Divorce – Part Eight

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Divorce

WHY DO SOME
BELIEVERS SAY THAT ALL
RE-MARRIAGE IS WRONG ?

Actually, re-marriage for the innocent party was not considered to be wrong until the Dark Ages, when so many myths and false doctrines were espoused by the Roman Catholic Church. Doctrines such priestly celibacy, annulments, and divorce for pay were all concocted and officially sanctioned by the Roman Church during that time. Since the RC church kept people from studying the Bible, or even being able to read at all, it was able to pass off these doctrines as if they were Biblical. Since only selected people during that time were permitted to learn how to read, the Roman Church successfully controlled the beliefs of the vast majority of people.

Using these doctrines, the RC made considerable amounts of money. It would “annul” a marriage for a price (no matter how long the marriage had been active). Through this annulment, a person was free to marry again, and the Roman Church would stand to benefit through not only payment for the annulment, but payment for the new marriage, as well.

Today, many people carry on the doctrines of the Roman Church because they simply have not investigated what the Bible says. Even some pastors and teachers in fundamental churches interpret parts of the Bible from a Roman Catholic perspective, not God’s.

But, false doctrines generally come from the same causes. Either a wrong motive which deliberately distorts the truth; or, from an unintentional misinterpretation of the Word due to a failure to take CONTEXT and the TOTAL teaching of the Word into account. The latter is the reason why many Christians today are out of step with Biblical teaching on the subject of divorce and re-marriage.

One of the most abused and misinterpreted Scriptures on the subject is Matthew 5:32. Some feel that it forbids any person to marry again. Careful study on the context reveals that the person it forbids to re-marry is the one who is “put away” (i.e., “divorced”) for the sin. THAT guilty woman could not remarry without committing adultery. Another often used, but rarely studied Scripture is Mark 10:1-12. In that account, we have the very same story noted earlier, with some important differences. It is the same situation in both Gospels, but Mark omits part of the question asked by the Pharisees and Scribes. “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause ?” In plain English, what they are asking is, “Is it all right to divorce and re-marry when the divorce has been made through a cause OTHER than the ones noted in the New Testament ? (i.e., “for every cause”) Of course, our Lord’s answer to that is “NO.” He had already specified that divorce could be accepted ONLY if due to fornication.

Jesus does not attempt to deal with the issue of re-marriage in this section. To try and read that into Jesus’ answer would not be ethical or proper interpretation, because Jesus was not even asked that question.

WHAT DOES GOD CONSIDER THE INNOCENT PARTY TO BE ?
Taking the Biblical teaching on the subject, we understand that for a Biblical divorce to take place, must have broken the marriage covenant. In such a case, the innocent party may choose to bring a Bill of Divorcement against the guilty person. God says this is permissible (God didn’t want the sin in the first place). When the guilty party is given the Bill of Divorcement, they are considered to be “divorced” (“having been put away”). The innocent party, in God’s eyes, is never considered to be divorced, because the innocent party did not do the sin which had broken the marriage covenant.

What, then, is the Biblical status of the innocent party after the divorced person is sent away ? Since he is not considered to be ‘divorced,’ is he still considered married ? From both the wording of Scripture and the context of such areas, we find that the innocent person is not considered married any longer. The only category left is that the innocent person falls back into the status of being “unmarried.”

 

 

WHAT IF I’M THE
GUILTY PARTY ?

One of the common stones thrown at Believers who repented of their sins, gotten right with God, and desire with all their hearts to serve him are Scriptures such as:

1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

1 Timothy 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

Titus 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

What the stone-throwers fail to do is recognize the historic context of these verse. That was a time when men frequently had more than one wife. The Scriptures stating, “husband of one wife,” related to the common practice of bigamy, NOT that a person whose wife had been put away could not serve in those capacities. If a person’s wife had been put away because of sin, he was considered by God not to be married any more, so those Scriptures would not apply.

In the case of someone who was guilty of a sin which broke the marriage contract, the same historic context holds true. That individual is no longer married, according to the Bible. A careful reading of the stone-thrower’s “proof Scripture” shows this.

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 be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.


It says, “…the woman which HATHa husband…” If she has been “put away,” she is no longer married to the innocent party, and therefore no longer has a husband. Their so-called proof text does not apply, since it clearly refers to a woman who is still married and has a husband.

Another important issue applying to the guilty person whose cause the marriage break-up is the power of God’s forgiveness.

What does God do when a person is forgiven from their sins ? Does He continue to hold it against them ? If He did we would all be destined to Hell.

The grace of our God has provided a wonderful opportunity to have our lives changed, and serve Him fully, even though there are things in the past which revealed us to be the sinners that we were.

Some have assumed that being the guilty (or even innocent) party in a former marriage makes a person ineligible for the most service within the church. This concept comes from a gross misunderstanding of the Word.

Is being guilty of a sexual sin cause for God to scratch you off opportunities to serve Him ? What about King David ? He not only committed adultery, but also committed murder by killing Bathsheba’s husband, tried an elaborate cover-up, etc., etc. Did this disqualify him from being King ? From being a prophet ? From being a Spirit-filled instrument of God who was used to pen down many Scriptures AFTER the events ? Of course not.

The essential ingredient to picking up the opportunities against to serve God was REPENTANCE. David repented. This is what Jesus required of the woman brought to Him in the Temple, who was caught in adultery. He told her, “Go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11)

If a guilty person truly repents of their sin, even though the marriage is now broken, they will be forgiven, and given opportunity to serve the Lord.

Some have contended that all other sins were forgivable, and complete restoration with God and His Plan was possible…except for sin which broke a marriage. This contradicts what the Bible clearly teaches.

Mark 3:28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:

Once again, we must abandon the teachings of men, and fully embrace what God says in His Word.

 

Divorce – Part Seven

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Divorce

WHAT FUTURE IS THERE FOR
A DIVORCED PERSON IN
CHRISTIAN SERVICE ?

 

Keep in mind that the Bible only considers the guilty party to be divorced (literally, “the one put away”). As you do, take into account the amazing forgiveness of our Heavenly Father through the Blood of Jesus. It is clearly taught in the Word that even a person guilty of adultery can find forgiveness. But, it comes with a warning: “…go, and sin no more…” (John 8:11). The guilty party must rid himself of the desire to be unfaithful, and having repented, commit himself fully to the Lord Jesus. The Lord is, “…faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9).

Forgiveness, however wonderful and liberating, does not rid a person of all earthly consequences to the sin he or she committed. It does not automatically remove scars, either from his life, or from the innocent party’s life, except by a possible miraculous acts of grace. Nor does it bring the marriage together again, especially if one or both parties have married again. Nor does it remove all the bad memories of the ordeal caused by the unfaithful party. In all the remaining consequences, though, we find that the power of the Lord is there to comfort, console, and minimize the bad results if the guilty party truly seeks God’s guidance from then onward.

One of the more controversial aspects of forgiveness involves how a guilty party, once they have repented and gotten things right with God, should be accepted by other Christians. An obvious answer is that the Christian community should act toward the forgiven sinner in much the same way that God does; loving, caring, and never bringing up their past sins again.

For if God forgives and forgets the sin, it becomes the duty of His children to attempt to do the same. Unfortunately, many legalistic churches have failed to study the Word fully regarding forgiveness of divorced people, and they end up making those guilty people who have been forgiven by God feel as if they were second-class members. In addition, they classify both innocent and guilty parties in the same category: DIVORCED. How wonderful that God does not do that !

While churches should be actively pursuing the salvation, dedication, and service of those who have been divorced [remember that the term divorced only applies to the guilty party], the Church must also be careful to proclaim the Lord’s warning against sin. Preaching and teaching must be done to strengthen the family unit and help parents fulfill their rightful duties with one another, and before God so that divorces can be prevented.

In our secular society, there is no longer a stigma attached to divorce. But, the world no longer sees sin as sin, and tries to justify all manner of behavior. The world cannot comprehend God’s forgiveness, either. So, churches must be careful to keep away from the world’s point of view, and seek to stand on Biblical principles. Many churches today still have an antagonism toward both the innocent and guilty parties in a marriage, even when a guilty party has sought and found forgiveness in the Lord Jesus Christ. His Blood can wash always ALL sins, including sexual sins.

The Christian who has truly repented of his sin—regardless of the type—and has been forgiven and remains on this earth must be accepted by churches to worship, work and serve in many capacities. But, just as the church should carefully screen its’ workers for other sins that might disqualify them from a position, the church should also make certain that a guilty party of a marriage has truly repented and overcome the sexual sin that brought about the divorce. Once the church knows this, it must rest upon the truth that what He forgives is forever forgiven, and cleansed by the Blood of our Savior Jesus.

 

 

WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES TO SEXUAL SINS ?

 

Keep in mind that the Bible only considers the guilty party to be divorced (literally, “the one put away”). As you do, take into account the amazing forgiveness of our Heavenly Father through the Blood of Jesus. It is clearly taught in the Word that even a person guilty of adultery can find forgiveness. But, it comes with a warning: “…go, and sin no more…” (John 8:11). The guilty party must rid himself of the desire to be unfaithful, and having repented, commit himself fully to the Lord Jesus. The Lord is, “…faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9).

Forgiveness, however wonderful and liberating, does not rid a person of all earthly consequences to the sin he or she committed. It does not automatically remove scars, either from his life, or from the innocent party’s life, except by a possible miraculous acts of grace. Nor does it bring the marriage together again, especially if one or both parties have married again. Nor does it remove all the bad memories of the ordeal caused by the unfaithful party. In all the remaining consequences, though, we find that the power of the Lord is there to comfort, console, and minimize the bad results if the guilty party truly seeks God’s guidance from then onward.

One of the more controversial aspects of forgiveness involves how a guilty party, once they have repented and gotten things right with God, should be accepted by other Christians. An obvious answer is that the Christian community should act toward the forgiven sinner in much the same way that God does; loving, caring, and never bringing up their past sins again.

For if God forgives and forgets the sin, it becomes the duty of His children to attempt to do the same. Unfortunately, many legalistic churches have failed to study the Word fully regarding forgiveness of divorced people, and they end up making those guilty people who have been forgiven by God feel as if they were second-class members. In addition, they classify both innocent and guilty parties in the same category: DIVORCED. How wonderful that God does not do that !

While churches should be actively pursuing the salvation, dedication, and service of those who have been divorced [remember that the term divorced only applies to the guilty party], the Church must also be careful to proclaim the Lord’s warning against sin. Preaching and teaching must be done to strengthen the family unit and help parents fulfill their rightful duties with one another, and before God so that divorces can be prevented.

In our secular society, there is no longer a stigma attached to divorce. But, the world no longer sees sin as sin, and tries to justify all manner of behavior. The world cannot comprehend God’s forgiveness, either. So, churches must be careful to keep away from the world’s point of view, and seek to stand on Biblical principles. Many churches today still have an antagonism toward both the innocent and guilty parties in a marriage, even when a guilty party has sought and found forgiveness in the Lord Jesus Christ. His Blood can wash always ALL sins, including sexual sins.

The Christian who has truly repented of his sin—regardless of the type—and has been forgiven and remains on this earth must be accepted by churches to worship, work and serve in many capacities. But, just as the church should carefully screen its’ workers for other sins that might disqualify them from a position, the church should also make certain that a guilty party of a marriage has truly repented and overcome the sexual sin that brought about the divorce. Once the church knows this, it must rest upon the truth that what He forgives is forever forgiven, and cleansed by the Blood of our Savior Jesus.

Divorce – Part Six

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Divorce

WHAT ARE THE BIBLICALLY
PERMISSIBLE GROUNDS
FOR DIVORCE ?

 

Sexual uncleanness is the only acceptable grounds given in the Bible for divorce and re-marriage. While the laws of man permit divorce for almost any reason, God only accepts FORNICATION or ADULTERY.

The word, ‘fornication,’ spoken of throughout the Bible (see Matthew 5:32), is the general term for sexual uncleanness that includes adultery, sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, and other sexual perversions. It is an amazingly common sin today, just as it was in the days of Noah. Studies have shown surprising increases in fornication throughout the world. Studies have also shown that between 10-15% of all children have been sexually molested by a parent or step-parent.

 

 

WHY IS THERE CONFUSION
AMONG BELIEVERS OVER
THIS SUBJECT ?

 

Of all the places where there should be absolute agreement over a Bible subject, it should be in Bible-believing, fundamental churches. Any observant person knows, however, that simply because a church may have correct teachings on the fundamentals of the Faith, it does not mean that they are correct—or even teach— what the Bible says about divorce.

This lack of teaching for many years has left a void in the understanding of many people which has, to some extent, been filled by doctrines founded in ignorance, and old wives’ tales. This highlights a failure on the part of some preachers, evangelists, and teachers who have simply been parrots for whatever they have heard in school, but failed to investigate in Scripture themselves.

Many members of churches that are Biblically solid on other issues, do not know what the Bible, in CONTEXT and in TOTAL teaches about divorce and re-marriage. As a result, some people who have been touched by divorce are made to feel that they must wear a scarlet letter for the rest of their lives. As a result, many are turned away from such churches, and their usefulness to the Lord is minimized because they find welcome only in more liberal churches.

Divorce – Part Five

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Divorce

WHO IS ACTUALLY DIVORCED ?

 

Nowhere in the Bible is the non-guilty party of a marriage considered “divorced.” The only party God considered to be divorced is the person to whom the bill of divorcement was given. Under God’s plan, a bill of divorcement could only be given to a party who violated the marriage agreement by committing specific sins, and not for just any reason (as it is with modern “no-fault” divorces).

The Bible tells us that God took Israel to be His wife. She committed the sin of spiritual adultery, and in Jeremiah 3:8, God divorced her. Certainly, no one in their right mind would consider God to be divorced. It was Israel who was divorced, not God. (Hosea 2:2 —where God says of Israel, “…she is not My wife…”)

 

 

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY
THAT DIVORCE ACTUALLY IS ?

A Bill of Divorcement (that which puts away the guilty party) terminates any responsibility to the other party. Deuteronomy 24:1 shows that the sinning party is to be sent from the house with no claims upon the house or possessions in it. (If this was true in today’s legal system, it would certainly make many people TRY harder to make their marriages succeed, and to be faithful to their spouses…knowing that Biblically, there is no alimony or other compensation “for time served”).

NOTE: The Bill of Divorcement applies ONLY to the guilty party.
Thus, only the GUILTY party is Biblically considered divorced.

In the Old Testament, there are two Hebrew words used to describe divorce. One is (Strong’s #07971= meaning “put away, sent away.” )The other is (Strong’s #03748=meaning, “dismissal, divorce”). The one who is divorced is “the one put away.” God does not put away the innocent person.

*Note that while many people contend that the consequences to divorce apply equally to the innocent as to the guilty, the Bible tells us differently. Such a thing is against the nature of holiness and righteous of our God. Abraham knew this, and in Genesis 18:25, he says to God, That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

When the Bill of Divorcement is delivered TO the guilty party, the marriage is considered ended, invalid, and no longer in existence according to the provisions of God. The innocent party is NEVER made to suffer punishment for some sin that he or she did not do. It is simply NOT the way of God to bring judgment upon people who have done no evil.

GOD DOES NOT CONDEMN THE RIGHTEOUS.
When Abraham was discussing with God about the destruction of Sodom, he brought up a characteristic about God which many who condemn innocent parties to a marriage have missed.

Genesis 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right ? 

God does not treat the righteous as the wicked. Those who SINNED, breaking the marriage covenant, are subject to judgment, are forbidden to marry again, and have limitations of their future relationships. On the other hand, most uninformed people today count innocent parties to be subject to the same condemnations. That is not what the Bible teaches.

The innocent party, (once the Bill of Divorcement is given to the sinning party), is then FREE—not divorced—and considered to be in the same state that he or she was prior to the marriage. As such, the person who is innocent of wrong-doing is free to marry again (although Paul cautions them to be aware of the possible consequences in I Corinthians 7:8-9).

IS GOD DIVORCED ?
It is interesting to see that after He divorced Israel, God chooses another—His Bride, the Church ! (Revelation 19:7-8). Now, if we were to judge God on the basis by which many deceived people would judge, God has no right to take a Bride. However, the Bible says that He does, and any clear-thinking individual who knows the Savior knows that He is not capable of wrong-doing.

Divorce – Part Four

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Divorce

WHY SOME PEOPLE’S BELIEFS CONCERNING DIVORCE ARE NOT TRULY BIBLICAL

The principle of taking Scripture in its’ correct CONTEXT and COMPLETE teaching from the Word is essential to our understanding of God’s will concerning divorce and remarriage. There are many people who have taken portions of Jesus’ teaching on the issue, and have made dogmatic conclusions without searching the entire Bible to get ALL the teachings.

Jesus taught about divorce on several occasions. In each of these situations, He was dealing with a specific question presented to Him, and was not dealing with the entire over-all doctrine. That has to be determined from a compilation of the entire Bible’s explanation on the subject. In the cases noted in the Gospels, Jesus was answering people who were already somewhat knowledgeable about the Old Testament’s teachings on the subject. They expected Him to provide an answer to their particular question, not spend a week examining all that the Bible had to say on it.

Since we have already stated a basic principle for any truthful study of a Bible doctrine (CONTEXT and COMPLETE teaching), let us examine our reason for that. All Scriptures carry equal weight and authority. Both Old and New Testaments were inspired (“breathed”) by the very same Holy Spirit, written by the same God, and presented to people with the very same need of salvation.

In this case, marriage is an agreement which our great Judge, the LORD, has stipulated. It is then agreed to, witnessed by men, and must be carried out. But, how do we find out what our Judge says is required in marriage ?

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 


2 Timothy 3:16   All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:


God’s Word, when taken completely and in context, will agree with itself, and will present the total truth regarding a specific doctrine.

 

 

WHY DID DIVORCE BEGIN ?

In the Beginning, God established marriage as a perfect and pure relationship between a man and a woman. It was not the result of cultural or sociological evolution, but instead the deliberate and perfect plan of Almighty God. As years went on, man became more and more sinful, and rebelled at any institution which God had established. This included the sanctity of marriage. It became commonplace for the provisions of marriage to be twisted, perverted, or done away with entirely, as evidenced in the behavior of the people of Sodom just before it was destroyed. These God-given provisions are:

(1). God brings a man and woman together. (Genesis 2:22).

(2). Both husband and wife were to work as a team to fulfil the purpose God had given to the man. The wife was called “a help-meet” by God. (Genesis 2:18).

(3). The two should leave mother and father to establish their own home. (Matthew 19:5).

(4). They should cleave one to the other, forsaking all others.
(Matthew 19:5, i.e., faithfulness).


Man’s failure to comply with any of these points would ultimately result in a marriage which would not be able to have the blessings of one which was complying. Before the Flood, marriage became an unimportant commitment. The Bible says that in the days of Noah, “they were marrying and giving in marriage” (Matthew 24:38). The Greek word for ‘marrying’ implies a continuous action. (In other words, “constantly marrying again and again and again, and giving away in marriage again and again and again.”) Other perversions followed, even as it is being repeated in the world today.

Finally, the pagan disrespect for God’s provisions crept into the camp of God’s faithful, and they, too, wanted to stomp under foot the doctrines of righteousness related to marital fidelity. But, God gave His people an option which was meant to limit the marital abuses that had come through the pagans that surrounded Israel.

Through Moses, God spoke and said that it would be permissible to “put away” one’s wife (divorce) if she was guilty of a particular sin.

When the Bible speaks of putting away,” in Hebrew, it literally means “bill of divorcement.” It was designed as:

(1). A punishment for the person who committed the sin of
infidelity.

 

And


(2). Provided for the freedom of the person who did not sin, but
was wronged by the spouse. *(This is carried through the New
Testament, where it is stated, “…a brother or sister is not in
bondage
[held to their marriage commitment] in such cases.”
I Corinthians 7:15.

Divorce – Part Three

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Divorce

WHAT IS MARRIAGE ?

 

Most people feel that they know, and to a certain degree, almost everyone does. But, most people have one or more very important factors. Even Christians often miss out on the complete truth when they study only part of what the Bible says about marriage.

Of course, marriage is a binding agreement—a covenant—between a man and a woman. But, like any relationship, or contract, it involves a specific commitment from both parties.

It is similar to a civil Court, where a judge will hear the case of two parties which want to make an agreement. The judge will say to each party, “This and this is what you must do.” It is then put into writing according to the judge’s Court Order, and the document is agreed to, signed, and witnessed.

In this case, marriage is an agreement which our great Judge, the LORD, has stipulated. It is then agreed to, witnessed by men, and must be carried out. But, how do we find out what our Judge says is required in marriage ?

The Word of God spells out the points of the contract plainly.

It is for a specific duration.
“To death do us part,” is the one most commonly known.

Romans 7:2-3 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.


*NOTE: That while still married to a man, she marries another, she has committed adultery. Biblical divorce ends the marriage relationship, however, and the person is no longer considered married.

It involves specific commitment.
This commitment is both before God, and must be made known to men. The world’s acknowledgement of a marital relationship comes in the form of a marriage license. However, a true marriage relationship involves exclusivity, where the two “forsake all other, and cleave unto each other.”

It involves the hand of God.
In the ideal marriage, God brings a woman to a man, and they are blessed by God to serve Him together. Genesis 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

It is a relationship with a purpose.
No marriage exists strictly for the pleasure of the two people who shared wedding vows. Marriage is a relationship in which a man and his wife take two specific and differing roles. God places the headship of the home in the care of man. He has been commissioned by God to accomplish certain things with his life, and the woman enters into his life so that the two of them may do it together. Thus, marriage is a relationship designed to fulfill the purposes of God.
The concept of ‘help-meet’ is established in the Bible as a very foundational principle for a successful Christian marriage.

 

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

As with all other things in a Christians life, he should be conscious of the real purposes. His marriage is meant to please God.

 

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

NOTE: If that marriage fails to please God through the failure of one or the other parties to fulfill all the agreements, God leaves room to sever the marriage relationship, as we shall discuss later.

The relationship is a physical union.

1 Corinthians 6:15-16 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.


The relationship is a spiritual union.
In the Christian marriage, where two people are both saved, there is a marriage as God wanted. Both parties are united in Him in spirit, as well as having the physical bond.

1 Corinthians 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.


It is a relationship meant to be blessed by God.

Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.


It is a relationship brought about by God, and is not to be dissolved by man.

Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.


When a couple makes holy vows before God at a church wedding, they are often repeating various phrases which come right out of the Bible. Some of the Biblical principles are reworded and summarized, but they carry the impact of what God says a relationship ought to be. These are oaths made to each other, that God recognizes and honors. And, God expects the couple to keep those Biblical vows.

Once the vows are consummated, if either of the two break those vows, it is like a contract where one party has failed to live up to his sworn obligation. It would be like a man failing to make payments on his car. The company which loaned the money says, “You have failed to live up to your promises, so we will now require you to give back our car.” If either party to a normal contract breaks their covenant, or agreement, the Contract is declared null and void, and the property which was financed goes back to the company which retained ownership. (Of course, there are many types of contracts, but this is the most common one which shows what happens in a case of infidelity).

Since the marriage contract is where God gives the couple to each other, the union begins with His actions. The conditions of this relationship, the existence of the participants, and the rules governing the relationship are all made by God Almighty, and He is the most important Party to this contract. So, when it goes astray, He must be the Judge to determine if the Contract of Marriage has truly been severed, and what the consequences will be.

In His infinite wisdom, He has written what events would constitute an actual breaking of His work. In His contract, He states what specific consequences will be if either party fails to live up to their end of the agreement.

This, of course, brings us to the subject of divorce.

Divorce – Part Two

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Divorce

WHERE IS THIS TEACHING IN THE BIBLE ?

 

Throughout the Bible, in both Old and New Testaments, God gives His people guidance on this subject. As with all teachings in the Bible, if we approach them honestly, we must study them in their correct context, in light of the teachings throughout the Bible on the subject.

It is important to note that this principle applies not only to the present subject, but ALL issues in the Word. An example of the importance of following correct CONTEXT and the COMPLETE teaching of the Word is easily seen in the Bible’s revelation on prayer. Many people today take one or two verses of Scripture regarding this important privilege, and assume that if they have enough faith, those verses will make all their prayers successful.

However, if you were to take only one Scripture that Jesus gave concerning prayer, such as John 14:14, you could incorrectly assume that successful praying only requires PRAYING IN THE NAME OF JESUS. (Because that is the only fact regarding prayer that is mentioned in that section of Scripture).

If we search the Scriptures, however, we find that God reveals many other things that are required in order to maximize the effectiveness of prayer.
Obedience. 1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him,
because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are
pleasing in his sight.

Praying in the Will of God. I John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we
have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

Repenting of our sins. Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the
Lord will not hear me:

Praying in complete faith. Mark 11:22-26 And Jesus answering saith
unto them, Have faith in God.
Etc. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is
impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that
He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

James 1:6-7 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth
is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that
man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

If we took only one of these teachings by themselves, we would come to an incomplete idea of God’s will on the doctrine of prayer.

Divorce – Part One

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Divorce

WHY IS THIS PARTICULAR VIEW MORE TRUTHFUL THAN ANOTHER ?

 

   Today, we could bring a variety of people into the church, and find the same number of interpretations of a Bible doctrine as there are people. If you hunt far enough, you can find someone—sometimes many people—to agree with you, regardless of your position.

If we were to discuss Believer’s baptism, you would find that there are many differing views. If you wanted to prove your point, you could go to the bookstore, find a few books, write down what Rev. So-and-so says, and then state your case. But, so could everyone else.

However, if you were to take only one Scripture that Jesus gave concerning prayer, such as John 14:14, you could incorrectly assume that successful praying only requires PRAYING IN THE NAME OF JESUS. (Because that is the only fact regarding prayer that is mentioned in that section of Scripture).

In fact, on any Bible doctrine, you can find well-known people in religion who will disagree with one another. Some have written books, some have preached for many years. So, how do you go about determining whether a doctrine is true, or not ?

Today’s topic is about God’s Options in Marriage and Re-Marriage. There are plenty of ideas about this. But, while each of us can many viewpoints in print, and if we wanted to have a big meeting on it, we could have twenty-five so-called qualified scholars each giving contrary views on it, it wouldn’t necessarily bring us any closer to the truth.

We have to keep in mind that this is why there are different kinds of churches. Those who want to believe that baptism is something you do for babies go to one church. Others who believe that baptism is something a person does when they receive Jesus as Savior go to a different church.

There are some churches that believe that divorced people are incapable of being used of God, and even if they are innocent of any wrong-doing, they have been condemned by God from serving in any leadership capacity in the church. Then, there are others who believe that those who are innocent when a marriage breaks apart are not held in contempt by God, but are free to serve Him. There are many other variations of beliefs, but each one has a particular type of church where their favorite doctrine is preached. Some are loving and some are condemning. Some are soul-winning, and some are nit-picking. Some are dedicated to spiritual things, and some are just religious social clubs. There are some criteria that can help YOU to decide which is truly of God.

1. Discern what the Holy Spirit teaches.*(Keep in mind that the Holy Spirit will never contradict any portion of the written Word).


 

1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.



If you have a listening ear to the Spirit of God, you will hear what the Spirit teaches through men, and the Holy Spirit in you will confirm if it is of Him, or not.

This requires obedience to the Lord, however. John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. A person who is not walking in obedience to the Word of God will have an extremely difficult time correctly discerning the Truth.

It requires the possession of a Christ-like love and a life of Biblical faith. 1 Timothy 1:5-7Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. Without love and applied faith, you will find it easy to go aside to those preconceived ideas, or old wives tales, and fail to hear the Holy Spirit as you should.

2. Learn how to rightly divide the Word of Truth. 2 Timothy 2:15-17 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

Stated within this Scripture is the term, ‘workman.’ A casual reader of Scripture will never be a discerner of Truth. That requires someone willing to work at comparing all Scripture, being honest with it, throwing out preconceived ideas, and learning from what the Bible actually says. Often, it requires a knowledge of the Greek or Hebrew language, so we can see more deeply than our English version allows.

It also requires that we set aside notions that have no Scriptural basis. Often, people will take a Scripture, and bend it to suit their own purposes. That is dishonest.

Correct interpretation takes into account the CONTEXT and the TOTAL teaching of the Bible, instead of one or two verses by themselves.

These things are essential to understand which out of all doctrines are right.