The teachings of Jesus on divorce are found in Matthew 5:31-32, 19:3-9; Mark 10:11-12; and Luke 16:18. Read all of these scriptures. Matthew gives the fullest report so we shall quote from him:
"And there came unto him Pharisees, trying him, and saying, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said, Have ye not read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh? So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorcement, and to put her awuy? He saith unto them, Moses for your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it hath not been so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery." (Matthew 19:3-9).
A few observations on the above are given in summary:
(1) Moses had compromised the ideal marriage life because of the hardness of men's hearts. Jesus went behind the Mosaic expedient and gave the original and truer teaching. He quoted Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 to show the purpose of the creation of male and female and the establishment of the maririage relationship. Then Jesus answered, "Moses for your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it hath not been so" (verse 8).
(2) Jesus warned, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (verse 6). The divorce courts of our land today are doing little more than legalizing adultery. Family life is being threatened by the blight of a one-out-of-four divorce rate, and Jesus gives herein the only remedy for this malady that is destroying the sanctity of marriage.
(3) The only ground for divorce and remarriage is fornication, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication and shall marry another, committeth adultery" (verse 9). That is final. If an unfortunate marriage ends in separation, the two should remain unmarried. Remarriage closes the door for reconciliation, which should always be left open as a desired possibility. "That the wife depart not from her husband (but should she depart, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband); and that the husband leave not his wife" (I Corinthians 7:10-11). The divorced party who remarries commits adultery. Also, the one who marries the divorced party commits adultery, ". . . and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery" (v. 9).
Some would offer the objection that this is too harsh and is unjust. They contend, "Shall we be denied the joy of a happy marriage?" For the thousands of victims of divorce we have the deepest sympathy; but Jesus has the deeper insight into the problem, and He gives here the only safeguard to the institution of marriage.
As hard as it may seem, the person who has had an unfortunate marriage must choose between a single life now and the hope of heaven hereafter; or remarriage now and the certain torments of hell for eternity. "Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers . . . shall inherit the kingdom of heaven" (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
This is a serious matter, and we do not wish to be misunderstood. We repeat for emphasis sake. The person who gets a divorce for any cause other than fornication, and remarries, commits adultery. The one who marries this divorced person also commits adultery. Both of them forfeit their chance for heaven. Both have consigned their souls to hell, unless this sin is repented of.
Those contemplating marriage for the first time should enter it seriously. Divorced people thinking of remarriage should weigh the consequences and beware!
Truth Magazine I:10, pp. 12,13