Originally published in the weekly bulletin of the church of Christ at Elkins on June 29, 2014
We are studying the Book of Malachi at Elkins on Wednesday evenings, and in Chapter 2, verse 16, God told Israel through the Prophet, “I hate putting away.” This clearly means that God hated divorce in the Old Testament times and still does to this day! Our society has a shameful acceptance of divorce to the extent of threatening the holy institution of marriage itself!
Our society is rapidly drifting into a state of godlessness from which there might never be any complete return. Our society doesn’t realize that any time there is a divorce, there is sin; because God intended that two people be bound to each other as long as both live (Rom. 7:1-4). God’s law concerning marriage and divorce has been the same from the beginning, one husband and one wife living together until death!
But God does allow for divorce (Matt. 19:6-9), and the innocent party is free to marry again! Jesus clarified the marriage law in this passage and gave only one reason for a divorce which is fornication – Porneia (every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse). It is the same with God as though that one who destroyed the marriage bond had died! The survivor is then free to marry again.
My friends, no one would have a problem with a preacher whose wife had died if he marries again and continues to preach! Then why should we have a problem if his wife has been unfaithful and has forsaken the marriage bond, and the preacher divorces her for unfaithfulness and marries another? In the sight of God, according to divorce, he has the same right to remarry! If he has the right to remarry, he has the same right to continue to preach the gospel!
Marriage is a permanent arrangement intended to last throughout life and may be broken only by two things: (1) death (Rom. 7:1) and (2) fornication (Matt. 19:9) (engage in sex with another person outside of marriage) and in the eyes of God there is no difference!
Some in our brotherhood use an erroneous definition of fornication (Porneia) to say it does not mean sexual intercourse but only covenant breaking of vows. The Greek term rendered “immorality” or “fornication” refers to every kind of sexual intercourse outside of marriage! The term “adultery” (Moicheia) is a more specific term and refers to intercourse where at least one of the married persons is involved with someone else!
Also some in our brotherhood take the erroneous position that a preacher cannot remarry even if his wife has been unfaithful, because there is only one reason by which a marriage vow is broken and that is death! They fail to understand that “fornication” is death in the eyes of God!
Anyone who would add to this or take from it, does so at the expense of their eternal soul! (Deut. 4:2) (Prov. 30:6) (Rev. 22:18)