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Divorce Facts Men Need To Hear...
Booth To make full and best use of the following article, it is recommended to first read the online book: Then return here for a more in depth discussion of whether it is proper to remain married to a second spouse. Preamble This article will be split into two distinct sections. Section One is intended to study the doctrines behind that looming question: Is it biblically acceptable to remain in a "remarried" state? Among those who have raised this question are surely those who are just academically curious. Also asking such questions are those Christians who may have been remarried and have come to understand that in most cases Jesus called the act of getting remarried the "sin of adultery," and now these Christians would like to know what to do to adequately repent and return to full favor with God. Section One is dedicated to providing a sound doctrinal answer to that question. Section Two of the article focuses on addressing some of the issues and objections that have arisen from a few Christians who feel that the best "repentance" for remarried Christians is always to divorce their present spouse and return to remarry the first spouse. While it is commendable that the first marriage is held in such high esteem by these Christians, there are many assumptions and errors of biblical interpretation that drive such a philosophy. The emphasis within Section Two is the evaluation of the arguments, issues, and objections utilized by those who advocate divorce so as to be able to reconcile with an original spouse. As always, read with discernment, calling upon the Lord for understanding. Section One Introduction What should a person do when they come to understand that divorce is a sin, and that remarriage to someone "new" after divorcing the original spouse is most often called "adultery" by the Word? Should they seek to end the new marriage and reconcile with the original spouse? Is instigating a second divorce the answer to undoing the damage created by the first divorce along with the subsequent second marriage? This article will attempt to address from a Scriptural perspective the doctrine of remaining married to a second spouse. However, for those who have had to go through divorce and perhaps now find themselves in a situation similar to that being discussed, they may find this being handled in an all too academic manner. Such people may find great support and personal assistance by seeking out private counselors--preferably those familiar with the biblical Nouthetic Counseling approach. Much of Section One of this short article will be dedicated to exploring the biblical basis for whether one should remain married to a second spouse gained by way of a remarriage. In Section Two some investigation will also be undertaken examining the arguments employed by those who feel that the only proper thing to do is divorce the second spouse and reconcile with the original spouse. Recapping the Basics - Creating a Marriage Marriage is a covenant between two people. This marriage covenant, like any other formal agreement, is a single contract mutually forged by two people, a man and a woman, who have come to a common understanding. Marriage is defined as: A man and a woman leaving behind all previous family dependencies Genesis 2: Even should they change their minds as they walk down the steps to leave the church building, it matters not one bit, for they are married for life. They must abide by the terms of the marriage commitment they forged on that afternoon until one of them dies, or, they exercise the option of getting an adulterous divorce. Becoming married is a one-time act. The two individuals have symbolically become one, united in marriage. This is a single-time joining which is never supposed to occur again for either the man or the woman, unless one should happen to die before the other. Sex does not initiate or legitimize a marriage union. Sex becomes a benefit and even an ever-present obligation of a marriage, but only after the marriage knot has been tied. Enclosed in the ongoing and recurring obligations of the marriage contract are the following Scripturally required elements to which the man and woman agreed: They do so in the sight of God, whether they believe in Him or not. Marriages between unbelievers are still considered marriages by God whether they were made by common law intent, by proclamation of civil servants, via an unbelieving or even pagan religious ceremony, or in a church by a pastor dedicated to serving God. The agreement to live until death as husband and wife is the binding rope of the marriage. Once the agreement is made, it is immediately effective and compelling for the couple. Having sex always makes a man "one flesh" with his partner, but such a merging was intended by God to only occur between one man and one woman in the form of a life long covenant relationship Matthew However, in spiritual terms, sex with prostitutes makes a man "one flesh" with the prostitute, but this does not make him married to her I Corinthians 6: Marriages do not happen as a matter of course when two people fornicate have sex outside of marriage. Marriages only happen as a matter of contractual intent--two people agreeing together to make this bond for life. Sex does not begin the clock for a marriage, nor does it make the man into a husband; only the marriage agreement accomplishes this at the moment it is formally made. Were that not true, premarital sex between an engaged man and woman would not only automatically start the anticipated marriage thus making unnecessary the wedding ceremony at which the formal agreement was to be made in front of the church but the sex act itself would be lawful sex for it initiated a marriage. The expressions "premarital sex" and fornication would have no useful meaning. It is not the first occurrence of the sex act that "initializes" the marriage. Rather, it is the invocation of the marriage agreement itself which starts the marriage. If sex were experienced prior to the invocation of the marriage contract wedding ceremony the act of sex would be immoral and unlawful. The fact that the agreement has been made first is what legitimizes the acts of sex which follow--sex does not legitimize nor initiate anything. Consider the Samaritan woman whom Jesus met by the well. Jesus told her something about her marital status, the woman herself did not say this, but it was Jesus who said she had had five different husbands, and the man she was living with at the moment was not her husband at all John 4: From this we know that simply living with someone and having sex with them does not make them a spouse, for marriage requires a binding contract. We also know that Jesus considered each one of her previous marriages to have been real marriages, for He called each of her five previous covenant partners "husbands" even while recognizing that the last lover was not a "husband. Their sexual relations as man and wife were therefore lawful. God then required Hosea to find Gomer [who was now publicly known to the community as an adulteress along with being a prostitute], to redeem her from her owner with money, and to treat her with all the love and kindness normally due a faithful wife by a husband--symbolically showing how God had mercy on adulterous Israel. Hosea did not divorce Gomer, nor did she marry another husband, though she clearly did have other adulterous lovers, including her slave master. Hosea remained faithful to his marriage covenant. Finally, we should be negligent if we do not also state that sexual intercourse is not a requirement to ratify the marriage contract. Sexual relations simply do not initiate a marriage nor do they ratify a marriage contract. Consider for a moment that some Christians become paraplegic and even quadriplegic in their youth due to such activities as skiing, diving, or car accidents. Their inability to engage in sex does not prevent them from establishing genuine marriage covenants with a loving wife or husband. If physical sexual intercourse were an obligatory step in establishing a marital relationship, such people would not be lawfully married after all. Yet, if such a disabled man were to lose his wife to a divorce, and if she remarried a new husband, would she not still be called an adulteress Luke Marriage is final and binding the permanent knot is tied before sex is even initiated, assuming sex ever is initiated. All marriages require a covenant of intent between the man and the woman. Simply living with someone and having sex with them does not qualify as a marriage. In truth, it is fornication, but it is not marriage. Similarly, marriage requires nothing else to make it valid except the willing agreement from a man and a woman to establish this relationship for as long as they live. Sex does not ratify the covenant--the covenant is ratified, made permanent, and is binding on the couple before sex is even a permitted activity. All Mutually Contracted Marriages are True Marriages God recognizes all mutual covenants between a man and a woman as true marriages. The marriage partners may not recognize God or believe in Him, but when they create a marriage contract between themselves, God acknowledges their intent as a genuine marriage, as does most of the populated world. Once ratified by the man and the woman, the marriage contract forms a true marriage. This marriage is a true marriage whether it occurs between pagans, between believers, or between an unbeliever and a believer more on this later. If these were not "true marriages" but rather were invalid non-marriages, then divorces would not be necessary to terminate them. Also, if such were non-marriages then the man would not be called a husband and the woman would not be called a wife--yet we find the use of "husband" and "wife" and the use of "divorce" to be universal. God recognizes all mutual covenants between a man and a woman as true marriages. Homosexual Unions and Blood Relation Unions are not Marriages Marriages, when understood as covenants of lifelong union between a man and a woman, are binding. Two forms of union are simply not marriage by simple definition. Homosexual unions are not marriages. God defines marriage as being between one man and one woman for life Genesis 2: Similarly, some specific blood relation unions are not marriages and are expressly forbidden by Leviticus Therefore, no divorce is needed for no marriage was ever established. In fact, every act of homosexuality is considered by God to be a sin 1 Timothy 1: No homosexual partner was ever called a "wife" or a "husband" in the Bible since marriage is exclusive of homosexual unions. Homosexuality is simply the practice of unlawful sex that must be ended by the participant. Given that a civil union between two people of the same sex is not a marriage, when a person becomes saved and leaves a lifestyle of homosexuality, even a same-sex civil union, they are free to marry, but only a member of the opposite sex, and only someone else who is in Christ. Homosexual civil unions are not marriages and do not bind a person under a marriage covenant, for the civil union between homosexuals is a mutual agreement to continue to practice a form of sexual contact same gender sex which God simply has forbidden under all circumstances. The woman's name, coincidentally, was Herodias. In fact, Mark 6: This marriage and its ongoing sexusal relations violated the clear prohibition of Leviticus To be certain, it was not the fact that Herod and Herodias were having incestuous sex which caused their union to be called a marriage; rather, they had been formally married in the usual sense such that Mark acknowledged they were actually married. Interestingly, this case proves that sex alone cannot create a de facto marriage, for the incestuous sex act between the ex-wife of a living brother and the other brother is considered an invalid "lewdness" between blood relatives. Illicit and lewd sex alone could never be the de facto basis for creating a valid marriage. Herod's union is one of the few instances in all of Scripture where the marriage itself was invalid according to the Mosaic Law similar to a gay marriage being invalid even if a secular ceremony is performed. They had not committed adultery, they were engaged in continuous incest. The ongoing sex was invalid because of the lewdness of incestuous sexual unions with living blood relatives, but the couple was still called "married" by Mark because that was their public intent. In this utterly unique case, the marriage was never recognized by the Mosaic Law as valid, its ongoing sex was explicitly called a lewdness, and the couple should have parted ways since they were not in a marriage in the sense recognized or defined by the Mosaic Law. Divorce Terminates True Marriages Divorce, then, is the only regulated and intentional means to achieve a premature termination of that covenant death is the normal, default, and natural means of terminating the marriage contract. Just as marriages are not accidental as marriages might be if they were formed every time two teenagers gave in to the temptation to have sex , divorces are not automatic when adultery occurs nor when sex is experienced outside of the marriage. Divorce must be deliberate and intentional, just as much as was the original marriage contract both deliberate and intentional. A divorce is the official severing of the marriage covenant established between two people.
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