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A "Short Series" Teaching By Pastor Dick Helms March 8, 2001

When we, the Church, a minister or lay person today are asked the same question that the Pharisees ask Christ, " it lawful for a man [or woman] to put away his [her] wife [husband] for every cause?" (Matthew 19:3), regarding the "Legal" grounds for divorce, should the answer not be the same as Christ's? No! No! No! "...What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matthew 19:6). Jesus even went so far as to teach that "...Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." (Matthew 19:9).

The Biblical principle regarding Divorce is really quite simple. God HATES Divorce (Malachi 2:16), Divorce is ALWAYS wrong (Matthew 19:8), Divorce is ALWAYS Sin, and Divorce is NEVER God's will. In the words of the old adage; "God said it, I believe it, that settles it!" While there are indeed important peripheral issues like the classic "for fornication" (Matthew 5:31) and "remarriage" (1 Corinthians 7:39) (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) issues, or the "abuse" and "abandonment" (1 Corinthians 7:15) issues, the core principle remains intact.

Sadly the answer most given today is "Sure, no problem, got a 'good' reason? we'll "proof-text" it for you." Good Church folks go their marry way (pun intended) marrying and divorcing, marrying and divorcing, enjoying a life of "serial monogamy" and for the most part uninterrupted fellowship in the Body of Christ. Lovingly affirmed and encouraged by well meaning ministers to "get on with your life". And Jesus weeps again.

As I have preached and taught over the years I am commonly accused of giving overly "simple" answers to very complex issues. To this I plead guilty. However, the reality is that sound Biblical answers are indeed "simple". The answer to sin is simply "repent". The answer to our need for salvation is simply "believe on Jesus". Likewise the answer to the divorce issue is simply God HATES Divorce, Divorce is ALWAYS wrong, Divorce is ALWAYS Sin, and Divorce is NEVER God's will. Simple yes. Easy never.

That said, I would like to address the issue of separation and answer a couple of questions. First, there are times when separation is the appropriate response to physical abuse and/or ongoing adultery. Especially in these days of incurable and often fatal STDs. The Word also provides for separate, and I would add celibate, living when home-life becomes intolerable (Proverbs 21:9, 25:24). There are even times when a "Legal" divorce is appropriate to protect the innocent spouse and/or family from moral or financial ruin. That said, separation or "legal" divorce must never be viewed as an end in itself, divorce before God, license to seek another "relationship" or freedom to remarry. Instead these "tools" are only to be used as a "holding action" awaiting God's intervention and/or final resolution.

There are now two very important questions remaining to be answered.

  1. When if ever is a married person free to seek a new "relationship" and/or remarry?

  2. I am divorced and have remarried. What should I do now?

The answers to these questions are again, while not easy, quite simple and plainly set forth in God's word.

In answer to the first question - One is free to seek a new mate either (1) upon  the death of the spouse (1 Corinthians 7:39) or (2) upon the remarriage of the spouse (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). These are the only two events that by God's own word precludes the restoration of the marriage. Anything else is to say that God is not able and therefore sin.

In answer to the second question, sin is sin. While it was NOT God's will to remarry (1 Corinthians 7:39), it is God's will that you remain in the marriage you are in (1 Corinthians 7:20). Therefore, acknowledge the divorce and remarriage as sin, regardless of the circumstances, repenting before God and seeking forgiveness. Then "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9). Only then can you truly "get on with your life".

This "Short Series" Teaching may be reproduced without charge and in its entirety for non-commercial and non-political purposes without prior permission from ChristRing Ministries. Copyright 2001 ChristRing Ministries, All Rights Reserved.

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