I’m continuing to look at Paul’s teaching on marriage relationships in First Corinthians, chapter 7. Here’s where some of the controversies start. He’s going to talk about divorce.
To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11
This verse is specifically talking about marriages between two Christians. Paul is being clear and concise in his description of the Lord’s command. He states that divorce is never a part of God’s plan.
I know that this teaching doesn’t sit well with many in our generation. We live in a society where divorce is an acceptable part of our culture.
This is why marriage is not to be entered into on a whim. The world sees it as simply an agreement to live together. Scripturally it’s a lot more than that.
Divorce was acceptable in the Jewish culture as well during the time Jesus was ministering. The Pharisees asked Him His opinion.
Here’s what Jesus told them…
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
The Pharisees weren’t satisfied with this answer. They didn’t see anything wrong with divorce. They rested their case on the fact that the Law of Moses allowed for it – so they had a Scriptural basis.
Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
His answer was simple. Divorce is not God’s will, but He knew that mankind was going to do it anyway. So the Lord set up some ground rules to make it more amicable.
Of course, this opens up another can of worms. It’s obvious from the above passage that God understands what we, as human beings, are like. He knows that once we set our hearts on doing something, even against God’s will, we’ll probably go there.
So God made an allowance for the hardness of our hearts. That tells me that divorce isn’t the unpardonable sin. I know there are some denominations that totally write you off once you go through a divorce. That’s not God’s view.
We must always remember that even though God hates divorce, He loves people. He’s willing to work in and through us no matter what we’ve gone through. It’s not my place to tell anyone that they’re somehow disqualified for ministry because of a divorce.
It’s really up to the move of the Holy Spirit in someone’s life. I’ve seen divorced ministers who’ve walked under a powerful anointing from God. Why would God confirm their ministry if they had disqualified themselves?
I find it best to leave the judgment seat to Christ.
Question: Based on this teaching, what’s the best way to prepare Christian couples for marriage?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi