By Carrol R. Sutton

Our likes, dislikes, preferences, relatives, the world or our emotions do not constitute the standard we must use to properly answer the above question. The Word of God is standard. (See 2 Tim. 3:16-17; James 1:25; 2:12; John 12:48; 2 John 9; etc.)

In Mt. 19:4-7 Jesus said: “...Have you not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave Father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they two shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” NOTE: When man put asunder that which God hath joined together, man violates the words of Jesus and thus he sins!

In I Cor. 7:10-11 Paul wrote: “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” NOTE: This passage plainly prohibits a wife from departing from her husband! This would certainly include divorcing her husband. This is a command of the Lord! The Lord said: “Let not the wife depart from her husband”! This command of the Lord is not difficult to understand. NOTE: If a wife departs from her husband, she clearly violates this command of the Lord! This is not a “suggestion”, but a command that she violates. This is a very serious matter.

Some have argued that this passage justifies a wife departing from her husband because it says, “But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried...” NOTE: This is an unwarranted conclusion. In actuality, this is a rank perversion of this passage. Such a conclusion demands that what is stated in verse 11 make void the command of the Lord that is stated in verse 10 – “Let not the wife depart from her husband...”! The option to “remain unmarried” would be exercised ONLy if reconciliation would not be possible! If the husband would not allow reconciliation, she would have no choice. She would have to remain single.

The only reason (an exception to the rule) the Lord gives for divorcing a spouse is “for the cause or fornication”. In this case the innocent party has a right to divorce the one guilty of fornication for that reason and may marry again. (See Lk. 16:18; Mk. 10:11-12; Mt. 19:9; Rom. 7:2-3).

If a wife divorces (or departs from) her husband for any reason (other than fornication) she not only violates the command of the Lord in 1 Cor. 7:10-11, but she violates other commands of the Lord in failing to fulfill her responsibilities to her husband. (See Eph. 5:22-24, 33; Col. 3:18; 1 Pet. 3:1-6; I Cor. 7:2-6).

In Mt. 5:32 Jesus said: “...whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery...” NOTE: One who causes another to commit adultery is guilty of sin!

Yes, divorce (except for fornication) without remarriage is sinful! 

The Instructor, January, 2005; Volume 42, Number 1
Published monthly by the congregation of Christ,
Meeting at 4777 US Highway 431, Albertville, AL

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Last Updated:  Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:41 PM