God made humanity male and female to be married and share the deepest kind of love physically possible. Sadly, divorce is common in our culture and we must learn how to have godly marriages and avoid pitfalls. Research shows around 41% of all first marriages end in divorce, 60% of second marriages end in divorce, and 73% of all third marriages end in divorce. Therefore, for those who have done wrong in the past there is hope for a new beginning.
1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. 3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ [Genesis 1:27] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. [Genesis 2:24] Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” [Deuteronomy 24:1-14] 8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” [1 Corinthians 7:1-15]
10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
BIBLICAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
- Adultery: Any kind of sexual activity outside of the marriage, including addictions to pornography. (Matthew 19:9)
- Abandonment: Leaving the spouse or abusing the spouse because abuse is in a form of abandoning the value the other person (they may not have physically left the person, but they have lost their love and respect). (1 Corinthians 7:15)
BIBLICAL GROUNDS FOR SEPARATION
- Spiritually Destructive: A person is kept from having a relationship with God- they cannot divorce but they should seek reconciliation otherwise they will be guilty of adultery if they re-marry. (1 Corinthians 7:10 & Matthew 19:9)
- Emotionally Destructive: A person is suffering because of the condition of the marriage but they should seek reconciliation otherwise they will be guilty of the sin of adultery if they re-marry. (1 Corinthians 7:10 & Matthew 19:9)
- Will God ever allow us to change the standard for marriage and include LGBT modifications? No, because we were created male and female by our biology and that is the only authorized way for sexual expression (Matthew 19:4-6). There are only two covenants and both forbid it.
- What about God allowing polygamy in the Old Testament? Polygamy was allowed for the same reason of no-fault divorce, because of the hardness of people’s hearts. But it was never God’s best and is seen in the Old Testament as always causing problems (1 Kings 11:4 & Acts 17:30).
- If someone initiated an unbiblical divorce and re-married are they in the continuing sin of adultery- even if they repent for the unbiblical divorce? No, the Bible does not teach after a person repented of an unbiblical divorce and re-marriage, that they are in an unauthorized new marriage and continuing to commit adultery. This is a very Western way at looking at justice- the Jews of Jesus’ day would have simply understood that the sin was in initiating a new marriage but they could be forgiven for the past to move forward (if they truly were sorry and not just using it as an excuse to change spouses). Therefore, the Bible does not teach re-marriage is a continuing sin. (Further study)
Marriage was meant to represent our union with Jesus, may we love our spouse like how Jesus loves us! (Ephesians 5:25-33)