Marriage is the first institution God established. An institution may be defined as an established set of laws, practices and customs. This is the reason why it is called a marriage covenant in the Scriptures. When we speak of a covenant we are simply referring to an agreement or contract or an alliance between man and God or man and man. According to the scriptures marriage is an alliance between husband and wife with God as the initiator and a witness.
Everything being equal, marriage by nature is a binding agreement, and there are only two valid reasons that may unnul the marriage contract. The first reason is natural and the other is unnatural. The first natural cause of the death of the marriage agreement is the death of a spouse. Most marriage vows anticipate this, by including the phrase ” till death do us part or as long as we shall both live”. The death of a spouse is the natural way God intended for every marriage to conclude its course.
(Luke 20: 27-35)
“27 Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him, 28 Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 29 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. 31 And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. 32 Last of all the woman died also. 33 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife. 34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:”
The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, so they came up with an argument that they thought would prove to be a dilemma for Christ and thereby disprove the notion of resurrection. Their argument employs the logic that marriage ends every time one of the spouses dies. The woman in their analogy had been married seven times and this was possible only because when her husband died she was free to be married by another man, in this case it was the brother of her departed husband.
The Sadducees understood that marriage ends when one of the spouses died, but in their argument they contradicted that truth. In their conclusion they suggested that this woman was still married to at least one of the seven brothers in the resurrection, and their question was which one was the legal husband to the woman. The Sadducees also knew that this woman could not have seven legal husbands at once, they did not believe in polyandry.
When Christ answered their question He confirmed the first principle, that marriage naturally ends when a spouse dies and there is no dilemma because, in the resurrection those who have been blessed to share in the eternal life never marry and are never given to marriage.
God intended that marriage naturally ends with the death of one spouse.
(Romans 7: 2)
“For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.”
(1 Corinthians 7:38)
“The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.”
The second unnatural assassin to the marriage alliance is adultery, which in reality is fornication. Adultery is unfaithfulness, it occurs when both spouses or a spouse has sexual relations outside the marriage institution. While fornication is sexual immorality, it is a broad category which includes all sexual sins, including adultery which is the sin only committed by the married and sex before marriage which can only be committed by the unmarried.
“Thou shalt not commit adultery”
“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
Adultery is unfaithfulness and the transgression of the marriage laws given by God. It is the sin of apostasy, the rejection of the belief in the marriage laws. Adultery happens when the beliefs that were once held and accepted by the married spouses are castaway and replaced by different beliefs.
(Proverbs 2: 15-18)
“15 Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: 16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; 17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. 18 For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.”
An adulterous woman is described as someone who has forsaken or rejected the guide of her youth, which is the law of God. This woman has forgotten the covenant (of marriage) which is given by her God .
To commit adultery is to reject God’s law, this is equivalent to forgetting God’s covenant or institution of marriage.
Most adulters use divorce or separation as their main modus operandi (mode of oparation) in continuing to commit adultery. A huge number of unfaithful spouses love thier sin, they take pleasure in breaking the marriage covenant. Such people ultimately seek to be free from the marriage contract by any means even by illegal unrecognised divorce or separation.
(1 Corinthians 7:10)
“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.”
Apostle Paul gives a divine command. It is an inspired command: the wife is obligated to remain with her husband and husband to also do the same. However, all wives do not obey this command, nor do all husbands. Most people would love to separate or divorce for any reason whatsoever.
“The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”
When people want to commit adultery, they will divorce for any reason. Spouses separate and leave their husbands or wives because they have affections for someone else.
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Continued lust is the main motivation for why people would seek to separate and divorce their spouses. By lusting after other woman and by having affections sexually or otherwise, for other men or women, is adultery.
(Matthew 19: 9)
“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery”
The only reason permitted by God for separation or divorce, is incessant continual unrepentant adultery by one spouse. The innocent spouse is freed from the marriage contract without judgement or punishment. If there is no adultery taking place then there are no valid grounds for divorce, and if both spouse are adulterous there are no valid grounds for divorce as well, since there is no innocent spouse deserving relief.
” It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”
Any divorce that doesn’t meet the requirements set forth by God in his word is really a way to commit adultery. It is an attempt to deceive men by hiding adultery using man’ legal systems.
The sanctity of marriage should be protected by those godly and righteous husbands and wives within this blessed institution of marriage.
Author: Pastor Tshepo Laka