Justifying divorce

I have heard people who claim to love Christ want to walk away from their marriage due to various reasons. Sometimes They claim God has told them to divorce. Other times, people claim that God wants them to be happy, and they are miserable in their marriage, so it must be God’s will for them to divorce and marry someone else.

But what does scripture say?

Malachi 2:13-16

13 “This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. 16 For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”

God tells us that people do not have their prayers answered because they dealt treacherously their wife of their youth – their spouse, even though she is his companion and wife by covenant.  Not only has God said they had dealt treachously, but that those who has done so have no remnant of the Spirit.

Did you get that? Those who deal so poorly with their spouse that they divorce do not have the Spirit.

Do you think God would tell you to divorce, if He said He hates divorce? Do you think God would tell you to divorce if he says he hates those who choose to walk in sin?

The answer is no. God hates divorce.

But what did Jesus say?

Matthew 19:3-9

3 Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” 4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from 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 they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” 7 They *said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 He *said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Jesus said whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.

What else does the Bible say?

1 Corinthians 7:10-16

10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the 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?

So married Christians should never divorce. But if an unbeliever leaves, the married Christian is not under bondage – is free.

God hates divorce. No question. The only allowed reasons to divorce are is an unbeliever leaves a married Christian, or if your partner commits adultery.


8 Responses

  1. If one’s partner commits adultery and there is a divorce. Can one re-marry ?
    What happens when both in the marriage commits Adultery and there is a divorce. Can both re-marry ?

    • I think the whole point of the divorce was to allow marriage to someone else.

      God said that the only way it can NOT be adultery is if the other spouse commits adultery. In that case, you are free to divorce (and so remarry).

      And yes, once divorced, both can remarry.

  2. To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances.

  3. Hi there, Sorry to disagree. Matthew 5:31-32 and 19:9 do not allow a married person to divorce and remarry as is commonly assumed. Jesus was referring to the custom of betrothal, which we don’t have. The law said adulterers had to be stoned and Jesus would not have broken the law. A person may, under certain circumstances divorce (read 1 Cor 7:10-15), but a divorced person may never remarry. If a person divorced for any reason whatsoever remarries while the partner is still alive, that person commits adultery (Rom 7:1-3) and cannot be saved (1 Cor 6:9-10). The topic is very complex and I cannot deal with all the issues here. I did a very intensive study of the topic and wrote a lengthy paper on it. [sentence deleted – I do not like people to get links or docs from my blog which I have not previously read]

    • Certainy, there are some who thinks divorce is never allowed. Others think that divorce is allowed under some circumstances, but not remarriage. I think both of those views are wrong. I think divorce is allowed in some circumstances, and remarriage is allowed if one is biblically freed from your spouse.

      It seems to me Paul is saying that if someone is married, he should not seek divorce. If he is divorced, he should not seek to marry. But if someone (who has been released, ie divorced, from a wife) DOES marry, he has not sinned – just as a virgin who marries has not sinned.

      1 Corinthians 7:27-28

      27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.

  4. You are such a hypocrite. You have been married multiple times and your **** wife is on her *** husband and screwed half of ******* County

    Being a judgmental ***** is also a sin. Clean out your own house first

    • I pray God grants you godly sorrow which leads to true repentance. I pray you recognize your frustration has nothing to do with me or my wife. I pray you recognize it is God calling you to repentance, and that you are unable to rest until you see the truth and respond as God wants you to.

      If you DO actually trust God, I pray you learn to submit to God and be holy in every way.

      You obviously dont know me or my wife as well as you seem to believe. May God bless you in obvious and not so obvious ways so you can praise God for working in your life.

    • One more thing, as I said in the article, there are biblically acceptable reasons for divorce – one being for adultery and another being if an unbeliever leaves. A third, which I have not covered is if you are an unbeliever and you leave, you sins are forgiven when you repent and turn to God and are made a new creation.

      This doesnt mean the consequences of your sins are not present, but you are freed from culpability before God because Jesus paid the price.

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