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DIVORCE WHO MAY INSTITUDE DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS? In the kind of divorce discussed in 1 Corinthians 7, the believer must never initiate the act of departing. But if the unbeliever simply departs, the formality of appealing at law on the grounds of desertion would obviously fall to the deserted partner. This would not be so much the institution of a divorce as the acceptance of a position that had been thrust upon them. THE POSITION OF DIVORCES IN THE CHURCH AND MINISTRY If it be concealed that divorce and remarriage is permissible on the grounds of previous submission, what is the position of the would-be elder, deacon, candidate for the ministry, or even the one who would like to preach in assembly gatherings from time to time? Would a divorcee be eligible assuming that the divorce had been on Scriptural grounds? Obviously, in the highest sense, the ideal of marriage is violated by divorce. Jesus taught that in the beginning God intended a life-long marriage bond. Hebrews 13: 4 says, “Let marriage be held in hounor by all, and keep the marriage bed unstained. God will punish the vicious and the adulterous.” 1Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 stipulate that an elder or bishop must be the husband of one wife. 1 Timothy 5:9 makes a similar condition in regard to the widows to be taken into the number (Properly to serve the church in some capacity). Is a divorcee a worthy example of the Christian ideal of marriage? Is the remarried divorcee the husband of one wife? Is he not perhaps the modern equivalent of a polygamist? Regarding the latter point it must be accepted that where divorce is accepted at all there is a complete termination of the marriage bond. A divorced and remarried could be the husband of one wife, because if his divorce was valid it was a complete termination of the previous marriage. The literal meaning of the term is “the man of one woman”. The qualification would seem to turn upon the chastity of the prospective elder, and against concubinage, one of the curses of Roman slave-owning society. Even and undivorced man could fail in the qualifications should he be wanting in chastity. It is in fact ironical that those who hold strong views against allowing remarriage to divorcees appear to have no rules against the vilest adulterers being accepted into the church, being permitted Christian marriage, and even being admitted to the ministry, provided there had been repentance from the past life of sin. This is as it should be but compassion seems to fail when it comes to a divorcee, who might in fact, be a very moral person who has been the innocent victim in such a situation as the converted rake might have brought about. No wonder somebody has said about the divorcee question, “you can’t unscramble eggs.” Scripturally there seems no bar to a divorcee being admitted to office in the church, provided the divorce is valid. In our Church Bye-Laws there is a bar. This has been introduced for seasons of expediency, since the feeling against divorcees being remarried is so deeply embedded in the public mind. I am not able to see the Scriptural warrant for this stand, but I nevertheless agree with it. If a man really loves the Lord I believe he would consent to serve in a less public capacity if he realizes that by accepting prominence in God’s work there is going to be a stumbling-block (rightly or wrongly) in the minds of many people. But let it be emphasized that no blame can attach to a person who has had the misfortune to be married to an immoral spouse, or deserted by some Gospel-hardened unbeliever, and had had to divorce them. Such applies whether the event takes place before or after conversion. WHAT OF PERSONS DIVORCED FOR ‘EVERY REASON’ BEFORE CONVERSION? If Christians can’t get on together for some reason or other they should pray about it, seek godly counsel, or part from each other, but only in a separation, not to divorce. This rule is seldom applied in the world. Divorce for “every reason” abounds. We meet more and more people whose lives are entangled. What must we do about them? Sometimes they have been divorced and remarried. Should they break up the second marriage and seek reconciliation with their former spouse? What if the divorced spouse also has remarried? What if children have been born of the new unions? How must a minister advise people who get converted and earnestly desire to live for God after having repented of the sins which might have been a factor in their pass unhappiness and divorce? Dare he demand they separated? Would such advice not be iniquitous should children have been born of the new marriage? Moreover, would it be in accordance with Deuteronomy 24:4, “her former husband may not take her again to be his wife.” The only way to deal with such cases as these is to accept that in the light of Romans 13, the only law which the unconverted have been bound by is that of the Civil Authority. What the State decreed was allowed by God. New converts should be taken as we find them. 1 Corinthians 7:20-27 appears to offer some suggestions in this direction. Converts should be received into the church, and helped to build up a new life in Christ. They need our compassion. We need to beware that our views concerning them are not coloured by the asceticism that has reached us through the Roman Catholic Church, a terrible anti-Christian inheritance from the pagan world which belittle the body and regarded the sex element in man as something low. This Biblical teaching is in direct opposition to asceticism. It demands holiness, but the Biblical teaching on marriage are always practical and common-sensed, and does not lay upon the repentant sinner heavy burdens which he might not be able to bear. We do not want to open the door for licentiousness; neither do we wish to add substance to the words of a certain writer, Reinold Niebuhr when he says “there is no deeper pathos in the spiritual life than the cruelty of righteous people.”
Some may argue that there are few places in life as miserable and unhappy as a broken marriage, (for whatever reason - infidelity, violence, alcohol, drugs, other abuse or plain old boredom). As for the reasons for the aforementioned marriage being in the state its in, the one common denominator is sin. Sin in a man or woman who find pleasure and satisfaction in stuff which is not of Christ, be it another person or substances, abuse or whatever reason. We have a Saviour who according to the bible saves His people from their sin. I am not going to publicly state my opinion on this because I believe to do so may cause further confusion/division than already exists. In life and topics as huge as we have here I come back to the following and reign myself in lest I bring the Lords name to harm by venting my personal feelings. For those of us given the grace to do certain things (like remarry), it is not for us to criticise others who haven't the grace for them. Likewise those who would criticise some for certain actions should be careful not to place themselves under judgment for their stances (lest they be wrong through not being aware of the full facts). In divorce and marriage breakup, there are three persons who know the truth, the male involved, the female involved and the Lord. The Lord knows their hearts and he will judge them accordingly, best leave it to Him and offer all the love and support we can. It is obvious that blatant infidelity and remarriage is not acceptable in Christian circles but this is a huge subject and each case is unique. Pray and hand it over to God and ask for His grace to understand before opening our mouths or typing an opinion which condemns without knowing the truth. In divorce there is sin - fact For sin - we have a Christ who has washed us in His blood
1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Our gracious and merciful God promises and does forgive all sin if we ask with a contrite heart and broken spirit. Galatians 6:1 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Harvest season will come and the seed we planted will eventually bear fruit.
A person repents of adultery after marrying a divorced person the same way a person repents of a murder. There's no way to undo any of our misdeeds, no matter how you view them! Repentance is not about erasing what you've done and keeping out of trouble. You're as guilty after repentance as you were before, only after you've been forgiven, you're the only one (that matters), who remembers what you did. You're a new creation in Christ Jesus, the old person and his/her record is dead and forgotten. Hebrews 10:16-17 gives us an assurance: "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds. I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more." Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin (Heb 10:18). That last verse is an overlooked and misunderstood promise that I won't attempt to begin to try to exegete. If you read the chapter through verse 25, the writer says that this truth should give us an assurance of faith and should scrub our consciences clean. If in the course of life we break a rule pertaining to marriage, whether it happens before or after conversion, we have a great Priest over the house of God, who has opened for us the new and living way to the holy places by His blood. Translation: relax, the debt for sin has been paid! We have a better covenant enacted on better promises (Heb 8:6). Jesus is the guarantor of a better covenant (Heb 7:22). The new covenant makes the first one OBSELETE (Heb 8:13). Without a clear understanding of the covenant God made when He first made it with Abraham, there's no way to understand the monumental differences between it, the deal brokered between God/Moses and the newly freed people from bondage in Egypt, and the new covenant that was enacted at the Cross. The covenant of God's law and man's obeisance is much easier to understand than God's covenant of grace with a helpless and hopeless repentant man. The following is the best characterization of a repentant person I've found in scripture: For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am DOING, I do not understand; for I am not PRACTICING what I would like to do, but I am DOING the very thing that I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the law, CONFESSING that the law is good. So now, no longer am I the one DOING it, but sin which dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not DO, but I PRACTICE the very evil that I do not want (Romans 7:14-19). Paul was a repentant man... He's not making an excuse for his sin or nobody else's! He's pouring out his heart in REPENTANCE, a change of heart for his weakness in the flesh. Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old (Isaiah 43:18). I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right (Isaiah 43: 25-26). God said to Israel and to us, whom He created for His glory (Isaiah 43:7), 'remind Me of who you are and the things that I did to form you for myself. Remind me of the nations I gave for your ransom.' God has too much invested in His chosen people to hold their sins and lawless deeds over their heads. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
It’s been 25 years since my husband’s infidelity and the Lord has been faithful. He directed me to this professional private investigator who helped me hack his phone. I was enabled to spy on his phone remotely, and I was so mad at him when I caught him cheating on me with his ex of many years ago. He was appalled when he knew I already found out his unfaithfulness to our marriage. The next morning he came to me and kneel down to apologize for his wrong doing and promise such will never repeat itself. Needless to say, the pain was unbearable, but the Lord carried me and spoke gently to me. The first whisper to me from the Holy Spirit was a question, “do you love him (referring to my husband)? Initially I could only answer with a heavy sigh until He asked a third time and I responded, “yes.” From that time forward the Lord promised that he would do a new thing (Isaiah 43:18-19). The Lord relocated us to a new state and we struggled through the pain together with the Lord as the three-fold cord that brought healing and newness of life to our relationship. I had to position myself to hear and to obey God’s voice and to ignore my flesh that cried out for revenge.Since. It was difficult to shut out the worldly counsel and the other voices. I look back and marvel at His amazing grace
One repents of adultery by remarriage the same way one repents of every other sin: by ceasing the sinful activity once it is understood that it is not God’s will. How would one repent of adultery while still together with your first spouse? By ceasing from relations with the adulterous partner. In the same way, an adulterer who is ostensibly remarried to the adulterous partner should cease from the adulterous relations.
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