Does it mean we cannot divorce at all?
Matthew 19:9 (ESVST)
And I say to you:whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
Continuing from part 2, Jesus now concludes his answer with a sweeping stament and give a command. Jesus says, whoever divorces his wife except for sexual immorality and marries another, commits adultery. In other words, if you choose to divorce your wife for any other reason except sexual immorality, in the eyes of God, your marriage is still in tact. God does not and will not recognize a divorce that was not based on sexual immorality. Since God does not recognize your divorce, this means you will be committing adultery when you remarry because you are in the eyes of God, still married to your wife.
Jesus repeats this in Matthews
Matthew 5:32 (ESVST)
But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Here Jesus adds even more, he says that if anyone marries a divorced woman, commits adultery. In other words, it does not matter what the reason for divorce is, if you marry a divorced women, you commit adultery. Even if the divorce was on ground of sexual immorality, it does not matter. A divorced woman cannot be married and should not be married.
Jesus repeats the same thing in Luke
Luke 16:18 (ESVST)
18 “ Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
Now, I know at this stage most ladies will say, well, they are talking to men not us.
Mark 10:11-12 (ESVST)
And he said to them, “ Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
The same command applies to women as well. No exceptions.
Divorce is not allowed except based on sexual immorality and a divorced man or woman cannot marry anyone else. Anything else contrary to this, is adultery.
At this stage it is very important to note that Jesus is speaking to the Jews who are still living under the law. We as Gentiles, are not living under the law but under Grace. So, what Jesus is saying here is not applicable to us as Gentiles under grace. So, what does the word of God say then about divorce under Grace covenant?
This is what Paul says when writing a letter to Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 (ESVST)
To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
Paul does not give a condition when a divorce may be allowed but, he gives a command not to divorce. Paul says, if you decide to divorce however, stay unmarried or get back together but, he makes it clear that divorce and remarrying someone else is not an option. Paul continues to say that if a man or a woman is married to an unbeliever, and the unbeliever does not have a problem with you being a believer and wants to stay in the marriage, then, you must stay with the unbeliever, you cannot divorce them. However if the unbeliever wants to divorce, let them, you will be free to remarry.
1 Corinthians 7:12-16 (ESVST)
To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
So, under the grace covenant, divorce is not allowed and no exceptions are given. If however you do divorce, then you must stay unmarried. If an unbeliever divorces a believer, then the believer is free to marry someone else but a believer cannot divorce an unbeliever if the unbeliever wants to stay in the marriage.
Romans 7:2-3 (ESVST)
For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
As you can see in the above passage. One is bound to his husband or wife until death. If you live with any other man or wife, while your husband or wife is still alive, you commit adultery.
Now for the difficult part, what do I do when I am in an abusive marriage?