Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Marriage and Violence (5) Re-Marriage

The topic of marriage and re-marriage is covered in 1 Corinthians 7. The chapter deals with various themes.

  • A man should have one wife, and a woman should have one husband (1 Cor 7:2).

  • A woman’s body belongs to the husband, so if he assaults his wife, it is probably because he hates himself (1 Cor 7:4).

  • A husband’s body belongs to his wife, so if she tells him to stop doing something physical, he must stop (1 Cor 7:4).

  • Sexual relations should be by mutual consent (1 Cor 7:5).

  • Being single is good, because it gives freedom to go all out for God without being weighed down with family concerns and commitments (1 Cor 7:7,8).

  • Not everyone has the calling to be single. If not, they should seek to marry (1 Cor 7:9).

  • A Christian couple should normally stay together. If they are having marital difficulties, they might need to stay apart for a while to sort the situation out. They should not rush to divorce, but should work hard to be reconciled. If God is at work in their lives, they should be able to put their sins to death and be healed of their failings (1 Cor 7:10-11). Divorce is not a solution for simple disputes and tensions.

  • When a person who has an unbelieving spouse becomes a Christian and their spouse continues to be an unbeliever, the believing spouse should not leave, but remain and love and pray for their spouse (1 Cor 7:12-13).

  • An unbelieving spouse might come to faith though the witness to the love of Jesus of their spouse (1 Cor 7:16).

  • The marriage covenant is so strong that the faith of a believing spouse can sanctify an unbelieving spouse enough to get them into glory. They same applies to unbelieving children (1 Cor 7:14).

  • If the unbelieving spouse refuses to stay with the spouse who has become a believer, they should be allowed to leave. This act of leaving is sometimes called “wilful desertion”. (I presume the leaving spouse would lose the blessing described in the previous point). Leaving a marriage takes various forms. Refusing to allow the believing spouse to be who they are by following Jesus is another form of leaving the marriage (1 Cor 7:15).

  • When the unbelieving spouse leaves, the believing spouse is “not bound” (1 Cor 7:15). Paul explains what this means further on in 1 Cor 7:39. While a husband is alive, his wife is bound to him. Once he has died, she is no longer bound and is free to marry any man she chooses. So when Paul says that a believing spouse is “not bound” if the unbelieving spouse departs, he is saying that they are free to marry again.

  • When a woman separates from her husband due to adultery, she is free to marry again, because he has wilfully deserted her. Even if he claims to be a believer, he is acting as an unbeliever, so can be treated as one.

  • When a man repeatedly assaults or emotionally torments his wife, he has wilfully deserted his marriage promise to protect and care for her, so she is not bound to him, but is free to marry again. Even if he claims to be a believer, he is acting as an unbeliever, so can be treated as one.

  • During times of persecution and tribulation, it might be better for young women not to marry and have children, because there is a risk their husbands will be martyred, and they could be left caring for children, without any means of support (1 Cor 7:25-35,40).

  • Even in troubled times, sexual attraction can be a powerful force. So even if getting married is a risky thing to do, it is better to marry than to stay single and sin against a potential marriage partner (1 Cor 7:36-38).

  • A believer who is widowed is free to marry anyone they choose, provided that they belong to the Lord (1 Cor 7:39).

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