A final brief summary of what Jesus taught about marriage, divorce and remarriage.
Hi, welcome to today’s Little Lesson. We have been treading in dangerous waters, talking about marriage, divorce and remarriage. In, I think, four or five Little Lessons so far we’ve delved into a couple of angles that I just hope will provoke your thinking.
If you want to look more deeply into some things that I have written about the subject, looking at some objections, and so forth, go to davidservant.com, type in ‘divorce’ or ‘remarriage’, it’ll come up with a number of articles, and I’ve made my case there.
I’ll just say right off the bat, I love those who disagree with me, but I’m afraid there are some people on the fringes who are trying to put a lot of folks into terrible bondage, particularly those people that are trying to tell Christian couples who have been married for years and have children to divorce, supposedly because one of them or both of them have been previously married, they’re actually still married in God’s eyes to their former spouses, and they can’t actually marry again unless their former spouses die, and all that teaching.
I’ve talked about that before in Little Lessons. I’ve got a lot of teaching on that on our website. But still, there’s others who are putting people under lesser forms of bondage, and I’m just convinced that God is a good God, God’s a forgiving God, God forgives those who repent, you can’t unscramble eggs, and we can find some truth about divorce and remarriage and how God feels about it in the Old Testament. Those who say that Jesus raised the standard under the new covenant are dead wrong. We’ve proven that in all five of the other six “You have heard, but I say to you …” statements, in Matthew chapter 5, okay?
So this one’s no different. Divorce and remarriage were institutions under the old covenant. God never intended anyone to be divorced, but he made allowance for divorce under certain extreme circumstances, only unrepentant major offenses like adultery, you have a legitimate reason for divorce then. Of course, women today ask, “What if my husband’s physically abusive?” That’s a major offense. Of course that’s a reason to separate for a time if he doesn’t repent, of course you can divorce him. You know, oh my goodness, the people that say you can’t, I just wonder about them. You’re like a Pharisees, putting burdens upon people that you yourself would never bear, when you start telling abused women that they have to stay with their abusive husbands, because that’s what Jesus taught; oh my goodness, no words, no words.
All right, so Paul, of course, answered some questions the Corinthians had on all this. Again, we’re not going any further than today in depth on these things. I hope I just said some things that will provoke your thinking, and you might have already written me off, but nevertheless, I’ve tried my best. I love you and I respect your opinion as well. I’m not divorced and I’m never going to be divorced; I’ve been married for a long time, been married 39 years, okay? So don’t think I’m trying to make excuses for myself.
But Paul gave some instructions, and he said, in 1 Corinthians 7 verse number 10, “To the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband.” Hey, basic stuff, right? I mean, who doesn’t know that? Don’t divorce. “But if she does leave,” he said, “she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband, and the husband should not divorce his wife.” How, if we read this on context, we see he’s talking about believers married to believers. No legitimate reason for a believer to divorce a believer. Now, if one does leave, you remain separate, you don’t get remarried to somebody else, you remain single, or you reconcile.
Now, you say, “What if my Christian wife commits adultery?” Well, your Christian wife is not a Christian. “What if my husband commits adultery?” Your Christian husband is not a Christian. No adulterer will inherit the kingdom of God. What if they slip into it and they’re repentant? Okay, all right, then you’d better forgive them and don’t divorce them. But if they’re unrepentant, then they’re not a Christian, they don’t believe in Jesus. So that’s an easy one.
1 Corinthians 7:12, “But to the rest I say, not the Lord …” He’s not saying that I’m speaking on my behalf and I’m just guessing here, no, he’s making reference to what Jesus taught, this is what the Lord taught about what his followers should do, his followers should not be divorcing and remarrying. No big revelation there, right?
But now Paul’s going to say, “I’m going to deal with something that Jesus didn’t address, I’m going to deal with if you’re married to an unbeliever.” “If a brother has a wife who’s an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a women has an unbelieving husband and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.” So even if you’re married to an unbeliever, don’t be divorcing them for that reason, okay? “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through the wife, the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband. For otherwise your children are unclean, and now they are holy.” So there’s a special blessing that God puts upon your family because you’re a believer, and even the unbelievers get blessed in all that.
“Yet, if the unbelieving one leaves, let them leave. The brother or the sister is under no bondage in such cases, for God has called us to peace. How do you know, a wife, whether you’ll save your husband? How do you know, a husband, whether you’ll save your wife? Only as the Lord has assigned each one, as God has called each one. In this manner, let him walk.” So if your unbelieving husband or wife wants a divorce, you let them have a divorce, you don’t fight them, let them have it. You know, turn the other cheek, I guess you could call that. “Okay, you want to divorce me, divorce me. You’re going to miss out on a blessing because I’m a great husband, I’m a great wife, now that I’m a follower of Jesus. But if that’s how you want it, guess that’s how you get it.”
Of course, I know some people say, “Well, of course you’re not free to remarry then, because marriage is for life and you’re still married in God’s eyes to that person.” Contrary to a number of Scriptures that would say otherwise. Jesus said to the woman at the well, “You’ve had five husbands.” Jesus said, “You’ve had five husbands.” That is, you’ve been married five times, and divorced, by the way, five times. So he didn’t say, “You’re married to your original husband in God’s eyes.” No. Get that out of your brain, just get that out of your brain.
Okay, again, I don’t know who these Christians are who supposedly want a divorce for any cause at all, you’re not a Christian, if you’re looking for an excuse to get out of your marriage, your Christian marriage, come on, wise up, wake up, repent, and love the one that God has joined you to, and quit thinking about divorce. Unless they’ve committed a major offense, of which they are unrepentant, a covenant offense type offense, you confront them, you try to motivate them to see their wrongdoing and ask you for forgiveness. Most Christian couples that I know, including the one that you’re looking at right now have done that a few times over the years of our marriages, we’ve actually had disagreements, we’ve had times of dissension, but we’re together, and so we have to work it out, and so we have to sit down and talk things through and try to see it from the other person’s perspective, and then somebody says, “Forgive me.” Usually both people say, “Forgive me.” And it’s back to blessing again, all right?
All right, a lot more that could be said, but as I’ve already said, just going to introduce a few concepts and ideas here that you might not have heard before, for you to think about them, because God gave you a brain and God gave you the Bible. Okay, God bless you.