By Clifton Angel
In the history of mankind, the first marriage was: (1) male and female, (2) united. A third needful detail about Adam and Eve’s marital bond is that it was not disposable.
Jesus said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6). Sadly, the world says marriage is disposable, and divorce in our society has become as easy an option as trading in a used car. Malachi proclaimed God’s message concerning divorce in this manner:
“For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously” (Malachi 2:16). God hates “putting away” (divorce). Why? It is not according to His design for marriage. It is rending what He has united. It means that sin has been committed by at least one spouse —oftentimes, both. He describes such as covering one’s garment with violence (cf. Malachi 2:16). I suppose the majority of divorces, especially those that involve children, breed turmoil and division for both spouses and their families for years to follow. Divorce is detrimental physically, mentally, emotionally, and most important, spiritually.
In two very different contexts, the apostle Paul penned an everlasting principle which applies to husband and wife. “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth” (1 Corinthians 7:39a). “The woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth” (Romans 7:2a). When might one be released from their spouse and the law that binds them together? “If her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39b). “If the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband” (Romans 7:2b). God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman for the endurance of their physical lives. And so, the godly statement found in many marital vows is fitting: “’Til death do us part.”
After divorce, what happens? Most often, the divorced will seek another partner. Thereby, many enter into relationships which God calls adultery, and the only way to resolve this sin of adultery is to dissolve the adulterous relationship. Jesus said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matthew 19:9). Herein, God grants the remarriage of an innocent spouse that has divorced one guilty of fornication. Even in such instances, God’s first desire would be for the guilty spouse to repent, the two spouses to reconcile, and their marriage only grow stronger for the endurance of their lives. However, God grants permission to the innocent spouse for this one reason. This is not easy to accept. Jesus even notes this in the context (cf. Matthew 19:9–12). However, it is what is right.May these truths bless your marriage and glorify our God.
- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/