Can People Divorce For Any Cause?

People do divorce for every cause but that is not the way we are asking this question. The question is being asked in reference to what is right in the sight of God and not man. If it can be done in the sight of God, it has His blessing. If it is not permitted by Him, then those who divorce for every cause are engaging in sinful conduct.

This question was put to Jesus in Matthew 19:3-9: "Is it lawful for a man to put away (divorce) his wife for every cause?" (V. 3). Jesus answered the question by pointing to the undeniable fact that in the beginning when God created all things, He also began the institution of marriage. God made male and female and intended for marriage between man and woman to be permanent. The word "cleave" as Jesus quoted it from Genesis 2:24 means to cement or glue. It is the idea of being inseparable. Despite what society has made of marriage, God commands it to be permanent. As God made woman from man to where she was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh (Genesis 2:23), so are husband and wife "one flesh". Jesus, likewise, pointed out in marriage God does the joining together. Thus, we must realize marriage is not a product of civilization or culture but of God. If society would only get back to realizing these basic truths, maybe marriage would not be taken so lightly.

By Jesus' reply, the inquirer understood the answer to be "No, it is not lawful for people to divorce for every cause." In Matthew 19:9 Jesus gives the ONLY EXCEPTION for which a married person could divorce their spouse: "fornication". God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and God's attitude hasn't changed. It was true in the beginning of time and will be until the end of time. God hates divorce and the only exception wherein a divorce is allowed is in the event of illicit sexual intercourse with someone other than your spouse, i.e. fornication.

Jesus also taught when people, who divorce for reasons other than fornication, remarry they are committing "adultery". With many folks adultery is like fornication, "Everybody's doing it!". The common occurrence of something doesn't diminish the seriousness of it. "Know ye not that the unrighteousness shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9,10).

God's law of marriage applies to anyone and everyone; saint and sinner, alike. In the day of judgement, we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ (Romans 14:10) and be judged according to the things we have done (Revelation 20:12). Could it be that we are an adulterer?

--E.R. Hall, Jr.

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