Jesus and Divorce

Second MarriageIn the past year I’ve had a couple of friends go through divorce and each time it has torn our hearts. I won’t go into details, but what has struck me is how some in the church have responded to these divorces. Let’s just say there has been an aroma and it has not been the fragrance of Jesus. Divorce seems to bring out the ugly in some people.

In a recent post I asked the question “Can divorced people remarry?” By the grace of God they can! (Whether one should remarry is a separate question.)

While some may wag their fingers in judgment, the message I want divorced people to hear is this: You are not an unforgiven sinner; you are not a second-class citizen; you are your Father’s dearly-loved child. And while there are some who say you can never remarry, I say otherwise.

How then, do I account for these words of Jesus?

I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery. (Matthew 19:9; see also Matthew 5:32, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18)

That’s pretty clear, isn’t it? There’s no wiggle room, no scope for licentious bloggers. Remarriage equals adultery. Jesus says so. But read his words in context and you will find there’s more going on than meets the eye:

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” (Matthew 19:3)

To the religious mind divorce is little more than a legal issue. Never mind that real people get hurt by it, the only concern that the Pharisees had for divorce was whether it is lawful.

“Is it lawful?!” says Jesus (my paraphrased response). “Marriage is way more important than the law. Don’t you know that marriage predates the law?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

In other words, “Don’t honor marriage merely because it’s lawful. Marriage is gift from God. It’s a taste of heaven-on-earth. God hates it when the gift is broken through divorce.”

“Aha! We’ve got you now,” replied the Pharisees who had come to test him. “You don’t know the rules as well as we do.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” (Matthew 19:7)

Jesus facepalmJesus and the Pharisees weren’t on the same page. Jesus wanted to honor the marriage covenant while the Pharisees wanted to know how you could break it. Can you imagine Jesus doing a facepalm?

“Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.” (Matthew 19:8)

Under the Law of Moses, a man could divorce his wife for the mere fact that she had become “displeasing” in his eyes (Deu 24:1). In this way the law diminished the awesome gift of marriage. So that they might better value the gift, Jesus responded by elevating the law. (He did the same thing on the Sermon on the Mount, see Matt 5:32.) They had their law; he had his. And his was tougher:

“I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matt 19:9)

And that shut up the Pharisees!

It’s quite possible that among those who heard Jesus say these words, there were some who had divorced their wives because they had become displeasing to them. “Her hair turned grey so I traded her in for a younger model.” In the eyes of Moses they had done nothing wrong, but in the judgment of Christ’s law they were adulterous law-breakers.

Jesus, giver of law

Why did Jesus speak so harshly to these men? He did it because the Pharisees were full of their own self-righteousness:

“You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts… Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Luke 16:15,18)

It’s one thing to divorce your wife because she becomes displeasing; it’s another to convince yourself that you are righteous for doing it!

Let’s put this all together: Some Pharisees had come to test Jesus on the subject of divorce. Jesus responds by honoring marriage. “Marriage is a gift from God that is older than your law.” But these guys aren’t interested. They’d much rather brag about their legal brilliance. So Jesus speaks the only language they understand and gives them a legal smack down. “You want law? Here’s some law for you. You have heard it said, but I say unto you…” Game over. You lose. Those who came confident of their own self-righteousness went home silenced.

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. (Romans 3:19)

One of the law’s purposes is to silence the self-righteous and that’s what happened here. Christ’s law silenced boasting mouths.

But does that mean Jesus has it in for divorced people? Does that mean he views them as unforgiveable sinners or that he rules out the possibility of remarriage? To answer that question let’s visit a well in Samaria where Jesus is talking to a divorced lady.

Jesus, giver of grace

The woman at the well has a shameful reputation, which is why she has come to the well in the middle of the day. She hopes no one will be there. But Jesus is there and he offers her living water. At first she doesn’t understand what Jesus wants to give her, so Jesus begins to talk about her need. He speaks of her secret shame:

“You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.” (John 4:17-18)

By the standard that Christ preached to the Pharisees, the woman at the well was an adulterer. In fact, she was a repeat adulterer. She was the adulterer of all adulterers. Yet Jesus never mentions this. He says nothing of the law. Instead, he gives her grace and she is radically changed. She becomes the world’s first foreign evangelist (see John 4:29).

Do you see the difference? To those confident of their own righteousness, Jesus gives law. But to those living with shame and condemnation, Jesus gives grace.

The genius of Jesus

The genius of Jesus is that he meets every one of us at our point of need. The self-righteous need law; the hurting need grace. Surely his heart is to give grace to everyone, but the self-righteous won’t receive it. They’re too busy boasting about how good they are. They need the law to silence them first.

If you are the sort of person who thinks of yourself as better than others – maybe you are quick to judge divorcees as sinners – then you need to hear the law that Jesus preached. Start with Matthew 7:1 (“Do not judge, or you too will be judged”) and read on from there.

But if you’re the sort of person who has made bad choices or suffered from the sins of others, then you need the grace that Jesus gives. You need a revelation of God our Father who loves us and does not treat us as our sins deserve.

Perhaps you’ve had five husbands (or wives) and the person you’re now with is not your spouse. Maybe you’re like the woman at the well, hiding a secret shame. You don’t need the law to tell you that you’ve made mistakes. You need the supernatural grace of God that will empower you to sin no more.

Some people marry and remarry because they think marriage will solve all their problems. This is a mistake. Drink from that well and you will be thirsty again. But those who drink from Christ’s well will never thirst. He alone satisfies the deepest longings of your soul.

 

90 Comments on Jesus and Divorce

  1. Is this post just for believers. Why should God care about non believers?So it would seen the non believers can marry as many times as they like until there believers right?

    • Do you know the scripture that says “God so loved the WORLD…”? What makes you think He doesn’t care about EVERYONE? True, non-believers (or for that matter anyone) may do as they please; but make the inappropriate decision and live with the physical consequences. Note I said “physical” because the spiritual consequences have already been dealt with “once for all”.

      • But according to most Christians are not the unbelievers condemned anyway ? The physical pain of divorce is evident , but if we look at it purely from a judgment from God point of view , what does it matter to the unbeliever who is condemned to hell anyway , no matter how many times he or she is divorced.

  2. So great the divorcees can read this great article in its context and be comforted. I think the scripture you pointed out In Luke 16: 15-18 and even Revelation 21:8 has made many fearful of rejection from even our Father and our lord so it’s good that you clarified that they are still in the loving arms of their beloved.
    This topic reminded me on SERMONS I use to HEAR; due 2 religious teachings and wow, how those divorcees were rejected, judged, barred permanently from Christian ministry and condemned. In them days, to see that, took my love partly away from the Lord; but then I began 2 know better. All divorcees should read this. And thou I never married and may never be cuz it’s not in my heart now. I love to see marriages, it’s a blessing to the world; if it’s mainly healthy cuz no marriage is perfect. God knew what he was doing when he created marriage and divorce is a destroyer, but at times, if it has to be, then it has to be than 2 put up with a marriage made in hell; eg, continual incest, physical abuse, covert homosexuality, continual infidelity etc. My motto, get to safety first then pray to our father to save the marriage.
    I’m shocked thou, that many Believers state with stats that Christians has the highest divorce rate. I somehow don’t believe it. Cuz that just sounds crazy!!

    • FIFI,
      I suspect these “Christians” that are quoted as having the highest divorce rate may turn out to be mere Pharisees who refuse to accept Jesus’ acceptance. They may not have the faintest clue what grace is all about.

  3. As always, I enjoy reading your exegesis of Scripture. I agree with your perspective here. I think in the light of all Scripture, it is what makes the most sense. I am curiously hoping you will have another post dealing with the question of whether someone “should” remarry, hopefully including some of the content that the Apostle Paul has to say on divorce and remarriage. I have some idea of on how it fits but would really like to see how you present it if you are so inclined.

  4. Ive been a grace teacher for many years, and I am very clear on what the Bible says about marriage, divorce and remarriage do a different partner. Now I’m not really gonna get into the points that It is clearly called an abomination and it is not a covenant God can enter into because He doesn’t break his covenants and that its wrong. Because scripture is clear we can do all things in our liberty…kill, rape, insecest, steal, lie…all these things we can do….but Paul also says while we can that all things are not of profit for us to do. At this point I can place same sex marriage in every place in this message and pretty much make it okey dokey. We have to remember while grace covers all sins it does not make all sins ok. And when Augustine said “love God and do what you want” what we want to do should be all things He teaches us to do. People shouldn’t use grace as a way to justify their sin and what they want to do (divorce isn’t an accedent it is deeply premeditated) it should be used for us as we learn and strive for the mark. To many today look for ways in the Bible to justify their lifestyle…and not look for a way in the Bible to live a justified life…God will still judge Paul teaches that as well and there is still the beama seat…and many who thought/think they serve the lord….Jesus will turn away. Just a “whoa” to thoses that may pass by by an old grace minister…

    • Excuse me “woe” oiy vey…hahaha…and that means caution.. (:

    • To be more clear and to use your John 4 example I would also use John 8:11 with that adulterous woman “Go now and leave your life of sin.” So apparently it is important not to sin nor abuse the grace we are given…the “law giver” the ” giver of grace” the genius of Jesus.preached this law as well …John 7:24 ” instead judge correctly.”…

      • Ruthless: So you are saying that I am in an “adulteress relationship” with my current spouse whom I have been married to for 40 years because I made a sinful choice to remarry as a youth, and that the blood of JESUS is not sufficient or good enough for God to forgive me?? See, that is exactly the kind of condemning treatment and exclusion from the blessings of God that I have been adjudged by certain Christians who can shower grace and forgiveness to a former repentant criminal but never to me…a divorced and remarried woman who has wept MANY, MANY tears before the Lord seeking His grace and forgiveness! But according to what you (and they) say, I won’t receive that grace at the Bema Seat of Christ but an ex-murderer will?!?

      • No Paulette I’m not saying that at all…It is what Jesus and Paul called it Luke 16:15-18 (NKJ) And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God…

      • I’m going to have to stop you there Rob, for it seems you are confusing the self-righteous Pharisees with divorced people. I hope you are not.

      • No…it is simply the proper teaching on divorce and remarriage …this (up untill a few decades) was what was commonly understood and the Catholics understood it so well the created a seperate unbilblical doctorine around it “annulling”…but hey your blog so you can senser whomever you want and pick and choose what posts of mine you want to allow to be shown….as you obviously cant prove what I say is wrong or incorrect you eliminate …wonder how many post on here NEVER see the light of day…tells me much about you character and knowledge….and probably what you choose to do on scripture with the truth…lets hope you don’t get rewarded with a millstone instead of a crown…seems you may be confusing true grace with a greesy grace…tickling ears even ones own can be dangerous…. be carful young one😦

    • ruthless, You are taking many things out of context. There is no way that what was shared here can be applied to same sex marriage. God’s Word does not forbid marriage between a man and woman, but it does forbid homosexuality. There is many things that are meant as strong suggestions that people take as literal commands. God Himself at one time divorced the nation of Israel and took her back later. The book of Hosea was a prophetic enactment of God’s relationship to Israel.

      • No Im not…Gods word forbids divorced couples to remarry diffrent spouces…in luke Jesus called that an abomination …as I teach very often, and have over the past four decades, and am very clear on how in Jerimiah that you reffer to God divorcing Israel and again how we are shown through Hosea and Gomer how divorce and remarriage ate to be looked at…you support my comment very well…God forbids the remarrige (he calls it adultry) of couples to anyone other than the ones that are in covenat with Him…

      • But I do honestly underdtand why you need to accuse me of taking things out of context (no more so than this blog has done) but the simple matter is …I haven’t …these things are just as much contextual as is this blogs…if you wish, although I said I wouldn’t, I can give you all the context you need…though that would make my comment equal to the blog itself…but I can absolutely apply same sex marriage here as well…simply put if grace can cover one abomination it can cover all…you really cant cherry pick scripture for the acceptable sins you wish to accept and not for the ones you don’t …grace covers all sin so we can achieve heaven…but it does not make wrong right…many will find this out as they are turned away at the bema seat…even under grace paul teaches us that we will be held account for our sins…but seperation from God and exclusion from heaven may not be in all cases…sin doesn’t seperate us from God nor does it keep us from heaven…as Paul says though …not all things are profit…

      • Rob, you have not studied the topic deeply enough. If you took time to understand the original language (not a translation), written context, cultural context, and the historical context, you would know your interpretation is wrong. I agree there are circumstances where someone should not remarry, like someone who quits their marriage because of some selfish reason. Their salvation is not in jeopardy, but they will probably experience some significant difficulties as a result. However, someone who has been the victim of marital unfaithfulness (which is not just sexual sin if you do the research; abuse and abandonment of various types are included) is free to remarry someone else after a divorce. They have no control over their spouse and are not accountable for their spouse’s choices and not penalized for them. Also, if the offending spouse who ended the marriage in turn marries someone else after divorce, the other person is free to remarry regardless why the marriage ended. In all cases, there is liberty, but yes there are situations it is not the right move. I also believe if someone screws up and down the road acknowledges they’ve handled it badly but circumstances prevent restoration, there is grace to remarry if their heart is in the right place. Whatever the case, God doesn’t turn His back on you and kick you out. I guarantee there have been times you’ve abused God’s grace. His mercies are new every morning. God’s new covenant is not conditional on our behavior. Yes our behavior matters, but it has nothing to do with our salvation or right standing before God. It is what is in our hearts that God is concerned with, but He takes us as we are and washes us in the blood of Jesus. Jesus died for us on our behalf to fulfill the covenant for us because we could not live up to it.

      • rob, grace preachers dont tell believers that they will be accountable for their sins… they preach the good news that we are forgiven and made righteous by faith in Christ! if the Holy Spirit lives in you that means you have been cleansed of all sin – He couldnt live in you if there was even a speck of sin-dust floating around in there. the bema seat is where Jesus reviews what each person did with the gift of faith that He has offered to all men freely because of His work on the cross – and rewards each one accordingly (see the parable of the minas in luke 19)

    • ruthlesstrustrob,
      “I can place same sex marriage in every place in this message and pretty much make it okey dokey.” You may place anything you want in the message. Making what you say scriptural is another matter.

      • No matter what one decides to do or not do, we all have interpretations to whatever another says, true or false?
        So what is the bottom line all in all, whom is what one does truly between? So ask this is my sorrow a Godly one or a worldly one?
        That is ultimately between God and you
        King David had a Godly one when confronted by Nathaniel in what he had done. You know Nathaniel came to him privately and told him about what he had done. He could have killed Nathaniel, yet instead he chose to see he not only did this for self desire and with no care for the other. Her saw he sinned against the almighty God, Christ’s Father and god has said a man after his own Heart in care not for just one but for all persons here on earth

      • My point precisely …making what is said scriptual…but fact of the matter sin is sin…we cant cherry pick what is comfortable sins for us to accept and disregard … I imagine I’ve tweeked something…and while grace indeed covers our sin so that we can achieve heaven it does not make wrong right…as we will find b4 the beama seat…

    • Are the boundaries of God’s love limited by His law… or are the boundaries of God’s law limited by His love? I would say His love is without boundaries, but I would not say that of His law.

      • LJP, Gods love as well as his grace know no limits (hense all he has done for us) and his law, scripture calles a school master, was there to point us gracefully to Jesus and our need for him…now the law is a guide for us but no longer something we have to fear because its power in its ability to condem us is gone as sin and death hold nothing over us anymore…

    • What if marriage was the greatest gift of grace from God to all people, If marriage as we know it was always the plan why does it not exist in heaven? Making judgments on divorcee or even homosexuality on what we believe we understand from a shallow view of scripture will always expose us.

      • I think that we do not understand many times the depth and width and height of the grace and love of God,and that we respond out of ignorance, on” what we believe we understand from a shallow view of scripture” I think you nailed it Chris. Jesus said “forgive them for they know not what they do” I dont know if I can explain what im trying to say,.we dont understand that we limit ourselves when we try to draw a line on grace and love.I dont understand it all yet and Im not saying its a licence to sin…….I was raised catholic, my mother was catholic,but she married a Lutheran,the catholic church told her she could not take communion because of that,I never thought much about that, now please correct me if im wrong, but a catholic must continue to take communion or they are not saved,or will not remained saved or something like that. But yet I will tell you they were the most Godly and loving people I knew,and for me to think that my mother is not in the arms of the loving Father does not rest well with me.

      • Yes scripture does expose , the lack of study in it, marriage is not the greatest gift of grace, Jesus act on the cross is…and there are many things that exist on earth for man that do not exist in heaven…and the Bible repeatedly tells us to judge and to do so righteously…

    • Oh Ruth, really? Divorce is not God’s ideal, I agree but some has divorced with real genuine reasons. Of course its pre-meditated for divorce should not be taken lightly. I’ll enlighten you and show you a few real life stories. My best friend who married as a virgin, was diagnosed 4 years later of having sickle cell. Her husband divorced her 10 years later. She literally begged him to stay but he would not. Should she have held a gun to his head and begged him? He was determined to leave. She prayed, fast, wept, and did a whole lot more but to no avail. Are we really to believe that .God will punish this woman along with her husband but it was not her fault whatsoever? You may think God is rough and horrible but those that know better, do not. There also was this man who was a secret homosexual and he also loves interfering with little boys; He got in trouble with the law, yet he was married. She waited and hoped and prayed etc, but eventually divorced him; praise God. Who would wanna be married to a S..t digger, to be blunt. May be you should think about these cases and tell me what you think.
      God bless

  5. The law says “Do not steal” but by the gift of grace we are generous to one and all. The law says “Do not murder” but by the gift of grace we love our enemies. The law says “Do not commit adultery” but by the gift of grace we love and adore our wives and wouldn’t even think of it.
    I am a failure in much of the above but all that means is I personally need more grace and we as a body need more grace preachers, Thanks for your posts.

    • Anthony Howitt,
      You said that “I personally need more grace.” The NASB in 2Cor 9:8 says: And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. I can never have more grace than is already given.

      • Yes Brother there is no second grace Amen to you, he did it once and for all. No doing it again, coming back to give more grace, thank you for saying this, Amen to you in the one time sacrifice and last shedding of blood for all to be set free once they believe, receive comes from Father and one sees it is all Father and not us. we the creation that responds in thanksgiving and praise to the creator as what is only proper to do, is thin king this out. I know for sure that a water glass that is created to use to get a drink from if could speak would not righteously ever complain to me, in asking why I have not used it to get a drink of water, sitting in the cabinet being ready for me to use. Why it was created as a vessel fro me to use as I see fit, whenever I see to do this. I am the master of that water glass

        So in retrospect do we see us now as God’s water glass?

  6. This post is wonderful, both for the specifics of what it says about God’s thoughts on divorce, but more importantly the big picture. Most Christians look at the old and new covenants all mixed together. And we often look at the things that Jesus said out of context, so we have a mind picture of a schizophrenic God. He’s angry one day, merciful the next. He has these crazy demands sometimes and other times he’s throwing around Grace. Paul, I thank God for teachings from you, Joseph Prince and Andrew Wommack that have shown me how to separate the 2 covenants, and have revealed the heart of God. Nothing could be more important. This is life changing.

  7. It seems to me that those who named Paul is given the deep revelation of God’s grace.

  8. Wow! Thank you so very much for this article…THIS is the answer to my prayers that I’ve been searching for over a year now. I’ve been divorced and remarried (my fault) and condemned by another Christian who supposedly hears Jesus clearly and I was told I was going to hell unless I leave my current “adulteress relationship” and return to my former spouse! This has caused me such grief and fear than words can express. I’ve been praying and seeking God for an answer about this and what I should do. I don’t ever want to lose salvation, no matter what I must do, even if it means sacrificing my current marriage! Now your teaching has been a Godsend answer to me and I can feel peace in my spirit once again that I still AM a child of God and He loves, accepts and forgives me! Thank you so much, Paul! I thank God for your ministry!

  9. nice follow up Paul,a subject that needs to be dealt with, divorce and remarriage has effected events in my life over the years, I have experienced and may family has at times when going for a job at a church etc “OH your divorced, AND REMARRIED.” let me get back to you.

  10. Vivian Foster // January 22, 2015 at 4:13 am // Reply

    Beautifully written and “spot on”! It’s a shame what many in the Christian world do to those who are hurting, those who are shamed, and those who need the message of grace the most! We need to leave the Old Covenant behind and embrace the New Covenant in full. It’s the Covenant that is full of love …. for us, and for those we meet. Thank you for writing such an important post. I pray it is received by hearts who need to reach out to those who need to know God loves them and who need to find acceptance and grace. Thank you!

  11. Another great post. I am glad God put it in your heart to address this issue. Many thanks, this will bless soooo many.

  12. creativegirl7 // January 22, 2015 at 4:36 am // Reply

    You are so right here, Paul! Nevertheless, in this earthly life, the consequences of a bad marriage, OR a divorce bring a world of pain to all involved. And He still gives more grace!

  13. This was an absolutely wonderful writing Paul, thank you.

  14. Thank you for this, may I repost this on the blog I write and Google+ I go on and share with others as well. insight too great from Father through you. Thanking Yeweh and Yeshua the true marriage as one that he adopts us in through belief

  15. Thank you for these past few blogs on divorce and remarriage. Having been divorced for about a year I have been pondering and praying about this issue. You couldn’t have written this at a better time for me.

  16. Moses Kawuma // January 22, 2015 at 10:02 am // Reply

    Spot on Paul. I love reading your writing. Keep up the great work.

  17. I once had a woman tell me I was unsaved and going to Hell because I had been divorced. The kicker is my ex cheated on me and she was the one who initiated the divorce, not me. I certainly made mistakes to contribute to the problems, but I know God doesn’t send us to Hell for someone else’s decision, crazy. I also know that even if I was at fault in the marriage ending, my sin is not too big for the blood of Jesus. I hate when people cheapen what Jesus did for us by suggesting His blood wasn’t enough to cover a particular sin. There is a huge difference between practicing sin and abusing grace and making a poor choice or screwing up at times.

    • Brandon,
      God does not send anyone to hell. Nowhere do I see that in scripture. “Hell” is of one’s own choosing. When Jesus said “It is finished”, everyone’s sins were forgiven – the good, the bad and the ugly. Not everyone believes that fact and therefore do not trust Jesus. The hell they are in is of their own choosing.

      • Nizam, I wasn’t suggesting God sends anyone to Hell. This woman I spoke of was. My point was that we are not condemned by someone else’s actions. God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, but some people will experience it by their own choosing.

      • What about the sin of non belief?

      • Karld1, for the sin of unbelief, not placing their faith in Christ, people will experience Hell, but God doesn’t send them there. They choose it by refusing to embrace salvation. God is simply being a gentleman respecting their choice.

    • Amen to you, in seeing truth over the errors here in and of this world we are all intertwined in and wanting to escape from to reality as The topic in truth is truly about through Grace given to us by Christ we that have suffered here, see and appreciate and have no intention to take for granted. And Father knows this and that is all that matters
      for as in Eph 1:6 says by his grace we are accepted in the beloved and the next verse states clearly we are forgiven to appreciate this acceptance.
      So in response to this it matter not who comes against us. For since god has accepted me, I have no need as this world loves to make me think I do, and all that are God’s children that do believe if not yet seen this will. I am in trust of this and make no judgment to anyone, not my Job per
      Romans 14:4Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

      4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

      So I can by this be aware of the accuser and remain harmless and stay in this perfection of Love and Mercy received and give it out as this is given to me from God by the cross for all and to all, where rest is in him alone by him we are delivered to Father as perfect, col. 1:22 says so
      so can we rest or not in him I see yes, yes, yes fro all his promises are yes

  18. Fyi. The letter of divorce applied to Joseph and mary. Their engagement was considered marriage and if Mary was not a virgin Joseph did not have to consumate the marriage. He then could give here a letter of divorce. The divorce law is understood properly in a Jewish culture of arranged marriage so a man was not obligated to marry someone who carried extra baggage. This shows the law was gracious in building homes on virtue.

    The idea that 2 Christians can divorce is anathema to all concept of a life in christ. The obligation to remain married when one spouse is not a believer is removed. The believing spouse may convert her nonbelieving husband and will be obligated by love a decision to be a light. Yet if the non believer wants to leave. Let them.

  19. Thank you

  20. Great post a look deeply into the heart of God.

  21. Brandon: Thank you for that last post…it was beautiful and full of grace and truth. Just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate it as I could feel that demon of condemnation try to creep back on me once more as I read Ruthless comments. I’m new to Paul Ellis’ teachings and “hyper grace” and am searching for truth as I’ve been in many different camps of Scriptural doctrine (legalism) for so long that it’s taking me awhile to slowly and prayerfully absorb the total grace message, so I tend to teeter-totter at times as I strive to avoid unscriptural teaching. Sometimes I feel like this super grace message is just too good to be true…but then I realize that JESUS is the epitome of Grace that to the natural mind is “too good to be true!” Thank you both, Brandon and Paul, for helping me understand the amazing freedom and grace that I have in Christ!

    • Paulette, you are very welcome. I have seen a lot of hurt caused over this issue, and it is something I have studied a lot. My prayer has always been, “Lord, help me to see what is real and true and not just what I might wish to believe. Help me to discern good teaching from bad, to follow You Lord, not man.” There are 2 similar books by David Instone Brewer that are very good on this subject. “Divorce and Remarriage in the Church” is an easier read, but “Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible” is more in depth targeting Biblical scholars wishing to teach on the subject. http://www.instonebrewer.com/divorceremarriage/

      • Brandon: that’s an excellent prayer that I will remember! It’s so very important to ask for discernment with so many different teachings in the church going around, and it all can be so confusing to me sometimes. So, that is my prayer as well that the Lord will keep me from any false or bad teaching.

        Those books are very interesting and I will be looking into them. I’ve done extensive research and reading on the subject of divorce and remarriage for obviously personal reasons and there is so much division on the subject, and it appears that both sides are based on Scriptural tenets. I’ve gotten to the point of just giving it all to God and asking Him to guide me, and the more I’m learning about His grace, the more I believe it applies to every area of our life including relationships that go awry. His grace and forgiveness are not excluded from people like myself who have unfortunately made mistakes in prior marriages. Why do people look for reasons to EXCLUDE others from God’s grace instead of INCLUDE ALL!? JESUS DID!!

        Blessings.

    • dearest paulette, i am quite sure that you could sit down and recall instances upon instances thru the last 40 years and see how God has blessed your second marriage… for starters, i believe you said, in another post, that your husband became a believer shortly after you were married? i was divorced and i am now 21 years into my second marriage. i was born again almost 7 years ago… and since that time i have witnessed God’s grace and blessings poured out all over my second marriage – and evidence that this was happening even before i was born again! look at the overwhelming evidence of blessings and how God has worked in and thru your marriage – they are the witness against anyone who would say second marriages arent blessed by God. 😉

    • Paulette, I feel you man and I feel the same in some ways. Thanks for that candid post. Its a daily fight to believe so when you feel your self fighting, just know you are on the right track because our only work is “to believe on him whom he has sent” Being under anything other than grace for a long time means it will take a while, but, “Christ shall complete the work in you.”
      God bless

  22. Paul, I want to add one more thing: if you look in the ASV and a couple other translations you will see that the word Jesus uses isn’t divorce. It is “putting away” their wives. In other words, what was happening was (all the way back in Malachi too) the men didn’t want to give the dowry money back, so instead of divorcing them, they put them away, ie put them out. This put them in a position of still being married but no support financially and so if they remarried, they really were committing adultery. He was rebuking them for their abuse of the marriage.

    Notice in Jeremiah two things… put Israel away AND gave her a certificate of divorce. They are different. Jer 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

    By the way if God can get a divorce… there are some people who are sinning by staying together in an abusive situation!

    Thanks

    • Thanks, Chuck, for that clarification. Yes, Jesus was addressing two issues here – divorce and de facto divorce (ie: sending wives away without legally divorcing them). Under law, it was a sin to remarry your divorced wife (Deu 24:4), which makes me wonder if this didn’t create an incentive to not write certificates of divorce. If so, then Jesus’s admonishment amounts to closing a legal loophole.

    • Exactly Chuck, thanks for adding that. I knew I was forgetting something. Been a while since I studied the topic.

  23. Here’s a situation that is of concern to me:

    What about a situation where both husband and wife have been unfaithful and had broken the covenant and then are divorced. And then both go on to marry another person. Later on, they both recognize and take responsibility for their mistakes and repent. Are they forgiven and can they continue in their current marriage and be blessed by God? They both sinned in the first marriage, and perhaps sinned again by remarrying, and both sought the Lord’s (and each other’s) forgiveness. Is there grace for them or are the “second-class” members in the Church?

    • Believe it or not, this is a question I am often asked! There are two parts to this question and they are both easy to answer. (1) Are they forgiven? Yes! You were forgiven 2000 years ago. (2) Should they continue in their current marriage? Yes! “Are you married? Do not seek a divorce” (1 Cor 7:27). (3) Are they blessed by God! Yes! But not because of their marital status – because of Jesus (Eph 1:3).

      • Hallelujah! Praise God! My heart truly does rejoice in that and I do believe that is truth and gives me great peace and comfort. God bless you, Paul. What a blessing your ministry is to me! 😊

    • All I can say if I may, Paulette
      Oil and water does not mix. Put the two in a glass and stir these two up, and what does it appear to do? Mix right?
      And when al is settled down and not stirred up does the oil and water separate?

      And so does the verse come to mind be still and know that God is God?

      Law and grace does not mix, can’t the same as oil and water
      Matt 5:17, John 19:30, Hebrews 9:15-17 and Hebrews 7:11-12. As well to all this Chrsit is from the tribe of Judah not Levites.
      Hope this helps in separating the wolf’s from the sheep

      • Homwardbound: Amen! That is SO TRUE! They don’t mix! Interestingly, I’ve been reading the book of Hebrews currently and it is so clear that God did away with the old covenant and brought in the new covenant through the death of Jesus Christ…and they are totally incomparable and you can’t live in both! I’ll live in the new covenant, thank you! 😊 JESUS did it ALL and it truly IS FINISHED indeed!

  24. Paul,
    Though not strictly pertaining to your message here what do you think Jesus had in mind when He cited marital unfaithfulness as the ONLY situation in which divorce and remarriage is acceptable?
    Blessings.

    • I presume you are referring to Matthew 19:9? Marriage is a covenant. If one partner is unfaithful, the covenant is effectively broken. In such circumstances, divorce merely ratifies what has already taken place.

  25. I think everyone is assuming that divorce is acceptable after vows (a vow to God HAS to be kept) whether our spouse has been faithful or not. Our vows are not to our spouse but to God. ( In Hosea’s case, he took a wife knowing in the future she would be unfaithful.) The divorce ( “putting away” ) that the book of Matt was referring to was that of the ESPOUSELMENT for cause of FORNICATION …one cannot commit adultery when not married yet, they can only fornicate. Just as Joseph had a right to put Mary away because he thought she was unfaithful during the espoused period. NONE OF US have been married to Christ yet….we are in the espousement period (2 Cor 11:2). The marriage to Him has not taken place. But once the Bride (we the Church) have shown ourselves faithful, trusting in His work and OBEYING what He reveals to us, He will then take us to Himself a chaste virgin to Christ.

    But I think we are all missing the point here. The reason that God instituted marriage, and faithfulness between two people (man and woman) is so we may understand WHO GOD IS and where we fit in the picture with Him. He is a jealous God who seeks our love and loyalty in ALL WE DO. We ALL have committed adultery if we have ever gave loyalty, sought help from, needed to feel loved by, from ANY OTHER and expected our needs to be met other than from God alone. You see, we ALL have broken the Ten Commandments. Do we not understand Romans 1??? Anyone who has ever shared their heart or sought help from the same-sex has committed sodomy (although not in the physical sense, but IN OUR HEART) . It’s why God gave us over to all the sins listed in Romans 1….BECAUSE we do not glorify Him as God, nor are we thankful. What is it to glorify God? Jesus said, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.” So let us all go forth allowing God to truly be our one and ONLY God and do HIS will.

  26. Ruthless, I’ve said it before and I will say it again and I will say it for the rest of my life, DONT JUDGE SOMEONE ELSE’S SIN BECAUSE IT IS DIFFERENT THAN YOURS!!!!!! YES YOURS, IF YOU FEEL YOU DONT HAVE ANY THEN MAYBE YOU NEED TO STUDY GOD’S WORD A LITTLE DEEPER AND GRAB ON A LITTLE TIGHTER TO HIS GRACE!!!!!!!

    • As someone says, “I don’t have time to judge your sin. There are too many of you. How about you hate your sin and I hate my sin and let’s just love each other!”

  27. To all those who condemn others and try to prevent them from coming to Christ!!! therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ you should let him be the judge I have been remarried made a mess of me and have been in turmoil bc of people condemning others LOVE is the number one commandment in the New Testament you should try it sometime!!! Jesus came to set us free otherwise no one including you would be going to heaven he (Jesus) is the only one righteous enough to get into heaven and when he died ( you died with him) when u excepted him as you personal Lord and savor he gave you his righteousness as a believer bc if it is based off of your righteousness you are doomed and like it or not we are all one in Christ so instead of condemning others why not help?? we are brother and sister one body don’t forget!!! I am on my second marriage and by the grace of God was able to heal my husbands back by putting my faith in Christ and being a willing vessel and I have also had a vision of getting the crown of life while in an airplane for going through trials and tribulations I was in the heavenly realm and bc of these things and my hope in Jesus Christ who is my Lord and savor there is hope for all people who put there faith in Jesus Christ!! Love your enemy don’t be one…what if people could be made right with God by obeying the law then Christ died for nothing Galatians 2:21 have faith that he is who he said he is and that he was raised from the dead the same power is in you!!! BELIEVE!! Don’t condone sin resist it and come as you are today right now you don’t get good to get God get God to get good that is my opinion and seek him with your whole and you will know the truth and the truth will set u FREE Jesus that is 😇🙏

    • Amen continued Faith that by that we learn truth over error at least me, thank you , for me I am learning this Luke 6:32, trusting for this to e is imputed in me to be naturally the new life in 1 Cor 13:4-7 taking no credit for self. God himself imputes this to anyone that will stand in belief to God, no matter how many mistakes one might make. God loves us all that deep ,through Jesus, to teach us truth over error in his Spirit of his risen Son Jesus The Christ

      Thank you for your testimony recieved

  28. Question. I am dating a women who is divorced. Has been for nearly 8 years. I meet her 5 years ago. I have been in church off and on all my 35 years but 6-8 months ago I decided to devote my entire life back to gods will only. It’s great to be back with God. But I was in raised in a holyness church pastered by my uncle. And I remember his teaching of strongly being against divorce and remarriage. So now I am at a loss on where to turn I want to live for God and do his will only. Any thoughts?????

    • Hi csx09,I am in my second marriage,when the first ended I was hurt mad etc,grace runs very very deep,and we have to depend on him to maintain our salvation etc,i was puzzled in the same way you are.I ask the Lord to forgive me, and he said, ” if i cant forgive that I cant forgive anything” and he said forgive your ex,and I said, I dont feel like it,he said “you dont have to feel it,just do it anyway,and when i did something lost its hold on me and freedom came,sorry I dont mean to ramble,anyway, may personal opinion is you are free to do what you want,just ask the Lord for wisdom,and take your time,he wants the best for you.

  29. If , God is great and powerful and full of grace, able to do anything, don’t you think he could give you the grace to stay in a marriage–particularly when there are children, no abuse, no adultery, just the wife not happy…but a professing Christian who goes to church? Would God really lead her to divorce her husband? Should no other Christians hold her accountable? What about the grieving spouse and children?

    • By that logic, God could’ve stopped Adam eating the forbidden fruit or Cain killing his brother. It’s not how it works. God makes us free and we must live with the consequences of our choices.

      • What about living and walking in the Spirit, this is what being born again is.
        If we really have the Spirit of God inside us, we will develop the fruits of the Spirit, as 2 Peter 1 tells us to do.
        We have received a Spirit of power, love and self control, but little of this, if any, is preached in many churches.
        Living in the Spirit, is being dead to the lusts and desires of the flesh and having the fruit of the Spirit as our way of life. Walking in the Spirit, is putting those lusts and desires of the mind and the flesh to death.
        If we are in Christ, we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and if we sin, to repent and confess it and move on, determining not to do it again.
        I believe that if your divorced and remarry before you get saved, then that is forgiven. If you divorce as a Christian and remarry, that is another story.
        Sure, you can be forgiven, if you repent and turn from it, but if not, then let the word be the judge.
        1 Cor. 6
        9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor *effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
        I could be wrong, but the Word of God, never is.
        If you can justify yourself with the Word, good for you, because it is what God will judge us by at the end, not me, or anybody else.
        It’s between you and God.

      • You’re talking about two separate issues. I’ll respond to the second one. God won’t judge those in Christ because we have been judged already. It would be unjust of him to punish the same sin twice. You quoted 1 Cor 6 but seemed to miss the best part: “That is what some of you were.” Paul is not saying, “Christian, God will judge you.” He’s saying, “Don’t act like the person you used to be.” It’s an exhortation, not a threat. More here.

  30. This is beautiful! Thank you! I am looking to get married for the first time to a woman who has been divorced twice (once due to threats on her life and once for emotional abandonment and infidelity) and I have been struggling with the passages you treated. I have felt in my heart that God is restoring, healing and giving grace in this, but the passages were an issue.
    Thank you for your great treatment of this!

  31. I understand that God’s grace is going to cover us, and His forgiveness and mercy are limitless. However, the argument in this post is that Jesus was admonishing the self-righteousness of the Pharisees who came to Him. We do need to take into account the audience He’s speaking to (and the audience Paul et al writes to in the rest of the New Testament). However, Jesus was talking to his disciples and the multitudes who He was teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, which is the first time He talked about this. Later, He used the same teaching in the discussion with the Pharisees. In the Sermon on the Mount, He’s expounding on the law and explaining that He didn’t come to abolish it but fulfill it. Again, I am totally in agreement that we’ve all died to sin and we’re saved by grace, period, end of story. However, Jesus also spent His time here teaching us how to live in His grace. Do you disagree with that?

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