“IT IS NOT LAWFUL FOR YOU TO HAVE HER”
by Kevin Rutherford
I am impressed with the courage of the prophet known as John “the Baptizer.” He stood up to a king and lost his life for it (Matthew 14:1-12). King Herod had taken his brother’s wife away from him and was living in an adulterous relationship. John told Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” For this statement John was eventually beheaded.
John spoke out against a political leader and condemned that leader. John rebuked Herod for something that was being done in Herod’s personal life. John made application of God’s Old Testament marriage laws to one who was not a part of the Jewish covenant. I admire the courage of John “the immerser.”
There are elders and evangelists today who understand God’s marriage laws apply to all people (Matthew 19:9). Jesus did not limit God’s marriage law to Jews or to Christians, but rather said they applied to “whosoever.” We understand “whosoever” in John to mean anyone and everyone who believes. Why don’t we understand that the word “whosoever” refers to anyone and everyone in the marriage situation described in Matthew 19:9? We do, but some don’t.
There are preachers and elders who do not have the courage of John the prophet. Rather than seeking to save the lost by encouraging them to repent of adulterous relationships, these compromisers seek to justify the sin of adultery. There are different methods of thought that are used to justify adulterous marriages. Some suggest that Matthew 19:9 applies only to Christians. The context does not bear that out as has already been shown. Others will tell us that Matthew 19:9 does apply, but the sin of that relationship can be washed away at baptism without having to severe the adulterous relationship. In other words they are preaching salvation without repentance. The Bible most certainly does not teach as much (Acts ; ).
We need more preachers and elders who, like John “the baptist,” will have the courage to tell those in adulterous relationships, “It is not lawful for you to have her (Matthew 14:3, 4).”