Divorce and Remarriage
“And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” Mark 10:11,12
In today’s time one of the most controversial topics within the church of Jesus Christ is divorce and remarriage. In an earlier tract, I brought out how history repeats itself and if there is one thing we learn from history, is that we don’t learn from history! What can we learn from history about divorce and remarriage? From a Biblical standpoint, God designed the marriage to be one man, one woman for life.
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
Does the Bible teach that a person can divorce and remarry? Most people that are sensitive about this topic are people that have been divorced or have friends or a loved one that has experienced one. In my own family, divorce has claimed the marriages most of my relatives. Only by the grace and mercy of God did he allow me to find a wife that is as committed to the marriage as I have been. My wife has said in stressful times in our marriage “Divorce never. Murder maybe!”
Remember: Scripture does not contradict itself
When the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus on this subject there were two different schools of thought.
1. That only because of adultery could a man divorce his wife. The one problem with this is that according to Scripture if one had committed adultery they were to be stoned to death.
2. A man could divorce his wife for any reason, such as if she was a bad cook.
What did Jesus mean in Matthew 5.31 “Saving for the cause of fornication”? This is referred to as the “exception cause”. The word fornication comes from the Greek word porneia . Many have tried to align this with adultery. This Greek word is never translated as adultery. Remember our interpretation should be in line with scripture. The only way this can be properly explained is if Porneia is referring to a:
• Sodomite marriage - A marriage between those of the same sex. This was forbidden in scripture. Lev. 18:22 says that it was an abomination to the Lord for those who engaged in these acts.
• Incestuous marriage - This is when a father marries his daughter or when a son marries his father’s wife (step-mother). This was a problem that took place in the Corinthian Church (I Corinthians 5:1). Paul referred to this as fornication.
• Fraudulent marriage - When a Jewish man and woman came together in marriage, they were betrothed to each other. They were married, but they did not come together as man and wife. Usually a year would pass giving time for the man to prepare a home for his wife. The bridegroom would then return and receive his wife. It was then that they would come together physically. If at any time during the betrothal period one had committed fornication, the marriage was dissolved by divorce. This is what Joseph was going to do when he first found out that Mary was with child (Matt1:19).
In Jeremiah 3:8, God gave a writing of divorcement to Israel, because she played the harlot. Some would use this to show they could divorce, but not to remarry. Israel came back to God and he reestablished her as his people and will do so in the last days.
After the first century the church had several opinions about divorce. Overall they agreed that when a person divorced they could not remarry. Augustine was one of many who taught this. So how did we get to this way of life and why aren’t preachers across the land communicating this?
It started around the sixteenth century with Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), who was considered one of the greatest scholars of his time. Because of his upbringing, his parents were not able to marry, he tried to see if there was any way a person could divorce and remarry. His opinion was that happiness in the marriage should outweigh any law forcing people to stay together. Unfortunately, his views on divorce and remarriage influenced great men like Martin Luther. He reasoned that when a person committed adultery their spouse could consider them dead. Civil authorities during his time did not carry out the Mosaic Law that those caught in adultery should be put to death. He reasoned that when a person committed adultery their spouse could consider them dead and remarry.
From this reasoning we have come to the place we are in today. The danger in this is that it promotes a wicked lifestyle. If a marriage is not permanent, then if it does not work out, we will just get a divorce. This is a rejecting of principals that God has given us concerning finding a life partner. Since marriages are falling apart, a large number of people are just living together. Sadly this is even taking place in today’s churches.
…till death do us part
When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. Deut. 23:21
When a man or woman come together in holy matrimony they vow to each other in the presence of Almighty God that they will honor each other for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, till death do they part, not till divorce do they part. When two people divorce they sin because they have broken their marriage vow. Their vow has been violated and broken, and thus becomes sin.
What hope do people have that are divorced and remarried?
First of all like with any sin, there is the cross. In I John 1:9 it stresses, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So many Christians who have remarried will justify their act for many reasons. Until they confess this sin and it is under the precious blood of Jesus, then will they be forgiven of this sin. They can then warn others about the seriousness of marriage, especially their children. Even though they are disqualified to hold office in the church as an elder or pastor, God can use their life as a testimony to others. By this, in one generation marriage could be restored once again to a holy and sacred institution, not to be marred by divorce.
Revival is what is needed in our land.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14
When principals such as divorce and remarriage are ignored then as a nation we can and will experience such warning as in Hosea 4:6
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
Pastors across our country need to preach the word and not be influenced by the fear of man. (Not just in the area of divorce, but in other areas, that effect the church that have been greatly compromised in the last generation.)
You may be reading this and you have never settle the most important question.
How does anyone get to heaven?
First realize that they cannot get to heaven on their own merits. The Bible says that “For all have sinned and come short (that means everybody can’t get to Heaven on their own) of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
Jesus Christ (who is the Son of the living God) came to earth and was born of a virgin woman (therefore he was not born of the curse of mankind) he lived a sinless life and died on a cross for all the sins in the world. Three days later, God the Father raised Him from the dead. He was seen of 500 witnesses and returned to heaven. God’s word says that if we believe these things and call upon the Lord, we will be saved. Romans 10:9 - 13