Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage
By Ronald E Williams

Whatever happened to the sanctity and permanence of marriage? A marriage now seems to be relegated In these times to the level of a casual and temporary commitment.

Whereas God fearing folk in time past would endure suffering and great hardship rather than seek release from a marriage vow, many contemporary marriages are ended abruptly by divorce with hardly a serious consideration of what the God of the Bible thinks.

The clear majority of our students at Hephzibah House have come from homes in which divorce of the parents has occurred. To further complicate this kind of situation, parents often choose to ignore the fact they already have one living spouse, and have married another spouse. Some have even gone on to divorce the new spouse and choose a third, etc.

My heart goes out to our girls who in some cases do not know who to call Mom or Dad because they have several!

I can understand this Godless world sneering at the monogamous claims of scripture and the until death do us part principle it teaches, but I am profoundly grieved with the inroads easy divorce has had in professing Christendom.

Apostolic and scriptural authority still maintains strict and limited standards for this issue: remain celibate if you are separated or divorced, or be reconciled to your spouse (I Corinthians 7:10-11). These are the only two options for an obedient believer until his or her spouse dies.

In twelve years of gospel ministry and biblical counseling, I have learned there is no such thing as an innocent party. Not only is this idea inconsistent with the Bible doctrine of human depravity, it is an idea usually formed by listening to only one of the two individuals involved.

I tell young people to treat marriage as the second most important decision of their lives (salvation being primary) and to therefore utilize great wisdom, prayer, and hearty counsel from their parents, parent substitute, or preacher before considering this lifelong commitment. I tell them to be prepared to look over the breakfast table at one another until one of them dies!

I know that good and sincere men believe that in some cases (usually adultery and/or desertion) divorce is allowed by the Lord. Some even go a step further and say since the marriage is dissolved by adultery or desertion, remarriage would be permissible. Usually these arguments are formed on the basis of the so-called Pauline Privilege of I Corinthians 7:15.

May I respectfully disagree? Our Lord Jesus said divorce was allowed (not ordered or expected) for the hardness of human hearts: (Matthew 19:8). He taught that man ought not to put a marriage asunder because his ideal is one man, one woman as an Inseparable unity (Matthew 19:6). God spoke of how he hates putting away (divorce) (Malachi 2:16). The Apostle Paul stresses that if you do harden your heart and separate and/or divorce, then you must either remain unmarried or be reconciled as the only two Biblical options (I Corinthians 7:1011). Moreover, Paul stresses the law of God as our authority in this matter and that as long as our spouse lives, our marriage is intact, no matter what men may say or do (I Corinthians 7:39, Romans 7:1-3).

My preacher-brother, may I soberly admonish you, that when you officiate at a wedding in which either the bride or groom still has a living spouse, you are disagreeing with: Malachi 2:16, Matthew 19:6,19:8 Romans 7:1-2, and I Corinthians 7:10-11, 7:39). By your presence and your actions are you not partaker of their sin?

I pray that you seriously consider the claims of scripture that marriage is life-long and its only Godly dissolution is death before approving a potential separation or divorce. If you only consider majority opinion, sentiment, feelings, emotions, or the majority of the books on the issue in Christian bookstores, you will undoubtedly give your approval and sanction to divorce.

Paul stresses marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:21-32) . . . in other words, an inseparable relationship. I am thankful that many preachers who believe in a so- called scriptural divorce are blessedly inconsistent, and still believe and teach that Christ and His Church are inseparable!

Most of those with whom I have spoken who have divorced and then remarried another (even though their first spouse was alive) have been the first to tell me that rather than solving their problems and lessening their pressure and frustration, their remarriage has greatly complicated matters and even created new pressures. Many have been honest to tell me God was right and they were wrong.

If you have already sinned in taking another spouse, my friend, you must honor your most recent vow, repent of your sin and beseech the Lord to make the best of the situation you have created in your self-will.

God soberly views a vow, even though men do not (Ecclesiastes 5:1-6). If you believe you can play fast and loose with your marriage vow, secure a divorce, and marry another, do not be surprised when God in return for your rebellion destroys the work of your hands (Ecclesiastes 5:6).

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