March 10, 2013
Answering Questions About Divorce and Remarriage No.2
The issue of marriage, divorce, and remarriage is definitely relevant in our day. Some people have even described it as a “hot button topic.” A lot of emotions are attached to the subject, and whenever this is the case, it is difficult to get people to reason on a rational basis.
Human emotions will cause a person to disregard the teaching of the Bible.
It will also cause a person to excuse things that God will not overlook on the day of judgment. (Hebrews 13:4) Knowing how serious the subject is, let us consider the following questions and answers.
4. Is it possible for two people to be married according to the laws of the state, yet not bound to each other because God did not “join” them since they had no right to be married to one another? Yes. God does not join people in marriage unless they have the right to be married.
The state recognizes some marriages that are not approved by the Lord.
God joins people who have his authority to form a marriage relationship. Those who have God’s authority to enter the marriage:
(A) People who have never been married (Matthew 19:4-6);
(B) People who divorced a mate who committed sexual immorality (Matthew 19:9), and people whose mate has died. (Romans 7:2-3)
Furthermore, we have an example of two people who were married, but they were not joined by God because it was not lawful for them to have each other. King Herod had married “his brother Philip’s wife.” Please note: Herod had married her, but she is called his brother Philip’s wife. How can she be his brother’s wife if he had married her? She was his brother’s wife because though Herod had married her, God had not joined Herod and Herodias. Therefore, it was not lawful for him to “have” her. (Mark 6:17-18)
5. Does God’s law governing marriage and divorce apply to people who are not Christians? Yes. Marriage is not a “church ordinance,” which is applicable only to those who are children of God, but it is designed for the human race. If God’s law governing marriage is not applicable to unbelievers, then what would be wrong with two men or two women marrying one another as long as they are not Christians? If God’s law governing marriage does not apply to unbelievers, what would be wrong with unbelievers marrying and divorcing, marrying and divorcing till their heart is content? When the Pharisees questioned Jesus about whether or not “it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife for every reason,” he pointed them to “the beginning.” (Matthew 19:4,8) The point is: in the beginning the intent of marriage was for the two to be one and to stay together. In the beginning there were no Jews or Christians—there was the human family. God’s will for marriage applies to all. (1 Corinthians 7:14)
6. If a believer is married to an unbeliever, and the unbeliever leaves the believer, does this free the believer to marry someone else? No. In Corinthians 7:15 Paul says, “Yet if the unbelieving departs: the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases … ” The word from which “bondage” is translated means “to be enslaved.” Paul is not giving a reason for remarriage. He is saying the believer is not enslaved to the unbeliever, and therefore the believer is not under obligation to force the unbeliever to stay, or to do anything else that would violate the principle of peace. “God has called us in peace.” Christians are enslaved to Christ. (1 Corinthians 7:22-23) Remarriage is only granted on the ground of sexual immorality. (Matthew 19:9)