Marriage and Divorce 2nd Edition


Marriage and Divorce

Second Edition

Pick up any magazine while checking out at your local grocery store and you are bound to find the topics of marriage and divorce.  As a culture we are fixated on the topic and on how to attract a spouse.  On the other end of the spectrum, we are entertained by news of who is divorcing who in amongst the Hollywood elite and professional athletes.   My goal is to show you the biblical aspect of marriage and divorce, not the common cultural happenings of what we see on television today.

Biblical Marriage

Biblical marriage was defined and instituted by God in Genesis 2:21-24, “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”[1]  Marriage was and is meant to be forever.  This is why in a biblical marriage that is done by a biblically based church that follows the proper teachings of God we make vows to each other before God and witnesses.  No matter what the obstacles are in a marriage, it is meant to be a bond for life.  When Eve was deceived by the serpent and God called for Adam; God did not cast out Eve and make a new wife for Adam out of another rib from Adam.  God blesses marriages and he blessed the first marriage, as is seen above in Genesis 2:24.  It is important to understand that God intended for marriage to be between and man and a woman.  First, we should point out that God created Eve from Adam’s rib and because she was made from his bones and flesh she was called women.  Second, we can look at Ephesians 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.”[2]  Here is the clear biblical understanding of a wife in direct divine submission to her husband.

To clarify some points of marriage

Now to be clear in the roles of marriage, I am going to clarify a few points.  Men are to be the head of the household.  Colossians 3:18, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”[3]  Now this submissive is not some evil term like we take in today’s society.  There are a lot of men who would read into to this and would be like, “you see honey, I told you.”  This submission is an order or structure that God put in place.  Men and women are equal, but men have a headship or a place of leadership in the household.  Men still need to make all decisions with equality to their wives.  Warren Wiersbe states in his commentary, “Headship is not dictatorship or lordship. It is loving leadership. In fact, both the husband and the wife must be submitted to each other. It is the mutual respect under the lordship of Jesus Christ.”[4]  So men who thought they were getting some type of authority to just rule their wives openly their way are wrong.  It is in the lordship of Christ that the man has any authority and when the man does not lead his family in Christ; he violates God’s will for the family and their marriage.  Another point here to make is that although men are the headship of the household, God gives clear direction to men.  Ephesians 5:25, Colossians 3:19, and 1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”[5]  So men, you have to love your wives.  It seems like a no brainer, but it’s also a command.  We know that men are the head of the household, but men and women are equal.

Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”[6]

           268114_1820457883205_1592923118_31507322_1997374_nThis verse alone has caused entire fellowship of churches to break away from each other and most notably was the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship withdrawing from the Southern Baptist Convention.  Some theologians have taken this verse to stand alone and completely override all other verses of the Bible on Gods roles of men and women.  This becomes a problem of inerrancy of the Bible as a verse the stands alone and contradicts others may not be being interpreted correctly.  However, that is for another essay.  This verse does support the theology that men and women are created equal in Jesus Christ.  This also supports the fact that men should also be submissive to their wives.  I know, so many men did not see that coming or what to hear this.

1 Corinthians 7:1-7, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.”[7]

Men and women are to be submissive to each other in their marriage.  I did not say it, the Word of God said it so if you have a problem with it I would suggest talking to God.  Another aspect to understand about marriage is that God unifies a marriage and bonds one another as one flesh, as is seen in Matthew 19:6, “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”[8]  So with that said, are you married when you say the vows and pronounced man and wife; or when the marriage is consummated?  Elwell states, “Some believe according to 1 Corinthians 6:16, the sex act is viewed as the agent through which God affects marriage in a manner apparently analogous to the way in which adherents of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration see him make the sacrament of baptism the agent in effecting regeneration.”[9]  The other considerations would be when a marriage ceremony had taken place or a couple is legally married.  I do not believe the Bible specifically answers this question.  Look at 1 Corinthians 6:16, “What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh.”[10]  I would submit that Paul was warning the Corinthians to stop committing sexual sin with prostitutes.  Paul was referencing Genesis and creation.  I do not believe the sexual act is the act of marriage, but an act of being fruitful and multiplying.  I would submit creation as example when God created Adam and Eve, they were married.  They were not married because he commanded them to be fruitful and multiply.  Now our culture believes your married when you get the marriage license, we all should know if you are married.  I have one.  You can even get married on a trip to Vegas now and then get it annulled a few days later.  This brings us to our other topics of divorce and remarrying.

 

DIVORCE

Divorce has been a very touchy subject for a long time in our culture.  Many need advice or they are going through tough times and need help.  Some people have been through divorces and do not want to be condemned by churches as the Catholic faith has done.  We must be open and honest where people want answers to tough theological and biblical questions.  William Heth a Professor of New Testament and Greek at Taylor University said this in his article, “The majority of The majority of evangelicals believe that Jesus permits remarriage after divorce for martial unfaithfulness (Matt. 5:32; 19:9) and that Paul sanctions remarriage when Christian spouses are abandoned by unbelieving mates (1 Cor. 7:15). We argued to the contrary that even though marital separation or legal divorce may be advisable under some circumstances (persistent adultery, physical or verbal abuse, incest, etc.), Jesus taught that his disciples should not remarry after divorce. In short, remarriage after divorce for whatever reason—even sexual immorality (Matt 5:32; 19:9)—was a violation of the seventh commandment, ’You shall not commit adultery’ (Exod. 20:14;Deut. 5:18).”[11]  Professor Heth spent years studying in exegesis to this topic and I would encourage anyone to read his full article as he lays out every corresponding verse of the majority and minority view.  I believe in the majority view that Jesus does permit remarriage for martial unfaithfulness.  This is grounded in (Matt. 5:32; 199) as Professor Heth had pointed out.  The violation of the flesh of one spouse and their unrepentant nature with no regards to resolve the marriage should not have permanence on the innocent spouse.  When the marriage dissolves to the point of no ability to be made whole in Christ because of the sinful and unrepentant nature of the one spouse, you cannot condemn the other for ever for their sins.  I also believe that Christ blood can and does wash away all sins and this includes the Ten Commandments.

 

REMARRIAGE

With that said I do not believe it is right that any church treat any person differently for being divorced or remarried, because they are washed in blood of Christ for their sins.  Their sins are washed just as clean as the same sins the preacher has.  I believe a lot of preachers get behind pulpits today and condemn people with the Words of God while forgetting Jesus Christ cleansed the sin we may very well try to condemn.  Whew, that will preach!  I believe because of the redeeming blood of the lamb you can remarry.

A word of caution to the unequally yoked

Here is a warning to understand.  You should not marry an unbeliever.  In 2 Corinthians 6:14 states, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?”  It is pretty plain and simple.  You will be unequally yoked.  In other words, you will be unbalanced.  Elmer Towns says of this, “A Christian should not marry someone who is not a Christian. It is dangerous for a Christian to even think about marrying someone who is not a Christian because it violates the Bible’s clear commandment about marriage.”[12]  How would you raise your children if you had any?  Could you imagine sitting at the dinner table and instead of bowing your heads to pray, you have a moment of silence to respect the diversity of your marriage?   It is important that you and your spouse are both Christians.  This is a major issue in marriages and why some dissolve into the divorces that we see today and in society, most notably Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise.

Conclusion in our society

The denomination plays a major role in how the church views divorce.  The Catholic faith does not believe in divorce.  Some Protestant churches do not accept elders, deacons, or even Pastors who have been divorced or remarried.  This effects how their congregants may react when going through marital issues or other people within the community.  However, in the same token it also provides conviction and stability in knowing that there is a church that stands behind scripture.  There are two sides sometimes to the biblical interpretation of divorce, especially in the New Testament verses we have covered.  When the church does not stay out on top of the issues like divorce, it gets drowned out by everything else.  We need the next Billy Graham to come across our nation and preach and shock our country.  Our churches need to rally all the finances and get the next Billy Graham, not someone who exist that everyone already knows like Rick Warren.  Grab someone right out of seminary and send them on the next crusades and get them booked anywhere and everywhere.  We are divided across our nation and now we need to unite to preach His Word and do so in a way that makes everyone listen to make Jesus Christ famous.  So society knows that answers to divorce, marriage, and many others they ask every day.

Footnotes

[1] C.I. Scofield, ed., The Scofield Study Bible: KJV (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1909).

[2] C.I. Scofield, ed., The Scofield Study Bible: KJV (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1909).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete NT in One Volume (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2007).

[5] Scofield, The Scofield Study Bible:KJV.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid., Ibid. .

[9] Walter A. Elwell et al., ed., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology: Second Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001).

[10] Scofield, The Scofield Study Bible:KJV.

[11] William A. Heth, “Jesus on Divorce: How My Mind Was Changed,” Southwestern Baptist Journal of Theology (Spring 2002).
[12] Elmer L. Towns, Bible Answers for Almost All Your Questions (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003).

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