Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 19:1-12.
Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female. 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
The Pharisees, attempting to entrap the Lord in controversy, asked him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Matt 19:3).
Notice that Christ begins his response by taking them back to Scripture (not to tradition, to experience, or to reason), when he says, “Have ye not read…” This is sola scriptura!
To be more precise, he takes them back to Genesis. It is hard to overstate the importance of Genesis, especially chapters 1-11 as a foundation for Christian theology. Christ cites two passages taken from the pre-fall creation: Genesis 1:27 (v. 4) and Genesis 2:24 (v. 5).
First, Christ alludes in v. 4 to Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
This is a key text for the doctrine of anthropology. It tells us that God has made human beings in two kinds: male and female. We all know the confusion that has arisen in our current culture, as various so-called “experts” have convinced many that gender is nothing but a “social construct.” An online article at healthline.com suggests there are no less than 68 supposed terms that describe gender and identity. Another source suggests 72.
All of this is rebellion against God’s good, created order, and it is nothing new. Paul described it in Romans 1 when he said that men “became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (v. 21).
So, Christ is simply affirming here the fundamental goodness of God’s original creation design for humanity.
Second, in v. 5 he cites Genesis 2:24. With this citation, Christ affirms the doctrine of marriage. It involves a man leaving the household of his parents to establish his own household and cleaving to his wife. We, as parents, can and should give our children guidance when they are within our household, but when they establish their own household the relationship changes.
At the end of v. 5 (citing Gen 2:24), Christ addresses the mysterious union of a man and a woman in marriage. They become one flesh. A man and a woman were literally made to fit together, both physically and spiritually.
So, Christ declares, “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (v. 6).
This statement, often recited in the traditional Christian vows of marriage, affirms two things: (1) It affirms in general the institution of marriage as a one flesh union between one man and one woman (anything other than this is not a marriage); and (2) It affirms, in particular, the individual marriages of Christians, which are neither to be entered into lightly nor departed from frivolously.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle