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Marriage is as old as man, having been ordained of God in the beginning. The marriage union is patriarchal in government. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.” (Ephesians 5:23) The husband and father is head of the family. The home is monogamous in form. One man for one woman. (1 Corinthians 7:2) Marriage is to be indissoluble in nature. It is “till death do us part.” (Romans 7:1-4) “For the woman, which hath an husband, is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth. But if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.”

No man has the right to separate those things God has joined together. “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6) The rule is that a man and woman live together till death. (Romans 7:2) The exception is for the cause of fornication. “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” (Matthew 19:9)

Some are teaching that those who have divorced and remarried without scriptural justification, before they learned and obeyed the gospel, are not answerable to the Lord’s teaching in Matthew 19:9 on the assumption that such people are not under the law of Christ and are responsible to civil law only.

The theory assumes that moral law is applicable only to those in the church, and that people who have not obeyed the gospel are incapable of committing adultery or of violating other specific moral laws. The theory implies that civil law is the sole standard of moral conduct for people in the world. This is a false teaching which jeopardizes both the doctrinal and moral purity of the church.

All men are amenable to the law of Christ on marriage and divorce. Some try to nullify the force of Matthew 19:9 by questioning who is involved in the “whosoever” specified by Jesus. Some identify this as a “covenant passage” for “disciples only.” The “whosoever” in Matthew 19:9 is “whosoever puts away his wife.” This gets everyone so doing. “Whosoever” means any person at all. To suggest that those outside the church are not subject to God’s law of marriage and are free to marry, divorce, and remarry as they please, and then have that marriage sanctified in baptism, is to make a farce out of passages like Malachi 2:16, which states that God hates divorce.

May the Lord bless you and keep you!


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