Is annulment and legal separation Biblically accepted?
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February 8, 2018
Is annulment and legal separation biblical accepted? Is turning an unbeliever to be a Christian licensed for them to continue having an adulterous affair? if yes sight proofs in the bible and if not, sight also verses in the bible. This will be a big help for me exhort for my brother in CHRIST who is married but now separated but not annulled to his unbeliever wife. Now he is under deception cause his blindedly in bondage of loving another woman who is also married but separated to her husband the woman is unbeliever.
I have sight to my brother in CHRIST biblical verses about adultery One of which are ! Corinthian 7: 10-16
"10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?"
Proverbs 5: 1-23 (NiV)
1My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
turn your ear to my words of insight,
2that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.
3For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;
4but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.
5Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.
6She gives no thought to the way of life;
her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.
7Now then, my sons, listen to me;
do not turn aside from what I say.
8Keep to a path far from her,
do not go near the door of her house,
9lest you lose your honor to others
and your dignity5:9 Or years to one who is cruel,
10lest strangers feast on your wealth
and your toil enrich the house of another.
11At the end of your life you will groan,
when your flesh and body are spent.
12You will say, “How I hated discipline!
How my heart spurned correction!
13I would not obey my teachers
or turn my ear to my instructors.
14And I was soon in serious trouble
in the assembly of God’s people.”
15Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
16Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
17Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
18May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
20Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?
21For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
and he examines all your paths.
22The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
the cords of their sins hold them fast.
23For lack of discipline they will die,
led astray by their own great folly.
But my brother in CHRIST keeps on justifying that the unbeliever woman is GOD's gift to him and he is in the mission of soul winning her to become a Christian which is having a compromising matter because the real true motive of why he is persistently wanting her to become a Christian for them to continue their relationship despite that they are both married in their respective wife and husband having a child each. Please let us pray for them. Thank you.
First let's define the terms divorce, annulment & separation as they don't have the same legal meaning or implications.Also differs with jurisdictions as separation is not necessarily a legally recognized concept.As an example in South Africa separation is not recognised at all.Under South African law, either you are married, unmarried or divorced. If you live separately without divorcing, for all intents & purposes you are still married.
* Divorce dissolves, terminates, ends a legally valid marriage.
**Annulment erases (as if it never happened) a marriage by declaring the marriage null and void and that the union was never legally valid..ie.a voidable marriage is one that doesn't meet the requirements of a legal marriage.For example a minor ( someone below the age of consent) getting married or bigamy or incest.
It is also important to note that the bible specifically mentions divorce only.The bible often doesn't get into separating terms like annulment & separation.
How does God view marriage?
God's view of marriage via the bible has not changed.Only us humans with our fickle nature have changed the status of marriage generally now we have more options.ie.cohabitating,divorce,separation,trial separation etc
God views marriage as
1.. a covenant .
2..as a permanent life long union between a man & a woman for his glory.
"Covenant is the generally accepted idea of binding or establishing a bond between two parties carries with it the concept of “cleaving,” or sticking together like Super Glue!"
Contract: You had better do it!
Covenant: How may I serve you?
Difference between a contract & a covenant is you can negotiate out of contract, but not out of a covenant. A covenant is a promise made with God himself.It is three dimensional,like a triangle with God at the top, holding the two sides together.
From the outset God created them male & female & clearly intended a one man one woman policy (see Adam & Eve Gen 2 : 18-25).He gave Eve to Adam with the full intention that,they would remain together as a couple.
Further in Malachi 2 : 13 - 16,it is specifically mentioned that God hates divorce. He (God) talks about not accepting their sacrifice because they have been unfaithful to the wife of their youth. Further in the new testament 1 Peter 3:7 shows that in a christian marriage a the way a husband treats his wife matters to God.Peter warns that your prayers may be hindered if ...This shows the extent to which God cares about a married couple and that he doesn't care for appearances but the real intents of your heart.
But you say, Why does he not? Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
For the man who hates and divorces, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.
What did Jesus teach about divorce?
In the new testament Jesus reinforces the fact that God hates divorce.He further says Moses only allowed divorce because of the "hardness of their hearts".Matthew 19 : 1 - 9, Matthew 5: 31-32
He said to them, Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
What did Paul say?
Paul gave pastoral advice & often had to deal with situations where new christians were faced with the dilemma of whether or not they must divorce their unbelieving,idol worshipping husbands/spouse.But he urges them not to divorce saying.1 Corinthians 7:12
I (not the Lord) say to the rest of you: If a brother has a wife who is an unbeliever and she is willing to live with him, he must not abandon her.
-Note same applies to wife in next verse.
But in the cases of desertion of a Christian by an unbeliever spouse,he says they are free to marry (known as Pauline Privilege).1 Corinthians 7:15
But if the unbelieving partner leaves, let him go. In such cases the brother or sister is not bound; God has called you to live in peace.Rom 12:18; 14:19; 1Cor 14:33; Heb 12:14
In 1 Corinthians 7 : 10 -11, Paul urges couples not to separate.Paul goes further and says they must not remarry after they separate.
Conclusions from Jesus & Paul!
# both condemned divorce without valid grounds and discouraged divorce even for valid reasons.
How then do we reconcile all the thoughts in our modern world?
Understanding these principles helps to clear,all your arguments of whether your brother should divorce his wife because she is an unbeliever.It also shows God's clear intention about marriage.
But God in his mercy & kindness still forgives all of our sins,though we might have to live with the consequences. He is a redemptive God & manages to make all things new when we mess-up.He still forgives & loves divorcees.
Coming back to your question,just because someone professes to be a christian doesn't mean they are.Jesus said you will know them by their fruits.So your brother might want to preach to the other woman to "turn" her into a christian but christians aren't vampires ( lol). No one can 'turn' anyone into something they don't want to be. It cannot be forced on anyone.
In other words,he is taking a legalistic approach to Christianity.Being a christian is more than professing that you love Jesus with your mouth.Jesus says the below about some of our human intentions and so-called works.
On that day many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? Matthew 7:23
And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.
So in conclusion if you want to preach to someone,preach to them but not for your own benefit.Because it is not your power that saves the person,just grace.
Remember the story of Saul in 1 Samuel 15:1-31,God is pleased when we obey his word & listen to his instructions.
1 Samuel 15:22
Then Samuel said, "Is the LORD as delighted with burnt offerings and sacrifices as he would be with your obedience? To follow instructions is better than to sacrifice. To obey is better than sacrificing the fat of rams.
How do you define an unbeliever? What kind of marriage is considered a marriage before GOD? Is civil marriage ( officiated not by a priest) considered a marriage before GOD?