Devotionals

Home    Devotionals    April 22 - Jesus on Divorce

April 22 - Jesus on Divorce

A devotional by Grace To You for reading on April 22nd

“‘It was said, “Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce”; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery’” ( Matthew 5:31 31 It was said also, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: –32).

Jesus no more approves of divorce than did Moses (cf. Matt. 19:6). Adultery, another reality God never condoned, is the only reason under the law that allows for dissolving of a marriage, with the guilty party to be put to death (Lev. 20:10). Because Jesus mentions this here and again in Matthew 19:9 9 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. , God must have allowed divorce to replace execution as the penalty for adultery at some time during Israel’s history.

Divorce is never commanded; it is always a last resort, allowed when unrepentant immorality has exhausted the patience of the innocent spouse. This merciful concession to human sinfulness logically implies that God also permits remarriage. Divorce’s purpose is to show mercy to the guilty party, not to sentence the innocent party to a life of loneliness. If you are innocent and have strived to maintain your marriage, you are free to remarry if your spouse insists on continued adultery or divorce.

Jesus does not demand divorce in all cases of unchastity (immorality, primarily adultery in this context), but simply points out that divorce and remarriage on other grounds results in adultery.

Our Lord wants to set the record straight that God still hates divorce (Mal. 2:16) and that His ideal remains a monogamous, lifelong marriage. But as a gracious concession to those innocent spouses whose partners have defiled the marriage, He allows divorce for believers for the reason of immorality. (Paul later added the second reason of desertion, 1 Cor. 7:15.)

Ask Yourself

How could you be an encouragement to a couple whose marriage is on the verge of collapse? How could you show Christ’s mercy to those who have been wounded the greatest?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

Additional Resources

The content above belongs exclusively to Grace To You - Daily Readings and is provided on our website for purely non-profit purposes to help extend the reach of their ministry.

Copyright 2017 by John MacArthur. Used by permission from Grace to You.

SRT