Divorce – part 2


     Since fornication is a reason for divorce, this brings up the question, “What is fornication?”.  Matthew 19: 8, 9 says “Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” The word for ‘sexual immorality’ is the word we translate ‘fornication’.

     Fornication is used in several ways in the bible.
1…any sexual intimate activity or relationship that is not between a man and his wife (1st Thessalonians 4:3 & Leviticus 18:6-23).
2…Incest (1st Corinthians 5:1 & Leviticus 18:6-23).
3…Idolatry and adultery in honor of false gods (Acts 21:25 & Ezekiel 16: 15, 16, 20-43…this applies to physical adultery but also to a believers unfaithfulness to God)
4…any sex outside of marriage (1st Corinthians 6:13-20)
5…spiritual unfaithfulness (Ezekiel 16: 15, 26 & 29…these verses apply to physical adultery but also to Israel’s unfaithfulness to God)
6…Sodomy, homosexuality, bestially & male prostitution (1st Corinthians 6:9-11, Galatians 5: 19-21, 1st Kings 15:12, Deuteronomy 23:17)
Therefore, fornication can be defined as any type of sexual or spiritual unfaithfulness.
But remember, God NEVER condemns a person for the sins and wrongdoings of another person. Each of us is responsible for our own deeds and misdeeds. So if your spouse divorces you against your wishes, you have the right to remarry. Once a marriage contract is broken, it is no longer in force because it no longer exists. It is also important to point out that just because your spouse does something that would allow you to biblically divorce them, like adultery, that you don’t have to divorce them. If you feel that restoration is possible, you should try that first. This is where good Christian counsel helps a lot.

     You’ll notice that fornication is used both literally and metaphorically. It can be used of illicit sexual acts but also of idolatry and unfaithfulness. Don’t make the mistake of thinking of it in sexual terms only. That is its primary usage but not its only usage. So when Jesus says that the only grounds for divorce is fornication, He means any unfaithful act(s) in a marriage. This would include physical or mental abuse. These evil activities are always prohibited for everyone, regardless of their marital status.


     Yes, I know some of these areas, like extreme sexual fantasies, mental abuse, physical abuse, etc. can be “fuzzy” areas. But are they sufficient biblical grounds for divorce? These must be very carefully considered. Each case has to be judged on its own. We all sin in these areas but does it reach the point of biblically justifying divorce? This is where consulting a few Christian counselors or pastors would be immensely helpful. Proverbs 11:14, 15:22 & 24:6 say in a multitude of counselors, there is safety.

     But even if you commit adultery or divorce your spouse, these are not unforgivable sins. God can and will forgive you if you earnestly seek Him. When the prophet Nathan confronted King David with his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah, David repented (2nd Samuel 12:1-13). Psalm 51 is David’s prayer to God to forgive his sins.
Verse 1&2…Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love, according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
Verse 7…wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
Verse 10-12…Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Verse 17…My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart you, O God, will not despise.


For His Kingdom,
Dave Maynard