Does God Honor All Marriages?
I am a brother in Christ and I want to know, Does God honors all marriages?
A: Your question is one that is on a lot of people’s hearts and minds. In recent years the number of divorces in our country has outpaced the number of marriages. This has affecting many people both within and without the church.
First, I want to make sure that you understand that God loves everyone (Romans 5:8). He sent his Son Jesus to die for everyone (John 3:16) and God wants everyone to be saved (2 Peter 3:9). However, we must be saved upon God’s terms, not our own (Ephesians 2:8). So we must be obedient if we want God to save us (Hebrews 5:8,9).
Having said those few things, we should look to the word of God in regard to marriage, as it is an area in which we must be obedient to Him. When we look at the Bible teaching on marriage, we find the law of marriage mentioned in Matthew 19:5, 6. “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. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” This is God’s law of marriage. From the beginning, Jesus says, God made them male and female. Neither Adam nor Eve had been in a marriage before. God joined them together. Jesus says that when a man and a woman leave their father and mother and are married for the first time to each other, that is acceptable to God. Once they are married, God joins them together. No MAN can separate them. So someone who has never been married before is a candidate for marriage. This is God’s law of marriage.
Jesus gives one exception to this rule in Matthew 19:9. He says, “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.” When a couple divorces and either party remarries again, they commit adultery and are not acceptable to God. The only exception to this rule is in the case where one of the partners in the marriage commits fornication. When this occurs, the partner who is innocent of fornication (adultery) may divorce and remarry. So, here we have candidate number two. The person who has divorced his/her spouse because the spouse committed fornication (adultery), is a candidate for marriage. This is God’s law for divorce.
We have one more person who is a lawful candidate for marriage. In Romans 7:2. Paul writes here, “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” When someone’s spouse dies, they are a candidate for remarriage. Paul calls this, the law of the husband. In this regard, see also 1 Corinthians 7:39.
There are some who say that there is a fourth candidate for marriage based upon Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 7:15 which says, “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” Some say that “not under bondage” means not under bondage to God’s law of divorce, and that therefore, they can remarry again. However, the text does not warrant this. First, by saying this, Paul would be in clear contradiction with the Lord on this point. The Lord gave one exception. Surely if He had wanted to give another exception, he would have done so in Matthew 19:9. To what law, then is she “not under bondage?” This woman in 1 Corinthians 7 is a Christian and has an obligation to God’s law of marriage, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Her husband is putting her marriage asunder. Is she now going to be condemned by God because her marriage is being broken? I believe that Paul is saying that she is not under bondage to pursue the marriage in this situation. NOTE: This situation only applies to the believer who is married to an unbeliever. This does not apply to unbeliever married to unbeliever, or believer married to believer. Many want to use this text as an excuse to end a marriage, but that is not the purpose of it. God wants us to keep our marriages whole because he hates divorce (Malachi 2:16).
There are also some that say that non-Christians may divorce and marry as many times as they wish before they become Christians, but after they become Christians, they may no longer behave in such a way. The Bible rejects this idea because God’s law applies to all men whether they are Christians or not. All men will stand before the judgment seat of Christ one day and give an account of the things they have done in the body (2 Corinthians 5:10). God will judge those who have disregarded his law of marriage and divorce whether they are Christians or not. We also read in 2 Thessalonians 1:8 that God will render vengeance on those that “obey not” the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus started preaching the gospel when he began his ministry (Matt.4:23, Mark 1:1, Luke 4:18). Are we to say that the teaching regarding marriage, divorce, and remarriage that Jesus gave in Matthew 19:9 is NOT part of the gospel? The inspired writers certainly thought it was. Who am I to disagree with them?