Christian Marriage & Divorce

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The subject of Christian marriage and divorce is one that has a lot of different opinions, even amongst pastors and ministers.

For those who take the Bible literally as the Word of God, what the Bible states, as it is written, stands.

For others who don’t treat the Bible literally as the Word of God, what the Bible states, as it is written, is open to interpretation.

Jewish Scholar Rabbi S.M. Lehrman (M.A., PHD) said: “A study of the Bible has convinced us that very often, if not always, it is the simplest and most literal interpretation of the Word of God that is nearest the truth”

A.W. Tozer said: “I believe the Bible says what God wanted it to say. Divine revelation is the ground on which we stand. The Bible is the book of God and I stand on it with all my heart.”

And those are the approaches I personally take.

In Malachi 2:11-16 God said:

“Judah has been unfaithful, and a detestable thing has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. The men of Judah have defiled the Lord’s beloved sanctuary by marrying women who worship idols. May the Lord cut off from the nation of Israel every last man who has done this and yet brings an offering to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Here is another thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because He pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?”

I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.

Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are His. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So, guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.

“For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So, guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” (Malachi 2:11-16 NLT)

In Matthew 19:3-9 we have the account of where some Pharisees tried to test Jesus:

“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?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 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’? So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:3-9 NLT)

Have no doubt, God’s desire is that a husband and wife would faithfully love and honour each other, and love and honour God.

However, we must understand that in the context and culture where Jesus spoke it was inconceivable that a wife (or husband) would be subject to physical or emotional abuse. It was also inconceivable that drugs or drunkenness would ruin a marriage.

It was also inconceivable that there would be domestic violence in the marriage.

I have said many times that: “Women were never created to be men’s punching bags – the same goes in reverse.”

Further ‘the law’ of God allowed for a divorce where adultery was to blame. And God Himself hates idolatry, and finds idolatry completely evil.

The following is a genuine true example that happened to me:

As a pastor I once had a man (an alcoholic) who would come to me multiple times for prayer in church and every time he would say rather glibly: “I love my wife. You could put a million dollars on one side, and my wife on another – and I would pick my wife every time.”

One time the Holy Spirit spoke to me and I replied: “Or I could put a dozen bottles of beer on one side – and you would pick the beer over your wife every time.”

And it was true – he would have.

Basically, he wanted a ‘quick fix magic wand’ but was not prepared to genuinely repent, nor was he prepared to ‘put in the hard yards’ and exercise his own ‘free will’ to give up with God’s help.

The point of those true encounters is simply this: he was in an adulterous relationship with his grog.

He chose grog over his wife every time – just like grog was his illicit lover.

That is adultery against his wife and idolatry against God!

If you are going through a separation or divorce due to adultery God Himself understands.

He understands the reasons and He understands your pain – even if pastors or other Christians condemn you.

God Himself went through a divorce and He understands the pain: “I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery.” (Jeremiah 3:8)

If there is sin on your part, repent and God will forgive you.

Pray for your ex, and do not hold any hatred or bitterness or unforgiveness against them. This only poisons your own soul and spirit.

But please do not feel condemned. satan condemns, God redeems and forgives.

Instead “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

 

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Comments

One response to “Christian Marriage & Divorce”

  1. Don Bob Avatar
    Don Bob

    #5!