Well, today I woke up with this topic in my spirit. Whenever the Lord presses me to write on a sensitive issue, I always feel the I need to pray about it before I pursue it, so here is what I believe is God’s view point regarding the issue of DIVORCE. I will first give the Biblical view point on the topic and then I’ll add my 2 cents on it at the end.
Before I even go into depth regarding God’s view on the topic of DIVORCE, I must first define what a Marriage is by Biblical standards. Marriage in The Bible is defined as one union between 1 Man and 1 Woman (PERIOD). Anything outside this definition and context is contrary to the Biblical definition of marriage. Therefore, things like “same-sex marriages” or “polyamorous marriages” etc, do not fit in the Biblical context or definition of a Godly marriage. If you look at 1 Corinthians 7:1- 7 – The Bible confirms this definition, if you read the following that I’ve bold-ed:
Principles of Marriage
7 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me:
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. 7 For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.
The Bible also highlights SPECIFICALLY that the unmarried and those who are widows (married individuals who have lost their spouse through death), are categorically those that are allowed to marry if they choose to do so; and if these individuals (categorically speaking) lack self-control with respect to their sexual desires. It is better for such people, categorically speaking, to marry rather than commit adultery or fornicate (have sex outside of marriage) as a consequence of their lack of self-control as is stated in the following verses of scripture:
8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Those that have had sex outside the context of a marriage have sinned by God’s standard, and must confess and repent of their actions if they are truly contrite and aware that they have fallen short in this area of their lives. Some people may have had sexual experiences in their lives without knowing God’s standards regarding sexual purity and marriage, especially for those who weren’t Christian in the first place (unbelievers). However, once a person is aware and knows that engaging in such activities is sinful by God’s standards, they must choose not to engage any further in this area of sin after that. Those that continue in the knowledge of it are guilty of sinning in this area of their lives by their own volition and choice.
What about Rape, Molestation, or Exploited victims?
In my opinion, those that have had sexual experiences against their will are not guilty of having had such experiences that compromised their purity by God’s standards. However, those that have committed such atrocities against another person or person(s), are guilty and have sinned greatly by God’s standards, and such individuals do end up reaping whatever thing they have sowed. I know that in the old testament times, raped victims ended up marrying their rapists under the Mosaic laws during those times. This was done as a means of restoring the raped victims honor (in a patriarchal Hebraic society), since the victim was considered no longer a virgin, and therefore, no man would have wanted to marry her. This law was instituted to restore a raped victims honor for her to be eligible to get married, and therefore, she would subsequently marry her rapist. I don’t know about you, but I think a victimized woman would rather remain single than marry her rapist… but I don’t know… that’s just me.
The Bible is also emphatic about husbands and wives keeping their marriage vows regardless of whether their partner is a Believer or not. If one partner is a Believer of Christ – A Christian, then the other spouse is also sanctified by their believing spouse in their marriage, and their children also become holy. However, if the unbelieving spouse chooses to leave the marriage, The Bible states in 1 Corinthians 7:15 that they should let them depart because how can they know whether or not they can save their unbelieving spouse? Only God can save an unbelieving spouse.
Keep Your Marriage Vows
10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.
12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
In 1 Corinthians 7: 25-28, The Bible states that for those who are unmarried and virgins, that it is alright to remain as you are since you aren’t bound to anyone. However, just because your single doesn’t necessarily mean you live life without some sense of self-restraint and self-control. This doesn’t give a single person the license to act crazy and live life recklessly and irresponsibly. However, if a single person or widow marries, they have not sinned according to God’s standards.
To the Unmarried and Widows
25 Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy. 26 I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is: 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.
In 1 Corinthians 7:32-40, The Bible makes a distinction regarding the differences between a married person versus an unmarried person.
For those that are unmarried, they are identified as those who:
- care for the things of the Lord and how they may please Him (verse 32)
- care about being holy both in body and in spirit.
- when not given in marriage, they are those that do better (verse 38).
In contrast, for those that are married, they are identified as those who:
- care about the things of the world (verse 33)
- care about how they may please their spouse.
- when given in marriage, they are those that do well (verse 38).
32 But I want you to be without [b]care. He who is unmarried [c]cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. 33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife. 34 There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.
36 But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his [d]virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry. 37 Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his [e]virgin, does well. 38 So then he who gives [f]her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.
In the last 2 verses of the same chapter, The Bible clearly states that the wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives, but if he dies, she is at liberty to marry whomever she chooses in the Lord. Therefore, there is no room for an adulterous affair to take place, nor does a marriage permit having various other partners in the context of a Godly union.
39 A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But she is happier if she remains as she is, according to my judgment—and I think I also have the Spirit of God.
What about the Issue of Divorce? What is God’s take on the topic?
In order to talk about Divorce, we must look at Jesus’ perspective on the matter when the Pharisees tested Him on this same subject by looking at the following verses of scripture found in:
Marriage and Divorce
19 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these sayings, that He departed from Galilee and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.
3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who[a]made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said,‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”
8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for [b]sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
10 His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
It is clear that Jesus clarifies the parameters that allow for a Divorce of a marital union to take place in the book of Matthew 19:1-10 (NKJV). According to Jesus:
- Divorce was introduced in The Bible during the days of Moses where a certificate of divorce was issued to put away a man’s wife (verses 7-8). However, Jesus also stated that from the beginning, that wasn’t part of God’s plan. This was a man-made law created for a sinful generation that didn’t value the sanctity of marriage.
- Jesus, Himself, states that a divorce is only permitted if there is evidence of adultery, where one spouse has practiced sexual immorality and then chooses to marry another person.
- Jesus also makes it clear in verse 9 that whoever marries a divorced person has committed adultery.
I find it interesting that Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 19:4-6 that the Lord made us Male and Female and for this reason, a (male) man will leave his parents house and be joined together with his (female) wife and the two will become one flesh. No where does Jesus define this concept of marriage as homosexual, bisexual, or polymorous in nature, etc etc. It’s strictly between 1 man and 1 woman by God’s definition, so people really have no room to get this twisted.
So what about those that were once divorced and have married someone else?
The truth is, Biblically speaking, those that marry someone else after divorcing their first spouse have committed adultery by God’s standard.
Does that mean that they should divorce their new spouse to make things right? Divorcing twice over doesn’t make much of a difference, because adultery has already taken place and adultery is sin. Sin, is sin is sin is sin. There’s no two ways about this. All I can say is that for anyone that has committed adultery in someway, Go before God and seek repentance for making such a decision and life changing mistake. If you truly fear God, your spirit will be convicted of this Truth. Once a person is divorced, they are not permitted to marry someone else as is stipulated in The Bible, because that will be deemed as an act of ADULTERY; but we live in a sinful generation that so many people choose to ignore this and go about their business doing whatever it is that they like. I know that with the whole thing about Israel Houghton marrying his new wife Adrienne Bailon after divorcing his first wife, Meleasa Houghton, many have been quick to judge him on his choice to marry someone else with a condemning attitude… but I believe Jesus would look at his accusers and ask them this question in John 8:7:
Jesus the Light of the World
8 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 Now [a]early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, [b]this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now [c]Moses, in the law, commanded us [d]that such should be stoned. But what do You [e]say?” 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, [f]as though He did not hear.
7 So when they continued asking Him, He [g]raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being[h] convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up [i]and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers [j]of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go [k]and sin no more.”
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
As you can see, the scribes and Pharisees were quick to judge a person by their self-righteous standards; however, when it comes to God, we must always remember that the judgment we place on another person will be weighed against ourselves by God’s standards.
2 For with what [a]judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
Does that mean that Israel Houghton didn’t commit adultery? No… because according to The Bible, he has committed adultery in marrying his 2nd wife Adrienne Bailon while divorcing his 1st wife Meleasa Houghton. However, I am of the opinion that he himself needs to be convicted of that truth. It’s simple to point the finger at him as outside observers expecting a higher standard of behaviour from him simply because he is a worship minister… but sometimes I feel that certain Christians … no matter what platform, position or title they carry within the church, if they are not taught what the Fear of the Lord is, they will be prone to making such mistakes. It is easier to expect a higher standard of such people; however, anyone is capable of making this mistake as with other mistakes, so we shouldn’t put such people on a high pedestal expecting them to be perfect when they are simply just human. At the end of the day, Israel Houghton and Adrienne Baillon both have to feel convicted that they have committed adultery by the Biblical definition of it, and be repentant of it themselves; between themselves and God. Anyone can be in denial regarding their actions in any area of their lives; however, if you are not convicted by Biblical standards of truth… then people leave room to sear their conscience bit-by-bit if they lack spiritual conviction that causes one to seek repentance from the Lord for their short-comings. There is no room to re-interpret what Jesus’ considers as adultery when it’s written plainly in The Bible for anyone to understand. Again I say, Sin is sin is sin is sin. There’s no two ways about it…
Although the deed is done, that doesn’t mean that our God is not quick to forgive when one comes before Him contrite in spirit while acknowledging their sin and short-comings. However, just because God forgives, doesn’t mean that people don’t end up reaping whatever they have sown. Sin always has a list of consequences that follow, so it is important to learn to reverentially Fear the Lord in all that you do. It’s so easy to point fingers at other people who have fallen short and make a tabloid out of their mess. However, we must remember that the way in which we treat others, will be the same measure used to judge what we will receive in return. You get what you dish out. If you dish out judgments and criticisms towards other peoples flaws, you’ll receive the same level of treatment and judgment in return. Do not be the one that casts the first stone. As Christians, it is important to remember to remain humble and forgive others when they make mistakes. Don’t be quick to judge others so harshly without understanding their circumstances.
When judging another, we must remember that the measure you give is what you will receive in return. Let me make it clear in that although God is just to forgive us, this doesn’t give us a license to continue sinning in any area of our lives. We have to fear God in such a reverential type of way that we don’t end up searing our consciences just to go by what is politically correct in order to feed our fleshy desires rather than what is Biblically correct. Divorce is not of God since He hates divorce; however, God is just to forgive those who have gone through with this in their lives.
When correcting your brother or sister regarding a moral flaw, do so with love and righteousness rather than with condemnation, while at the same time, not watering down the truth so that they can sleep well at night. Correct and rebuke in such a way that it brings about inner-conviction to go back to God and seek forgiveness for their moral flaws, and to turn away from straying into the wrong path that doesn’t lead them in the right direction. This is how we teach others to REVERENTIALLY Fear the Lord. We must remember, not to be condemning when correcting our brother or sister. We should always correct in a truthful but loving manner so as to bring about inner conviction that leads a person to correct their actions that causes them to turn away from sin and repent of their behaviour. As Christians, we cannot afford to water-down the truth so that others can simply “sleep well at night”. We are our brother’s keeper so let us pray for each other when struggling with sin in certain areas of our lives rather than pointing the finger. I believe that this message was for someone needing to read this today. I pray that this post blesses you today. God Bless You Everybody! 😀
10 thoughts on “God’s View of Marriage and Divorce – The Biblical Standard”
‘What God has joined together let no man put asunder’.
The question is how do people know God joined them together?
Now if God didn’t join them, what happens? The ability to know these answers make marriage understandable.
Marriages these days are carnally instituted. Break ups are unavoidable.
Good work, good write up, Sherline.
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Yes, you have raised very important questions. I think that it is always important to be prayerful when seeking a spouse; however, how many people seek God on this matter? Some people marry out convenience, some out of desperation, and some out of tradition…. At the end of the day, no matter the reason, people should understand the sanctity of making such a serious decision and the repercussions of marrying someone on a ‘whim’. Like with common law contracts that provide penalties for broken contracts and covenants, there are spiritual ramifications that come with those that opt for divorce rather than trying to work on building that marriage to make it work. So people should realize that if they decide to marry, they should be serious about it rather than be mediocre about the choices that they make. The spiritual implications are just to great when breaking a marriage. Thanks for your input. God Bless! 😀
You’re right my dear. Your elaborations are quite understandable. I concur.
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Wow! Very thorough and spot on. I think you hit this one out of the park.
Thanks for speaking the truth. Great insight.
Be blessed. God is in a good mood.
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Thanks Michael! I am glad that this blog blessed you today. I always enjoy your comments. God Bless! 😀
Reblogged this on Thoughts on culture, politics and more and commented:
Very thorough and spot on. Sherline hit this one out of the park.
Great truth. Great insight.
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I love your graphics. I agree that God hates divorce, and that he only provides two grounds for divorce; adultery and if the unbeliever departs. In both cases, it is my understanding from the scriptures, the victim is able to remarry but only in the Lord. Sadly, divorces today appear to be happening at a much higher rate. Pastor John MacArthur has an article on this too. https://www.gty.org/library/articles/DD04/divorce-and-remarriage.
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Thanks Barbara. I’ll check out that article. I also agree with you that it seems divorces are happening at a much higher rate. I also think it’s because people marry others for the wrong reasons and once their in the relationship…they can’t handle being together if they both had unrealistic expectations and if both had significant differences that causes major disagreements. How can two walk together if they cannot agree? Blessings! ;D – Sherline.
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Sherline…you got all into that subject!! The truth is the truth. Great blog!
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Thanks Tanya! I’m glad this post blessed you today. Thanks for stopping by my dear friend 🙂 – Sherline.
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