C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Thursday, August 02, 2012

Can I Divorce

A friend of mind recently asked me two questions, and I figured I would share my responses here. Please do share your thoughts, whether you agree or disagree.

The second question was:

Can I divorce [in reference to fighting or abuse]

Now, concerning divorce, I likewise find the answer both simple and complex. It is simple in the idea that I believe Scripture gives two reasons when divorce [can] occur, but are never spoken of in terms of [reasons to] divorce. [1] reason is because of fornication, as written in Matthew 5:32. The [2] reason seems to be in the unbelieving departs, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 7:15. Although, does “the unbelieving” pertain to them professing they are lost, or they claim to be saved but their actions proclaim they are lost? Now, Scripture clearly teaches [Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. - Matthew 19:6] Scripture also compares marriage to the relationship of Christ and the Church [Ephesians 5] which teaches security of the believer, in that Christ will never forsake the Church. When a man leaves his wife or a woman her husband, they are breaking that picture. Once saved, Christ cannot separate Himself from His sheep, nor can the sheep totally separate themselves from Christ [even if they try, for He will go get them – Matthew 18:12-14] Such is why a saved person is considered to be committing spiritual adultery when they choose to disobey God.

When it comes to questions like “two people fighting all the time” and “physical and/or emotional abuse”, I don’t find anywhere in Scripture that says it is okay to divorce. I know this goes against man’s nature and our initial knee-jerk reaction, but it simply isn’t in the Bible [at least not straight forward] as justifiable means to leave your spouse. Remember Christ 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] Sin is what causes two persons to always fight [or sometimes it could possibly be just one as the “main” cause over time] or to abuse one another [which can sometimes be the woman over the man]. We must remember that two persons choose to get married, and sometimes their choices were not soaked in the knowledge and wisdom of God but in fleshly appeal and desire. Then divorce is merely adding sin to the initial sin of getting married without God in the first place [even if held in a church]. So, a lot of factors play into the actual finalization of seeking divorce, which is why it is a hard question to answer when it comes to what may be permissible and what is not; at least to us, because God clearly knows.

With that said, I think there is wisdom we can glean from Scripture regarding the abuse [at least the physical type]. Scripture is clear to talk about how we are to treat people as we want to be treated, and for those who abuse people [whether physically, or steal from, murder, etc.] we have law enforcement, etc. [1 Timothy 2] So, I believe a person is biblically justified in calling the police and filing charges against their spouse if they are truly being abused. I also believe they would be justified no longer living with that person until there was a guarantee [by whatever means necessary] that it would be safe. Though, the question still remains: where in Scripture does it say they can divorce? Possibly, the Scripture about the unbelieving departing could be used, but I see no other references.

Same holds true with spouse who seems to fight all the time. We would like to say “God doesn’t want us to be alone” or “God doesn’t want us to be unhappy”, but that is not biblical teaching. That is man’s emotions.

Paul said, [Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. - 1 Corinthians 7:27] Once we have chosen to marry [regardless as to why or what transpires due to our sin or that of our spouse] we are commanded to stay married. Even fornication is not a reason [to] divorce, as there are many marriages when have been dealt that blow yet survived through forgiveness and reconciliation to God and each other. Nor is the unbelieving departing a [necessary to divorce], for it also says [Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. - 1 Peter 3:1-2]

I once had a friend of mine ask if it was okay for them to get a divorce, and I told them they had two options to consider:

[1] They could forget God and the Bible, and do whatever you want to do.


[2] They could [a] examine their own hearts in light of Scripture and the Holy Spirit, [b] confess and repent of any sin in their own life [regardless of what the other person is or isn’t doing], [c] obey God by submitting to or loving the other person [because God says so in Scripture, not because the other person deserves it], [d] choose to forgive the other person [whether they deserve it or not], [e] and beg God to help change them and that other person to renew their marriage.

They [easy] thing to do in our minds is to just leave, because we think we will be leaving the entire problem behind; but that’s not the case. We will [1] have our own issues of sin [because we are not perfect] even in another relationship, [2] if we have kids we will always have contact with the other person, [3] the kids will suffer and not understand, and [4] surely there will be financial, emotional, possibly other family and friend issues for many years to come [if not for as long as we live].

The first question we need to ask ourselves is: Why do I want a divorce?

That will expose our hearts.

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John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.