By Clifton Angel
Adam and Eve’s marriage was: (1) male and female, (2) united, and (3) non-disposable. Before advancing, let us expound on number three because divorce is prevalent. God’s laws on marriage, divorce, and remarriage are not to be negated or contradicted (cf. Malachi 2:16; Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:39; Matthew 19:9). That said, what about circumstances of domestic violence? What if my spouse is keeping me from being a faithful Christian? What if I’m already divorced for reasons other than sexual infidelity (cf. Matthew 19:9)? What if I was the guilty spouse that was put away because I committed fornication?
If divorced for reasons other than your spouse committing fornication, God does not permit remarriage. The same principle applies to the one who is put away for the cause of fornication. 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.” It is not easy, but it can be done. I know of many who know these principles, yet refuse to keep them. I also know of several who seek to be faithful to God, remaining unmarried because they recognize God does not grant them permission to remarry.
What if I am a victim of domestic violence? Or, what if my spouse is preventing me from being a faithful Christian? A study of 1 Corinthians 7 is pertinent to such situations. This chapter is a response to specific things asked of Paul (cf. 7:1). Some of his exhortations of remaining single pertain to the “present distress” in Corinth (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:26). That said, consider 10 and 11: “Unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” In circumstances of domestic violence, it may be necessary to “depart” (separate) to protect one’s own life; this does not grant divorce and remarriage, as Paul clearly states.
Furthermore, Paul states, “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace” (1 Corinthians 7:15). The context is marriages of Christians to non-Christians (cf. 7:12–16). A principle here applies to the question of a spouse trying to prevent one from being a faithful Christian: “A brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases.” Paul is NOT saying you are now free to divorce your non-Christian spouse and remarry. He is saying Christians are not called to leave Christ to follow after an unbelieving spouse. Don’t leave the Lord to please your unbelieving spouse. You are not under bondage to leave the Lord, ever. “God hath called us to peace.” Verses 10 and 11 still apply. Malachi 2:16, Romans 7:2, 1 Corinthians 7:39, and Matthew 19:9 still apply.
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/
Sunday, May 7, 2023
The First Marriage (Part Three B)
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