17 July 2014
But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:11
This verse follows on from the instruction in verse 10. It is another regularly neglected and abused tenet from Scripture, and yet it is clear and concise. If a woman has departed from her husband, she needs to “remain unmarried.” Excuses as to “why” a woman left her husband (with the noted exception of adultery) are irrelevant. No other words are given which negate this precept and Paul’s words here are not merely cultural or passing away. They are doctrine for the church. To disobey them is to disobey the Lord who inspired the words.
And so in this case, the woman is to “remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.” This brings up an obvious problem though. What if the husband has gone and remarried? In this case, it would imply that the marriage bond is irretrievably broken and therefore she would be free from this constraint. However, it is not explicitly, but only implicitly to be inferred. No matter what, the stricter judgment on this matter is preferred. It is not acceptable for a woman to leave her husband and go to marry another.
But there is more. Paul then explains that “a husband is not to divorce his wife.” This follows on from Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:32 –
“But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.”
These words from the Lord, and also from Paul, show us that the marriage bond within the Christian context is to be held in the highest regard and is to be considered sacred. It is a violation of the will of the Lord for couples to divorce for any reason except adultery.
Life application: When you said, “I do” you were confining yourself before God to the bonds of a marriage that are not to be dissolved except through death. Divorce is not an acceptable alternative to unhappiness. Having said “I do” you should always be content with the thought that “I still do.”
Lord, it is beyond imagination to me how we can call on You to be saved and then not want to know You intimately through the study of Your word. The Bible is the most wonderful gift, the greatest treasure, and the most uplifting joy that I can imagine. And yet we go to church and hear sermons that rarely if ever show us the beauty and marvel of what is contained in its pages. Help us to get our thoughts and hearts directed toward You and give us a desire to know Your word more each day. Amen.