A Higher Law
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Reading: Luke 16:18
Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
In the passage that we read last time, Jesus made it clear that he came to fulfill the law and not to abolish it.
The Good News of grace doesn’t give us permission to sin, but instead gives us the ability to fight against sin by the power of the grace of God in our lives.
For this reason, Jesus’ disciples must exhibit even greater justice than the Pharisees.
What Jesus teaches here is an example of that. The law allowed divorce, under certain circumstances (Deuteronomy 24:1-4), but in those days, this ordinance of God, which was originally a protective framework for marriage, had become an excuse for divorce for any triviality. Any excuse was good, in those days, to belittle a woman and leave her helpless.
Jesus says that anyone who scorns his wife is sinning. Marriage is a union that God establishes, and that must be taken seriously. This statement of Jesus is a slap in the face for the Pharisees, who had invented a thousand tricks to allow divorce with any excuse.
Jesus clarifies in another passage that adultery is a possible cause of divorce, so here we must remember that the intention is to make it clear that the kingdom of God is about a greater righteousness than that of religion.
The Kingdom of God is not about outward behavior but about profound changes in the heart. If our heart has been changed, our behavior will also change. Even though it is difficult, it is possible to change a behavior or habit.
With our effort we can transform our behaviors and attitudes, but we can do nothing to change our heart except surrender it to Christ.
MEDITATE: Is Christ our righteousness? Do we understand the concept of Gospel righteousness?