Sunday, June 1, 2008

Divorce: A Biblical View

Matt. 19:3-9 Jesus said, “What God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Facts: The divorce rate in the US has doubled since the 1960’s. It has declined a bit since the ‘80s but this is mainly because many couples are living together without getting married.

50% of all marriages end in divorce. There are NO families in the United States who are not touched by divorce. Everyone is touched by it!

GOD’S PLAN (Ideal, Intent) was 1 man + 1 woman for life….Gen. ! & 2 The plan was for a man to LEAVE his parents, CLEAVE to his wife, BECOME one flesh, and REMAIN for life.

This was God’s intent for marriage. The point is that the VIEW of divorce should be compatible with the VIEW of marriage!

In other words: Marriage is based on God’s Word and God’s design and with God’s blessing. Divorce is based on our word, civil codes, etc.

Church weddings are OK. We want God's blessings, but church divorce????

The Pharisee’s question in Vs. 7 of text refers to Deut. 24:1-4 where Moses gives instruction about divorce.

The command was NOT to divorce, but to grant a certificate of divorce and not to remarry her.

The concession: Matt. 19:8 – “…Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning……”

Jesus’ grounds for divorce – Matt. 19:9 – “……marital unfaithfulness…..”

Matt. 5:31 & 32 “….anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress,….”

Paul’s inclusions: I Cor. 7:15 – “But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances……”

Our questions: What about in cases of abuse of spouse or children? The answers are not easy but they must be given in light of the whole scripture and the teachings of Christ regarding sanctity of human life,

Jesus is Lord, not the husband or wife, etc.

A 15 year study showed that less than 1/3 of divorces in the United States are because of high conflict, violence, abusive situations.

Most divorces are in low conflict but unhappy marriages!!! There is nothing in scripture about UNHAPPINESS! God’s preference is to work it out and get happy in the marriage.


#1. God Hates Divorce. Mal. 2:13 – 16. Why??? Because He fully understands…A. what He’s trying to accomplish through the marriage, what plans are going to aborted, how people are going to be hurt and how much they are going to hurt.

Question: Shouldn’t we think about the same things that God is concerned about when a divorce happens??

BUT, #2. God doesn’t hate divorcees. We ALL sin and come short of the glory of God. There is nothing said about 1st. class sin and 2nd.class sin, etc.

#3. Divorce is not always wrong (morally forbidden)

Matt. 1:18 & 19 – when Joseph found that Mary was expecting a child, he was going to divorce her quietly, and was considered a righteous man

Jer. 3: 6 – 8 God issued a certificate of divorce to faithless Israel when she was unfaithful with heathen gods.

Question: How do we reconcile # 1 & #3? It may be unavoidable, necessary, justifiable, and right, BUT it is NEVER desirable or good!

Compare divorce to the cross: God hated the cross but it was the cure for the condition of mankind. God hates divorce but sometimes it has to be.

#4. Divorce is not always avoidable. Sometimes a person can be a VICTIM of divorce. Perhaps didn’t want the divorce, but had no choice in the matter.

#5. Even when the divorce was avoidable and wrong, it is not unpardonable.

Divorce is NOT the unpardonable sin. Matt. 12:31 – “And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”

Divorce is NOT found in lists of “worst” sins. I Cor. 6:9 & 10, I Cor. 6:11, I John 1:9


#1. We should base our decisions on divorce in light of the Biblical view of marriage.

#2. Let’s not minimize the sin, the effects, the consequences

#3. But, let’s not make it a unique, unpardonable sin

#4. Let’s seek a Biblical, scriptural balance in every situation

#5. Let’s not let divorce issues separate us from A. God’s love

B. One another.

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