ANNULMENT

TEXTHeb. 13:4

INTRODUCTION:

A.  THE DEVIL IS HARD AT WORK.

          1.  A roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8).

          2.  Persistent and tricky (2 Cor. 2:11).

B.  A FREQUENT POINT OF ATTACK – MARRIAGE.

          1.  Matt. 19:6.  Yet, what is becoming so commonplace in the church?

          2.  Souls are at stake (Heb. 13:4;  Eph. 5:5).

          3.  The church has become an unholy mess of sin, folly, and division (1 Cor. 3:16-17).

C.  A NEW CONTROVERSY:   “If a couple gets married but don’t have sexual relations, are

          they really married?  Can they not get an annulment and remarry whom they will?”

I.  JOSEPH AND MARY.

A.  TODAY’S CUSTOMS OF MARRIAGE vs. BETROTHAL AND MARRIAGE.

          1.  Nothing to compare in our customs with 1st century betrothal.

          2.  There is no betrothal today in which one can be “put away” as Joseph contemplated

                   with Mary. (By the way, that bound her the same as if they were married, and

                   endangered her to be stoned if she was divorced for the worst was always assumed. 

                   See The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia article on Marriage

                    betrothalDeut. 22:23-24; Matt. 1:19). 

          3.  There is no such custom as betrothal among us or commanded in the New Testament,

                   so we need to go elsewhere to understand when the relationship between a man and

                   woman becomes a binding one.

B.  SOME OBSERVATIONS ABOUT JOSEPTH AND MARY.

          1.  Luke 2:1-5.  Joseph goes to Bethlehem for enrollment.  It says of Mary, that Joseph

                   took her with him, and she was betrothed to him. 

                   a.  There is nothing in this passage that would indicate the circumstance of their

                             relationship, except they were betrothed (Luke 1:27ff.). 

                   b.  Nothing is said in Luke about the difficulty of their relationship when Joseph

                             discovered her to be with child. 

          2.  Matthew 1:18-24.  Mary was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

                   a.  Before she and Joseph came together, and he was minded to put her away.

                   b  An angel explained that it was of the Holy Spirit.

                   c.  The text then tells us … (vs. 24-25).

                   d.  In dealing specifically with the relationship of Joseph and Mary, the scripture

                             says that Joseph at that point, “took unto him his wife.”

                   e.  A definite change in the relationship.  Matthew makes the distinction, not only in

                             what Mary was called, but in the substance of their relations.

                   f.  Joseph “… took unto him his wife …”  He had her in a way that he did not

                              before – when he was betrothed to her.  She is called his wife, not his

                              betrothed, and journeys to Bethlehem with him.

                   g.  If he had not taken unto him his wife, she wouldn’t have gone.  Whereas they had

                             not cohabited before, now they did.  And yet he did not know her in the carnal

                             sense until after the birth of Jesus.  Still she was the wife of Joseph (vs. 24-25)

II.     ONE FLESH.

A.  THE CATHOLIC ASSUMPTION – MARRIAGE CONSUMMATED BY SEX.

          1.  Gen. 2:24.  Used to teach marriage begins with sex and the two become one flesh.

          2.  This is based on the notion that marriage is for the purpose of satisfying one particular

                   appetite and producing off-spring.

          3.  Indeed, it is God’s intention that married people become one flesh in a sense, for the

                   this verse says so.

          4.  Sex is not the only design of marriage.  There is an aloneness that is salved by the

                   intimacy in the marriage bond.

          5.  “Being alone” is not merely having unsatisfied sexual desires.  Man was given

                   woman, not only for the carnal pleasures of sex, but for the gentleness and

                   dependency she has to offer.  Not only is her body soft, but so is her disposition

                   (1 Pet. 3:4).  For this she is his refuge, his confidant.  This fact concerning the

                   purpose of marriage keeps the embers glowing when the flames have ceased their

                   leaping.  Which is the more important role for a wife, a sexual partner or friend and

                   partner in life?  What all is marriage anyway?

          6.  In Genesis, Adam was the only human being.  He had needs that involved more than

                   the need to procreate.  God didn’t provide just a sex object.  The needs of men go

                   farther than that.

B.  Gen. 2:24.  REFERRED TO IN 3 NT PASSAGES.

          1.  Matt. 19:5-6.  There Jesus includes the words “the two” – “the two shall become flesh. 

                   One may associate his use more with sexual behavior, since he later talks about

                   fornication breaking the bond, but that association is not necessarily the only one

                   intended.

          2.  In 1 Cor. 6:16.  The sexual union is intended. 

                   a.  Paul talks about the spiritual union we have with Christ in his body, the church

                             (vs. 15).

                   b.  He derides sarcastically the notion of taking that which is joined to the

                              righteous Christ, and joining it through the sexual union to an unrighteous

                              prostitute.

                   c.  Note McGarvey’s comments:  “A subservient correlation also exists between

                             husband and wife, for they twain become one flesh, and the innocency of their

                             union does not interfere with the relation of either to God, which is the body’s

                             supreme correlation.  But there is no lawful correlation between the body of

                             the Christian and that of a harlot, and such a correlation cannot be subservient

                             to the body’s supreme correlation, but is repugnant to it.”

                   d.  The point is quite clear – having sex with a woman doesn’t mean you are

                              married to her.  This would mean having sex with a harlot joins her flesh to

                              the man’s, and to the holy spiritual body of Christ.

                   e.  Some would argue that Paul would not use such a figure if it consisted of sarcasm. 

                              For those who repudiate sarcasm as a legitimate polemic tool, please read

                             Gal. 5:12.

          3.  Eph. 5:25-33 also quotes Gen. 2:24 (vs. 31).

                   a.  More than a sexual union is involved in “the two shall become one flesh.”

                   b.  Note some of the phrases found here.  “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ

                             also loved the church, and gave himself up for it;  …  28 Even so ought

                             husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his

                             own wife loveth himself:  29 for no man ever hated his own flesh; but

                             nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ also the church;  30 because we are

                             members of his body” (vs. 25-30).

                   c.  You know that it is not just about sex.  It is about the special relationship,

                             physical, social, and psychological that the husband and wife have.

                   d  They are lovers, not just in the sense that they “make love,” but in the sense that

                             they love (agape not eros) each other.

                   e.  For the man, it involves giving oneself up for her, nourishing and cherishing her,

                             as Christ does the church.

                   f.  There is more to the meaning of “one flesh” in this context than achieving sexual

                             gratification.  To miss this point is to miss out on the greater blessings of

                             marriage that cannot be obtained with a harlot by mere sex.

C.  THERE IS NOTHING IN THESE VERSES THAT TEACHES “ONE FLESH” EQUALS

          THE BEGINNING OF MARRIAGE.  CONTRARIWISE, “ONE FLESH” IS WHAT

          YOU BECOME IN MARRIAGE..

III.    WEDDING VOWSARE THEY BINDING?

A.  WE MUST TELL THE TRUTH.

          1.  Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44).

          2.  Those who make vows and don’t keep them are liars (Rev. 21:8).

B.  THE STORY OF JEPTHAH (Judges 11).

          1.  The rash vow. (Judges 11:30-31). 

          2.  The appearance of his daughter. (vs. 34).  Now the reaction of Jephthah may well have

                   been to rationalize why he should not do what he had vowed. 

          3.  But Jephthah showed us (Rom. 15:4) how important it is to keep your word and tell the

                   truth (vs. 35). 

          4.  He vowed, and his vow bound him.

C.  WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT KEEPING OUR VOWS?

          1.   (Num 30:2-4).

          2.  (Eccl. 5:2-6).

          3.  ( Psa. 15:1,4).

          4.  Someone objects before the point is made, “But that’s in the Old Testament.”  The Old

                   Testament reflects the attitude and intentions of an unchanging God (Mal. 3:6). 

          5.  What did Jesus say? (Matt 5:37).

          6.  Notice the harsh condemnation of Paul (Rom 1:28-32).

                   a.  Named among murderers, gossips, the proud and homosexuals are covenant-

                             breakers.

                   b  The covenant-breaker is a sinner and is worthy of death.

D.  THINK ABOUT THE WEDDING CEREMONY.

          1.  Two people stand before God and give their word.

          2.  They are recognized as being married, bound by their word to a sacred covenant that

                   can only be put asunder by fornication (Matt. 19:9).  They are bound in marriage by

                   that covenant.

          3.  “Is there anyone present who knows just cause or reason why these two should not be

                   joined in marriage?”  Then the charge, “Let him speak now or remain silent forever.” 

                   a.  If the marriage has not yet begun, the charge should be, “If anyone objects, you

                             have a few hours yet.”

                   b.  The foolishness of upholding “annulment” is seen in the foolishness of that scene.

CONCLUSION:

We live in a frightening society where the world is likely to let things of high moral import slide

by unnoticed.  But Godly men and women hold themselves to a higher standard.  The Hebrew

writer said, “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you” (Heb. 6:9).  Let us not do

those things that cast a shadow on the name of the Lord.

The notion that a marriage can be annulled because they didn’t consummate with the sexual act

is wrong because it ignores the fact that marriage involves a covenant-bond.  “What therefore

God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6).