“I am the Lord your God…you shall have no other gods before Me.” The first of the Ten Commandments could not be clearer, yet the Israelites continually sought the gods of the nations, particularly they worshipped the Baals. The worship of any other than the living God is by definition idolatry—having an idol. However, this unfaithfulness to God is also called adultery; theologically it is called spiritual adultery so that it remains distinct from physical adultery. God uses the imagery of physical adultery to show Israel how wicked they were behaving in their relationship with God when they turned to the gods of the nations (spiritual adultery). Note: The inverse is not also true, which is to say that God does not view those born under idolatry as being faithful when they worship the gods of their fathers. It is not only the Israelites who must have no other gods before the God of creation, but all of mankind is guilty of spiritual adultery when they fail to worship God. In the same way, God’s children do not belong in marriages with spiritual adulterers. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14). So then, God’s word clearly states, “You shall have no other gods before Me”, and “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers” thus God’s people must divorce themselves of any and all false gods and they must divorce themselves of any and all unequally yoked relationships with those who worship false gods.
Scripture uses the marriage between a man and a woman to demonstrate man’s relationship with God. Israel and Judah are depicted as being the bride of God. The church is depicted as the bride of Christ. The gospel commands all men to come to Christ; being apart from Christ is to be guilty of spiritual adultery. Those born under false gods are commanded to divorce themselves of those gods (repent of their idolatry) and embrace Christ Jesus. In exactly the same way those married to the children of Satan are commanded to divorce their spiritually adulterous spouses (repent of being unequally yoked) and remarry only in the Lord or remain single.
THE CHURCHES ONE SIZE FITS ALL APPROACH TO MARRIATAL DIVORCE
Whether it is with the god of our youth or the bride of our youth it is too simple to say that we must stay with them until death in order to be free of adultery. Adultery is the sin of joining or giving yourself to someone or something when you rightly belong to someone else. This manifests three situations whereby we would be guilty of adultery. To begin with, the first of the Ten Commandments commands all humans to have no other gods besides God, which is God’s claim upon mankind. So anyone worshipping anything other than God is guilty of spiritual adultery. Secondly, when two believers unite in marriage they belong to one another as husband and wife and therefore commit adultery whenever they give themselves to another. Finally, when a believer joins himself in marriage to an unbeliever he is committing adultery because God’s word clearly instructs him that he belongs to/with a fellow believer; he literally belongs to another (a coheir of Christ Jesus) even when her identity is yet unknown to him.
God’s desire for His children is that they love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and that they dwell together in unity (love one another as they love themselves). Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” In the 101st Psalm David is speaking not on God’s behalf but on his own when he says, “No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure. My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me. He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; he who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me (Psalm 101: 5-7).
We are commanded as God’s children to dwell in unity with those who are faithful and walking in God’s blameless way. David clearly states that the unbeliever shall not “dwell within my house” nor shall he “maintain his position before me.” Oh man or woman of God, do you have the heart of David who himself was a man after God’s heart? Do you allow a child of Satan to dwell within your house? Do you have a spiritual adulterer maintaining their position as your spouse? King David clearly says he would not allow such. Jesus agreed with David when He said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life” (Luke 18:29).
The Lord’s meaning is made clearer in Matthew 10:34-39 were Jesus informed His followers that He brings not peace but a sword, and with the sword He would divide and separate His children away from those who remain lost in disobedience. Even the most intimate family relationships will be divided as we follow God’s way while our family members continue in the way of unrighteousness.
So then, we must address the elephant in the room. Clearly we understand that scripture commands God’s true followers to separate themselves from all unbelievers and dwell in unity with their fellow heirs in Christ Jesus. This includes divorcing unbelieving spouses. A failure to do so makes you guilty of committing adultery for you belong to and must delight in the majestic ones upon the earth (Psalm 16:3). Yet the church has taught for centuries that to divorce an unequally yoked spouse is adultery. The word of God must correct the traditions of men. The word of God must determine our doctrinal views. The word of God must correct man-made doctrines even when those doctrines are held by otherwise godly men. We must not allow man-made doctrines, even those that have become centuries old traditions, the power to interpret the word of God. The time has come to correct this misunderstanding of God’s holy word and separate ourselves from the sons of disobedience.
I dedicate this article to my beloved wife Hilary who is a fellow heir of Christ Jesus and truly a Proverbs 31 lady. We were joined in holy matrimony on this very date four years ago. Thank you Lord God for the beautiful gift you provided for me in answer to years of earnest prayer.