God Hates Divorce
"I'm getting a divorce, but I don't plan to marry again!" These words are being heard with increasing frequency. Usually, the spokesman is thinking that God allows the right to divorce but would disapprove remarriage. The truth is, however; Divorce itself is sinful unless it is for the cause of fornication.
- Consider Matthew 19:3-6: The question originally asked Jesus by the Pharisees was not concerning remarriage, but concerning divorce: "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" Jesus' reply to that question: "What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." It was only after further questioning that Jesus discussed the problem of remarriage and adultery.
- Consider Malachi 2:16: "For I hate divorce, says the LORD, the God of Israel" (NASB). Even under the old covenant, God did not approve of indiscriminate divorce. It is likely that the "tears" of verse 13 which "cover the Lord's altar" and caused the Lord to refuse their offering, were the tears of those who had been wrongfully put away.
- Consider Matthew 5:32: "But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery." Observe the words, "makes her." This writer understands this verse to say that if one divorces his wife he places her in a position of temptation to commit adultery and shares the guilt when she does commit adultery. On the other hand, if he puts her away for the cause of fornication, he has put her away legitimately and shares no guilt in whatever adultery she may subsequently commit.
- Consider 1 Corinthians 7:10: "To the married, I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband." Observe the word "charge." The following verse (verse 11) does not negate or nullify this command but simply recognizes that one might disobey the Lord's command (in which case he sins — 1 John 3:4) and states his options if he has disobeyed. Not only does the Lord command husband and wife to live together, but he commands them to meet one another's physical needs (1 Corinthians 7:3-5) and to love one another (Ephesians 5:25; Titus 2:4-5)
If one companion in marriage fails along these lines, the other must still be obedient to God, seeking to be what He would have him or her to be in the marriage relationship. Never should the thought of divorce or separation ever enter the mind unless fornication occurs. We are not suggesting that divorce itself is "adultery," but we are saying that divorce for any cause other than fornication is a sin. Christians must not be influenced by the loose standards that prevail in the world in which they live.