The Permanancy of God's Binding
There seems to be a great deal of misconception regarding the marriage relationship between a person who commits adultery against his spouse and the reason that a person cannot use man's divorce decree alone to separate from his spouse for reasons other than fornication. (I know this is a long sentence but that is the only way to make the matter clear.)
First of all, the only permission that God has given us to unbind a wife from her husband (and vice versa) is for the reason of fornication. Beyond that, if the wife or husband chooses to use only a man's divorce writ to "break" the bond, neither one can marry without committing adultery (Matthew 5:32; 19:9). Anyone who marries the unlawfully put away spouse commits adultery as well. Why? The obvious reason is that the bond has NOT been broken by man's decree alone. Thus, man's decree is not effective in unbinding what God has bound together (Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9).
And, when one marries one who has been put away without following God's plan, he becomes a part to sin and thus commits adultery as well. It is like a person who knowingly receives stolen property and then becomes a willing party to the crime. He becomes equally guilty under the law.
In entering the marriage relationship, there are two distinct actions; (1. Man and woman are united physically as husband and wife by means of a physical or civil ceremony. (2. Simultaneously, they are joined together in a spiritual bond by God (Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9). The ONLY reason for the civil ceremony is to pronounce to all that these two have pledged their troths to each other and that they understand that they are married so long as they both shall live. The scriptures teach that God alone effects the actual binding of the marriage union.
Thus, while it may be possible to physically separate these two by the efforts of either spouse or by another party outside of the marriage, God Himself can only unbind them in a spiritual sense. Those who claim that man can undo what God has done simply imply that they are as omnipotent as God. How ridiculous! Man cannot create ANY spiritual bond, period. God always has that power. He creates ALL spiritual bonds (Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9; Acts 2:47). He has already determined that this separation can only be done in case of fornication in Matthew 5:32; 19:9. The bond can only be broken by divorce based upon fornication of one of its members or by death (Romans 7:3-4; 1 Cor 7:39).
Let us also understand that when Christ addressed this relationship in the sermon on the Mount and later privately to his disciples, He used term in a very accomodative manner. He used terms like "marry," "put away" and "divorce" in the same ways that we often use them today. His usage gave no sanctity to their meanings, one way or the other. Thus we cannot say, "Well, Christ used the term 'marry' to mean that they were joined by God." No, He used them to mean whatever the Jews had understood them to mean. He used them accomodatively.
Consider this. In the field of science, we understand that man cannot destroy matter (that which only God can create). Man may transform its state from one form to another but he cannot cause it to vanish away completely. In much the same way, man may transform a healthy and happy marriage relationship into a physical separation and he may be "joined" by man's decree to one of these spouses but his relationship is sinful. Why? Because he has attempted to destroy that which God has created through the spiritual union of two people; i.e., the marriage bond.
Some argue that man can break the marriage covenant and the bible does speak to the breaking of a covenant. But let us be very careful that we fully understand that the "breaking" of a covenant NEVER destroys its authority. To understand what this "breaking: really is, we use the term VIOLATE to imply that a covenant has been transgressed. It is a term that states that someone has violated his oath or agreement to abide by the stipulations of a conditional agreement. The breaking of any covenant does not set aside its authority or its binding effect. While man may violate or "break" a covenant, he cannot render it null and void through his efforts alone. It can only be made of no effect if ALL parties to it agree to its abolishment.
In much the same way, man cannot actually destroy the marriage contract unless his doing so is in agreement with God who created the union. Man can only violate its terms and refuse to abide by its terms. Like the law of God, man cannot destroy it but can only refuse to accept it as binding. When he does so, he ALWAYS sins. But his futile efforts cannot set aside that which will judge him in the last day (1 Samuel 2:25; John 12:48; Hebrews 10:30). No indeed, the bible tells us that no matter how hard we may try, we cannot escape the judgment of God. No matter how much one may try to destroy God's authority, it will be his undoing in the final judgment. One MUST abide within the authority of God's law in order to be saved.
Conclusion: One cannot invalidate his marriage bond nor can he ignore it without sinning. Whether or not he gets a decree of divorce from man stating that his marriage has been dissolved, he cannot set aside any edict or union of God without God's approval. Hence any attempt to remarry will always result in a sinful state; one that will condemn both parties of the new "marriage" (Matthew 5:32b; 19:9b Mark 10:12; Luke 16:18).
No man has the authority to set aside any law or action of God. Therefore, man cannot set aside the marriage contract and enter into another "marriage" without violating God's word. Such is transgression of His law and the bible calls that sin. As long as man continues in ANY relationship that violates the law of God, he remains in a sinful state and stands in jeopardy of losing his soul in an eternal hell.
Yours, in Him: Howard Justice
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