Divorce and Marriage

What is the legal and biblical ground for marriage and divorce under God?

by Lynford Heron
The Centurion Press - Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Marriage is one of those institutions where the Lord places His 

highest regard.  When carried out in the fear and beauty of the Lord, the parties involved can experience a little heaven on earth.  However, the sanctity and purity of this holy union has been violated by many Christians as a result of ignorance and sympathizers.   Ignorance, simply because they do not know.  Sympathizers, in the sense that, those who have accepted the position as shepherds, are nullifying the principles of God base on what they consider unique situations.  An example is given a few paragraphs down.  However, we have news for those sympathizers (some pastors, teachers and evangelist), and that is,  "The Lord has one standard for every Christian." 

This article will answer the following questions on divorce and remarry:
   What is the biblical ground for divorce?
   Under what situations can a once married individual remarry?
   Can the adulterous party remarry?
   Does the Lord forgive adulterers?

What is the biblical ground for divorce?
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 understanding that many held in the days when Christ walked the earth, was that divorce was justified as long as a writing of divorcement was given.  Therefore, if the women walked with a limp and the husband did not like it, he could divorce her.  Basically, they were divorcing for every and any reason.  It was a big problem and Jesus had to addressed it.  He explained that the ONLY legal ground for divorce is fornication.  Meaning, if the wife or husband have an affair, then the innocent party can divorce the guilty party and is free to remarry.

Well, many will say, "What if he is abusing me physically, should I stay in that relationship?"  No, you should not stay.  The Lord does not call fools.  In such a situation, separation is warranted.  However, divorce is not acceptable.  If the wife leaves, she should remain single, else she will commit adultery.  Abuse does not justify divorce and remarriage.  This is why marriage is serious business.  It can cause hell or heaven to be your inheritance.  There are a lot of causes where individuals in there twenties are separated and they would like to divorce and remarry.  But, if fornication is not involved, in God's eyes, that man is still your husband and that woman is still your wife even after divorce and remarry.  This is only if fornication is not involved.
1 Corinthians 7:11
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

Mark 10:11-12
11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
The council of God is direct.  His instructions are straight forward. The man or woman that remarry without the cause of fornication is living an adulterous life because they are still legally married to the first party in God's eyes - Romans 7:3 "So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress."

Under what situations can a once married individual remarry?
We established the first one, which is fornication.  Now let us move on to the other two.
Romans 7:2-3
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
The second situation is the death of a spouse.  In which case, the husband or wife is free from the law of God and is able to remarry.

1 Corinthians 7:12-15
12 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.

Paul says, "To the rest speak I."  Meaning to unbelievers.  He explains that the believing spouse is free to remarry if the unbelieving spouse departs.  For example, Mike and Tina have been married for three years.  They have no religious affiliation.  Then one day, the message that Jesus is love reached Tina's heart and she accepted Christ as her Lord and savior.  She believes all His teachings, especially on marriage and divorce. On the other hand, Mike does not want anything to do with Christianity.  He does not believe in Christ nor his teachings.  Now, in this situation, if Mike decides to leave Tina, the Bible says, "let him depart."  In addition, the Bible said that Tina (a brother or sister) is not under bondage in such case.  She is free to marry.  Remember in Romans 7:2, the Bible said that the wife is "bound" unto her husband as long as he liveth.  Tina believes in the teachings of Christ.  Therefore, she is bound or under bondage.  Consider Luke 12:47 - "And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes."  Tina is a servant of the Lord and if she goes against his will she will be held accountable.  Therefore, because Tina is a believer she could not leave Mike and remarry.  Why?  Because she is a believer, and thereby, subject to the law of God.  Consider the following scripture.

Romans 8:7
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Subject means, not under the power or authority of the law.  Does that mean unbelievers can marry and remarry all they want.  Technical yes.  Does the Lord want them to do that?  No!  But if they do not believe the word of God, they are going to do what they want.  However, the Lord would like every man to have a knowledge of the saving true.  Why?  Consider the following:
Hosea 4:6
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.
The Lord was speaking to the children of Israel.  However the message is applicable to every man.  This knowledge was to protect and preserve the life of man.  Many are of the conviction that, "what I do not know will not hurt me,"  Or they will say, "Ignorance is bliss."  On the contrary, that is one the biggest misconception.  The Bible tells us that ignorance destroys, it does not protect.  Dear reader, if you eat poison ignorantly, will it not have the same affect as the person that was murdered by poison?  Of course it will, you will die.  There are bitter consequences sometimes as a result of being ignorant.  Please do not remain ignorant willfully because you believe that ignorance is a defense.  Just remember that, ignorance of the law does not excuse you from the penalty of the law.  Consider the following:
Luke 12:47-48
47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.

The Bible makes it clear that there is always a consequence for breaking the law of God.  Here the Bible says that even the man that knew not, yet committed things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.

The individuals who are looking to get married must be careful as well.  Marriage is such a serious and delicate institution that it has far reaching implications, affecting every man.  We should never enter into marriage ignorantly.  Much research should be done first on subject matter and the party that you hope to marry.  Consider the following:
Matthew 5:32
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.
Consider what the Lord is saying here.  If a young man marry a woman that is divorced, and it was not for the cause of fornication, then that man is committing adultery as well.  Young people, do your research, make sure that the woman or man was legally divorced before entering any kind of relationship.  There is no problem marrying a woman or man that is divorced.  That is fine, as long as fornication, death or the departure of unbelieving spouse was the reason. He who know to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.  Therefore, now that you are informed, you will be accountable for any contrary situation you find yourself in.

Can the adulterous party remarry / Does the Lord forgive adulterers?
Romans 7:3
So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress:

There are three acceptable grounds for divorce and remarry as explained above, fornication, death and the departure of the unbelieving spouse.  If any individual remarry outside of those confines, the he or she shall be called an adulteress. For believers, for Christians, fornication is the only acceptable grounds for divorce and remarry with God.  Apart from the death of a spouse of course.  Therefore, if a man cheats on his wife, then divorce her and remarry, he shall be called an adulteress.  If he cheats and the wife divorce him and he remarries, he shall be called an adulteress.  The wife is free to remarry, the guilty party is not.  He has to remain single - 1 Corinthians 7:10-11. The Lord did not make a provision for the guilty party, else it would be too easy.  If I want to divorce my wife, the only thing I would need to do is have an affair. Where would it end? God hates divorce.

The guilty party can make restitution with God and be reconciled to good standing in the Church and in active duty if he repents and remain single. God is a God of love and his arms are wide open, welcoming back the erring sinner in His fellowship.  Consider the prodigal son and the woman caught in adultery.   If we are like Christ, then we should be reconcilers.  If we are like Christ we will judge no man nor point a finger, for Christ himself said that he Judge nor condemn no man.  Then why would corrupted, retched, naked, miserable and blind sinner as we are condemn anyone to hell.  We should be afraid to talk about others.  Judge not that he be not judged. Sin is sin and adultery as well as lying is sin.  Remember friends, no sin shall enter heaven regardless of what kind it is.  Therefore, with the woman caught in adultery, Christ said, "let him who is without sin cast the first stone."  After her accusers sins were revealed unto them, they walked away and left her alone.  That is our problem, we are so quick to condemn and put down each other in our self righteous condition, when we are chief of sinners ourselves.  Consider this quote, "There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much evil in the best of us, that it behooves none of us to think that we are better than the rest of us."  Our business is to love and pray for the erring brother or sister.  We should not alienate them from fellowship, for that is the time they need a savior more than ever.  And if that erring brother or sister repents and remain single, then they are no longer an adulterer but a son or a daughter.  Therefore, Jesus said to the woman, "Go and sin no more."  What "sin" was He referring to?  The sin of adultery.  In other words, sin no more means, stop being an adulterer.  Again, we see that the Lord forgives adulterers in John 4:8-11.

However, if the guilty party remarry, then the guilty party will be living in sin.  The Christian community seems to omit this council.  Rather, we became sympathizers with those that are in error.  We tend to allow the situation to overrule the word of God.  Friends, if we bless those that are in error and those that are within God's will, then we are he worse kind.  We are hypocrites.  We must take a stand.  God's word is not relative, it is absolute.  If it is relative, then where will it end?  In that case, we can redefine, justify and sanitize any situation regardless of how sinful it is.  We must stand for something, else we will fall for anything.  If the seriousness of marriage was explained, if the seriousness of the situation surrounding remarriage of the guilty party, then we would we see less affairs and a reduction in the divorce rate.

The innocent party is free to remarry, but the guilty is not.  If the guilty remarry, because he/she was not freed, then that relationship is considered an adulterous relationship.  Judge within yourselves, dear readers.  If a thief ask God for forgiveness, but remains an active thief, will he make it to heaven?  Can the Lord save you in your sins?  Likewise, if the Bible classifies the remarriage of the guilty party as an adulterous relationship, what will be his fate?  Remember, no adulterer will enter heaven.  There is one standard for all.

If your are convicted, if you feel the Holy Spirit togging on your heart string and you would like to solicit God's help to make your wrongs right, just kneel down and pray to Him.  He will hear your prayer.  If you would like prayer, if you would like Bible study, if you would like to request baptism then click on the appropriate link. 
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  Christ or the Law
  Religious Prejudice
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