“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
Traditionally, the constructing of a prohibition where God provided believers liberty to divorce unbelieving spouses, the church has badly mistreated many of its own proving the old axiom: “The only army that shoots its wounded is the Christian army.” In fact, many actually believe that if a divorced believer remarries they prove to be unbelievers and are condemned to eternal damnation. Divorce is treated as a sin when in fact it is not a sin at all (See article titled: Reclaiming God’s Provision of Divorce). God provided divorce as a remedy for a godly spouse to escape the lifelong companionship with an evil spouse.
Many reasons exist for God’s provision. The following is not an exhaustive list, but consider:
- The unbelieving spouse has broken the marriage covenant’s condition of suitability (Genesis 2:20). Physical: Suitable means one man and one woman. Spiritual: Suitable means same spiritual condition. For the world at large this simply means that both marriage partners will be unbelievers (Marriage is a creation ordinance, thus it applies to all of mankind). For the Old Testament this means that both marriage partners must be Jews by birth or conversion of young females (Deuteronomy 7:3-4, 13:6-11, 17:2-7, 21:10-14 and 22:9-11). For the New Testament and the church era this means that both marriage partners must be born-again in Christ Jesus (I Corinthians 7:39, II Corinthians 6:14-7:1).
- Believers are under God’s command, “do not be bound together with unbelievers…Come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord” (2 Cor. 6:14 & 17; Deuteronomy 7:3-4, 22:9-11).
- Bad company corrupts good morals (Exodus 23:33, 1 Kings 22:52-53, Prov. 13:20b, 1 Cor. 15:33).
- God’s disfavor will fall upon the house of the wicked and injure the child of God (Numbers 33:55-56; 2 Chron. 19:2: Isaiah 31:2; Jeremiah 2:37; Ezek. 21:3).
- Light and darkness, righteousness and lawlessness, Christ and ungodliness, the temple of God and idols cannot be together. They cannot have partnership, fellowship, harmony, commonality and agreement (II Corinthians 6:14-16).
- The will of God demands divorce when unequally yoked (See article titled: The will of God dictates divorce for those unequally yoked in marriage).
So what is the proof that divorced believers are treated as second class Christians? Just listen to the preachers. Divorce is near the top of virtually every pastors list of proofs that the church is in a declension. But the reality is that unequally yoked marriages should replace divorce in that list because they are the biblically prescribed cause for the decline of godliness in the church, and repentance through divorce is God’s remedy. Christians who divorce godless spouses are following the command of God and do so at great personal cost.
These same pastors routinely make statements of condemnation indicating that divorced people have merely taken the easy way out as though they are people with no character. To say such a thing takes a fundamentally flawed understanding of what people are going through leading up to a divorce. It is not remotely easy to go through a divorce. Two people working toward the same dreams and goals for many years have so many entanglements. They have shared children, property, bank accounts, mortgages, friends, relatives and hopes. God’s word commands believers, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers”, so then divorce is not the easy way out, it is an unbelievably difficult but obedient way out of an unequally yoked marriage. Many believers fail to divorce their unbelieving spouse because they fear the heavy cost (Proverbs 15:16-17), but material comfort is a sinful reason to stay bound to an unbeliever. Proverbs 9:6 “Forsake the simple ones and live, and proceed in the way of understanding.” Forsake means to renounce something dear to one, to leave entirely, to desert or abandon.
The world likes to say, “Happy wife, happy life”. The people of God should replace this saying with the much more biblical statement, “Believing spouse, blessed house”.