Divorce – Part Eight
WHY DO SOME
BELIEVERS SAY THAT ALL
RE-MARRIAGE IS WRONG ?
Actually, re-marriage for the innocent party was not considered to be wrong until the Dark Ages, when so many myths and false doctrines were espoused by the Roman Catholic Church. Doctrines such priestly celibacy, annulments, and divorce for pay were all concocted and officially sanctioned by the Roman Church during that time. Since the RC church kept people from studying the Bible, or even being able to read at all, it was able to pass off these doctrines as if they were Biblical. Since only selected people during that time were permitted to learn how to read, the Roman Church successfully controlled the beliefs of the vast majority of people.
Using these doctrines, the RC made considerable amounts of money. It would “annul” a marriage for a price (no matter how long the marriage had been active). Through this annulment, a person was free to marry again, and the Roman Church would stand to benefit through not only payment for the annulment, but payment for the new marriage, as well.
Today, many people carry on the doctrines of the Roman Church because they simply have not investigated what the Bible says. Even some pastors and teachers in fundamental churches interpret parts of the Bible from a Roman Catholic perspective, not God’s.
But, false doctrines generally come from the same causes. Either a wrong motive which deliberately distorts the truth; or, from an unintentional misinterpretation of the Word due to a failure to take CONTEXT and the TOTAL teaching of the Word into account. The latter is the reason why many Christians today are out of step with Biblical teaching on the subject of divorce and re-marriage.
One of the most abused and misinterpreted Scriptures on the subject is Matthew 5:32. Some feel that it forbids any person to marry again. Careful study on the context reveals that the person it forbids to re-marry is the one who is “put away” (i.e., “divorced”) for the sin. THAT guilty woman could not remarry without committing adultery. Another often used, but rarely studied Scripture is Mark 10:1-12. In that account, we have the very same story noted earlier, with some important differences. It is the same situation in both Gospels, but Mark omits part of the question asked by the Pharisees and Scribes. “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause ?” In plain English, what they are asking is, “Is it all right to divorce and re-marry when the divorce has been made through a cause OTHER than the ones noted in the New Testament ? (i.e., “for every cause”) Of course, our Lord’s answer to that is “NO.” He had already specified that divorce could be accepted ONLY if due to fornication.
Jesus does not attempt to deal with the issue of re-marriage in this section. To try and read that into Jesus’ answer would not be ethical or proper interpretation, because Jesus was not even asked that question.
WHAT DOES GOD CONSIDER THE INNOCENT PARTY TO BE ?
Taking the Biblical teaching on the subject, we understand that for a Biblical divorce to take place, must have broken the marriage covenant. In such a case, the innocent party may choose to bring a Bill of Divorcement against the guilty person. God says this is permissible (God didn’t want the sin in the first place). When the guilty party is given the Bill of Divorcement, they are considered to be “divorced” (“having been put away”). The innocent party, in God’s eyes, is never considered to be divorced, because the innocent party did not do the sin which had broken the marriage covenant.
What, then, is the Biblical status of the innocent party after the divorced person is sent away ? Since he is not considered to be ‘divorced,’ is he still considered married ? From both the wording of Scripture and the context of such areas, we find that the innocent person is not considered married any longer. The only category left is that the innocent person falls back into the status of being “unmarried.”
WHAT IF I’M THE
GUILTY PARTY ?
One of the common stones thrown at Believers who repented of their sins, gotten right with God, and desire with all their hearts to serve him are Scriptures such as:
1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
1 Timothy 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
Titus 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
What the stone-throwers fail to do is recognize the historic context of these verse. That was a time when men frequently had more than one wife. The Scriptures stating, “husband of one wife,” related to the common practice of bigamy, NOT that a person whose wife had been put away could not serve in those capacities. If a person’s wife had been put away because of sin, he was considered by God not to be married any more, so those Scriptures would not apply.
In the case of someone who was guilty of a sin which broke the marriage contract, the same historic context holds true. That individual is no longer married, according to the Bible. A careful reading of the stone-thrower’s “proof Scripture” shows this.
Romans 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
It says, “…the woman which HATHa husband…” If she has been “put away,” she is no longer married to the innocent party, and therefore no longer has a husband. Their so-called proof text does not apply, since it clearly refers to a woman who is still married and has a husband.
Another important issue applying to the guilty person whose cause the marriage break-up is the power of God’s forgiveness.
What does God do when a person is forgiven from their sins ? Does He continue to hold it against them ? If He did we would all be destined to Hell.
The grace of our God has provided a wonderful opportunity to have our lives changed, and serve Him fully, even though there are things in the past which revealed us to be the sinners that we were.
Some have assumed that being the guilty (or even innocent) party in a former marriage makes a person ineligible for the most service within the church. This concept comes from a gross misunderstanding of the Word.
Is being guilty of a sexual sin cause for God to scratch you off opportunities to serve Him ? What about King David ? He not only committed adultery, but also committed murder by killing Bathsheba’s husband, tried an elaborate cover-up, etc., etc. Did this disqualify him from being King ? From being a prophet ? From being a Spirit-filled instrument of God who was used to pen down many Scriptures AFTER the events ? Of course not.
The essential ingredient to picking up the opportunities against to serve God was REPENTANCE. David repented. This is what Jesus required of the woman brought to Him in the Temple, who was caught in adultery. He told her, “Go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
If a guilty person truly repents of their sin, even though the marriage is now broken, they will be forgiven, and given opportunity to serve the Lord.
Some have contended that all other sins were forgivable, and complete restoration with God and His Plan was possible…except for sin which broke a marriage. This contradicts what the Bible clearly teaches.
Mark 3:28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
Once again, we must abandon the teachings of men, and fully embrace what God says in His Word.