“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
“And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
“And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?
– 1 Corinthians 7:10-16
“For the man who hates and divorces, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
– Malachi 2:16
When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, and if she goes and becomes another man’s wife, and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.
– Deuteronomy 24:1-4
“When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, ‘Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.’ God says, “Hosea, I want you to marry a prostitute and I want you to have children with this prostitute,” and he puts in Hosea’s heart…you have to hear this…a love for Gomer. This is not just a, “I hate this woman, but I’ll marry her because you’ve commanded me to,” God put it into Hosea’s heart to love, pursue, and be ferociously committed to Gomer, the prostitute. Despite his love, despite his romance, despite his care, despite him trying to help her flourish, Gomer repeatedly cheated on him, whored herself out to other men, and at one point in the book actually becomes the property of another man. Hosea sells some of his possessions, and…follow me…buys his wife and the mother of his children back from another man. That’s gut wrenching.
Yet what is going on in Hosea is God communicating to his covenant community, to his people, to those of us who have said, “Yes, Jesus, I’m yours,” that God’s covenant love is unwavering, even in the face of whoredom. So some of you might be going, “Are you calling me a whore?” Yes, yes I am. Actually, the text is. Not me. The text. So you get this picture of how serious God is about his delight in us, his love for us, his care for us. That you get this picture of even when we are unfaithful, he is faithful.
Now I want to be clear that you understand me. This isn’t for everyone. God’s covenant love is not for everyone, only for those who belong to the covenant community of faith, only to those who have said, “Yes, Jesus, I’m yours,” only those who have said, “Reign and rule in my heart.” There’s not some universal-type covenant commitment. This is a ferocious commitment bound by the blood of Christ for those who have put their faith and trust in him.
God is a covenant-keeping God, and he consistently reveals it in Scripture as he loves, pursues, and delights in people who don’t show a lot of reciprocity toward that love, pursuit, and care. Just like Gomer, they’re prone to run to other gods. Just like Gomer, they’re prone to run to other husbands. They’re prone to run to other ways. They trust in their own strength, despite the fact that their own strength creates train wrecks for them constantly. This is the God we serve.
Now since our God is a covenant-keeping God, God’s expectation on us as salt and light to the world is that we be a covenant-keeping people. Now what that means,covenant is just a big word for promise, but bigger than how we promise. Kind of an oath, kind of like a binding legal covenant, “I’m in.” That’s covenant. So since God is a God of covenant, one of the ways we are salt and light to the world around us, one of the ways that we are a preservative in our culture and we reflect the wisdom and knowledge of God to the world around us, is that we are people of covenants.
It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. See what I mean? See why I started my message with, “Look some of this is going to get hard”? I mean, right now, don’t you want me to kind of step in here and tell you why that doesn’t mean what it says it means?
I can’t. He wants it to feel impossible. The Bible wants this topic to feel impossible, and let me try to explain why? Later on, in Matthew, chapter 19, a group of Pharisees walk up to Jesus, and one of them asks this question, “Is there any reason by which we can divorce our wives?” Now isn’t that a horrible question? Right? Did you hear it? “I want to be godly. I want to look godly, so give me the godly reason to dump this fool, to get away from this woman. How do I get out?” That’s the question. “How do I get out of this?” That’s what is asked of Jesus, and Jesus responds in Matthew 19
with a long bit of Scripture, that actually we pull some of what Jesus responds and put it in our vows.
The phrase, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
You know that? That’s Jesus’ response to that question. But then the Pharisees, experts in the law, said, “Well if that’s true, if you’re not supposed to be divorced, why does Moses allow us to give a certificate of divorce?” So Jesus answers with this verse. Matthew 19
, starting in verse 8, says this, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives…”
Listen to this. “…but from the beginning it was not so.”
Did you hear it? God’s design for marriage, God’s plan, God’s design is that two would become one flesh, and that would create an unbreakable bond, a ferocious commitment to one another that is going to (we’re going to get to this) mirror God’s covenant with his people.”
“Eleven Reasons Why I Believe All Remarriage After Divorce Is Prohibited While Both Spouses Are Alive.”
“I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Jeremiah 2:2
The covenant people of God are his wife. They have often been faithless and broken the marriage covenant. Would God—could God—divorce his wife? No!
I will betroth you to me for ever, I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord. (Hosea 2:19f
But what of her horrible adulteries? Surely divorce is legitimate here! Israel is an “adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband” (Ezekiel 16:14
). Now what? Separation? Judgment? Yes: “I will give you into the hand of your lovers… and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces… I will make you stop playing the harlot” (16:39). But is that all? Is the separation final? Does he divorce her? NO!
Yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish with you an everlasting covenant . . . I will forgive you all that you have done, says the Lord God. (Ezekiel 16:60
But is it not wrong to take her back after she has lain with so many others? “You have played the harlot with many lovers, and would you return to me?” (Jeremiah 3:1
). Ah, but what a husband he is! Incredible in grace! “Return, faithless Israel, says the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, says the Lord” (3:20).
God will not divorce. “For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel” (Malachi 2:16
God is wholly committed to saving and enriching his marriage! Are you?
Full of hope with God for my marriage and yours.”
“First of all, no matter what view one takes on the issue of divorce, it is important to rememberMalachi 2:16
: “I hate divorce
, says the LORD God of Israel.” According to the Bible, marriage is a lifetime commitment. “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6
). God realizes, though, that since marriages involve two sinful human beings, divorces are going to occur. In the Old Testament, He laid down some laws in order to protect the rights of divorcees, especially women (Deuteronomy 24:1-4
). Jesus pointed out that these laws were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts, not because they were God’s desire (Matthew 19:8
The controversy over whether divorce and remarriage is allowed according to the Bible revolves primarily around Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:32
. The phrase “except for marital unfaithfulness” is the only thing in Scripture that possibly gives God’s permission for divorce and remarriage. Many interpreters understand this “exception clause” as referring to “marital unfaithfulness” during the “betrothal” period. In Jewish custom, a man and a woman were considered married even while they were still engaged or “betrothed.” According to this view, immorality during this “betrothal” period would then be the only valid reason for a divorce.
However, the Greek word translated “marital unfaithfulness” is a word which can mean any form of sexual immorality. It can mean fornication, prostitution, adultery, etc. Jesus is possibly saying that divorce is permissible if sexual immorality is committed. Sexual relations are an integral part of the marital bond: “the two will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24
; Matthew 19:5
; Ephesians 5:31
). Therefore, any breaking of that bond by sexual relations outside of marriage might be a permissible reason for divorce. If so, Jesus also has remarriage in mind in this passage. The phrase “and marries another” (Matthew 19:9
) indicates that divorce and remarriage are allowed in an instance of the exception clause, whatever it is interpreted to be. It is important to note that only the innocent party is allowed to remarry. Although it is not stated in the text, the allowance for remarriage after a divorce is God’s mercy for the one who was sinned against, not for the one who committed the sexual immorality. There may be instances where the “guilty party” is allowed to remarry, but it is not taught in this text.
Some understand 1 Corinthians 7:15
as another “exception,” allowing remarriage if an unbelieving spouse divorces a believer. However, the context does not mention remarriage, but only says a believer is not bound to continue a marriage if an unbelieving spouse wants to leave. Others claim that abuse (spousal or child) is a valid reason for divorce even though it is not listed as such in the Bible. While this may very well be the case, it is never wise to presume upon the Word of God.
Sometimes lost in the debate over the exception clause is the fact that whatever “marital unfaithfulness” means, it is an allowance for divorce, not a requirement for it. Even when adultery is committed, a couple can, through God’s grace, learn to forgive and begin rebuilding their marriage. God has forgiven us of so much more. Surely we can follow His example and even forgive the sin of adultery (Ephesians 4:32
). However, in many instances, a spouse is unrepentant and continues in sexual immorality. That is where Matthew 19:9
can possibly be applied. Many also look to quickly remarry after a divorce when God might desire them to remain single. God sometimes calls people to be single so that their attention is not divided (1 Corinthians 7:32-35
). Remarriage after a divorce may be an option in some circumstances, but that does not mean it is the only option.
It is distressing that the divorce rate among professing Christians is nearly as high as that of the unbelieving world. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16
) and that reconciliation and forgiveness should be the marks of a believer’s life (Luke 11:4
). However, God recognizes that divorce will occur, even among His children. A divorced and/or remarried believer should not feel any less loved by God, even if the divorce and/or remarriage is not covered under the possible exception clause of Matthew 19:9
. God often uses even the sinful disobedience of Christians to accomplish great good.”
“God clearly explains His reasons for esteeming marriage so highly. He says it was He who “made them one” (Malachi 2:15
). Marriage was God’s idea. If He designed it, then He gets to define it. Any deviation from His design is abhorrent to Him. Marriage is not a contract; it is a covenant. Divorce destroys the whole concept of covenant that is so important to God.
In the Bible, God often provides illustrations to teach spiritual realities. When Abraham offered his son Isaac on the altar, it was a picture of the day, hundreds of years later, that the Lord God would offer His only Son on that same mountain (Genesis 22:9
; Romans 8:32
). When God required blood sacrifices for the forgiveness of sin, He was painting a picture of the perfect sacrifice He Himself would make on the cross (Hebrews 10:10
Marriage is a picture of the covenant God has with His people (Hebrews 9:15
). A covenant is an unbreakable commitment, and God wants us to understand how serious it is. When we divorce someone with whom we made a covenant, it makes a mockery of the God-created concept of covenant relationship. The Church (those individuals who have received Jesus as Savior and Lord) is presented in Scripture as the “Bride of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2
; Revelation 19:7-9
). We, as His people, are “married” to Him through a covenant that He established. A similar illustration is used in Isaiah 54:5
of God and Israel.
When God instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden, He created it as a picture of the greatest unity human beings can know (Genesis 2:24
). He wanted us to understand the unity we can have with Him through redemption (1 Corinthians 6:17
). When a husband or wife chooses to violate that covenant of marriage, it mars the picture of God’s covenant with us.
gives us another reason that God hates divorce. He says He is “seeking godly offspring.” God’s design for the family was that one man and one woman commit themselves to each other for life and rear children to understand the concept of covenant as well. Children reared in a healthy, two-parent home have a far greater likelihood of establishing successful marriages themselves.
When Jesus was asked why the Law permitted divorce, He responded that God had only allowed it “because of the hardness of your hearts, but from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8
). God never intended divorce to be a part of human experience, and it grieves Him when we harden our hearts and break a covenant that He created.”
“What we can know for sure is that it is God’s plan for a married couple to stay married as long as both spouses are alive (Genesis 2:24
). The only specific allowance for remarriage after a divorce is for adultery (Matthew 19:9
), and even this is debated among Christians. Another possibility is desertion—when an unbelieving spouse leaves a believing spouse (1 Corinthians 7:12-15
). This passage, though, does not specifically address remarriage, only being bound to stay in a marriage. It would also seem that physical, sexual, or severe emotional abuse would be a sufficient cause for divorce and possibly remarriage. The Bible does not specifically teach this, however.
We know two things for sure.God hates divorce
), and God is merciful and forgiving. Every divorce is a result of sin, either on the part of one spouse or both. Does God forgive divorce? Absolutely! Divorce is no less forgivable than any other sin. Forgiveness of all sins is available through faith in Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:28
). If God forgives the sin of divorce, does that mean you are free to remarry? Not necessarily. God sometimes calls people to remain single (1 Corinthians 7:7-8
). Being single should not be viewed as a curse or punishment, but as an opportunity to serve God wholeheartedly (1 Corinthians 7:32-36
). God’s Word does tell us, though, that it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Corinthians 7:9
). Perhaps this sometimes applies to remarriage after a divorce.
So, can you or should you get remarried? We cannot answer that question. Ultimately, that is between you, your potential spouse, and, most importantly, God. The only advice we can give is for you to pray to God for wisdom regarding what He would have you do (James 1:5
). Pray with an open mind and genuinely ask the Lord to place His desires on your heart (Psalm 37:4
). Seek the Lord’s will (Proverbs 3:5-6
) and follow His leading.”
“Divorce is a sin for numerous reasons:
– Because you are breaking your marriage vows…”’til death do us part!” When you say your wedding vows, you are making a lifetime commitment. I don’t care if you get married at city hall or a church, God still holds you accountable for your wedding vows. A promise is a promise!
– Because God said not to divorce! “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6)
– Because divorce is quitting! (1st Corinthians 7:10-11)
– Because divorce is unwillingness to forgive! “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
God hates divorce! It is only because of sinful pride and selfishness that people end up divorced in the first place. It is so typical to hear a divorced wife, or husband, talking about how much they gave but never received anything in return. Listen friend, marriage is not a 50/50 deal as most people think. Marriage is a 100% deal. We are supposed to give 100% to our spouse, even if they only return 10%. But you say, “That’s not fair!” You’re right … life’s not fair! We are a spoiled bunch in America!”