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By Pastor Brad Windlan:

My view on marraiage is simple.  I love it.  It was God’s idea.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24).   


Marriage is the foundation of the home.  It’s a beautiful physical representation of the covenant relationship Christ has with His Bride—the church, and I believe that as marriage and the home go—so goes society.  As my Grandma Rachel Howard used to say, “The country will never rise above the home.”  I.e. If Marriages and homes are healthy they will produce healthy, well-adjusted children, who in turn will become productive citizens.  If the home falls apart, the opposite will happen.


An overview of what the Bible teaches about divorce.  

God hates divorce -- (Mal. 2:16)
Because God’s nature and character are that of unity and faithfulness, divorce is an utter abomination to Him.  And, on top of that, divorce is terribly destructive to families and children—which grieveshe heart of God.  But, it is important to point out that nowhere does Scripture say God hates people who get divorced.  God loves broken people (and we’re all broken, Rom. 3:23) whether they are single, married or divorced.


Divorce is permitted but strongly discouraged (Deut. 24:1-4)
God allowed a man to divorce his wife.  Note–in Old Testament times, women would never divorce their husbands because they had no way (or very few) to earn a living.


“Suppose a man marries a woman but she does not please him. Having discovered something wrong with her, he writes her a letter of divorce, hands it to her, and sends her away” (Deut. 24:1).  


The Husband had to give the wife a public certificate of divorce (no private divorces were allowed).  This may sound very sexist and archaic, but compared to where the cultures outside of Israel were at this time, this was a big step forward.  The certificate of divorce was given for the express purpose of freeing the woman to remarry if she met another who wanted to marry her.  


Remarriage, after divorce was never an issue for the OT Israelites.  


In Jesus' day, any Jew was free to remarry so long as they were legally divorced.  The Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce:


"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?" Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. (Matt 19:7-8)


Jesus reveals here that the root cause of divorce was the hardness of hearts. Jesus made the Pharisees face their motive for divorce. Why did they want to get divorced in the first place?


In Jesus' day, as in ours, in order to marry their “lover” people would often divorce their spouses. Adultery was sin, so the Jews, in order to avoid “sinful adulterous affairs” would just divorce their current wife so they could marry their "lady in waiting".  In the passage above Jesus was saying “God knows your heart motives.  He knows that you are misusing the law to get your new wives.”  He was also clearly communicating that “If you marry your mistresses you’re still an adulterer in your heart.”  A “legal” piece of paper didn’t rectify an adulterous heart.  They were already adulterers before the divorce, and so the divorce did not end adultery, instead the new marriage was simply the continuation of the adultery.


Unfortunately, many Bible interpreters mistakenly assume that all remarriage is adultery. They often paint Jesus as saying, "If you divorce your wives, and later meet someone that you fall in love with, you cannot marry her because that would be adultery."  This is not what Jesus is taught.  Jesus’ intent in Mat. 19:8 goes like this,

 

"I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, in order to marry another woman commits adultery."


This makes much more sense than a legalistic, non-sensible interpretation that keeps divorced people from ever marrying again.


What Paul said about divorce and remarriage.
Paul uses the words of Jesus in explaining what a Christian should do if they happen to get a divorce,


"But if she does (get a divorce), she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife" (1 Cor 7:11).


Here Paul says that a divorced wife should remain unmarried. (It is interesting to note that Paul fails to give the same injunction to unmarried husbands, although I think it should be assumed he meant the same for the husband).


Now, it is the word "remain" that we need to focus on here.  


The Greek word for remain is meno, and interestingly it is not used in the Bible in a PERMANENT sense.  In the very same chapter of 1 Corinthians he says,


"Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him. Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so" (1 Cor 7:20-21).


So even a slave is to "remain" a slave, but not necessarily for a lifetime. He is free to change his status and pursue freedom.


In 1 Cor. 7 Paul applies this word to married and unmarried people, "Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to" (1 Cor 7:24). Then he gives an example of what he meant,


“If you are married, don’t get a divorce. If you are divorced, don’t try to find a spouse. But if you do marry, you haven’t sinned; and if someone who hasn’t been married gets married, they haven’t sinned.”  (1 Cor. 7:27-28)


In the abobe passage WHO has not sinned by getting married? BOTH the one who has never married and the person who experiences a divorce and remarries.  


Paul says neither of them have sinned by getting married. Paul never taught that remarriage as a sin.


In summary, divorce is counter to God’s character and destructive to people’s lives, to the church and to society.  For those reasons God openly says that He hates divorce. Divorce and remarriage while not the ideal, are permitted.  And the real key here is our heart and our motives.  If we seek a divorce—just so we can get out of our current commitments and marry our “lover,” Jesus says this is utterly wrong.  No “legal” document can make a wicked motivation right.  But if we find ourselves divorced or a myriad of other reasons–we ought not feel trapped or unable to remarry.


Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage