Sunday, August 22nd 2021 | Malachi 2:11-16 & Galatians 5:13-18
A review of what we’ve learned so far on the Biblical definition of marriage, as well as the basis for divorce: Marriage is a divine institute intended by God to be a lifelong (as long as both live), one-flesh relationship that is moored in a witnessed contract that includes binding oaths/vows that both parties promise to perform toward one another with all diligence. The one-flesh relationship is to display the glory of God and to be an image to the world of Christ’s love for the church, His own body. Vows include promises to emotionally and physically love, to provide for one another’s basic physical needs such as clothing, home and food, etc,, and to be faithful and monogamous. Each partner has command over and legitimate stewardship of the the body of the the other partner. Genuine repentance and forgiveness for sins and oath infringements is strongly encouraged. But because of human frailty and sin, God allows divorce by the injured party for persistent and unrepented violation of any of the vows. Generally these violations should be validatable by independent/disinterested, wise third parties. Violation of one’s vows is a serious sin before God, and corrosive to the witness of Christ in the world and the institution itself. Dangerous abuses of vows may require help and protection for the injured party and rebuke of the aggressor. Remarriage is allowed for the injured party, without prejudice, after a divorce obtained on those grounds. In other words, a divorce on proper grounds is not itself sin, though the events that lead up to it always involve serious sin by at least one party. God deals firmly with oath-breakers. “For any reason” or no-fault divorce, is not seen by Jesus or Paul as valid for believers.
Takeaway: Marriage is a wonderful arrangement, bringing great joy and fulfillment and usually the begetting of children, and is capable of displaying the love and glory of God in a unique way, but it requires sticking by oaths, sometimes at great personal cost. Be an oath-keeper yourself, and marry only maturing believers that demonstrate wise oath-keeping characteristics.