (3 min drive) A Pot-luck picnic lunch, BBQ, Games & FUN. Come PREPARED—bring a T-shirt & shorts, sneakers, picnic blankets, and lawn chairs, etc. Have your kids wear coustum—this is our alternative celebration event to Halloween! Come, eat, laugh, play and hang out together!!! There will be no homegroup on this picnic day.