DOES GOD PERMIT DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE? (PART VII)
By Akin Ojumu
There are many Christians in marital-discordant relationships today who either don’t know it or are in denial. These are folks who either believe, or choose to believe, they are married to God-fearing believers like themselves. Yet, there’s nothing in the lives of the spouses that suggest they know Christ or have any relationship with Him.
Yes, these faux-Christian spouses have all the appearances of religiosity. They are fluent in Christianese, sing in the choir, fast every day, pray like hell, their tithes and offerings break the offering basket, and some are even big men of God. Yet, these are nothing but ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothings; they are Christians in Church attendance only.
No true Christian will turn his home into a toxic atmosphere devoid of peace and absent of harmony. You can’t call yourself a Christian and subject your wife to domestic abuse and make her a victim of torture. The Holy Spirit is not in a man who views his spouse as a punching bag to be beaten to a pulp. A man who lifts his fist against his wife is not of God and does not know Him. A deadbeat husband who doesn’t provide for his family is no Christian at all. The inexplicable lazy bum who, for no good reason, sits in front of the TV all day long and feeds off of whatever little his wife brings home at the end of the month is an unbelieving husband.
A cantankerous and ill-tempered woman, who turns her home into hell on earth, is not a Christian. If you make the life of your husband miserable and with your mouth reduce him to less than a man, you are not a Christian. A wife who weaponizes sex and used it to extract ransom from her husband is not a believing wife. When a married woman spends her time tattletaling and spreading gossips, she’s an unbelieving wife.
If you are a Christian woman and your husband habitually beats you up, I’m sorry to inform you that you are married to an unbelieving husband empty of the Holy Spirit. If you are a Christian and your wife uses her words to tear you down, sorry buddy you are married to an unbelieving wife possessed by demons.
When a marital partner consistently exhibits any of the above odious characters and manifests such ungodly behaviors in their marriage, such an individual cannot be considered a “believing husband” or a “believing wife.” And the fact that the person carries on with such conducts is evidence that he or she does not consent to living with the believing partner. Such a partner is saying, by their actions and ill-manners, that they don’t want to stay in the marriage.
An abusive spouse is an unbelieving spouse, you need to let them go. God has called us to live in peace, as Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16, the believing partner should let the unbeliever leave. In this instance, the Christian is permitted to divorce their partner because the unbelieving partner has checked all the boxes for ending the marriage.
By virtue of their pattern of toxic behaviors, the unbelieving partner demonstrates that they are not a believer. Their unhealthy actions also show they do not consent to live with the believing partner.
When this happens, the Christian is also permitted to let the unbelieving partner go and they are free to remarry because the marital bond is broken. God does not want His children permanently chained to a dead marriage that’ll become a dead weight that drags them down and cause them to drown. He wants us to live in peace as we read in 1 Corinthians 7:15:
“Yet if the unbelieving one is leaving, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us in peace.”
There are those who spent their lives trying to lower God’s standard. These are folks who take God’s prescription for living and attempt to make them fit into whatever lifestyle they prefer to live. On the other hand, we have people who see the decadence in the world and the pervasive moral failings all around, who conclude that the moral stipulations in the Bible aren’t strict enough, so they decide to help God raise His standard.
The outcome of these two extremes, those who want to lower God’s standard to accommodate their loose morals and those who want to raise God’s standard to cure the ills of society, is a world full of broken people driven further away from God. Paul, recognizing the danger of either of these two extremes as it relates to marriage and divorce, took his time to teach the sound doctrine.
In his farewell speech to the leaders of the Church at Ephesus, Paul declared:
“You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.” (Acts 20:18-27).
By the time his ministry wound down, Paul was able to look back with satisfaction that he taught his flock everything they needed to know, and he had the confidence assurance that he was leaving behind believers knowledgeable about God’s Word, who’d be able to stand on their feet and withstand the fiery darts of the enemy.