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God designed and created men and women for each other from the creation of humankind. In verse 5, Jesus confirmed that this creation ideal is the reason anyone without limiting this to Jews or any other group of people leaves parents and cleaves to his or her mate in a one-flesh relationship. Spiritually they become like one person. No human being is to separate them. This is a creation law of God given before the law of Moses.

Divorce and Separation - Is Restoration Always God’s Will?

They make lifelong vows of fidelity, and God is a witness to these vows. He yokes them together, and those in a single yoke cannot separate themselves without removing the collar. This is a continuous command throughout a marriage. Can a husband and wife separate? Should they separate? Did Jesus answer the question of the Pharisees?

What God has joined together, let man not separate. Man and woman leave parents and cleave to each other in a one-flesh relationship.

Jesus on Marriage and Divorce - Divorce Magazine

God joins them together. No exceptions. Why did Moses permit divorce? Jesus answered the Pharisees by giving them the reasoning behind Deuteronomy First, Moses permitted the Israelites to divorce their wives; it was not a command as the Pharisees suggested. Nor did Moses create divorce — it was already a common practice among the Israelites. The law of Moses was really a damage control measure as divorces occurred.

It was not part of His plan for marriage. And, as Jesus said, this creation law still governs all humankind. Now we come to the most controversial statement of all. The proper application of this single term is the most important key to understanding verse 9. Does this term require some sexual involvement on the part of a marriage partner? According to Greek authorities, the word has a broad sexual connotation — including unlawful heterosexual relationships, homosexuality also sodomy and lesbianism , incest, and bestiality.

It appears to require more than mere covenant breaking, marital incompatibility, or disloyalty. In emphasizing the purity of the marriage bond, Jesus spoke broadly against any sexual involvement with others porneia that breaks the sexually exclusive bond between husband and wife. He did not restrict this sin to adultery only, but rejected both it and all other forms of sexual infidelity. Jesus permits divorce whenever a spouse commits any porneia , which is not limited solely to moicheia. How much porneia must a spouse commit before the exception applies?

Is it a one-time act, or must it be a continual, unrepentant state of marital unfaithfulness?

Jesus on Marriage and Divorce

How does one know for sure if and when porneia occurs, especially since it is usually a secretive act? The word and context do not tell us. The exception could apply immediately upon any sexual infidelity. The first act could break the exclusive sexual bond between husband and wife. It may also require a continuous and unrepentant lifestyle of sexual infidelity with a hard heart before divorce occurs scripturally. There is no clear consensus on this issue.

But if porneia is present and active, divorce is permitted.

To a Spouse Considering Divorce // Ask Pastor John

How does one prove marital unfaithfulness? Under Mosaic law, witnesses must verify adulterous behavior Lev. No such biblical requirement exists today. Apart from the Bible, some civil courts struggling with legal proof of adultery in divorce cases have resolved the problem this way:. Because adultery usually takes place in secret or seclusion, proof thereof in most instances is by circumstantial evidence, through showing desire , by evidence of mutual affection or otherwise, coupled with opportunity under conditions or circumstances from which a reasonable judge of human nature would be led to conclude that adultery was committed.

We must act wisely to arrive at an honest conclusion on this important matter. If reasonable Christians, aware of the relevant facts, believe that the circumstances through desire and opportunity support sexual infidelity porneia , perhaps that is enough to fulfill the intent of verse 9. Divorce except for porneia and remarriage are adultery. But does this term refer to a one-time act of adultery or a continuing state of adultery? One spouse remarries another person; therefore, both parties to that remarriage commit adultery.

But does this adultery continue? Some believe it does not. They argue that once an adulterous marriage occurs, there is no way to undo it. At that instant, the remarriage becomes legitimate. Alternatively, does moikaomai mean such a remarriage is a continuing state of adultery? As opposed to a one-time adulterous act, is it adultery that continues while the relationship exists?

This may mean that anyone remarrying after an unscriptural divorce from a living spouse enters into a lifestyle of adultery Col. The debate on this critical point continues. However, if a continuous state of adultery truly exists in the remarriage, who would argue against terminating this relationship? Repentance would clearly require breaking off the adulterous relationship. Many questions arise.

Does the exception Jesus made in verse 9 for marital unfaithfulness permit a divorce but not remarriage? I feel this is a very strict construction.


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Jesus clearly addresses a situation where divorce and remarriage have occurred, not each action as an isolated incident. Verse 9 does not tell us, but Matthew indicates that the remarriage may be adulterous. When the exception does apply, Jesus does not say whether the divorcer may remarry. However, by implication, if a divorce is permissible for porneia , then the marriage is broken.

It is as if a death of the unfaithful spouse has occurred. What about the divorcee who is guilty of porneia? Does he or she give up any chance to marry again? Jesus does not say anything about this person. The one engaging in porneia commits a grievous sin in breaking the marriage bond. What are the consequences?

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Jesus does not mention any penalty in verse 9. Most Roman Catholics will try to resolve problems in their marriage to avoid divorce as it is forbidden by their Church. If the marriage has irretrievably broken down, they can get a civil divorce but they will be unable ever to remarry in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church.


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  7. This is because they made an everlasting covenant in church during their original marriage ceremony. For a marriage to be valid three conditions must apply:. If it is shown that any of these conditions is not being met in the marriage, then one or both of the partners may ask for the marriage to be declared null and void. If a decree of nullity is granted, the couple is free to remarry and do so in church. Most members of the Church of England will also try to work through any problems in their marriages to avoid divorce.