By Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.
Previously we have talked about Paul’s instructions concerning marriage.
He encouraged people to simply give themselves to God and remain unmarried, but acknowledged that not everyone felt the same, or had the same calling in life.
I remind you Paul did state that bishops and deacons be married. The question now arises, what happens when the marriage does not work? The problem: Marriage is perhaps the most critical human relation most of us will have. If we don’t get it right the first time, we open ourselves for much misery and unhappiness.
Let’s see what Jesus said. (Mat 19:8) “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”
Divorce was never God’s will. It came about because of the failure of human beings. Here are some of the strongest words spoken by Jesus about divorce and remarriage: (Luke 16:18) “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” Marriage is one of the most significant decisions you will ever make.
The response: There is a justifiable reason for divorce, and it is found in the book of Matthew. (Mat 5:32) “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 sin of sexual impurity seems to be the only reason that Christ allows for divorce. The person who marries one who caused the original divorce seems thus to be a partaker in adultery.
Our lesson: We know there are many reasons marriages don’t work, and we must take a realistic and spiritual view of such situations. In our culture, abuse has occurred that cannot be overlooked. This has led to divorce and broken homes. Alcohol, drugs, physical and emotional abuse are issues that wreck homes. Paul gives, I think, an acceptable plan of escape that we should consider. Read carefully I Cor. 7:12-16. When a believer is married to an unbeliever, there may be a situation where the sinner simply wants out.
In such a case, the Christian is not under bondage. If the unbeliever wants to leave, he or she should leave. Great discussion can occur as to how to apply this, but we should seek the will of God for our lives.
It is best not to enter into such a marriage in the beginning. Christians should only marry Christians.
Where we find ourselves when we come to Christ as sinners, He can forgive and help. Resolve your differences, Christians!