It's A Commitment Either Way

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The question was divorce. What prompted it was something that had likely been niggling in the minds of Jesus’ critics since his famous sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:31, 32). During that message that Lord had been very clear about the question. Now, the Pharisees raise the question again. This time the Lord answers the question in detail (19:1-9) ending with “it’s only because your hearts are hard that you look for a way to dump your spouse.”

The answer seems to stun Jesus’ disciples. If it is so hard to get rid of the woman then perhaps it is better not to get entangled in a marriage relationship  at all (19:10)! Their comments lead to yet another discussion, this one about staying unmarried.

Jesus replied, ‘Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to who it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it'” (19:11, 12).

So Jesus says that one doesn’t stay unmarried because it might be hard to get rid of the spouse if you decide later you don’t like her, or she turns out to be a poor housekeeper, or can’t produce an heir. The reasons a person would remain unmarried are:

    1.    because they don’t have the need
    2.    because for some physical or emotional reason they are prevented
    3.    because they choose to for the sake of the kingdom even though they might want to marry

The Lord clearly states that this ability to live out this state is not given to all—and it is a gift that IS given to some. Paul urged as many of Christ’s followers as possible to remain single (1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 17) mostly because the early Christians were expecting the Lord to return at any moment and there was sooooooo much work to be done that, in Paul’s mind, there was no time for personal pleasures. That is even truer today!

Whether the subject is getting married or not marrying, the bottom line seems to be: do it for the right reasons and with a commitment to be faithful to choice that you have made.

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