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Permission for Divorce
in a nutshell

aymon de albatrus
slave of Christ

“For I hate putting away (divorce), saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, ……….” (Mal 2:16 ASV)


Let us be perfectly clear, in NO WAY God is pleased with Divorce. This heinous activity is the direct result of human’s evil hearts and it is a total missing of the perfection that God demands from His children. Nevertheless God in His munificence has provide two escape provisions so that the innocent party will not be punished for the sins of another. GOD does not approve divorce but he does not want that the innocent party will burn, because of divorce, for the rest of his life and be exposes to carnal sins. “But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn........” (1Co 7:9 AV)

Many churches forbid remarriage (even to the innocent party) after a divorce, but the Word of God provides two escapes for the innocent party and these are in case of: Adultery and of Abandonment.

The first cause is stated by our Lord Jesus: “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."” (Mat 19:9 RSV)

The second one is known as the Pauline permission: “But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not under bondage. God has called us to peace.” (1Co 7:15 ESV)

Adultery is defined these days as: “Sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than their spouse.”

Adultery is a serious thing in front of God and it breaks the bond of earthly marriage and is severely condemned by the Bible demanding the punishment of nothing less than death to the guilty party.

But in these evil days people are not put to death for adultery, indeed they are almost given a price for that and definitely it is not ground for divorce. But if the Magistrates are negligent in carrying out God’s ordinances the Church must be true to its God and must consider adulterous people as if they were dead and expel them from the church (I guess these would be empty afterwards). Now if the guilty party is in effect considered as dead, then the innocent party is free to re-marry for the guilty party is by all effects as if he were dead, and death breaks the marriage bond (Rom 7:2).  The innocent party must only remarry in the Lord. Naturally it would be best for the innocent party to remain unmarried and forgo sex for the rest of his life, nevertheless by this clause of Christ he can remarry if he has problems in containing himself which is better than to burn and be tempted to sexual sins.

Abandonment is intended in the case of an unbeliever being married to a believer (regrettable situation) and the unbeliever departs from the marital home in a permanent way. In that situation the believer is not committed (bonded) to that relationship, the unbeliever having broken the bond of marriage by leaving. (1Co7:15) In that situation the believer can seek a divorce and only when granted he can resume normal sexual activity in a new marriage, if he so desire. Again the better situation is for him to remain unmarried and forgo sex for the rest of his life, but there is no obligation to do so, for God does not punish the innocent for the sins of another.

These days the rates of divorce in the church are not dissimilar to those in the world, so what is the score between Christian believers?. They are commanded to keep their marriages together and not to divorce or depart except for the two situations above. The Bible says that a Christian that does not look after his family is worse than an infidel (non believer). “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1Ti 5:8 AKJV)

This means that if a Christian abandon or divorces his spouse is worse than an infidel and not a Christian at all, he has denied the faith as he is an unbeliever and should be considered as such, thus the Pauline permission applies.

These are the only two grounds by which God permits divorce for the innocent party with subsequent liberty of remarrying (only in the Lord): ADULTERY and ABANDONMENT.