There is hardly a matter in the Christian Church today that is treated with more laxity than divorce and remarriage. As a result, it is always easy to get our standards from what other people do or say or from what we should like the Bible to say. But we must not do that. We must be people of the Book, and we must not lower its standards. 

Yesterday, we concluded with the first reason why the exception clause of fornication in both Matthew 19 and Matthew 5 does not refer to adultery. The second reason why this must be the meaning of the passages in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 is that each is in essence an explanation of Deuteronomy 24:1-4, which teaches precisely what we have already been saying.

At this point someone will say, "I agree with you in general terms. Certainly. that is the ideal. But what of adultery? Doesn't adultery dissolve the marriage contract? And isn't that what Jesus Christ was talking about when He made the exception ‘except for fornication’ in Matthew?" No, I do not believe that this is what Jesus was talking about either in Matthew 19 or in the Sermon on the Mount.

The place to begin in the discussion of these texts is not with the exception itself, however—we will come back to it later—but with the general direction of the passage. And this, quite clearly, is to assert in the strongest possible language the permanency of marriage. Marriage is of God; hence, men are not to disannul it. In this assertion, Jesus was clearly at one with the entire scope of biblical teaching. 

It should be evident from everything that has been said thus far about marriage that, according to the teaching of God's Word, marriage is for life. In Christian marriage, a man and a woman are joined to each other as a Christian is joined to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the relationship in each case is permanent—the one for this life, the other for this life and for eternity.