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July 5, 1999

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Q/A Topics: Divorce and Remarriage? (in response to July Article)
Freedom after unequal yoke

Comment:
just had to comment...believers married to unbelievers, are also free to marry if the unbeliever wants to leave the marriage. Thanks for all your excellant messages!

A.
Notice, the article said, "according to Law." When Paul gave his "permission" he says, "but to the rest I speak, not the Lord..." (1Cor7:12) Yes, there is a lot of "permissiveness" in some things with God, too, isn't there... He allowed Paul's words to become part of Scripture, just as He [God] had also allowed for divorce under Moses, even though His actual will is that, "He hates divorce" (Mal2:16)

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So entangled

Q.
Why does it have to be so entangled about marriage and remarrilage. I know couples who divorced and remarried and love the Lord with all there heart. In some cases they were christians and at fault for the divorce. Later they repented of there sin and eventually remarries. For the first time they are happy and functioning as a christian family. If we ask God to forgive us, are we not totally forgiven? It was allowed (under the law) to divorce because of the hardness of their heart - - how much more under grace would he forgive an adulteress/or. Or does he forgive you of the sin and place you under a law of no remarriage? Are these who have remarried (repentent adulterors) going to hell? He could forgive a murderer, thief, lyer, molester and there lives could continue ....repent, get married but a divorcee(repentant) must never get remarried. I have a hard time with this. Please answer.

A.
A few weeks ago in the Matthew 19:3-12 study we addressed these very issues. When they came against Jesus, asking about divorce and remarriage. He gave the -original- intent of God's design and says, "what God has joined together, let not man separate." (vs6) And because of God's original intent, He "hates divorce". (Mal2:16a)

However, God is rather patient and merciful with mankind. He 'puts up with' an awful lot of flack from us! He allowed for divorce under the Mosaic system. He went along with polygamy. He "pities those who fear Him. For He knows our form; He remembers that we are dust." (Ps103:13-14) We are in "bodies of death". (Rom7:24) While the original creation intended -a- man and -a- woman to "be fruitful" with each other, and in innocence and purity that relationship would have been most glorious; sin came along and messed everything up. And from Paul's wording in 1Cor7, he seems to understand this problem... as did Jesus in Matthew19:11-12.

The only Scriptural case that comes to mind where a splitting up of married couples was 'condoned' is found in Ezra 9-10, where Israel had intermarried with the heathen, and were following into pagan ways, and they collectively put away their heathen wives. Otherwise, the understanding that comes from Paul is; whatever state you find yourself in... "just stay put". (1Cor7:17,20,24) Don't go scurrying about trying to "fix" (or 'change') things.

In the Matthew study we already spoke of God's grace and forgiveness for those who have "made-the-rounds" in marriage, and have been with many different people. That was the context of those who had been this way -prior- to Faith in Christ. For Believers who mess up, we have a most prime example in King David, who committed adultery, and murdered the husband to cover up his deed. And he -paid- for his deeds with the death of the baby. But he also repented and received forgiveness. Ps51. Just as any Believer now receives forgiveness when we "confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1Jn1:9) The next baby from that marriage, Solomon, became next-in-line to the throne.

But for Believers to remarry, after being divorced, knowing and understanding God's Word on the matter, assuming God's "grace" on their behalf as they go into it; we come to Paul's words, "Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? Let it not be!" (Rom6:1-2)

You say these couples are -now- happy. Well, I'm sure Balaam was "happy" as he was travelling along God's "permissive" path. But he got his foot smashed, and a real talking to from the donkey. (Nu22) God REALLY did -NOT- want Balaam going the path he was. But then said, "Ok if you must, but only say what I tell you to." But Balaam knew God's "original" will. And so his donkey spoke to him. And again God says to only speak what he is told to speak. And out of the experience comes one of the great Messianic Prophecies. (Nu24:17-19) So we might be tempted to think, "See?? God's blessing!!" But notice Balaam's ultimate end. He was killed. (Josh13:22) And back to David; he suffered civil war, the death of Absalom and public defilement of his harem.

To Saul Samuel said, "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice! To listen is better than the fat of rams! (1Sam15:22)

Yes...as you note, it -is- all "entangled". And it might seem like a "law of no remarriage". That God is so "harsh" in His ways. And I can attest to the fact that it can be a "lonely" path, as one yearns for companionship. But notice Paul's words again, how the one who remains single is freed up to serve the Lord more completely. (1Cor7:32-35) And here, too, were it not for this, I likely wouldn't be -here- (with VW) now. And it is all entangled because it is one of Satan's primary targets, to defile as much as possible one of the most beautiful things God created, as a pattern or "sample" of what the relationship and fellowship is between God and His Believers. The "oneness". (Jn17,Eph5:32,Rom7:4)

No, a divorced Believer who remarries won't go to hell for it. And even if they do so, taunting God's Grace in the matter, they can yet receive forgiveness if they understand their error and confess it.

But even regarding a widow, who would have God's "blessing" to remarry, Paul suggests, "she is happier if she so remains (single), according to my judgment. And I also think that I have the Spirit of God." (1Cor7:40)

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Divorce is a Selfish Act:

Comment: (excerpt)
What kind of example do they set for their children? No one said marriage is easy, especially when we are self-centered, self-seeking people. I think if christians really thought about it, they need to put the other spouse first before themselves. Marriage is a beautiful thing. Marriage is giving of oneself to the other in obedience to God.

Divorce is a selfish act...

A.
Exactly. I'm sure it must be true of men, too, but I've heard it from the mouths of women more, on Oprah segments, etc... "-I- wasn't getting out of -my- marriage what -I- needed for -self-fulfillment..." and many other similar words.

Thanks for your note.

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Divorced Woman back under Father's Authority? -Added: May 6,2004

READER QUESTION:
I heard somewhere that by being divorced a woman is put back under her father's authority. Is this true? Thanks

VW ANSWER:
Well, this seems to be what was the case (historically) in O.T. times... Lev22:13, Jdg19:2 However, in the actual -given- law, there seems to be a difference, in that the laws on vows had to do with a woman in her father's house "in her youth". (Num30:3,16) I can't think of any law that says a divorced woman is -supposed- to (must) return to her father's house.

I suspect the reason they -did- (historically), was due to culture and economics. Women typically did not strike out on their own, but were under the domestic umbrella of the males....either their father or husband. So, if she no longer had a husband, she needed that male umbrella/covering...and so, if she wasn't going to be married again, and if she didn't have children (Lev22:13), if she didn't have any means of support, then where else was she to go? Her father.

But even though she returned to her father, the law of the vows does not specify whether a "divorced" woman is living at home or not...her vow before God is binding, based on her -own- vowing as a "divorced woman". (Num30:9) So, she might be living with her father, but she is under her own authority before God. ...is what it looks like to me...

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