This question is one which is becoming more and more prominent in the Church today. Not only in the modern churches of the world, but also in our Reformed Churches has the question arisen. The result of this is that we are tempted to depart from the Word of God. In the modern churches divorce is tolerated, they may be frowned upon by some in the church, but the fact remains that they are permitted. In the Christian Reformed and Reformed Churches, divorces may take place and the divorced man and wife may remain in good standing in the church. Even our own Protestant Reformed Churches do not have a uniform condemnation of this ugly thing, divorce.
We all know what marriage is. Marriage is the uniting of man and woman into a very holy state; a state so holy that God has ordained it a holy bond whereby the unity between Christ and His Church is signified. They are of one flesh. A closer unity than marriage is not to be found among man upon this earth. A Christian man and a Christian woman, who are of one mind to become united in marriage, may know and believe that it is God who has brought them together to fill that position for which the holy state of marriage is ordained.
Now let us see how great a wrong it is to break this holy bond which is ordained of God. In Matt. 19:3-9 we read, “And there came unto Him, Pharisees, trying Him, saying: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And Jesus answered and said, Have ye not read, that He who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh? So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder. They say unto Him, why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorcement and to put her away? Jesus said unto them, Moses, for your hardness of heart, suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it has not been so.” Therefore any husband and wife who seek to have their marriage vows become void, are not seeking their heritage in the Lord, but are hardening their hearts against the Lord and His commandments.
I do not doubt but that the Christians in the church today are of one mind to condemn divorce as a tool of the devil, except for one reason and that reason is adultery. We have the direct command of the Lord in the seventh commandment, in which He commands, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. May God graciously forbid, but if adultery should enter the home of the Christian, it still does not give the husband and wife grounds which are right before the Lord to become free from their marriage vows. A man or woman is not free from the other until death do them part. God has brought them together and united them into a lasting state of marriage. They have been of one flesh and nothing can change that but death. They may have become free from one another according to the laws of the land, but before God they are one flesh and shall remain so. No man can serve two masters. We cannot serve God and mammon. Neither can man and woman be one flesh and become divorced and be one flesh with someone else. This would be living in the sin of adultery and one sin does not give justice or reason for another sin.
Nothing can separate Christ from His Church. Christ is the Groom, the Church is His Bride. That Church may go through all sorts of tribulations and Christ will never forsake her. That Church may even turn away from the truth for a time, but if that Church is the true Bride of Christ, He will take her back and grant forgiveness. Also in the holy state of marriage, man and wife may and never will become free from one another, before the righteous judgment of God. He has ordained it. Man may pollute it, but he can never free himself before the Lord.