We are often asked if a Christian can seek a divorce and if a divorced Christian can remarry. The truth about these matters is that there are no generic answers to these questions. In other words, we cannot say it is always right or always wrong for a Christian to seek a divorce, or for a divorced Christian to remarry.
Divorce is obviously a very undesirable event, and the Bible is clear when it says God hates divorce (Malachi 2:14-16). Divorce is almost always a very painful experience that damages relationships and puts strain on family members and children. We can see why this is so when we understand that the act of marriage literally joins two people as one flesh (Matthew 19:5-6). Divorce literally means this joined union has been separated, severed and dissolved.
Under the Law of Moses, the children of Israel were given specific rules regarding such situations. The thing we must understand is that Jesus instituted a new law that would govern the Body of Christ, and this law is called the law of love (John 13:34). We are no longer under the Law of Moses, but are instead to be governed by the law of love in every circumstance (Romans 13:8, 10; Galatians 5:14, 6:2; James 2:8). What does this mean for the Christian who is in the position of contemplating divorce? It means this person must be led by the Holy Spirit in making a decision that is based on the question, “What would love do?”
How does love behave? First Corinthians 13:4-8 says, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!” The New King James Version of this last sentence says, “Love never fails.”
Love never fails! When both members of a marriage union endeavor to walk in the love of God, their marriage will never fail. However, if a believer is in a marriage where this is not the case, he or she should seek the Lord for guidance and allow the Holy Spirit to direct him or her toward the truth (Proverbs 3:5-6; John 14:26). The Lord may direct this person in multiple ways, and only he or she and God know if divorce is an option. We should always remember that the Word of God does work, and when a believer stands on the Word for his or her marriage, he or she can expect things to change.
Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” As believers, we can expect to be led by the Spirit of God and know that He does not bring condemnation against us. Divorce is not God’s best, but it is also not the end of a victorious Christian life. Romans 11:29 says the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. The divorced Christian can know without a doubt that he or she has a special place in God’s plan, and through Him, he or she can walk in victory and fulfill everything God has called him or her to accomplish!
In short, there is no specific biblical law for the Christian regarding divorce, other than that they follow the law of love. The same is true regarding remarriage. The decision to remarry should be based on the love of God and not on selfish desires. If a divorced believer is truly ready to offer him or herself to another believer in marriage, he or she should do so with confidence that the Lord will bless that union. Remember, in Christ all things become new (2 Corinthians 5:17)!