Can Christians divorce? Today God speaks this: Love means being faithful to the one you have vowed to love.
1. Love involves a vow made in a covenant relationship between two parties.
2. God is the witness (the third party) of this love vow.
3. The legitimate parties of the covenant are bound by the demand of faithfulness.
4. The ultimate court of appeal for the wronged party is God.
5. The ultimate Supreme Judge looks for one performance standard: Kindness is due performance of your vow of love. Love does not cause harm.
6. God looks at the heart condition.
7. Wordiness (without due performance to fulfill your vow) does not get you anywhere in this court of justice of love.
Malachi 2:10-17 New Living Translation (NLT)
10 Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God? Then why do we betray each other, violating the covenant of our ancestors?
11 Judah has been unfaithful, and a detestable thing has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem. The men of Judah have defiled the LORD’s beloved sanctuary by marrying women who worship idols. 12 May the LORD cut off from the nation of Israel[a] every last man who has done this and yet brings an offering to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
13 Here is another thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. 14 You cry out, “Why doesn’t the LORD accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.
15 Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his.[b] And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. 16 “For I hate divorce!”[c] says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,[d]” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
17 You have wearied the LORD with your words.
“How have we wearied him?” you ask.
You have wearied him by saying that all who do evil are good in the LORD’s sight, and he is pleased with them. You have wearied him by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”
2:12 Hebrew from the tents of Jacob. The names “Jacob” and “Israel” are often interchanged throughout the Old Testament, referring sometimes to the individual patriarch and sometimes to the nation.
2:15 Or Didn’t the one Lord make us and preserve our life and breath? or Didn’t the one Lord make her, both flesh and spirit? The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
2:16a Hebrew For he hates divorcing.
2:16b Hebrew to cover one’s garment with violence.
Matthew 19:3-9 Amplified Bible (AMP)
3 And Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 He replied, “Have you never read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined inseparably to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 7 The Pharisees said to Him, “Why then did Moses command us to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because your hearts were hard and stubborn Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. 9 I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery[a].”
- Matthew 19:9 Some early mss add the phrase “…and he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”