Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage

Introduction:

  1. Most civilized societies are plagued with “civilized” sins-sins of morality.
  2. This lesson deals with the issue of Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage.
    1. What does God say about marriage?
    2. What does God say about divorce?
    3. What does God say about remarriage?
  3. With every Bible subject we must always look for a “thus saith the Lord”.

Discussion

  1. The sin of the beam (Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:41-42)
    1. It is true that sin is sin, and sin should not be tolerated (1 John 3:4; Revelation 2:18-20 <Thyatira>; 1 Corinthians 5).
      1. Many feel it their right and duty to meddle in others’ lives and investigate that which is none of their business.  Sort of like a witch hunt.
      2. The duty of every Christian is to know your brothers and sisters and deal with sin as the issues arise. (1 Corinthians 16:14)
    2. However, when we rebuke sin we must be careful and considerate lest we fall in the same hole (1 Corinthians 10:12; Paul thought of himself as the chief among all sinners 1 Timothy 1:15).
    3. The accuser should also make sure that his own house is in order before they go on accusing others of sin (Matthew 7:1-15; Luke 6:41-42).
      1. Example:  Fornication – The man who is living in fornication should take care of his sin before he goes to a person he thinks is in sin.
        1. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; 1 Corinthians 7:1-2; 1 Corinthians 5
        2. Fornication is not just tolerated in our society but is actually being encouraged. The sin of fornication is being committed even among Christians, as many couples “live together” and have sex before marriage. The Bible tells us to flee this sin. We have counseled Christians of the opposite sex who share an apartment and they told us they were not having sex so this surely wasn’t wrong. Night-crawlers come to mind.  The Bible declares these words in 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23; “Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
      2. Example: Drinking parties
        1. 1 Peter 4:3; 1 Corinthians 6:10 (Bible condemns drunkenness and idiots)
        2. “Revelry” is “a wild party or celebration” according to the dictionary.  When one participates in a party where the alcohol flows freely and things are said and done that are unbecoming of Christians, he is guilty of revelry, not just social drinking. Other New Testament passages also condemn revelry (Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:21).
      3. Example: Engaging in illegal activity
        1. Romans 13 condemns the person who breaks the laws of the land.
        2. Not paying taxes, buying stolen goods, selling vehicles with known issues but hidden from the buyer (lemons), lying on applications, speeding, driving without a license, driving without insurance, etc.
    4. By no means do I intend to leave the impression that we should ignore sin because we are in sin.  I am teaching that one should take care of his own sin before he starts pointing out the sins in others.
      1. The expressions, “Who am I to talk?”, “I’m no one to talk…”, “I’m in no position to say/judge/criticize something”, an attempt at drawing his attention to his own problems.
      2. Matthew 7:1-5

(Having warned us about the speck and beam let us move on to the subject on hand about Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage.)

  1. What does God say about marriage?
    1. Covenant between three parties: God, man and woman (Genesis 2:18-24).
      1. Notice the absence of a modern day ceremony.
      2. Modern day ceremonies are acceptable but not necessary (i.e., wedding party, reception, bridesmaids, etc.)
    2. God is the witness of the marriage union (Malachi 2:14).  The immoral woman of Proverbs 2:17 had forsaken her husband and “forgot the covenant of her God.”
    3. It is “till death do we part…” (Genesis 2)
    4. There are obligations in the marriage:
      1. Love his wife, love her husband and the relationship is exclusive (Ephesians 5:25).
      2. Provide for his family (1 Timothy 5:8).
      3. Render affection for each other (1 Corinthians 7:3).
      4. Obligated to each other, bound to each other, married to each other for life (Romans 7:1-4)
  2. What does God say about divorce and remarriage?  (Malachi 2:16)
    1. From the very beginning God intended marriage to be between one man, one wife and for life!
    2. But, there were man-made problems that God dealt with…
      1. Matthew 19:3-6:  The Pharisees questioned Christ about divorce “for just any reason,” He reminds them that God intended for one man and one woman to live together for life.  He also said that in marriage a couple is joined together by God Himself.
      2. Matthew 19:7:  They then asked Jesus that if this was so, then why did Moses allow the Jews to divorce their wives.
      3. Matthew 19:8: Jesus explained that while God had tolerated their immorality for a while, “from the beginning, it was not so.”
      4. Matthew 19:9: The Pharisees had many reasons to divorce their wives, but Jesus stated that there was but one reason for a man to divorce his wife and be married to another, adultery.
    3. Since it God who joins (marries) a couple together in marriage, He is the only One who can release them from the contract.
      1. It is possible for a person to get married by the laws of the land, but not joined together by God.
      2. This is what happened in Mark 6:17-18, where Herod had married (civil marriage) his sister-in-law and John the Baptist told him that his marriage was not lawful, that God did not accept it.
      3. Romans 7:2-3: The woman in this passage was still bound by God to her first husband as long as he lived, even though she might be married to another man.
    4. To recap the points made:
      1. Marriage was instituted by God in the beginning.
      2. Marriage is between a man and a woman, for life.
      3. Moses allowed the Jews to divorce their wives for “grey-area” reasons, but it was not God’s plan from the beginning-it was tolerated.
      4. Jesus gives us His law in the New Testament and restates God’s original law:  One man, one woman, for life.
      5. He also gives us the exception to this rule:  A man may divorce his wife and remarry another if she has committed adultery.
      6. If a man and woman divorce for any reason other than adultery they are bound to each other for life, neither one has the right to remarry.
  3. Does God forgive the sin of divorce?
    1. Keep in mind that we are talking about a person who divorces for any reason other than fornication (they are in sin and do not have the right to remarry).
      1. Numbers 5:6-8; Leviticus 6:1-7; Matthew 3:8; Romans 6:1-4; 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38, John 8).
      2. God does forgive the sinner, but the consequences of the sin are not removed.
      3. This means that Romans 7:2-3 and Matthew 19:9 teach that one who divorces for any reason other than fornication can be forgiven if they repent, but can never remarry another person, unless he reconciles with his original spouse.  Sounds confusing!  But it can be understood.
    2. We cannot ignore Matthew 19:9!

Conclusion:

  1. God warns us to make sure that we are not actively sinning before we go and accuse someone of being in sin.  Remove the beam from your eye.  This means that if your life is full of purposeful and committed sin then you have not right to accuse someone else of sin.
  2. God instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden between one man, one wife and for life.  He did not provide man with an exception.
  3. People in the days of Moses wanted to divorce their wives for several reasons, none of which God had ordained to begin with.  Moses, because of the hardness of their hearts allowed them to divorce their wives.
  4. Malachi reminds us that God hates divorce.  There are several reasons why God hates it: it is not His original plan, it hurts many people and it causes a lot of confusion–to name a few.
  5. Jesus restates the law of marriage and says that man cannot divorce his wife just for any reason and be remarried.  He can only divorce (put-away) and remarry for the cause of fornication.
  6. Notice that the Bible does not speak to who does the sinning, how many times the person sins or the amount of times a person my put away a fornicating spouse.
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