by Rick Martin

The problem of divorce and remarriage has had a profound effect upon our society today and suffice it to say it has not been for the good. There are very few families that have not been touched by divorce. Today easy divorces can be had for almost any reason. In some cases all it takes is for one spouse to decide they want a divorce and there is little if anything that the other spouse can do. Divorce and remarriage have produced some terrible results in our society today. The results are broken homes, abused and abandoned children, and shattered dreams.

Our opinion of divorce cannot be colored by the world's thinking on the subject. We need to know what God has said on the subject and follow his guidelines. Jesus tells us that divorce was never in the original plan of God. In Matthew 19 a group of Pharisees came to Jesus and tried to trick Him. Jesus tells them about God's law regarding marriage in Matthew 19:4-6. In Matthew 19:8, Jesus tell them that Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of their hearts, but God did not intend for it to be that way. He then proceeds to tell them that there is only one lawful cause for divorce in Matthew 19:9 "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."

This same principle is stated in Matthew 5:31-32. "It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you. That whosoever shall nut away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."

It is extremely clear that there is only one scriptural reason for divorce and remarriage and that reason is fornication. Fornication is any form of illicit sexual intercourse.

We also need to understand that only the innocent party is free to marry. The guilty party or people who divorce for any other reason are not allowed to remarry. The person who marries a guilty party or marries a person who has divorced for any cause is also committing adultery. A person put away for any reason other than adultery cannot remarry because this would cause him/her to commit adultery.

The importance of the marriage commitment is expressed by the prophet Malachi in Malachi 2:14, "Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth against who thou has dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant." The wise man also speaks of marriage as being a covenant in Proverbs 2:17 "Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God." Here the adulteress is condemned for leaving the "guide" or companion of her youth. These passages make it plain that marriage is a covenant and God is the witness. God instituted marriage and He witnesses the vows. The marriage vows are made before God. God hates "putting away," Malachi 2:16 "For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting way: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously."

We live in a world in which a divorce is easy to obtain. Christians need to realize that marriage is a lifetime commitment. The concept of a lifetime commitment is seen in the words of Jesus, Matthew 19:6, "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." The Apostle Paul also addresses the issue of marriage being a lifetime commitment in Romans 7:2, "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband is dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband." The marriage vows usually say "until death do us part" and these verses give credence to that time-honored phrase.

The Bible's teachings on divorce and remarriage seem very difficult when it comes to the standards of the world. People of the world will not have something so restrictive placed on them. Christians cannot be influenced by the world's thinking oh 'the subject. We must respect the authority of God and Jesus and abide by their teaching.