The Bible answers questions concerning both marriage and divorce. Where one is a unity created and centered on God, the other is a sin that attacks His redemptive plan for His creation. We will examine how the Bible governs marriages, the effects of divorce on spirituality, and cover what the Bible says about divorce.
how does the bible govern marriages?
God instituted marriage in Genesis in 2:18-24 at the time of man's creation as a union between a man and woman. Genesis 1:28 explains that marriage is to be fruitful. The Bible continues to explain marriage throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Marriage Is to Be a Reflection of God
Once a man and woman are married, the relationship is to be indissoluble, as explained by Matthew 19:9. The prophet Malachi explains in Malachi 2:16, "'I hate divorce,' says the Lord, the God of Israel." This does not mean that God hates those that get divorced, but that divorce is something that is against God's redemptive plan for humanity, hurting His creation.
In Matthew 19:3-9 Jesus responds to the Pharisee's question, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?" Jesus responds by stating, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning said, 'For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?'
Jesus goes on to explain, "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." The Bible shows us that marriage is to glorify God, and the relationship should be a testimony to others in the world of God's love.
Remember Your Vows
Marriage is to be an image of the Trinity and the Godhead as the relationship is supposed to reflect the image of God, stated in Genesis 1:26-27. The relationship is a covenant between the husband, the wife, and God.
This covenant is a binding agreement. Deuteronomy 23:23 explains that "You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised." Jesus explains in Matthew 12:36, "...every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment."
You can see how God instituted marriage for His creation and how He takes this covenant seriously. God also provided tools for us within the Bible for creating a healthy, stable marriage based on faith.
Faith in Marriage
Christians find prayer to be a vital role in their everyday lives, and it should be a crucial role in your marriage as well. It can be a tool to address issues in the marriage, such as finances, how to raise your children, and dealing with sexuality.
Also, the Bible teaches us how to forgive. As we learn and grow in the spirit of God, we should be able to learn how to forgive those around us. Learning to forgive one another in marriage can prevent feelings of resentment or bitterness.
We also learn how to submit our lives to God and give him control. Learning to submit to one another within a marriage can bring happiness without having your way. This is also a reflection of the Trinity and the Godhead, as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit each submit to one another when it is necessary.
THE EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON SPIRITUALITY
Divorce has a tragic impact on anyone who goes through it, and it has a significant effect on one's spirituality. Divorce is often unexpected and never planned. So what does the Bible say about divorce? You will question yourself and God on why your marriage may have ended in divorce.
Questioning God and Yourself
You may find yourself wondering, "What did I do wrong? How could God put me through this? What does God want from me? How could it be God's will for a marriage to end in divorce?"
You should ask yourself, "what does the bible say about divorce?" Search the scripture and build your relationship with God when going through a troubling time like this.
Divorce can leave you bitter towards your spouse. With bitterness comes temptation. These feelings of resentment lead to sinful acts, such as a rebound relationship or "hook-up," and can have you questioning your faith and God's will. Carolyn Call with the Christian Century says, "When one defines one's life by 'what was done to me,' one embitters and desiccates one's soul."
Divorce can affect every aspect of our life. You can feel vengeful, desperate, isolated, guilty, angry and unlovable. These feelings have the potential to push one away from God and his redemptive plan. This is why God hates divorce; it tears at his relationship with his creation.
Following the Bible though can bring peace and answers to these questions. Just like forgiveness in marriage, you must forgive not only your spouse in a divorce but yourself as well. If we are still going to be a reflection of God's image, then we must learn to forgive.
Divorce is a troubling time, where you may feel betrayed, humiliated, angry, and hopeless. When seeking answers and talking with loved ones, most the time the other spouse will be vilified and you will become the victim or "better off."
However, both partners have a responsibility in the divorce. Reflect on your duties in the marriage and the divorce. Without this reflection, you lose momentum and stray from God. Where you can take comfort in being the victim, gaining compassion and support from those around you, it tears at your spiritual identity.
Focus on forgiving your spouse and yourself. Reflect on your role in both the marriage and the divorce. Then imagine a life with God that can be a new starting point, orienting you back on God's path.
Keep Your Eyes on God
Some turn away from God after a divorce. The suffering may have been too much for them to handle and they asked, "Why would God do this to me or let me go through this?" They believed their faith would protect them from their suffering.
So what does the Bible say about divorce? God does not offer us protection from suffering, but he provides us presence during our pain. Those that understand this can grow closer to God during divorce.
Where the church can take a hard stand against divorce as an unforgivable sin if you feel judged and rejected God is still present. Private prayer, Bible study, and realizing that God offers acceptance and forgiveness, shows us He is present during our trying times.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT DIVORCE?
In the Old Testament and under ancient Hebrew society, a man could divorce his wife if he presented her with a certificate of divorce. This certificate protected the women from some social stigma that came with divorce.
Jesus on Divorce
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What does the Bible say about Divorce? Although law allowed for a man to divorce his wife, divorce is not ordained or created by God. Revisiting Christ's conversation with the Pharisees, they asked him in Matthew 19:7-9, "Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?"
Jesus replied, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning, it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."
Jesus then refers to Genesis 2:18-25 and reminds the Pharisees that God intended for a man to leave his parents and to marry. That he and his spouse would become one, and they should live a lifetime in faithfulness and love. To do this, they would both have to understand the true meaning of love.
Let's ask, "what does the Bible say about Divorce?" Divorce is a man-made law and something that God hates because it harms His relationship with His creation and challenges His redemptive plan for us all.
Understanding God's Law
When Jesus spoke of their "hardness of heart," he was speaking on the condition of the human soul, being separated from God. Given human nature, divorce would be inevitable, and the law was created to protect the women in Jewish society.
What does the Bible say about divorce? God does not approve of divorce, and He does not require it in the case of adultery. God's law regulates divorce, seeing as how his creation's fallen relationship with him makes divorce an inevitable sin.
In conclusion, the Bible says divorce is not of God. It strikes at His redemptive plan for His creation, and because of that God hates divorce. God created the institution of marriage to bring us closer to Him. It reflects His image in that marriage is a covenant between the husband, the wife, and God. Marriage is sacred and shows a fallen world a reflection of God's love when two people become "one flesh."
So what does the Bible say about divorce? Moses and Jesus realized that man's fallen state, and his broken relationship with God would make divorce inevitable, so the law of divorce was created to protect the women in Hebrew society.
As we are made in the image of God, we are to be forgiving, loving, and redeemed. Marriage is hard, but even under adultery or any other issue, we should strive to be Christlike. He has forgiven us time and time again for our sins, so we can forgive our spouses and work to mend the broken relationship, as God has worked to fix our broken relationship with Him.
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