10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart
from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.
12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.
15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether
you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
Now with commentary:
This letter is Paul responding to a letter. We don’t know what they asked but we can guess with what he answers. It’s like hearing someone on the phone and you can kinda get what the caller asked.
10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: [Hes tell us what God told him not his opinion] A wife is not to depart from her husband. [So it would seem that they were asking if there is any longer any point to being married at ALL. This is why earlier in the chapter he speaks about young ladies if they should EVER marry. And so God is saying that Yes remain married and still get married. There is still a need for marriage, for God desires Godly offspring – that is children raised in a fair home Malachi 2:14,15] 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. [So if a woman does leave her husband in the service of the Lord or visa versa, i.e. God sends you to a far country without your spouse you know you wont see each other for a very long time, you are STILL married. Or if you think you should live alone You definitely cannot remarry. This is not a legitimate reason to divorce. (for a legitimate reason see this article http://bit.ly/1MnIL2v )]
12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. [They were asking that as new spiritual beings do we not give up marriage, all together? No we still marry or don’t marry as God may call us individually. If you were married when you believed remain even if the spouse is an unbeliever] 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. [willing to live, that is the unbeliever has no desire to depart or cause for you to put them away (divorce)] 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. [If you have an unbelieving spouse they are sealed without believing. What does that mean? Well its like in Egypt with the Passover, your door is marked and nobody will die when the destroyer comes he will pass over your house despite one or more inside DON”T believe.]
15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. [You are free to be single or to remarry if THEY leave, IF THEY initiate the divorce. But if they have violated the marriage contract You can initiate the divorce. See article http://bit.ly/1MnIL2v ] 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? [don’t fight their desire to leave – allow them to reject you even if you didn’t violate the contract they are by their leaving.]
So we see that some wanted to be extra spiritual and thought that they should no longer seek ANY fleshly pleasure and so not marry or remain married. But no God still desires godly offspring and marriage is his way of teaching us his kingdom principles for thus it says an elder Must rule his house well.
What does it mean if they leave? Most likely they will not want to leave, but if they are doing evil any kind of sin and you refuse to partake – such as to lie for them and may even expose them they will either repent and even come to believe, but will most likely want nothing to do with you.
I counseled a woman once whose husband once again stole money from her to begin again his drug habit [relapse]. His stealing was an embezzlement, a lie he crafted to cheat his own wife. This is abusive and God has not called us to be victims [see article http://bit.ly/1MnIL2v ]. I told her to confront him and if he refuses since she did not have any brothers or sisters willing to help her, she simply put him in “time out”. She should live in the corner of the roof rather than in a contentious home. She thought what I said was unloving and harsh. But when she woke up the next day as she sat up in bed and she supernaturally heard my voice say loudly and sternly “put him in time out”. Now I am on the other side of the world I counseled her over the phone, what she heard was God telling her in his own creative way to listen to the wisdom I gave Brian his words on this matter are my words. She did as I advised and her husband repented, took full responsibility and made amends. It was not easy but it was easier than leaving.
We confront them and if they don’t repent we don’t eat with them. We cook for them and SERVE them the food, but we eat later or at another table. If it was a crime we report the crime providing we have proof, but first having given them the chance to undo or come clean on their own.
This is WHEN you give the greatest love, this is when you risk your life for your fellow man, for “there is no greater love than to lay down [risk] your life for your neighbor”. They may get murderous, they may get worse. Like false imprisonment it either makes you stronger or it makes you bitter, vengeful, and hateful. Them getting worse is their choice and you did not cause it.
Now what this passage does not cover is what if you lived together for years may even have kids together and are NOT married legally or in one or either of your hearts? What do you do now that you are a believer?
There is no “here is how it works” answer. WE need revelation for each specific case. We need father telling the believer what to do and we as brethren only encouraging and aiding in what they hear even hearing ourselves to give them confirmation. Jesus met the woman at the well, she was shacking up with a man and she had already had five husbands. Jesus goes and eats with them. Not only was she a Samaritan – and her boyfriend -, but they were in adultery and yet Jesus stayed with them for two days eating with them. [John 4:40].
Does your state have common law marriage? Does the partner want to get married? The wanting too needs to be for God. The wanting too is for the sake of the Children’s psychological health and the community. Not wanting too is selfish and damaging to all. But don’t be too zealous. In all things led of the Spirit for those who are led of the Spirit ARE sons of God.[Romans 8] Keep in mind Jesus spent several days with them, he began his being with them as an exhortation. He said let fertilizer be put around the tree and give it one more year before it is cut down. Give them time and a chance. But when the time comes if need be when we show up with a chainsaw, when we put our gloves and goggles on and we fire up the saw and they hear the roar of the saw it may be that moment they surrender [Surrender is the fruit we were looking for!].
All things led and guided by him.
Even if your spouse breaks the marriage vows (contract) you can bring them to repentance and be restored to them. But if you filling for divorce as a last step does not change their mind (repentance) let them go, how do you know you can save them? If you don’t you most likely are enabling their stubbornness for their selfish behavior and are guaranteeing that they will probably not come around for there is no want, drive, or thirst to change. I know a lady who’s husband was in adultery and living with his girlfriend it wasn’t until she took the steps to file for the divorce that he then saw this was reality and then repented. She had pleaded with him, told him the path for mercy and reconciliation but most the time they assume you are bluffing. Her children too – who at the time were young adults – told him that he is in the wrong and would love him but not keep company with him unless he repented.
Its hard work, but it works – this way of holding accountable and loving your neighbor with correction.
And in regard to divorce in general some are confused for there are passages where God says that he hates divorce. He hates it but it did not say or mean to never do it. God often divorced Israel did he not? Yes he prefers reconciliation but if one side is not making amends the other side is freed.
A negotiation is not a negotiation without divorce as an option and not just a bluff.
“He who seeks to keep his life will lose it, but he for the gospels sake loses his life will find it.”