Do you think that adultery is a justifiable reason to divorce your spouse?
If you do, then scroll down/CLICK HERE and read on - and please feel free to explore all the hope and teachings that this site offers in the next pages.
Note: This page has a decidedly male bent, surviving "her" affair. Some of the resources are geared towards that end, but know that most of this obviously applies to us all.
Do you think that adultery is a justifiable reason to divorce your spouse?
Answer this question in two ways:
1. Do YOU believe it is justifiable?
2. Do you believe the Bible says it is justifiable?
First, realize that when you said your vows before God, you vowed to love and cherish in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, til death do you part. For certain, adultery is a horrible atrocity that many modern psychologists equate to mental and emotional abuse, but it is still "only" the bad, the sickness of the soul. You know, things you signed up for - so to say that you believe it is a valid reason to divorce your spouse means only one thing:
Your heart is hard.
Matthew 19:8, "He told them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts. But it was not like that from the beginning." [All verses will be HCSB unless otherwise noted]
If you think this is an acceptable place to be in, preferring your own happiness over a condition that was basically an insult to Jesus, I would urge you to reconsider.
Second, if you believe the Bible gives justification for divorce based on whether your spouse has committed adultery (as many modern translations and teachers would have you believe), then let’s take a closer look – for argument’s sake.
I want you to think of the most righteous, most just, or most blameless person you know. Is this your pastor? An elder in your church, or your mentor? Maybe you are fortunate and that person is one of your parents? If so, praise God that you have such quality people in your life.
Now realize that if you said the Bible gives us permission to divorce because of adultery (whether you just “feel” this way, it makes sense that it would, or you believe you have studied this topic), that you’ve just given this most righteous person of yours the permission – the God-given, God-sanctioned, God-approved – the opportunity to divorce their spouse RIGHT NOW, with no eternal consequence. Ghastly, is it not? Yet how can this be? You did no such thing, right?
Turn with me to Matthew 5:27-28.
“You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
What does it mean to lust after someone? Dictionary.com defines it as “to have intense sexual desire”, or “to have a yearning or desire; have a strong or excessive craving [for or after]”. A quote from the documentary The Heart of Man says that lust is “desire gone mad.” Do you have to be a pervert or a sexual deviant to lust? I’d wager not, or very few of us would ever be in danger of what Jesus is cautioning us against. I’d say all you need to do in order to lust is look at a Calvin Kline or Victoria’s Secret model for just a few seconds too long. We all look. Beauty is alluring and natural, and you’d be dead not to notice an attractive person that walks by – but it’s the second look that seals the deal. The saying goes, “You can’t stop the bird from landing on your head, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it build a nest in your hair.”
Who was Jesus teaching to there in His Sermon on the Mount? Matthew 5:1 says He was speaking to “the crowds”, or, as Vine’s Dictionary says, a “throng”; large gatherings composed of everyday folk just like that most righteous friend of yours.
So now, if after reading this you still believe that adultery is a valid reason for divorce, then you’re clearly saying that there isn’t a marriage in the WORLD, now or in ages past, that isn’t safe from the God-sanctioned threat of divorce, because after all, I would wager that there have been VERY few people in the history of mankind that could claim to never have lusted in their hearts. In fact, I’d go so far as to say there was only ever ONE person who could claim that – and He was the one giving this teaching. Do you TRULY believe that God is ok with this? Unless you think my logic is faulty, I would say this goes in direct contrast to what He has said in His Word:
Mark 10:6-9, “But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife], and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.” Matt 19:4-6 says exactly the same thing.
The defense of, “Surely one look can’t be harmful,” or, “it was only just ONE look!” isn’t a defense at all. Nowhere in any of these verses does it give a quantitative definition. Adultery is adultery, in the heart or with your loins.
If people believe that adultery is a justifiable reason for divorce given in the Bible, the confusion is understandable. Most misunderstanding of what is typically called the “Exception Clause” stems from two verses, and it is not a coincidence that those two verses are found within the same book of the Bible and nowhere else.
Matthew 5:32, “But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
Matthew 19:9, “And I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
What is “Sexual Immorality” if you are married, if not adultery? So why would Jesus say, “If you divorce, except for adultery, you cause him or her to commit adultery”? He didn’t use the same Greek word twice in this statement, so that is clearly NOT what He meant – but that is taken up elsewhere on this website and is better argued than what I can put into words here.
So the question begs to be asked: why are the only two verses in the entire Bible that mention the “exception clause” found in the same Gospel of Matthew?
According to the infallible source that is Wikipedia, “Hermeneutics is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts.” Hermeneutics has a very simple rule of thumb: “The plain thing is the main thing” (paraphrased wonderfully by Dr. Joseph Webb). In attempting to understand Scripture, you need to take a verse or statement that is clear and needs no interpretation, and use it to ask the confusing text why it is different from the rest.
In this case, we have Jesus’ statement on divorce recorded twice elsewhere; once in the Gospel of Mark, and once in the Gospel of Luke.
Mark 10:11-12, “And He said to [His disciples], “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Luke 16:18, “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and everyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”
Notice that in these two Scriptures, there are no exceptions. No “innocent party”, no “But…but!”. They are plain and simply stated with no fanfare. Also note, as a point of interest, that the word “Everyone” in the passage from Luke is the EXACT same Greek word as everyone’s favorite verse, John 3:16 (Strong’s #3956). What states that “whosoever believes” in Jesus shall have eternal life, and I don’t know a soul who believes and doesn’t claim that verse for themselves, is the same thing saying that you, yes, YOU, cannot divorce and remarry without committing adultery – and elsewhere on this site, if you are brave enough to explore further, you will see that being in unrepentant continual adultery is not just bad for you, but it is bad for your eternal soul as well.
Remember my question from earlier, posed just after I revealed the two verses from Matthew? I asked “What is ‘Sexual Immorality’ if you are married, if not adultery?” And if they aren’t your spouse, and it isn’t adultery, then why are you trying to divorce them?
I’m glad you asked. See, Jesus knew a thing or two about the subjects He taught, and on this one, He was VERY familiar.
Matthew 1:18-19, “The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.”
Wait. They weren’t married yet?
Matthew 1:24-25, “When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus.”
How in God’s name do you divorce someone that you aren’t even married to? It turns out that the Gospel of Matthew was written to the Jews (while Mark was written to the Romans and Luke to the Gentiles), and the Jews had a cultural practice known as the Betrothal Period, which meant that while engaged to be married, a divorce was required to end it. It was taken quite seriously, and Jesus knew this; the other Gospels didn’t record it because Jewish marriage traditions wouldn’t be of interest to their audiences, and therefore it wouldn’t apply to them. As for the Greek word Jesus used in the exception clause? "Porneia" was originally translated as “Fornication”, which CANNOT happen inside a marital relationship, and therefore is only possible if the two weren’t married yet and in a betrothal period that required a divorce. I’ll let you explore this further on your own. I have many resources listed on the other pages of this site – but suffice to say that YOU don’t get to divorce your spouse and remarry, or remarry even if you are the “innocent party”, because Jesus’ conditions simply do not and cannot apply to you today - even if you are Jewish, I don't know that the Betrothal Period exists today in any culture as it did in the first decades after Christ's birth.
Onwards and Upwards!
Let me ask you another question, this time about your own marriage. Was the State you were married in there at your wedding? Was there anyone at your wedding ceremony that represented the State? I don’t mean the pastor or priest or minister or official who was conducting the ceremony. We know they had to be certified by the State for your marriage to be recognized by the government as having been done with the proper power and authority to make it “official”. I am asking, then, was the State the one that officially bound you and your spouse together? Was it the priest? Did they cause you to become “one flesh”? Was it they who united you together? Maybe it was the piece of paper that you and your spouse signed as part of the event, witnessed by the best man and maid of honor and the pastor performing the wedding, and submitted to the State – did that piece of paper make you become One Flesh?
NO! The State only records what you did and what you said, and when. They make it official in their books so that they know how to classify you in order to tax you, and count you, and all the other official things that governments do. It’s preposterous to think otherwise!
Mark 10:9, “Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.”
Not even the person conducting your ceremony had the power or authority to make you two one flesh. You didn’t suddenly get fused together in a sick version of married Siamese twins; no, the “union” is spiritual. It came from God alone, the author and creator of marriage – an act which was first conceived and implemented in the Garden of Eden before sin even came along.
LET NO MAN TEAR ASUNDER. No man, no woman, no demon, no angel, and for sure no slimy divorce lawyer or government clerk or judge has the power or authority to separate this spiritual union that was created by God. It would be like smashing two different colors of clay together, and then being asked to separate them back into their original colors. Try that one with your kids next time they've got their Playdoh out and watch the chaos that ensues as they try to figure that one out!
So – if signing the marriage certificate doesn’t confer to you “one flesh”-ship, then how in anything that is holy could a man-issued little piece of paper saying that you are no longer in the “married” column of the government’s tally books, issued by the same NON-PRESENT State who did NOT preside at your wedding, ever hope to actually take away the one-flesh union that they never granted in the first place?
So – could this POSSIBLY be why Jesus is declaring that if you “divorce” (a man-made piece of paper not recognized by the Holy God who designed marriage for LIFE and declared in no uncertain terms that NO MAN should separate what He has joined together), you are committing adultery, even if for some horrible and unfortunate event you are the “innocent party”?
Jesus said this FOUR times: Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11-12, and Luke 16:18. But we see this principle mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament as well, by the powerhouse of authority, the Apostle Paul himself.
Romans 7:1-3, “Since I am speaking to those who understand law, brothers, are you unaware that the law has authority over someone as long as he lives? For example, a married woman is legally bound to her husband while he lives. But if her husband dies, she is released from the law regarding the husband. So then, if she gives herself to another man while her husband is living, she will be called an adulteress [NOTE: This is not an act but a state of being]. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law. Then, if she gives herself to another man, she is not an adulteress.”
1 Corinthians 7:10-11, 39, “ I command the married—not I, but the Lord—a wife is not to leave [divorce] her husband. But if she does leave, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband—and a husband is not to leave his wife. 39 A wife is bound as long as her husband is living. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to anyone she wants—only in the Lord.”
There are no exceptions in any of these verses. Six times the Son of God and His most prolific apostle make it clear: if the government issuing the marriage license or the pastor performing the ceremony isn’t what causes the spiritual act of coming together to become one flesh, then how by ANY stretch of the imagination could they have the ability, power, or authority to take that away?
Marriage is for life. You get one shot to get it right. God takes covenant very seriously. You think you’re shocked? Think about His original audience! In His masterful escape from a verbal TRAP set by unbelieving Pharisees looking for an excuse to get the Messiah killed, Jesus had JUST declared that He supported neither the liberal NOR the conservative viewpoints of the day (the rabbis Hillel and Shammai), and further, He set a new standard that was higher than the prevailing thoughts of the day regarding Divorce and Remarriage...
Matthew 19:10, “His disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of a man with his wife is like this [no escape, no second chances], it’s better not to marry!”
Shock and Awe – no longer exclusive to the United States military. Jesus went on in verses 11 and 12 to explain that yes, sometimes people do become “eunuchs for the Kingdom”, even the "innocent party".
And lest someone say something weasel-like about how “Jesus didn’t say NOT to commit adultery”, well, He did, in fact, conveniently located in the same chapters as His statements above. See Matthew 19:18 and Mark 10:19.
Let me put in one more argument that may come about before closing. A person might say something like, “But I wasn’t saved when I got married. I made a mistake, and I know that God won’t hold me to that.” Well, if God doesn’t recognize the marriages of unbelievers (ignoring such Biblical references to marriages of unbelievers such as King Abimelech in Genesis 20, Joseph and Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39, or even John the Baptist and King Herod in Matthew 14), then the only people who are married in God’s sight must be Christians. If nonbelievers aren’t "married", then the only people who can commit adultery are believers! Unfortunately, I know too many cases where this is true of “Christians”, people who claim to believe in Jesus but don't live their lives as credible witnesses to His teachings (read John 14 and 1 John 1). So if this is true, that only believers are recognized as being married in God’s eyes, then what happens if an unbelieving couple comes to know the Lord? At what point does God start recognizing that marriage? Does it happen retroactively, or should they divorce and start over? Again, this is foolishness to make such a claim. God instituted marriage, and His designs are applicable to us all.
Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from serving as My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your sons."
The sanctity of marriage never originated with man, and certainly never with a local civil government. This is why things like common-law marriage and homosexual marriages aren’t of God. They’re merely a mockery of God’s original intent and application of the one-flesh union, not recognized or ordained by the Creator God – and this is why man-made divorce isn’t either.
Malachi 2:16 (the Message), “I hate divorce,” says the God of Israel. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat.”
God HATES divorce because in abandoning the spouse of your youth, you are declaring that you don't trust God - you don't trust Him to help you, protect you, to fight for your marriage. You are telling Him through your actions that His Word is not enough for you, that you cannot rely on it. You would rather abandon the covenant made before Him, to HIM, and go on in your selfishness, to rely on your human abilities to make yourself "happy", than surrender and trust Him. How could you EVER declare that You trust God again in the future, to declare that His Word is true, if by your VERY ACTIONS you declare that you actually believe otherwise? You believe adultery is the best option. That's one thing if you're the prodigal or infidel (actually out there committing physical adultery), but it's another thing entirely if you have ever claimed to love God at all.
These aren’t my words or teachings, my opinions or interpretations. Many of the illustrations were actually Dr. Joseph Webb’s. The teachings above are, however, simply the words of the Man and the God that created each and every one of us, and formed us each to His own will and purpose, and we would be wise (both as individuals and as a nation and a world) to stop worshiping our own desires and passions, and to start revering the words of our Creator God without justification or excuse. It’s time to turn things around and start being in right relationship with Him again – because anything else is just being hard-hearted. Given that hardness of heart is rebellion, not right-standing or submission to God, or being no more than lukewarm and in clear danger of being spit out of God's moth, then it is clear that this is not a place any of us should want to be.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom.”
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Jesus didn't come to save sinners. He came to save repentant sinners. Don't buy into the modern and corrupted doctrine of "cheap grace". If you don't repent, you WILL perish. Does God offer grace and mercy through His Son? Absolutely - and hallelujah, for without it, NONE of us would be saved! Yet don't fall into the trap that you can continue in your way of sin and God will be OK with it, for that does not imitate the heart of Jesus. Read Romans 6, 7 and 8! Read the books of Amos, Hosea, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Isaiah - read about all the chances that God gave His own people, Israel and Judah, all the chances and opportunities He gave them to repent and turn from their idolatry and adultery and come back into His kingdom - and see how they failed to heed and obey, and thus the northern kingdom was sent into captivity at the hands of Assyria, and some seventy years later, the southern kingdom followed into captivity at the hands of Babylon. God takes obedience seriously. He sends warnings, and when He is not heeded, He sends punishment and discipline. He uses adversity to weed out the cancer that has grown within His people because He is a jealous God and He loves His people. Let this be God's warning to you that you take to heart!
Matthew 4:17, "From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!”
Mark 1:14-15, "After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!”
Repentance is not saying "Oops" or "Sorry". Repentance is admitting that you were wrong and failed, and actively turning from your sin in a dedicated effort to return to fellowship with God through obedience and a contrite heart.
2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance."
2 Cor 7:10 (NIV), "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."
John 8:11b, "Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”
A witness only says what he knows. This is what I know, that the Word of God is true and will exist long after this world has passed away, and this is why I am saying these things to you, that you may recognize that fallible man's changing beliefs and culture do not, nor will they ever, change the Word and Will of God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."
Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart."
Psalm 119:89, "Lord, Your word is forever; it is firmly fixed in heaven."
2 Peter 1:20-21, "First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."
Titus 2:11-13, "For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ."
- Gavin McClements, a servant of God and disciple of Jesus Christ, unworthy of anything but death, yet called to life through Christ's blood and righteousness faithfulness, and not because of any good thing that I have done. I AM the chief of sinners.
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Kealios' Repository of Knowledge of Many Things
So...what's a "Kealios"?
A figment of my imagination, really. The name came about when I was in Hawaii in 1995 on a school trip. I was fascinated by the Hawaiian language and came up with this name for a character in a story I was creating. Since then, it has become dear to me, an alias - but other than that, it's nothing, really! [I am often asked if it is Greek. It's not, as far as I can tell, though it sure sounds like it!]
God CAN restore broken marriages! He can bring to life what appears to be dead, gone and buried. If you are interested in learning how God can save yours, enter in. It isn't easy and it isn't for everyone...but to those who are called, you've come to the right place.