Marriage and Faith

When Lazarus died, Yeshua was deliberately late arriving. The women were not upset with the L-rd (though they were grieving), but said that Lazarus would rise in the resurrection. And when Yeshua said he would live, they misunderstood. What good would that sort of resurrection be in the olam habba (world to come) when it was to show G-d’s glory in the present life? In much the same way marriage restoration is about showing G-d’s glory.

Marriage has to be restored in the present life, as Lazarus was restored to his present life, or it is not a miracle. Yes, if one remains faithful to a prodigal spouse, there will be a reward in the olam habba, but there is no marriage in heaven.  So if when Yeshua called Lazarus out and he remained dead, it would not have glorified G-d, nor been resurrection in a way that the weeping women said he would be restored (raised to life) in heaven. So marriage has to be restored in the land of the living.

But if a spouse in persistent disobedience refuses to listen to the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit of G-d) what then? Lazarus could not resist the call of G-d, but wayward spouses do so persistently and find excuses in all manner to justify disobedience. Yeshua G-d said, “if you love me obey my commands.” Does one love Him and yet not obey?

15 If you love me, you will keep my commands; 16 and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another comforting Counselor like me, the Spirit of Truth, to be with you forever. 17 The world cannot receive him, because it neither sees nor knows him. You know him, because he is staying with you and will be united with you. 18 I will not leave you orphans — I am coming to you. 19 In just a little while, the world will no longer see me; but you will see me. Because I live, you too will live. 20 When that day comes, you will know that I am united with my Father, and you with me, and I with you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me, and the one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” Yochanan (John) 14: 15-21 (Emphasis added)

His law. His mitzvot. The commands or words of G-d. Obedience. We obey because we love Him. What is the antithesis? To not obey demonstrates that we do NOT love, and the corollary to not loving is to live in fear. If we live in fear and do not love, are we then children of G-d? Even the prodigal son came to his senses and returned to his Father in repentance. To persistently live in the lifestyle of disobedience is to demonstrate that we do not trust G-d, or that we love self, or that we value personal pride over walking in righteousness to Adonai.

Some marriage commands are conditional, that is, they depend on the condition in which one finds their life. In marriage humans are commanded to remain married for life, though we do not have to marry, that is the condition. It is in Beresheit (Genesis) 2:24-25 that Yeshua [Mattityahu (Matt) 19:4-6] tells us that the only end to marriage is through death. Therefore the command is to remain married for a lifetime.

Though Rav Shaul (Paul) writes that divorced believers must remain single or reconcile, many take this as permission to divorce, willfully ignoring the greater command in the meaning of the Word – DO NOT DIVORCE. Those who do so respond (as if saying in their actions), “I separated from my spouse, but I remain single,” do so in disobedience to the greater command.

In Mattityahu (Matt) 19, Yeshua continued to confound the Prushim (Pharisees) when He explained that divorce for any other reason than adultery becomes adultery. So, abandoning a spouse who has not committed adultery makes one an adulterer.

Other verses that speak to the permanence of marriage;

Beresheit  (Genesis) 2:18

Mishlei (Proverbs) 5:18-19 18:22

Kehilla in Ephesus (Ephesians) 4:31-32-25

Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 4:9-11

Kehilla in Rome (Romans) 7:2

Kehilla in Corinth Alef (1 Corinthians) 7:39

Another explanation is found on the Antidowry website;

Society and civil law may then grant them a “divorce” (not for fornication) and they may “marry” again. Society and civil law then views them as free from their first marriage and entered into a second one, and the Bible calls this “divorced” (“put away”) and “married” again. But though God uses these terms as society does, He does not recognize the divorce as making a valid end to the covenant commitment that He recognized in the first marriage. God still considers them “bound” or “joined” or held accountable for the commitment of the first marriage.

This explains why, if a woman divorces her husband, she still has no right to remarry. She may get divorced in the eyes of civil law, and God calls it “divorce” and says she is now “unmarried.” But that does not free her from her bond or covenant obligation to her first husband. Since she is still bound to her first marriage covenant, her only choice then is to be reconciled to her husband (the one God recognizes) or else remain unmarried (all italics added).

Though the emphasis here is on divorce from a first husband (which is incorrect for reasons discussed in this blog) the more important issue is separation from a believing husband. Thus the above quote paints the image of one divorced ‘in the eyes of society’ in which individuals are considered by that social structure as free to remarry, something not in the Word.

The world and compromised believers take this to be true – that one is free to remarry after an unscriptural divorce, when G-d’s word says the opposite. And if one were to live persistently in disobedience, to refuse to reconcile to a lawful spouse, what is that? 1 Yochanan (John) writes of this spirit and calls it anti-Messiah saying they went out from us because they were not of us (2:19). Mattityahu (18) discusses reconciliation of a brother (that is, of a fellow believer in Yeshua).

Though one may understand that no fault divorce (NFD) is so well accepted by the pagan world, it is difficult to understand how those who say they are of the fellowship of light would also accept divorce so easily. The Catholic faith, for example, has so many rules about marriage and impediments to marriage that their stand on the indissoluble nature of marriage is rendered false, in much the same manner as those who believe Rav Shaul taught it’s okay to divorce ‘as long as I don’t remarry.’ These conceptualizations are false.

The L-rd himself said, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,” (Yesha’yahu/Isaiah 29:13). And in Mattityahu 15:9, Yeshua G-d says, “It is no use for them to worship me, because they teach human rules as though they were my laws!”

What laws? Any rule or law written by human beings no matter who they are, or for which purpose (being other than that which G-d condones).

Crabb is saying that believers stop acting and living as believers when the pursuit of happiness and joy becomes the purpose of our relationship with G-d. When obedience is difficult, many stop believing. Many make that short journey from faith to unbelief when life is rough, because they equate happiness with worship. So they will no longer obey His commands when there is no physical reward.

Larry Crabb (of Marriages Restored) develops the thesis that there is so close a relationship between happiness in service to G-d and the heresy in which happiness becomes the reason to serve G-d that many find it difficult to continue to walk in faith when faced with unhappiness. The real test of faith is obedience when there is no reward.

Many will happily live with their spouse as long as the good times roll. When problems arise, some may endure for a time, but as long as they look for meaning and happiness from without they will eventually fail. This not to say that real meaning and happiness can come from a relationship with G-d (it can and does), but happiness most assuredly MUST NOT come from someone else (even a husband or lover) other than G0d. So, the real test of faith is to obey no matter the circumstances.

We must rather hope in Christ when life makes no sense, when sin does a better job of relieving emptiness than righteous living. We must write checks on the account of faith. Our hope must be fixed on Yeshua, and the hope his presence brings, not on satisfied desire in this life.

When two believers are married their meaning and happiness, joy and passion for life should come from living for Maschiach. And, even if these are absent, which is a test of true faith, they will continue to serve the L-rd. Iyov (Job) wrote “though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him” (13:15). This is how we should live. This is how we should maintain our relationships with men and women in our lives. To live only to fulfill His purpose is the only way to live.

Ultimately, when we base our relationship on the experience of happiness, joy, passion, and so on, these will fail. And in the end the only reason to do so is because of , selfishness which conflates the reward of that relationship with the purpose of the relationship. Marriage is not meant to make us happy, marriage is meant to make us holy. Holiness in service to G-d will make us happy, but happiness is not the goal of service to Adonai.

Dr. Ramón  de Torres                                   

Edited: June 28, 2020

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