Summary: To present sound teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage. Marriage is honorable in all; and he that findeth a wife, findeth a good thing. This lesson refutes the notion a baptized believer; must return to their former spouse, as fruits of repentance.
1. Christ’s Discourse on “Marriage”
2. Christ’s Discourse on “Divorce”
3. Christ’s Discourse on “Remarriage”
1. In this lesson we will be discussing “marriage, divorce and remarriage.” This is one of the most misunderstood and debated topic in the Christian faith. What will be clear as we proceed is that there are diverse opinions on this topic more than there is truth! We will stand firm in the bible regarding these issues. There are basically three positions on these issues: legalism, liberalism and conservatism. Let me add, that Jesus’ position on this topic was that of the word of God. Saying unto the leaders, “Have ye not read?” Matthew 19:4.
2. First, we will address the topic of marriage as discussed by the Lord and others. The Hebrew writer states: “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge,” Hebrews 13:4. Jesus states: “marriage was to be permanent.” Divorce was granted because of the hardness of the hearts of the people of Israel. Jesus said: “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so,” Matthew 19:8.
3. Second, we will discuss the issue of divorce as described by the Lord. He mentioned: “And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery,” Matthew 19:9. The same statement was made in Matthew 5:32. In these scriptures Jesus permits divorce for one reason only, and that is: “infidelity.” That is one or both parties are guilty of sexual misconduct. Divorce could be granted for reasons of “fornication, adultery, and other sexual sins.” Notice however, Jesus does not mention forgiveness or even staying with the unfaithful partner in these verses. Nor, does he mention who could or could not remarry, if the divorce was granted even for the "exception:" of infidelity. We will deal with these issues later in this lesson.
4. Lastly, we will discuss the issue of remarriage as described by the Lord. Notice he says: “…and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery,” Matthew 19:9. One must conclude, that remarriage by one or both parties, if divorced for any other reason than the ‘exception', doth commit adultery. The question on this topic not mentioned by the Lord – in this text - can one or both parties if divorce for the “exception” be allowed to remarry without committing adultery? However, this question has been given exhaustive discussion by many writers; but with very little mention of scripture from the New Testament! We will also deal with this notion at the proper time. But for now, let’s look first at what Jesus says on marriage.
BODY OF LESSON
I CHRIST’S DISCOURSE ON “MARRIAGE”
A. As mentioned before: “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge,” Hebrews 13:4.
1. Solomon wrote: “Whoso findeth a wife, findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord,” Proverb 18:22. Also: “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD,” Proverb 19:14.
2. Marriage in Jesus’ time. There were two schools of thought on this issue then; one was from the school of Shammai – that permitted divorce for only “adultery”; the second was from the school of Hillel – that permitted divorce “for any reason.” It was from this teaching (Hillel) the “Pharisees came tempting Jesus saying unto him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” Matthew 19:3. To answer their question Jesus said:
a. “Have you not read?” – referring to the beginning. “God made them male and female.”
b. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother – and is joined to his wife, they shall be one flesh.”
c. “What God has joined together – let no man put asunder, undo.”
3. The Jewish leaders then asked: “Why did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement and to put away?”
4. Jesus responded: “Because of the harness of your hearts – he suffered you to put away your wives. From the beginning it was not so.”
B. God recognizes all marriages. Marriage is a “leaving and cleaving.” Marriage is then the leaving of mother and father; and, the cleaving unto his wife. Notice:
1. Jesus said: “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.”
2. Jesus concludes: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,” Matthew 19:5-6. What God has joined in marriage; let no man break it.