Divorce and Remarriage
This is a subject that has caused much heartache, spiritual shipwreck and tragic loss of ministry potential. I am not speaking of heartache of broken homes and broken dreams which are inevitable results of a failed marriage, but rather legalistic and unbiblical attitudes which bring lifelong guilt and bondage to many believers as a result of not rightly dividing New Testament teaching on this subject.
As church of Jesus Christ our mandate is to set captives free, not put heavier chains on them and then kick them off dock and into deep waters of discouragement and despair. Hopefully following paper will bring freedom and peace to many who read it.
NOTE: As we study this subject please keep in mind that Jesus was talking to Jews under Old Covenant and Paul is writing to Church under New Covenant. When you take this into account you find no discrepancy between teachings of Jesus and those of Paul.
JESUS ON DIVORCE & REMARRIAGE
"What does Moses (The Law) say?" (Mark. 10:1-12)
Mark 10:1 ∂ And he arose from thence, and cometh into coasts of Judaea by farther side of Jordan: and people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. 2 And Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. 3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from beginning of creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 10 And in house his disciples asked him again of same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
Under Law Remarriage is Legitimate in Some Cases
Remarriage is permissible under law when divorce is result of sexual immorality. (Matt 19:3-9 also see Matt 5:31,32)
Matt 19:3 ∂ The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, 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. 10 His disciples say unto him, If case of man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their motherís womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for kingdom of heavenís sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
NOTE: For believers, sexual infidelity should be grounds for forgiveness and reconciliation, not an excuse for divorce. Moses made his concession because of hardness of their hearts.
Please keep in mind that Jesus is teaching Jews under law of Moses in scriptures quoted above. We need to look at writings of Paul on subject in order to find out what teaching to church is on subject of divorce and remarriage.
PAULíS TEACHING ON DIVORCE
In 1 Corinthians seventh chapter Paul give us New Testament teaching on divorce and remarriage. He is apparently in answering questions Corinthian church sent to him asking for a definitive doctrinal teaching on subject.
1 Cor 7:1 ∂ Now concerning things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let husband render unto wife due benevolence: and likewise also wife unto husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but husband: and likewise also husband hath not power of his own body, but wife. 5 Defraud ye not one other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8 I say therefore to unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. 10 ∂ And unto married I command, yet not I, but Lord, Let not wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not husband put away his wife. 12 But to rest speak I, not Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13 And woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For unbelieving husband is sanctified by wife, and unbelieving wife is sanctified by husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. 16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?