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Text Box: Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage


Text Box: (Matthew 5:31-32 NIV)  It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'  But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
(Malachi 2:16 NIV)  "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment," says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.
(Matthew 19:4-6 NIV)  “Haven't you read,” he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
(Ephesians 5:23-27 NIV)  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Text Box: Marriage is the shadow of the perfect relationship between Jesus and the church.  The complete union of mind, spirit and body between a man and a woman who center their fulfillment on God reflects the depth of intimacy that is the goal of God’s Law: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14.
Ephesians 5:23-27 describes the goal of marriage.  For the husband: to serve his wife and give himself totally for her; to make her holy and blameless through God’s Word.  He must love her as Christ loved the Church.  For the wife: to be a helper to her husband and submit to him as the church submits to Christ.  As the church is Jesus’ suitable helper on Earth, doing His will as His hands and feet (being the body of Christ), so must the wife be her husband’s suitable helper as God commands it.
More than any other relationships in the Body of Christ, marriage represents the covenant relationship existing between Christians and their Lord Jesus.  The covenant established between a bride and her groom sanctifies the relationship because of the promise each one makes to each other to be faithful to God, and therefore, to each other (Hosea 2:19, 20).  A marriage covenant broken by adultery is the equivalent of us breaking our covenant with Christ by sinning against Him (Hebrews 10:29).  Our promise to be faithful and transparent in our relationship with God has Jesus promising us that His covenant maintains us holy and blameless in His sight (1 John 1:7, 9; Ephesians 1:4-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24).
Do you think the Lord made a covenant with us just so He could get divorced from us at the sight of our first sin?  Didn’t He make a covenant with us knowing that we need His grace, mercy and forgiveness of sin (Hosea 2)?  Only if our loyalty is proven not to be to Jesus, does the Lord divorce us (Hebrews 10:26-31).  In the same manner, our thinking needs to be perfect in the love of Christ, especially towards our spouse.  In a world where divorce is as common as a change of clothes, the children of God need to prove that marriage works because of loyalty, commitment and love rooted in Christ.  Of course, the decision of marrying someone is left up to you, if you are up to it.  You need to be very careful and considerate in making this decision.  Not many can accept this challenge (Matthew 19:9-12).  Let God guide you into finding an acceptable spouse: Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD. — Proverbs 19:14

In His Footsteps © 1998                                                    




Text Box: Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage




Let’s begin our study in Hosea 2.  Who is described as being adulterous?  Does God seek divorce or repentance?  If she doesn’t repent, what will God do (verses 3-13)?  How does the Lord choose to deal with His unfaithful people (verses 14-23)?  Is it in God’s heart to divorce?  Then, if God does divorce someone, is it because He seeks it, or because the person is faithless (see Jeremiah 3:8)?  Learn from the Lord how to approach your spouse in any situation.  Read again Hosea 2:14-23.  How is the Lord’s speech, even when His beloved has committed adultery (verse 14)?  Does the Lord seek to exercise control, as in a Master-Slave relationship, or does He seek you out in intimacy and closeness (verse 16)?  What kind of union does the Lord seek (verses 19 and 20)?  Faithfulness is the key here.  How do we show faithfulness? How does the Lord show His faithfulness?  Our faithfulness as Jesus’ bride is shown in our acknowledgement of His Lordship by how we choose to live.  Just like two people should willingly submit to each other in marriage out of their own free will, so should our submission to Jesus (as His bride) come as our own choice.  If we have chosen the Lord as our groom, why should we be faithless and adulterous?



When the Pharisees sought to test Jesus with their question regarding divorce, they and even Jesus’ disciples realized the seriousness and commitment God expects in a marriage.  Read Matthew 19:3-12.  What purpose does God have for marriage (verses 4-6)?  Has God changed His purpose since Creation?  Who joins a man and a woman in marriage?  Is this joining voluntary from each party?  Why then, do people seek to separate?  Should this happen?  Why did God allow such separation to happen (verse 8)?  Just because God allowed it, does it mean that it was beneficial or holy in His sight?  In verse 9, Jesus mentions the only acceptable clause for divorce.  What is that clause? Porneia, referring to all acts of sexual immorality between two people, is the Greek word translated as marital unfaithfulness.  Do you think Jesus gives us this clause to encourage divorce for this reason?  The binding nature of marriage does not depend upon human wills or upon acts of persons, but upon the original character of the divinely appointed institution of marriage (Believer’s Study Bible).  Understand that Jesus is not teaching that the innocent party must divorce the unfaithful one. The purpose in this allowance clause is not to encourage divorce for marital unfaithfulness but to forbid it for any other reason.



Since marriage is a reflection of the divine covenant we have with our Lord God, commitment and loyalty is what keeps the marital relationship healthy and growing.  All of the lessons we can learn about our marriages here on earth need to come from the example of Jesus and His bride, the Church.  Read through the Song of Songs from the viewpoint of you and your spouse, if you’re married; or you and the relationship you aim to have if you desire to be married.  As you read through this, also keep in mind this book was used in the Old Testament to draw an analogy between Israelite marriages and God’s love for Israel, His wife.  In New Testament times, as we are today, we need to read Song of Songs as Jesus’ love poem between He and His Bride, the Church.  How does Jesus treat His Bride in this book?  Can you see the passion Jesus has for you?  Do you consider your marriage to be a reflection of your relationship with God?  Discuss with your spouse what you both need to do and think to make this more of a reality.  If you are single, begin to develop relationships in the church that reflect oneness of mind and spirit (soul), before you begin thinking about oneness of flesh with anybody.



Whereas our society preoccupies itself with issues concerning divorce, we, as a Christian community, need to spend time cultivating better relationships and better marriages because divorce never was intended to be an answer to problems in relationships.  Divorce is the ugly consequence of lack of loyalty and integrity in human relationships.  It is not a solution!  Read 1 Corinthians 7:10, 11.  Does Paul offer separation as an option during marital difficulties?  If separation does occur, what other option is there to deal with the difficulties?  What is the best solution offered for marital difficulties?  Read 1 Corinthians 7:12-16.  These verses deal with a special marital situation: spouses with unbelieving spouses.  After reading these verses, what is the best option to deal with difficulties that may arise in this situation?  Are the instructions being given to encourage divorce or to encourage salvation?  Remember God’s focus is always reconciliation.  The Spirit always seeks to reconcile (Galatians 5:22,23) but the flesh seeks convenience and immediate gratification.



At the heart of marriage is the union of the mind and of the soul, physically represented by the joining of the bodies.  As we are physically reminded of our joining to Jesus through our membership in the church, so does the joining of the bodies remind the married of their deeper spiritual and emotional bonds in Christ.  Read 1 Corinthians 1:10.  How must we all be united if we are in Christ?  Read 1 Samuel 18:1-4.  How were David and Jonathan united in this very special friendship?  How did they love each other?  Since they were one in spirit (referring to their own souls), do you think they could have been called “soulmates”?  Now read Mark 10:6-9.  When a man and a woman come together in marriage, how are they united?  Read John 17:20, 21.  What is Jesus praying for here?  What kind of intimate unity do you think He is referring to?  This oneness, brethren and friends, is the reality to come, of which marriage is a shadow (Ephesians 5:29-33).


"I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel… Malachi 2:16


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