Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage (A Biblical Perspective)
To please God, must believers defrauded by a spouse live the remainder of their life in celibacy?
1. Comparing Spiritual Things With Spiritual
When we study the scripture it is important that we, 1 "Be diligent (Study, KJV) to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Also, it is important to believe that the answers to all questions of a spiritual nature that relate to "life and godliness" are found in the Bible. 2"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." My desire is to compare 3"spiritual things with spiritual." As we do this we will be guided by The Holy Spirit to understand both God's restrictions and God's allowances and provisions for the fact that we have 4"this treasure in earthen vessels."
2. Definition Of Words And Expressions
To facilitate a common understanding as one reads through this study, let me give a definition for some of the words and terms that will be used throughout this study.
- Adultery -
- The act of becoming "one flesh" (sexual relationship including, but not limited to, intercourse) by a spouse or with a spouse involving someone to whom they are not married.
- Become one flesh -
- Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. Sometimes referred to as the "act of marriage."
- Confirmation -
- The act that "confirms" (GAL 3:15) the contract/covenant of marriage.
- Consideration -
- What parties to the contract/covenant can expect from the other party.
- Defrauded -
- To have one's spouse be guilty of "sexual immorality" or fail to provide what God says the spouse should provide in the marriage relationship.
- The time element in the contract or covenant of marriage indicating its end.
- Divorce -
- Separating the practical and/or legal ties that exist between two parties who have been married to each other.
- Marriage -
- One man & one woman who become "one flesh", with the commitment of marriage.
- Peace -
- To live in "peace" is to live comfortably with one's sexuality generally because one has a marriage partner. Both husband and wife are to supply the needs of the other.
- Sexual immorality -
- Any sexual act that is defined in God's word as sin. It includes "adultery" but is in no way limited to adultery.
- Spouse -
- A husband or a wife.
- Victim -
- A wife or husband who has been defrauded by their spouse. This could be the result of "sexual immorality" or abandonment.
- What god has joined together -
- Any man and woman who have a commitment of marriage to each other and have "become one flesh."
3. Marriage In The Beginning
We find marriage first mentioned in Genesis chapter One where we are told, 5 "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." We are also given instruction from God as to what they were to do, 5 "Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" This is an overview of creation relevant to man and woman. In chapter 2 we have revealed to us how and why woman was created and marriage was instituted.
In chapter 2 God recognizes the fact that, 6 "It is not good that man should be alone." This statement of fact is not dispensational. It does not change whether one has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior or not. Further, it is revealed that God said, 6"I will make him a helper comparable to him." This helper comparable to man was made from the rib of the man, 6 "the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman." The first marriage takes place when God, "brought her to the man."
Adam's response when Eve was brought to him gives us some idea of what is involved in this institute we call marriage. First Adam said, 6 "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." It has been observed, that being taken from Adam's side instead of his head, she was not to be over Adam; taken from his side instead of Adam's feet, she was not to be walked on. But taken from his side, she was to be cherished and protected. This thought, while not the reason woman was taken from the side of man, is consistent with the Biblical view of the relationship between man and woman. To please God, man has always needed to treat women, and his wife in particular, this way.
It is further stated, 6"Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife." A man will leave the headship of his father and the nurturing of his mother and be joined to his wife. A severing of one relationship and a commitment to another. Stepping out of one family circle and with his wife beginning another. The same is true of the woman. She leaves the headship and nurturing of her father and mother to begin a new family circle, with her husband to nurture and cherish her as well as be her head.
Finally, the confirmation or sealing of this relationship, 6"they shall become one flesh." The expression, "one flesh," is referring to the sexual relationship between man and woman. There is nothing mystical or spiritual about the act itself. In fact, the apostle Paul tells us this is what takes place in a relationship with a harlot, 7"do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For 'The two,' he says, 'shall become one flesh.'" When a man and a woman come together with a commitment of marriage to each other and "become one flesh," (engage in the sexual intercourse) 9"God has joined (them) together," in the God-ordained institution called marriage. They have entered into the covenant or contract of marriage. God is the one who wrote the stipulations for this covenant or contract.
There is no thought of leaving that relationship or of failing to provide his or her part of this marriage covenant. In 8"the beginning" death was not a consideration, sin was not a consideration, and what the Lord Jesus refers to as, 8"the hardness of your hearts," was not a factor. Adam and Eve began their marriage without guilt, shame or selfishness. "In the beginning" they had perfect bodies; they were exquisitely beautiful and magnificently handsome. The Lord Jesus Christ said, 9"So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." It was not then, it is not now and it has never been, 60except in rare cases, God's will that those who enter into the marriage relationship separate. It is God's desire that the commitment to each other increase over the years, that children be born to these two parents who love and are committed to each other and that both parties to the marriage contract or covenant are faithful to each other. However, when sin entered the picture God tolerated deviation from his original intent and made provision for his creation to live in 10"peace."
In Genesis 3 the serpent convinces Eve that to disobey God would benefit them and she took of the forbidden fruit and ate and gave to her husband. He ate and immediately they were separated (dead) from God and plagued with guilt and shame. When God describes the results of this disobedience he says to the woman, 11"...Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." Woman was created to be 6"a helper comparable" to the man and is now informed that, 11"Your desire shall be for your husband."
To this point in scripture we have seen two basic reasons for marriage. The first being, 12"the LORD God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone.'" The second reason for marriage is, 12"I will make him a helper comparable to him....Your desire shall be for your husband." The second reason is based on man's need for a helper. God designed and created woman to fill that need. Possibly before, but surely after the fall, woman would have a desire for her husband.
4. Marriage After The Fall
The desire to become 6"one flesh" is what perpetuates the human race. This desire is what motivates man and woman to obey this instruction to Adam and Eve, 5 "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth." This desire is so strong that, for many, the hunger for this relationship is nearly impossible to deal with in a moral way outside of marriage. This fact is clearly stated by the apostle Paul, 12"because of sexual immorality, - let each man have his own wife, - let each woman have her own husband." This is the third basic reason for marriage.
God's Three Basic Reasons For Marriage
1. "... the LORD God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone.'"
2. "... I will make him a helper comparable to him....your desire shall be for your husband."
3. "... because of sexual immorality - each man his own wife, each woman her own husband."
(GEN 2:18 & 22, 3:16 & 1CO 7:2)
These three reasons given in the scriptures provide insight as to why, down through the ages, God has allowed deviation from his original intent of one man with one woman until death takes one of them. There is nothing in any dispensation that removes these three basic reasons for marriage. In most cases, a man will not function comfortably without a wife (i.e. not good to be alone). In most cases, a woman will not function comfortably without a husband (i.e. she desires a husband).
5. From The Beginning, There Is An Order In Headship And Authority
The order is established in the fact that God created man first and then created woman to be a helper for him. The apostle Paul references this when he says, 13"I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve." God addressing the woman after "the fall" said, 13"Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." The apostle Paul says, 13"the head of the woman is the man," and "as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." The apostle Peter says, 13"wives be submissive to your own husbands." This order and authority does not change throughout the Bible.
The Mosaic Law recognized this order, the Lord Jesus Christ recognized this order, and the apostle Paul, in his epistles for the church, recognized this order. For this reason, the Mosaic Law stated as the apostle Paul repeated, 14"the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband" and 15"A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord." God's intent is that the woman who enters into the marriage contract with a man is bound to that contract until death part them. God also recognized that, since the fall, the heart of mankind (male and female) was wicked and hard. Because of this, God made provision under the Mosaic Law to enable both male and female to live in "peace." God also recognized the potential for immorality that was part of the makeup of fallen man and made provision to relieve the "victim" of such immorality from the marriage bond. While it is true that God tolerated deviation from his original intent of one man, one woman till death parted them, God did not tolerate immorality.
12TI 2:15, 22TI 3:16 & 17, 31CO 2:13, 42CO 4:7, 5GEN 1:27 & 28, 6GEN 2:18, 21-24, 71CO 6:16, 8MAT 19:8, 9MAT 19:6, 101CO 7:15, 11GEN 3:16 12GEN2:18 & 22, 3:16 & 1CO 7:2, 131TI 2:12 & 13, GEN 3:16, 1CO 11:3, EPH 5:24, 1PE 3:1, 14ROM 7:2, 151CO 7:39, 16GEN 12:19, GEN 20:9, 17DEU 22:13-21, 18NUM 5:12-31, 19LEV 20:10, 20EXO 22:19, DEU 27:20-23, LEV 18:6, LEV 20, 21MAT 19:9, 22EXO 21:10 & 11, 23DEU 21:15-17, 24DEU 24:1-4, 25RUTH 3:1, 26MAL 2:13-16 271PE 3:7, 28MAT 5:31 & 32, 29MAT 19:3, 30MAT 19:9, 31MAR 10:11 32MAR 10:12, 33JER 3:20, 34JOH 14:17, 1CO 3:16, 35ROM 8:9, 36ROM 8:16, 37ROM 8:4, 8:14, 38ROM 8:26 & 27, 39EPH 1:3, 40EPH 1:13, EPH 4:30, 2CO 1:21 & 22, 41GAL 5:22 & 23, 421TH 4:3-8, 43GAL 5:16, 441TI 5:11-14, 451CO 7:8 & 9, 461CO 7:7, 471CO 7:2, 481CO 7:5, 49ROM 8:37, 50HEB 13:4, 512CO 6:14 - 7:1, 521CO 7:29, 531CO 7:27 & 28, 541CO 7:33, 55PRO 28:13, 1JO 1:9, 56PSA 103:11-14, 571CO 7:15, 58GEN 24:3, 59DEU 7:3, JOS 23:12 & 13, 60EZR 10:2 - 4, NEH 13:25 - 29, 611CO 7:10 & 11