Saturday, September 25, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage
Marriage in general is to be between 1 man and 1 woman for life. Genesis 1 & 2, Malachi 2:13-17, Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:6-9, 1 Corinthians 7:1-11, Ephesians 5, 1 Timothy 3:2
There is no biblical permission for homosexual or lesbian marriage or polygamy. Deut.17:17, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1Timothy 1:9-10
Marriage according to the New Testament Believer in Jesus is 1 believing man and 1 believing woman. Prov.2:17,1 Cor.7, 11:3
It is a sin for a Believer to marry a un-believer. 1 Cor. 7:39, 2 Cor.6:14-15
God is the Judge of all un-believer’s marriage.s Mark 6:17-18, 1 Cor.5:12
The Church is not to encourage believers marrying un-believers. Ezra 9:2, 2 Cor.6:14-15
Marriage according to God is for life, but there are few biblical references that give allowance for divorce if a spouse has committed adultery against their partner. Divorce for other reasons and getting remarried is adultery because God sees the first covenant as binding for life. Matthew 5:31-32, 19:9, Luke 16:18
We also see that lusting over someone other than your spouse is adultery in the heart. Matthew 5:27-28
However, forgiveness and reconciliation with the sinning spouse is God’s heart and we can see this illustrated throughout the Scriptures as God continually forgives Israel and reconcilers her to Himself. 1 Cor.7:10-11
Matthew 18 precedes chapter 19 and chapter 18 is all about sin, discipline, and forgiveness.
God hates Divorce, not only because it ruins the oneness of a marriage and its expression of God’s love for the Church, but also because of its devastating consequences to the individuals, children, friends and families involved. Divorce is terrible. Malachi 2:14-15, 1 Cor.7:10-11, Ephesians 5
We acknowledge that in situations involving physical abuse, child abuse and molestation that separation will be encouraged, the local authorities notified and biblical disciplinary actions taken by the church to resolve the situation. In each case, sensitivity, compassion, and biblical authority based upon the Word of God must be applied as we see in Matthew 18.
DIVORCE, SEPARATION & REMARRIAGE:
If someone divorces their spouse for any reason other than adultery being committed against them they are sinning against God and their spouse. Separation, not divorce, may be encouraged for the individuals to get their lives right with God and then one another through discipleship and biblical counseling. 1 Cor.7:10-11
It is important to note that Scripture gives us no example of separation as a means of resolving marital problems, nor does it forbid it. We must be discerning and led by the Spirit as we counsel each situation knowing that God’s heart is reconciliation.
If an unbelieving spouse leaves a believer, the believer can let them go, they are not forced to stay with them. 1 Cor.7:15-16
If an unbelieving spouse will stay married to the believer they are to remain married. 1 Cor. 7:12-16
If the unbeliever divorces a believer, or adultery is committed against the believer and it leads to divorce there are a few interpretations of what is biblical response or options:
1. The believer is to remain single for the rest of their lives 1Cor.7:11, 15
2. The believer is to wait for reconciliation with their ex-spouse 1Cor.7:11
3. The believer is able to remarry someone else, but only a believer Matthew 19:9, 1 Cor.7:15
What if someone was married and divorced before they became a Christian? There are also various interpretations regarding this:
1. They are to remain single for the rest of their lives Mt.5:31-32,19:9, Mk10:11-12,Lk16:18,1Cor.7:11
2. They are to seek reconciliation with their last spouse if they are not remarried or stay single
3. They are a new person in Christ, now able to obey God’s Word, and can marry a believer 2 Cor.5:17
What if two Christians get married and then get divorced, can they remarry?
1. These Christians have sinned against God and need to acknowledge their divorce as sin and disobedience to God without making any excuses. They must first confess their sin and seek God’s forgiveness for their disobedience regardless of the particular details
2. These Christians should seek reconciliation with each other and give God the opportunity to reconcile their marriage. 1Cor.7:11 (This reconciled marriage will have far less consequences than a divorce and remarriage to another person even if it is another Christian.)
3. If there is no opportunity for reconciliation or if one partner has already remarried then there are a couple options:
1. They remain single for the rest of their lives
2. They remarry another believer understanding that they were disobedient to God by getting divorced.
*If a believer’s spouse dies they are free to remarry or remain single. Romans 7:1-3, 1
Anytime someone marries a person and gets divorced for any reason other than adultery and then marries another, they commit adultery because in the eyes of God they are still “one flesh” with their first spouse and this second marriage is the breaking of that first covenant.
Divorce for any reason other than adultery is sin and must be acknowledged and confessed as sin before a person can really move forward with God and others.
As Christians we understand God’s holy standard for marriage and we know that we must exercise compassion and understanding in every divorce and remarriage situation without compromising God’s Word.
Unfortunately when it comes to divorce, separation and remarriage the Christian church has often been known to take two extreme stances.
The extreme conservative stance holds the view that divorce is so severe that those who get divorced are shunned or excommunicated from the church. While I can appreciate their high view of marriage I cannot embrace their lack of sympathy and compassion for those who have sinned. Those that embrace this view might teach vehemently against divorce and exalt the sacredness of marriage but they can also fail to minister to those who are going through or have come out of a divorce. This view emphasizes a strong lifelong marriage and discards those marriages that break down rather than repairing them.
The extreme liberal stance does not hold the same high view of marriage and as a result divorce runs rampant through those churches and people’s lives are shattered even though the churches might be full.
Those that embrace this view often do not teach against divorce nor exalt the sacredness of marriage. As a result divorce is common and even accepted as normal. Rather than being effective at preventing divorce, they focus more on after divorce care. This view rather than emphasizing a strong biblical marriage instead waits for marriages to break down or fall apart before they start seeking to make repairs.
Both extreme views can cause great damage to people’s lives, their children and families and the growth of the church both quantitatively and qualitatively.
It’s my conviction that the Church is to teach the sacredness of marriage and exalt marriage to the place that God has rather than allow the culture to define marriage and dictate to us what is permissible in regards to divorce. We should disciple couples seeking to be married and equip them to overcome those trials and hard times in marriage that so often lead to divorce. This is preventive maintenance rather than waiting for the marriage to break or fall apart before we address anything. As we teach and exalt marriage and honor the biblical marriage covenant there will be a greater understanding about what marriage truly is and how God views and uses marriages. Through the faithful teaching of the Word of God divorce will be reduced but unfortunately never eliminated. There will be those couples who divorce as a result of sin, immaturity or adultery and we need to reach out to them rather than shun them in hopes of discipling them towards reconciliation or a God honoring future. We should disciple couples to have strong biblical marriages as well as be equipped to biblically repair, restore and reach out to those marriages that have broken down.
God honors marriage and hates divorce and we know that a Christ centered marriage and family is a powerful tool in the hands of God to affect change in communities and leave a godly remnant of Christian children to reach out to the next generation and impact the world for Christ.
In summary, according to the Bible there are biblical marriages, divorce and remarriage and there are unbiblical marriages, divorce and remarriage. It should be the heart desire of every Christian to align their lives and marriages to the standard God has revealed in His Word. If someone has found themselves unbiblically married, divorced or remarried, then it is essential that they acknowledge God's standard as right without making excuses for their particular situation, repent in their hearts confessing their sin to God, receive His forgiveness, and then move forward honoring God and the standard set forward in His Word. This is the path to freedom, power and a clear conscience. God loves to take the broken pieces of the past and build a platform for ministry in the future!