Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage
What the Bible Says
by Pastor John Hamel
One of the most
heartbreaking signs of the time we live in today is the tearing apart of
Christian marriages, families and homes. A few short decades ago divorce
hardly ever occurred amongst Christians. However, today it is such a real
every day problem that almost every Christian has come face to face with it
- either in their own marriage or in the marriage of someone they
God's perfect plan is that marriage be a joyful, lifelong commitment. Sadly,
as a result of Adam and Eve's Fall in the Garden, the world is no longer
perfect and neither is the institution of marriage.
we are quickly approaching the last of the Last Days, the Curse of the Fall
becomes more and more predominant in all human relationships, particularly
the marriage relationship becomes more strained and threatened. As a result
divorce is rapidly on the rise. Some estimates of the Christian divorce rate
are as high as the world's - well over fifty percent.
has been said, "Misery loves company." The Apostle Paul said Satan
is the miserable god of this world. (2Corinthians 4:4) He has great wrath as
a result of God cursing him for what he did to God's man and woman in the
Garden of Eden. He is out to hurt God and to cause God suffering. He is well
aware of Holy God's love for the apex of His creation - men and women. In
order to hurt God he is out to destroy God's human creation. Satan is
determined to plunder Heaven and populate Hell. He is out to destroy the
nations of the world and he is fully aware that in order to do this, he must
tear at the fabric of human families.
are made up of human beings, the majority of them married human beings and
families. Satan is determined to destroy those families by destroying
you, the reader, as a Believer in Jesus Christ are being faced with Satan's
threat of divorce, the first thing you must do is take authority over the
demonic principalities and powers attacking you, your mate, your marriage
and your family.
in the Old Testament
"When a man
hath taken a wife and married her, and it come to pass that she find no
favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let
him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her
out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and
be another man's wife. And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a
bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his
house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; her
former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife,
after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou
shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an
inheritance." (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)
plan has always been that the marriage commitment be forever. However, in
the Old Testament divorce was permitted in some situations, although not
encouraged. Sexual immorality was just one of the grounds for divorce. Moses
made this perfectly clear here in Deuteronomy chapter twenty-four. Jesus
also made this clear in His teaching on divorce. The Pharisees tried to trap
Him one day, asking if it was lawful for a man to put away his wife for any
He answered and said unto them, Have you not read that He which made them at
the beginning made them male and female, 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? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What
therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder." (Matthew
it sounds as if Jesus is putting His foot down here and insisting there are
no grounds for divorce. That is until we read further in this narrative down
to verse nine. As the Pharisees continued to harass Him with questions
about Moses allowing divorce, Jesus answered as follows.
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." (Matthew 19:9)
obviously, according to Jesus and Moses, sexual sin is allowable grounds for
divorce and not unforgivable. This is true for both men and women.
putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery..."
if a woman shall put away her husband and be married to another, she
committeth adultery." (Mark 10:12)
Addresses the Rabbis' Ridiculous Ruling
is something frequently overlooked concerning Jesus' discourse with the
rebellious Pharisees concerning divorce and remarriage. I will give you a
little bit of helpful history here.
Pharisees and the Rabbis of Jesus' day were taking Moses' teaching on
granting bills of divorcement to the utter and absolute extreme. Because
Moses did allow divorce in Deuteronomy chapter twenty-four, they were using
it to grant individuals the right to marry and divorce as often as they
chose. This little religious scam was in order that individuals might have
sexual relations with as many others as they chose as long as they were
married to them. The Pharisees and the Rabbis were distorting Moses'
teaching and allowing people to have sex with as many individuals as they
desired as long as they were married to them. People were marrying and
divorcing in order to have sex with as many different partners as they
wanted. The Pharisees and Rabbis were cooperating with this
ridiculousness. They were using divorce and remarriage as a legal cover for
extreme moral failure.
came along and spoiled all of their fun by telling them that bill of
divorcement or no bill of divorcement, divorcing and marrying someone else
in order to have sex with them was still committing adultery.
Ministers today who teach that all divorce and remarriage is adultery either
do not know of this ridiculous scam which Jesus was rebuking or they
deliberately refuse to share it.
was not teaching that everyone who married, divorced and remarried were
adulterers. He was correcting the Pharisees and Rabbis ridiculousness
in their granting bills of divorcement as religious permission slips for
sleeping around. He was rebuking their legal cover for the people's
was rebuking the lack of respect for the institution of marriage and the
desire for multiple sexual partners.
seems as if the Dirty Church was as alive and well in Jesus' day as it is
Teachers must be very careful to not use these passages of Scripture to
teach people that all divorce and remarriage is the equivalent of adultery
and that it cannot be forgiven.
& Remarriage Are Not the Unforgivable Sin
is only one unforgivable sin mentioned in Scripture. That sin is blasphemy
against the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is committed
when a Born Again, Spirit-filled Christian who has experienced the power of
God and the Gifts of the Spirit in operation in their life turns their back
on Jesus and tells Him, "I don't want You anymore," - and truly
means it. (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26)
more in-depth teaching on what the unforgivable sin is, please see the JHM
free online book, "What Is the Unforgivable Sin?"
beings, including Christian human beings, are not perfect and they make
mistakes. No mistake is unforgivable. No forgiven mistake disqualifies
one from any of the blessings of God, even if that mistake results in
divorce. God understands and forgives human frailty and fallenness.
the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name. Bless
the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all
thine iniquities ... Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord
pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we
are dust." (Psalm 103:1-3, 13-14)
Jesus asked the adulterous woman whom the Scribes and Pharisees were about
to stone for adultery, "Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no
man condemned thee?" She answered, "No man, Lord."
Jesus looked her in the eye and told her, "Neither do I condemn thee:
Go, and sin no more." Adultery
is not the unforgivable sin.
marriage, divorce and remarriage is not the unforgivable sin and Jesus
condemns no one for it. This is not to say that repentance should not be
offered to God for the events that led to the divorce, for it should be. We
are simply pointing out that it is not unforgivable and no one need to live
under condemnation who has experienced it.
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)
Word of God encourages married Christians to do their best to work things
out and not divorce. However, there are times when this does not work out.
repentance and forgiveness can save a marriage. Sometimes it cannot.
in a physically abusive situation divorce is better than living in constant
prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on,
and are punished." (Proverbs 27:12)
Ministers of the Gospel my wife and I never tell individuals who they should
or should not marry. Neither do we tell them that they should or
should not divorce. We take the time to show them what the Bible says,
encouraging them to seek the Lord and make their own decision. We teach them
how to be led by the Inward Witness of the Holy Spirit, encouraging them to
follow His leading for themselves. All Believers have the Holy Spirit
dwelling within and are fully capable of obtaining their own guidance.
a Believer in Jesus Christ marries an unbeliever and the marriage does not
work out. In a case like that, if the unbeliever desires to divorce this is
permissible as well. The Believer is under no obligation to stay with the
marriage and is free to remarry as well.
any brother hath a wife that believeth not and she be pleased to dwell with
him, let him not put away. And the woman which hath an husband that
believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave
him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the
unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children
unclean but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him
depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God
hath called us to peace." (1Corinthians 7:12-15)
& Remarriage Do Not Cancel One's Call to Preach
honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God
will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4)
In Hebrews chapter
four the Apostle Paul strongly admonishes all that marriage should be
considered honorable and that the marital union remain undefiled. The Greek
word Paul used for "undefiled" is "amiantos." This word
literally means "unsoiled and pure."
marital relationship can be defiled in a number of ways, particularly
through immoral sexual relationships. The Bible tells us we are not to
commit adultery with someone else's mate. (Exodus 20:14; Leviticus
18:20) Sex between those of the same gender is forbidden even as
sexual relationships with animals are. (Leviticus 18:22-23) Obeying the
Scriptures and avoiding these types of immorality will not only spare
individuals the negative consequences they bring, they also keep the
marriage bed (or sexual relationship) pure.
Apostle Paul also taught us in First Corinthians chapter seven that both the
husband and wife must always put their mate's sexual needs first. They
should also regard their bodies as belonging to their mate and not to
themselves. One must never deny the other sexual satisfaction with the
exception of times of fasting and prayer, and only then by mutual agreement.
Once the period of fasting and prayer has ended, the couple should come back
together in sexual unity in order that they not be tempted to fulfill their
sexual desires elsewhere. (1 Corinthians 7:1-5)
Be Blessed ... John
and Barbara Hamel
to Be Born Again (Receive Christ as Your Savior)
to Receive The Holy Spirit & Power
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