OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


            The institution of marriage is of divine origin.  It was God who solved man’s problem of loneliness by creating woman and establishing the marriage bond.  “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept:  and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:  she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out ofMan.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:21-24).

            God’s ultimate will for a man and a woman who are joined in holy wedlock is for both of them to remain together until death takes one of them.  Jesus emphasized this in His discussion with the Jews regarding divorce.  “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh?  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.  What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:3-6).

            Sadly, many do not regard the institution of marriage as holy.  Day in and day out, thousands in the United States of America enter into the divorce courts to severe their marital ties.  What God has joined together, they have put asunder.  Their actions are in direct violation of Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:6.  Many of these individuals eventually marry again.  When they enter into that second marriage, they commit adultery in the sight of God.  “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if her 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 and adulteress:  but if her husband be dead, she is free from the law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man” (Rom. 7:2-3).  A king in Israel named Herod was in an adulterous relationship.  He had married Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife.  John the Baptist confronted him about this matter, and said:  “It is not lawful for thee to have her” (Matt. 14:4).  Those same words could be said to thousands of couples today.  They have divorced and remarried.  Their marriages are not lawful in God’s sight.  The man and the woman are adulterers.

            Dear readers, there are only two categories of people who are free to remarry once they have entered into a lawful marriage in the sight of God.  First, if a person’s mate has died, he is free to remarry without committing adultery.  Romans 7:2 is clear:  “…but if her husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.”  The death of one spouse brings the marriage bond to an end.  The widow or widower is free to remarry.  In fact, Paul encouraged younger widows to remarry in I Timothy 5:14.

            Second, those who have divorced their mate because their mate committed fornication are free to remarry.  This exception was granted by Jesus during His earthly ministry.  “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” (Matt. 19:9).  There is no doubt that many in our society have had a scriptural reason to divorce and remarry.  Unfaithfulness, sexual immorality, fornication is a prevalent sin committed in marriage today.  However, multitudes divorce and remarry when no fornication has been committed by the spouse.  Those who enter into these second marriages are in adultery.  The Bible is clear about the fate of such individuals.   They shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven (I Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21).

            The church has been far too silent on this issue.  Due to our neglect or fear, we have enabled members of the church to enter adulterous relationships.  This should not be!  Precious souls are at stake.  The fires of hell are too hot for a few years of pleasure on this earth.  My friends, let us abide by God’s divine law concerning divorce and remarriage.