When the Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce, He took them back to “the beginning”, showing them that God’s plan was one man with one woman becoming one flesh for life. He concluded His statement with, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).
The devastation that no-fault divorce has brought on society cannot be estimated. The heart-breaking consequences of a marriage break-down, particularly on children, cannot be exaggerated.
But as you go back to Genesis you find that God has not only joined husbands and wives. There are other things He puts together that are not to be separated.
"Husbands and wives, sex and marriage, children and parents, human value and God’s image – God has joined them – just keep them together."
Sex and marriage
God’s gift of sex is only to be enjoyed within the safety of marriage. Think of how much heartache would be prevented if this was followed.
Despite what people say, sex is not just a physical act. If a woman got assaulted on her walk through a park, we would all agree it was terrible, but if she got sexually assaulted, I think we would all agree that is worse. But why? Because sex is a powerful emotional act. The act itself speaks volumes – it is the giving of yourself entirely and exclusively to another. For our emotional safety and flourishing, God says we are only to enjoy that act within the context of relationship in which we have committed ourselves entirely and exclusively to another.
Having sex outside the protection of marriages cheapens it. It means it is not the consummation and symbol of your entire and exclusive commitment to each other in which each seeks the good of the other. Instead, it’s just something you do for your own pleasure – it rises no higher than that. It is also often a condition for a relationship, which means it is done to keep the partner. That not only cheapens sex, it cheapens those involved. You are precious and should not be used for someone’s pleasure. You have no business taking someone’s body without joining yourself to that person in the covenant of marriage.
Thankfully, if we have sinned in this regard, there is grace and forgiveness. But let us acknowledge it as sin and repent of it; let us admit our mistake and learn from it. God has joined sex and marriage, “let not man separate.”
Parents and children
Sex makes babies, and babies deserve to have their mother and father united to each other in the exclusive commitment of marriage. Keeping sex within marriage means any children that may be conceived will be brought up with mum and dad, and that is the greatest gift any child coming into the world could have.
Our society is beginning to view children as a commodity and a right. Many think that it doesn’t matter if you are single or in a relationship which by definition is incapable of producing life – if you want a child you should be able to get one.
The needs of children should always come before the wants of adults. No adult has a right to get a child. A child has a right to his or her parents. Often, through death or divorce, children don’t get to live with their parents, but we should not aim at such circumstances and promote the idea that children don’t need their parents.
Human value and the image of God
Human beings have inherent value, worth and dignity. But that is only because they are created by God in His image. If we tell people, as one atheist does, that we are “just slime on a planet”; or as another atheist says, “we are…literally stardust”, or as another atheist says, “We are machines for propagating DNA… It is every living object's sole reason for living”, we needn’t be surprised if they feel they have no real value – the conclusion follows directly from the premise. And there is no way to get any other conclusion. How do you go from, “just slime,” “literally stardust,” “machines for propagating DNA” to, “Therefore you are precious, and you have inalienable human rights”? You can’t.
The Biblical worldview accounts for our deep intuition and fits with what we know to be true. We are precious and the reason is we have been made in God’s image.
Husbands and wives, sex and marriage, children and parents, human value and God’s image – God has joined them – just keep them together.