What is the Gospel? According to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the Gospel is embodied in these words: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
1 Corinthians 2:2 says, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
Dr. Walter A. Elwell, editor of the Tyndale Bible Dictionary, said, “The Gospel is a channel of God’s grace. Paul says the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel. By this he means, not that the Gospel talks about the righteousness of God (though it does), but that God’s righteousness is actively at work in the gospel. His activity in turn explains how the Gospel becomes ‘the power of God for Salvation.’ And just how does God demonstrate his righteousness at this stage? In short, by bestowing it as a free gift on sinful human beings. It remains the righteousness of God, but by God’s grace, it is a righteousness in which humans may share. Furthermore, partaking of God’s righteousness depends on being personally united with Jesus Christ.”
TEXT: Matthew 5:31-32:
31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
The Canons of Basil, written by the disciples of the fourth-century bishop of Caesarea, note: “Our Lord, to the man and woman, equally forbids divorce save in the case of fornication; but custom requires women to retain their husbands, though they be guilty of fornication. The man deserted by his wife may take another, and though he were deserted [by an adulteress], yet St. Basil will be positive that the other woman who afterward takes him is also guilty of adultery; but the wife is not allowed this liberty. And the man who deserts an innocent wife is not allowed to marry.”
As we see from this quote, there was clearly a double-standard in the various teachings on divorce in the first century — both Jewish and Christian. In both the Old Testament and New Testament eras, only men were allowed to issue a “writ of divorcement.” Men could divorce their wives, but women could not divorce their husbands. This obviously created a dilemma for the early church which sought to abide by Jesus’ teaching that divorce was permitted, but not commanded, in the case of adultery. Christian husbands, whose wives committed adultery, could easily get a divorce both by the laws of the state and the laws of the church. But Christian women, whose husbands had committed adultery and who could have gotten a divorce in the eyes of the Church, were not permitted to divorce in the eyes of the state.
Of course, today, the reality is much different. A recent study found that women initiate 70% of all divorces. So, we see that the Biblical teaching on divorce was ahead of its time in terms of equality of the sexes. Although the events of the Bible take place in times where patriarchy was the norm, God never endorses the idea that women are less than men. John MacArthur said, “From cover to cover, the Bible exalts women. In fact, it often seems to go out of the way to pay homage to them, to ennoble their roles in society and family, to acknowledge the importance of their influence, and to exalt the virtues of women who were particularly godly examples.”
So, where does that leave us regarding divorce? The quote from Basil indicates that the early church recommended that Christian women remain with their husbands, even those who had committed adultery, out of “custom.” During that time, with rare exceptions, a woman who was not under the familial protection of a man (husband, father, or brother) would simply not have been able to make it in society. Even today, secular culture has noted the phenomenon of women “standing by their man” after the latter committed adultery. There is much debate around the reasons for this, but many psychologists have stated that there is a lot of work that goes into a marriage, and after being together for 10, 15, 20 years or more, the wife (and, often, the husband) feels like it would be a waste to throw away everything that has been built over the years. This is an important consideration in light of the Biblical teaching of reconciliation in the case of adultery. That being said, Christian women are held to the same standard given by Jesus:
(1) It is not God’s will for a husband and wife to get a divorce.
(2) If a spouse commits adultery, the offended one is allowed to get a divorce.
(3) However, it is God’s ideal for the husband and wife to reconcile and not break their divinely-ordained union.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.