Sunday, April 1, 2018

What the Bible Says about Divorce, Part 2

Today, we continue to see what the Bible truly says in regards to the issue of divorce and what it doesn't.

Can you get a divorce, remarry, and still be in the will of God? I believe that the answer is yes as long as there are scriptural reasons. I believe that there are three clear reasons given in the New Testament for a justifiable divorce: they are Adultery, Desertion, and Death.

The Misunderstanding
Unfortunately, there are many who hold that no matter the reason for divorce, one can never again remarry because of Old Testament Mosaic Law. That is not true because we are not under Old Testament Mosaic Law. Christ fulfilled the Law so that we do not have to, remember. We are under the New Covenant of Grace. However, some will point to Romans 7:1-4 to make their point.

Rom 7:1-4 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?  2  For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.  3  So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.  4  Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

In this passage, Paul is illustrating a doctrinal truth that we are free from the Law because we have died to our flesh and are now free to remarry Christ. He is making a doctrinal illustration and using marriage as an example. He is not saying that once divorced a person can never again remarry.

Three Justifiable Reasons
That being said, let’s look at the three justifiable reasons given in the New Testament. Let’s look at the easy one first.

1Co 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

This passage clearly states that once one partner has died, the other is free to remarry. However, it must be “in the Lord.” In other words, they cannot be “unequally yoked.”

2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Now, let’s look at the second reason.

Remember that in the Old Testament, once adultery took place, the offending party was put to death. It was a pretty open and shut case! However, we do not live in the Old Testament anymore. We cannot kill our cheating partners. That would cause us to break man’s law. So, instead of stoning, divorce is the only option that we have under the New Testament.

However, I do not believe that divorce should be the first option. God wants forgiveness and reconciliation to take place if possible. However, if that is not possible, divorce becomes the only option. In that case, I believe that the offended can remarry while the offender cannot. I believe that once adultery takes place, it divides the "one flesh" of the marriage (Gen. 2:24) and creates a new one (1 Cor. 6:16). Again, God would prefer forgiveness and reconciliation.

The third justification for divorce is desertion. This is never mentioned by our Lord but by the Apostle Paul.

1Co 7:12-15 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.  13  And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.  14  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.  15  But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

Here is a case where a husband or a wife gets saved and the unbelieving spouse decides to leave. Paul said, “Let them go!” Paul recommends that the deserted spouse remain single (1 Cor. 7:27). But he also tells us that it is not a sin if he or she remarries (1 Cor. 7:28a). Again, the only condition on the remarriage is that the deserted spouse marries a saved person.

Notice what Paul says in 1 Cor. 7:28, "such shall have trouble in the flesh," (1 Cor. 7:28). In other words, you’d better spend a great deal of time in prayer before you even think about remarriage. You need to look deep before you leap because there are consequences for everything (1Co 7:32-35).

Real Reasons for Divorce
In conclusion, I am going to suggest to you that a good marriage takes work. It is not for the fainthearted. We must all leave, cleave, and weave.

The five causes of divorce that is most often given include 1. Money; 2. Sexuality (adultery); 3. In-Laws; 4. Breaking fellowship, and 5. Parenting differences. However, in all honesty, I believe that the two real reasons for divorce are selfishness and immaturity.

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