There are NO Biblical Grounds for DIVORCE!
By David J. Stewart
"...for he [God] hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." -Hebrews 13:5
God NEVER forsakes or disowns His own! Why should it be any different in the Christian family, or marriage? I am dismayed, and saddened, that so many believers, even preachers, think that it's ok for someone to file for divorce if a spouse commits the sin of adultery. Does God forsake us when we sin? No, Hebrews 13:5 clearly states that God has PROMISED never to forsake or leave us. Yet, hypocritically, professed Christians fail to follow the example which Jesus Christ has set for the Church to follow. It is a woeful sin for anyone to abandon their spouse, by filing for divorce.
What About Continued Adultery?
I love Dr. John R. Rice, and he is one of my personal heroes; BUT, I couldn't disagree with him more concerning the matter of divorce. Brother Rice published a booklet titled, Divorce, in which he teaches that a person may Biblically divorce their spouse if guilty of what he terms "continued adultery." He also teaches that such a person if Biblically free to remarry. Now, that's not Biblical, for several reasons, and I'll explain each of them to you:
The Word of God Teaches Unlimited Forgiveness. Matthew 18:21,22 states... "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." 7 x 70 = 490 times! In other words... unlimited forgiveness! I know a woman who divorced her husband, because he had commit fornication on numerous occasions. Although her husband begged her in tears for forgiveness, and told her he still loved her, and didn't want a divorce, she divorced him anyway. That wife sinned horribly, and must give account to God for breaking her marriage vows, quitting, and abandoning her husband who objected to the divorce.
It is the epitome of self-righteous hypocrisy and unforgiveness for a person to file for divorce, when the guilty spouse is repentant, and is begging for mercy, but there is none. What if God did that to the Christian who sins repeatedly? If God did, we'd all be burning in Hellfire where we deserve to go, because we are ALL guilty sinners! There is NOT a day that passes, but that each believer is guilty of committing sins... repeatedly! So what gives one the sanctimonious right to bring down the iron-fist of judgment on their spouse, by divorcing them for sins committed?
Clearly, a person cannot genuinely offer forgiveness to their spouse, while mercilessly divorcing them at the same time. Divorce is synonymous with unforgiveness, and God will not forgive those who refuse to forgive their spouse, by committing the sin of divorce (Matthew 6:15). There must be reconciliation (Matthew 5:23,24). Divorce is NEVER the Christian answer to marriage problems.
There Are No Disclaimers In One's Marriage Vows. People are such LIARS! There were NO disclaimers in your marriage vows. Everyone makes the same promises on their wedding day... "To have and to hold; for richer, for poorer; in sickness as in health; for better, for worse; 'TILL DEATH DO US PART"; YET, 50% of married Americans have broken these promises, by filing for divorce. It is a hideous evil, a curse, upon the United States! So many people are getting divorced nowadays that it is considered the "NORM" by society--a heathen society I might add. A wife who is having marriage difficulties, and goes to strangers for help, is likely to be advised to file for divorce. This is why women in the U.S. file for divorce at least TWICE the rate of men! Why should God bless America?
Divorce is a horrible sin, rooted in self-righteousness and hypocrisy. We are living in a selfish generation, which always seeks greener pastures and better times; BUT, the Bible teaches that we should be willing to honor our vows. There is nothing in one's marriage vows about quitting under certain circumstances. There is nothing mentioned in the marriage vows about filing for divorce in the case of fornication. What you did promise was to remain together... for better, for worse; 'til death do us part. Marriage is NOT an agreement, it is a LIFETIME COMMITMENT. Divorce is an agreement.
What About Murder and Other Horrible Sins? It is ridiculous to teach that adultery is grounds for divorce, but not murder and a host of other sins. If adultery were Biblical grounds for divorce, then wouldn't also murder, lying, extortion, drunkenness, gambling, laziness, pornography, and a host of other sins also be considered as grounds for a divorce? Why the hypocrisy? Someone recently wrote me, saying that some sins are so obviously grounds for divorce that God didn't mention them (such as murder). However, the Word of God doesn't teach that. We mustn't add to God's Word. Jesus clearly taught in Matthew 19:8 that the only cause of divorce is a hardened heart. We read in Proverb 13:10, "Only by pride cometh contention..." A person who files for divorce only does so because of sinful pride and a hardened heart. If Jesus was willing to suffer for us, even unto death at Calvary, then why can't we endure the hardships of marriage and suffer as our Lord did? Woe unto America!
What About Adultery of the Mind?--PROOF that Adultery is NOT Biblical Grounds for Divorce! Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." According to God Himself, a husband who lusts upon a women who is not his wife is GUILTY of committing the vile sin of adultery!!! Jesus said the lustful man has ALREADY committed adultery!!! To claim that mental adultery is not equally as sinful and wicked as literal adultery would weaken the message of Christ, i.e., that lust is just as sinful as actually committing the act of adultery. Hence, it is hypocritical for a woman to file for divorce if her husband commits adultery, because EVERY normal Christian man has lusted at weak spiritual moments in his life. According to Jesus, every normal healthy man is guilty of adultery, because every red-blooded healthy man who has eyes to see is guilty of mental adultery, i.e., lust! We are all guilty sinners, deserving of Hellfire! The very idea that a wife has a Biblical right to divorce her husband over fornication is absurd. The Bible does NOT teach such nonsense. In most divorces, one spouse magnifies the sins of the other spouse, conveniently overlooking their own; BUT, James 2:10 brings an end to the debate... "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Don't you blame God for your sinful decision to divorce!
Matthew 5:32 is Perhaps the Most Misquoted Scripture in the Bible.
"But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery." -Matthew 5:32
From the Scriptures I've shared with you, i.e., the Biblical truths we've considered, it can only be logically concluded that Jesus meant something entirely different than most people attribute to Him. It is CRITICALLY important that you notice the phrase "causeth her to commit adultery." Most people only consider the phrase "saving for the cause of fornication," which renders a false translation of this Scripture. Most people think Jesus was permitting divorce in cases of fornication, thus making an exception to the rule; HOWEVER, this is certainly NOT the case at all. The phrase "causeth her to commit adultery" clearly PROVES that Jesus was saying something completely different. Jesus was simply teaching that a man should not divorce his wife, because divorcing her will cause her to commit adultery, unless of course she is already living in adultery. That is what Jesus meant. Matthew 5:32 in NO way condones or permits divorce!
Matthew 19:9, when interpreted in lieu of Matthew 5:32, teaches the same Scriptural truth. For anyone to claim that Jesus was permitting divorce on the basis of fornication goes against the rest of the Bible.
Let me prove it to you by explaining Matthew 5:32 another way... Let's say that a man does divorce his wife anyway, but she didn't commit fornication. In this case, Matthew 5:32 no longer makes any sense if you believe Jesus was allowing divorce, because the woman would still be committing adultery if she remarried! Think about it. In other words, regardless of whether a man divorces his wife because she committed fornication or not, either way she will be committing adultery if she remarries. So it wouldn't make any sense for Jesus to allow a divorce in cases of fornication, because either way the wife will be committing adultery if her husband divorces her and she remarries. Clearly, the only sensible interpretation of Matthew 5:32 is to conclude that Jesus was forbidding divorce, and he provides one reason why divorce is a sin--because it causes the forsaken spouse to commit adultery, that is, unless the spouse is already committing fornication, in which case this reason wouldn't apply. This is the only logical interpretation.
Let me quote Matthew 18:21,22 to you again... "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." If we are to forgive a repentant brother 490 times (i.e., unlimited forgiveness), then how much more should we be willing to forgive our own spouse who begs for our forgiveness? The Word of God teaches forgiveness and reconciliation, which divorce is neither. Divorce is quitting, which is rooted in self-righteous hypocrisy and an unforgiving spirit. Divorce is a sin!
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