BY: Gregg Purcell

Theme Verse: "For I Hate Divorce, says the Lord God of Israel, and him who covers his garments with wrong, says the Lord of Hosts. So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously." (Mal 2:16)

- There are as many different doctrines perverting the Gospel on this issue as any other one. Christians, even men who have been respected Gospel preachers, have sacrificed the truth on this issue for any number of reasons. We, as Christians, must understand God's law concerning marriage and divorce, and truly accept only the Words which God, the authority, has spoken!

1. Sanctity of the Marriage relationship

- We must first understand that the relationship of husband to wife (and vice-versa) is sanctified by God as good and righteous.

- Read the following passages and discuss how they show God has sanctified this relationship:

- Gen 2:18, 23-25 --

- Heb 13:4 --

We see, then, that God has set up this relationship for us as a blessing that we can enjoy together!

2. God's One Law concerning the marriage relationship

- God has had one, and only one, law concerning marriage since the day he instituted the relationship.

- Read the following verses and write what this law is, and who it applies to:

- Gen 2:23-25 --

- Who is going to leave home and cleave to his wife? Does this apply only to a Christian?

- Mal 2:14-16 --

- Who is man not to "deal treacherously" against?

- What was this "dealing treacherously"? Use v16! What was man doing to his wife?

- How does God feel about this?

- Remember Mal 3:6? How does God feel about this today?

- Mark 10:6-12 --

- What does a man do if he "divorces his wife and marries another?"

- Does this work both ways (i.e., if a woman divorces and marries another)?

- Lk 16:18 --

- Also, using this verse, what about the man who marries a divorced woman?

- While there is still more we have to examine, including exceptions, how does God feel about divorce?

- So far, have we read of any possible reason that a man or woman can righteously obtain a divorce?

So, from the majority of Scriptures that we read, God hates divorce and stands against it!!!

3. Exceptions Given by God to His marriage law

- God has, both in the Old and New Testaments, given exceptions to this marriage Law.

- Read Deut 24:1-4 -- What exception was given by Moses in the Old Testament?

- Read Matt 19:3-9 -- Using v8, why did Moses give this exception?

- Using the rest of the passage, does the exception of Deut 24 still apply today?

- Again, read Matt 19:9 and also Matt 5:31-32.

- What is the only exception to the "No Divorce" Marriage Law of God in the New Testament?

- Exactly what does this mean? Can you think of why it might be made an exception by God?

- Are there any other exceptions to be seen in these or any other New Testament passages?

God has spoken to us through His Son and the Spirit. It is clear where Jesus stood on divorce. We must stand there also!!

4. False Doctrines being advanced by many

- Today, for a variety of reasons, many brethren are advancing false doctrinal ideas on this issue!!

1. The put-away fornicator can also remarry

- Many will teach that, since the non-adulterer divorced the mate, the mate is single, and can therefore re-marry.

- Read Matt 5:32 -- If a wife commits adultery, and is put away by an innocent husband, who can remarry her?

- Whoever remarries her will be guilty of what?

- Can one partner be guilty of this sin without the other being guilty of it?

2. Marriage-divorce law is applicable only to Christians

-- Many are also teaching that these words of Christ apply only to Christians, so worldly marriages do not apply here.

- Read Matt 19:1-9 once more. Who is Jesus speaking to? Are they his followers?

- Also, Jesus based his law on Gen 2:23-25 -- which he says in Matt 19:4 was "from the beginning"

- If this law was in place since the beginning, can it apply only to Christians?

- Who is to "not put asunder?" (V6)

3. Baptism makes an adulterous marriage a scriptural one

-- Some will teach that when a non-believer in an adulterous marriage is baptized, that marriage is now scripturally sound!

- Baptism changes us, and it forgives us of all past sins we have committed -- Acts 2:38, and etc.

- Never is it said to make a sinful relationship righteous, however.

- If we were committing fornication with a prostitute, baptism would not cleanse that relationship.

- It is the same sin that is committed in and adulterous marriage -- Baptism does not cleanse it!!

There are numerous more doctrines being taught that do not uphold the simple truth of Jesus's teaching! Don't believe them!

5. Human and emotional objections answered

- Some of us may find these teachings difficult. So did the Apostles (Matt 19:10)!

- Some might ask - "Shouldn't everyone be happy?"

- Read 1 Cor 7:39-40 - Who does Paul say will be happier? The widow who remarries or stays single?

- True happiness is found in serving our Lord. We can't subvert His ways and serve Him at the same time

- Some might say - "This is being too picky. It doesn't make sense in our culture, in the 20th or 21st century!"

- First, it made less sense then, when divorce overran the courts and Gentiles lived a life of fornication as normal!!!

- Secondly, it is not up to us to decide how we should live, but God! (Jer 10:23)

Let us decide to simply follow God in this matter. His one teaching is simple. His one exception is just as simple. There can be no other reason for a valid divorce. Friends, can we accept his Word? Let us not "deal treacherously"! Marriage is forever, as God intends it to be both then and now!!