Marriage

 

 

13. Dear brother Butindaro, peace to you! I would like to ask you a question concerning a sister I know personally. She is baptized in the Holy Spirit and she is in love with a brother who is separated from his unbelieving wife. This brother, who is baptized in the Holy Spirit too, got married before he knew the Lord. After his conversion, since his wife did not like his choice, she decided to leave him (another reason why she left him was that she had a secret lover). This man has acknowledged the mistake he made by marrying that woman, and he has asked God to forgive him. He is 30 years old, and since his wife has decided to apply for a divorce, which will take place within a year, he wants to get married, even though he has insisted and prayed in order to prevent his marriage from going to rack and ruin. Both of the former married partners have no children. However, the strange thing is that both this sister and this man feel a peace inwardly, as if they were approved by God! Even though this sister knows that such a thing may be wrong, she says that just at the thought of losing this man forever she feels lost. I have told her to wait confidently in prayer, but she says that because of the spiritual condition in which she is because of this situation, she probably won’t be able ‘to hear’ the answer of the Lord. We know that if this brother remarries, first of all he will act in an unbiblical manner, and then he will be compelled to renounce all his rights in the Church. Now I ask you to tell me what you think of this situation and to answer me with appropriate biblical passages, and try to be as much clear as possible, and as much complete as possible. It is of great urgency!!!

 

 

In the case you have told me, we have a believer who was converted while he was already married, and because of his faith he was left by his unbelieving wife, who had a secret lover and now wants to obtain a divorce. And he would like to give her a divorce in order to marry this sister who, as you say, is very much in love with him. Well, here is what the believer must and can do according to the Word of God if he is left by his unbelieving wife: “But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:12-16). Therefore this brother did a right thing in letting her wife depart because she was no longer willing to live with him: she departed, and thus he was not bound any longer to live with her (for she was not willing to live with him). I repeat myself, he did a right thing in letting his wife depart because it would have been harmful for him to force his wife to continue to live with him. They would have continually quarrelled, disputed, etc.. It would have been impossible to continue to live peacefully. That’s why Paul says that in such cases a brother or a sister is not under bondage (1 Corinthians 7:15). However, the fact that this brother was left by his unbelieving wife, does not allow him to remarry, because in the sight of God he is still the husband of that woman. A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6 – NKJV), says the Word of God.

Someone may ask, ‘Why doesn’t God allow a believer to remarry even when he is left by her unbelieving wife (no matter if she has already committed fornication or she has not yet committed fornication)? Is this not an injustice suffered by the believer because he is condemned to live in a situation not chosen by him, that is, in a situation imposed on him by his unbelieving wife?’ That’s a question which has been put to me many times, and my answer has always been this. According to what the Holy Scripture teaches, the bond of matrimony can be dissolved only by the death of one of the parties, for Paul says to the Corinthians: “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39), and to the Romans: “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. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man” (Romans 7:2-3).

Now you may say to me, ‘In these passages Paul is speaking of the married woman and not of the married man!’ That’s true, however why shouldn’t this principle be valid for the man also? Is it not true that a married man also is bound to his wife by the law of God? Of course, it is, for one day Jesus said: “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Luke 16:18), which means that it doesn’t matter why a husband sends away his wife, if he remarries, he commits adultery. So even if he sends away his wife for she was unfaithful to him (this is the only case in which he is allowed to send away his wife), and he remarries, he commits adultery.

Therefore, in the light of the Word of God, as long as both spouses are alive, neither of them is allowed to remarry (even if the unbelieving wife has committed fornication, or she has left her husband because of his faith, or because of some other reasons) because such a marriage is adultery. I realize that this seems to be a cruel and unjust prohibition of God, but it’s just a vain appearance, the truth is that God, by commanding the believer not to remarry as long as his unbelieving wife is alive, seeks the good of the believer and not his ruin. So it is evident that the sister who is in love with this brother, whose wife is still alive, cannot marry this man. She can marry him only if the wife of this brother dies. However, if this sister is a divorcee (and her husband is alive) she is not allowed to marry that man even if his wife dies.

Concerning the fact that both of them claim that they have peace in their hearts, I do not believe them because one (whether a believer or an unbeliever) who is about to do something wrong in the sight of God cannot have peace. There is no peace for those who want to do evil things. Suppose a man, who is about to rob or kill somebody, should tell you that he is calm inwardly, would you believe him? I don’t think, for it is written: “There is no peace for the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21 – NKJV). Therefore don’t be deceived by their words. Actually this peace (they say they feel) is nothing but an allurement of sin, so they think they have peace but actually they have no peace. On the other hand, since they have already decided to get married, they could not tell you that they are not calm inwardly. But sin always repays with death those who commit it, and never with life. And I am sure that if this brother and this sister get married unlawfully, they won’t have peace and they won’t be approved by God.

I want to tell you something that happened to me many years ago. One day I came to know that a brother, who was unmarried, wanted to marry a sister who was a divorcee (this sister was not Italian). This sister, in her nation, had married an unbeliever, her pastor had told her not to marry that man but she had refused to obey her pastor and thus married that unbelieving man. After some time they divorced, and she came to Italy. Here in Italy she fell in love with this unmarried brother, and this brother fell in love with her, and they decided to marry. Now, since at the time this brother sometimes cooperated with us in evangelizing, I decided to take him aside and to tell him that what he was going to do was wrong, and I told him not to marry that woman. I reproved him in a spirit of gentleness but also steadfastly. His reaction was very bad because he got very angry with me. He told me that he loved that woman, they loved each other, and then he told me that even if they were going to do something wrong, God wouldn’t deny them His pardon. So that brother, not wanting to heed my words, married that woman. I did not hear anything of them for a long time, then one day I was told that she left him and returned to her country! That brother spoiled his own life because he did not want to heed the Word of God. And there are many brothers and sisters who have come to the same end!

That’s what I think of this situation.

 

 

 

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