Volume 97 Issue 11 November 1997
Written By: Peter Denby, Jr.
There is ONE, and only one, reason given in the Bible for divorce. That reason is adultery (Matthew 5:31-32). When we are married we vow (promise) to God that we will stay united in marriage “until death do we part.” Let us look at what the Bible brings out about how we should deal with this issue. I like to call this section, “Scriptural reasons for not using scriptural reasons for divorce.”
John 8:4-11 reminds us that we are to forgive. Jesus tells us those gathered to condemn the women caught in the very act of adultery, that “he that is without sin cast the first stone.” Then Jesus bent over and one by one the accusers all left, leaving Jesus and the adulterous women there alone. Jesus told her to “go and sin no more.” Jesus teaches us here that we are to forgive, even those who are adulterous. forgiveness is the cornerstone to our salvation. Jesus forgave you. Do you remember when you were a sinner? Were you a person that should have been forgiven? Jesus invested in you and hopefully you have ‘paid dividends.’
Matthew 22:36-40 teaches us about the greatest commandments. We are taught that we are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. It also tells us that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Our spouse is our closest neighbor. While we are the most vulnerable because of this closeness, we are also of the most needed to forgive. We will see the immediate punishment of our sins but the deepest punishment will come from ourselves and our spouse. The surest way to bury a marriage is to not forgive your spouse. However forgiveness will not always revive a marriage.
Matthew 5:43-44 reminds us that we have no benefit in loving those who love us but in those who despise us. Our witness needs to be to all including an unfaithful mate. Broken down to simple terms, your mate is a soul. Number one we need to help to keep them aligned with Christ. We need to get them, and ourselves, to Christian counseling.
In the bible we see that judging (condemning) is wrong (Matthew 7:1-5; John 8:7-9). Who is to blame? There are always three answers to a marital problem. His way, her way and God’s way. A mate having an adulterous relationship usually is not a problem but a symptom. Generally by the time the mate gets to the place where they even think of having intimate relations with someone other than their mate, the marriage is in serious trouble. The point is simple. There usually is a situation where two people have forgotten to keep God at the center of their marriage. I said earlier that we are told that we need to love our neighbor as ourselves. Do we love our mate as ourselves? Do we love our marriage as ourselves? That is not really the same question. Marriage takes work. Marriage takes forgiveness.
Marriage also needs love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). When was the last time you tested your marital love against the standard in these verses? Try it and watch your marriage grow.
God has said that “what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:3-12; Mark 10:2-12) If we look at this literally then no person who has been involved intimately with our mate shall put our marriage asunder. This would require forgiveness, love and hard work. Try for a reconciliation (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 7:10-14).
Matthew 5:9 tells us that we need to be peacemakers. Make peace but don’t compromise your standards. If this is a continuing problem then at some point there may have to be a time to cut out the cancer to save your Christian life and example.
1 Corinthians 7:14 reminds us that the children would be unclean. The greatest losers in any divorce are the kids. They will be scarred.
We also need to remember to seek God’s answer (Matthew 6:33; Timothy 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). We also need to seek advise from close brothers and sisters in Christ. You have the right, from God’s Word, to get a divorce if your mate has sinned against you through adultery, but be careful if you use it.
The Sin of Compromise
Written By: Jim Hill
Webster’s defines compromises thusly: “Consent by mutual concession, to surrender.” Henry Clay was known as “the great compromiser” in American history. Although he was famous as a Washington legislator, no one wanted him for President.
In the church of the Lord Jesus Christ today, we should never compromise or surrender precious landmarks of righteousness. We have too many folk making overtures and concessions toward sectarian groups in regards to points long established in the Bible. Hearing some brethren speak of forbearance and “positive thoughts only” makes me wonder how Christ was ever crucified by folk so angry with Him that they hanged the Son of God between thieves.
Brethern, we might as well admit that we are reaping what we sowed in the past generation. Many congregations pushed serious Bible study out and invited entertainment in. The result is that our young adults (and some older ones, too) know very little Bible and few of the basic principals that made us so strong in the days past. The concept of the value of silence of the Scriptures must be taught all over again if we would salvage very many of the youth of yesterday. The idea that the Church of the New Testament is unique and distinctive and not a denomination is now firmly entrenched in “the church of tomorrow.” We have compromised with humanism, television and the hedonism of secular Hollywood-oriented philosophy as we idolize rock musicians, sports heroes and anti-government bums. Then we ask in wonder, “Where have all the children gone?”
If we had more conviction and boldness in the pulpit, and more plain teaching in our Bible classes, we might turn things around for God’s cause in this decade. But we will have to quit surrendering to the pressures of unconverted members who worry about what society will think of us being so narrow minded! Truth has always been absolute, and therefore narrow. Ask Noah, Joshua, Daniel, Stephen, Paul and the best of all, ask the Savior, if standing for the right way is ever popular!
Convenience has always been the mother of apostasy. Christians must come out of Babylon (Revelation 18) and "be ye separate" (2 Corinthians 6:17) if the “salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13) is to have its preserving impact upon the world gone crazy with iniquity. When everyone does “what is right in his own eyes” Deuteronomy 12:8, the Devil has a field day. We stand today in the valley of decision. Let us be sure that we choose not the easy road, but the correct road. Compromise, that great enemy of righteousness, must be banished from our presence, never to rear its ugly head again!
Editor’s Note: This article, by Jim Hill, first appeared in The Gospel Light in 1988. It was requested by Jerry Letourneau of Brownfield, Maine. Jerry was a good friend, brother in Christ and a true servant of the Lord. Jerry went home in November 1994 and I dedicate this article reprint to the memory of his work for Christ. It is my true desire that this article and publication will help you have a closer walk with Jesus Christ. The Gospel Light is published monthly by Gospel Light Ministries, Inc., a non-profit Christian organization. Articles are accepted for publishing. The Gospel Light is published with donations from supporters. We would like to thank those who continue to support us.