In Wesley’s Notes on the Bible, he states: “This [divorce for anything disagreeable to the man] is not a command as some of the Jews understood it, nor an allowance and approbation, but merely a permission of that practice for prevention of greater mischiefs, and this only until the time of reformation, till the coming of the Messiah when things were to return to their first institution and purest condition.” You see, God hates the act of divorce; not the divorced.
We must remember this, lest we heap coals of guilt upon our heads (or others heads) that we ought not to.
Under His grace, we are justified and forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ and not by our ability to keep the Mosaic (old) Law nor are we made clean by animal sacrifices, as in the old Law. Many sins under the old covenant were punishable by death moments after the sin had occurred; one of which was the sin of adultery. Jesus took our sin upon Himself and died in our place. Under the Old Testament Mosaic Law, there were several examples given in regards to sexual immorality and how to deal with it in order to purge the evil out of the land.
But, under grace (new covenant), we can be forgiven and justified through Christ to be cleansed from our sorrowful, wicked sin. As Christians, we are also given the power and desire to do right. Wenham says, “The underlying principles of the Law [found in the Old Testament], not specific application, should bind the Christian [living under the New Testament].” In other words, there are still some basic, moral principles under the Law such as “love God” and “honor the old and the wise” which still apply principally – but many of the specific applications, punishments, sacrifices, etc. But, the specific law for divorce “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
Whether we agree or disagree with the statistics listed above, we must clarify what scripture teaches in regards to divorce.
The word divorce is defined by the dictionary as, “a judicial declaration dissolving a marriage in whole or in part; total separation; disunion...” But, let’s also look at divorce from a biblical perspective.
Scripture plainly states that we are not “made right” or in right standing with God by trying to keep the (old) Law (see Gal. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.
And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord…” (Deut.
You see, the Bible is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament for a reason.
Before we begin with any further speaking, I would also like to go to the Lord in prayer. There is so much going on here this afternoon, so much that you don’t understand, but I’ll tell you where I’m coming from.
I’ll preach as a dying man to dying men and women and youth….
You cry out, ‘Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship? Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. As we already saw in Malachi , God says that divorcing a faithful wife is to “overwhelm her with cruelty.” God must have felt the same way – as a loving and faithful God, Israel overwhelmed him with cruelty by worshiping other so-called gods. In the same way, this account of reconciliation is a good lesson which can be applied nowadays.
But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. Nonetheless, God’s love, mercy, and commitment was so deep that he was willing to forgive her and take her back. Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God and committed adultery against him by worshiping idols under every green tree. However, I would add – if any marriage results in us being in sin (such as polygamy, adulterous remarriage, homosexual “marriage”, etc.), I believe we should repent of it because we are to live above reproach and forsake sin. -33) A divorced person is not to enter into a second marriage unless their original spouse has died. However, if the original man and wife can reconcile – this is the best option. -40) There are many Christian couples who may say, “I know I am to respect my spouse – but they are not respectable.” Granted, there are times we may make bad decisions – even as a Christian; however, if dishonorable patterns of sin are commonplace in our life, we must go back to the cross of Jesus and ask ourselves some questions…