Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Christian Marriage (9) Grounds

In the scriptures, there are two grounds for divorce.

  1. A person has grounds for divorce if their marriage partner commits adultery or engages in other immoral sexual activity. Jesus said,

    I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery (Matt 5:32).
    Although this is a warning against divorce, the implication is that divorce is allowable in cases of adultery. The Greek word for marital unfaithfulness is “pornea”, which covers a broad range of sexual sins, and not just adultery. All forms of sexual immorality are grounds for divorce, because they break the marriage union.

  2. The second ground for divorce is wilful desertion by a non-Christian spouse. Paul addressed the problem that arises when one of a married couple becomes a Christian.

    If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him (1 Cor 7:12,13).
    Being married to an unbeliever is not grounds for divorce, because the unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the faith of the believing spouse (1 Cor 7:14). However, Paul goes on to say,
    But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace (1 Cor 7:15).
    Paul uses the same word “bound” in Romans 7:2-3 to explain that a widow is free to marry again. He explains to the Corinthians that a deserted spouse is “not bound”, so they are free to marry another person.

    When a person becomes a Christian and their spouse refuses to continue living with them, the Christian is able to seek a divorce. On the other hand, if the non-Christian is willing to stay, then the Christian cannot divorce. The expression “be willing stay” is quite strong. The Greek words mean “be glad to make a home with.” This is not mere toleration. It means making a home together. If the unbelieving husband is willing to stay, but keeps on abusing his wife, she would be entitled to leave.

No comments: