It was said also, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: but I say unto you, that every one that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, maketh her an adulteress: and whosoever shall marry her when she is put away committeth adultery (Matt. 5:31-32).
God’s plan from the beginning was for one man and one woman to be joined together in the marital bond for life (Gen. 2:18-24). The first institution established by God was not the government nor was it the Law. God’s first organization set up in the new world was the family. It was not good for man to be alone. He needed a companion who would be his help-meet. He needed a partner that would complete him physically, emotionally, socially, and who would join him in worship of God spiritually. God’s solution was to create woman to meet the needs. Together, they could walk hand in hand in life achieving all the goals God has set before them in all aspects of life. For the home fortunate enough to have children, we are again blessed by God with a wonderful heritage (Psa. 127).
The home is truly a blessing under God’s authority. God’s plan will still work for the couple that has their eyes firmly fixed upon His will for their lives. With God’s plan as our foundation in life, we will protect one another from harm, we will guard one another from sin, we will love one another above everything in this world but God, we will cherish one another, and we will worship together as joint heirs of the grace of life (Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Pet. 3:7). The home as God designed it is a blessing for all generations.
However, it is sad to note that sin enters into the homes and marriages of many in this world. There are many sins that affect homes today including fornication. When two become one flesh in the bonds of matrimony, their physical desires are designed to be fulfilled in one another. The Apostle Paul wrote,
Because of fornications, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife her due: and likewise also the wife unto the husband…Defraud ye not one the other, except it be by consent for a season, that ye may give yourselves unto prayer, and may be together again, that Satan tempt you not because of your incontinency (1 Cor. 7:2, 3, 5).
The physical passion for one another is a blessing God has designed for the home but it is only to be fulfilled in that bond of matrimony.
While God designed the home to be from its union “until death do us part,” Jesus has given one exception that can separate the marriage—fornication. Our world is filled with bad examples of marriage. For example, marriages that ended within hours of beginning, multiple marriages, infidelity, and more. However, we are not conformed to the world. We must follow God’s plan. Men try to justify every reason under the sun for ending a marriage: such as abuse, financial problems, incompatibility, burning the biscuits, or even “no fault” divorces. Brethren, this ought not to be. There is only one reason for which a marriage may be ended with God’s authority: fornication (Matt. 19:9). Are there real issues that need attention in a marriage other than fornication? Of course! If there is abuse, whether physical or verbal, it must be corrected. However, these problems are not sufficient to meet God’s standard for divorce.
Must a marriage that has been harmed by fornication end in divorce? No! God is a loving and merciful God who has forgiven us for our sins that nailed the Son of God to a cross. He expects us to be forgiving of others just as He through Christ forgave us. It may be that problems can be corrected, forgiveness sought, restoration be made, and the disharmony repaired. In such situations we would rejoice over the sinner who comes home. The key is that we submit to God’s authority!