Question

About those who have lived together and one of them accepts the Lord, while other partner is on way to acceptance but still doubtful. Should they separate? 

Answer

Are they married? Then NO they should not separate (unless one or both of them have had previous marriages, and subsequent divorces not for the cause of adultery which Christ discusses in Matthew 19, and results in their present relationship being an adulterous one).

1 Pet 3:1-4 1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (KJV)

Christ condemned divorce in Matthew 19. Separation is often a precursor to divorce. Separation does not often strengthen the bond between husband and wife, but weakens it. If they stay together, perhaps the reluctant one can be persuaded by the example of the Christian to investigate further and become a Christian also.

Are they not married (or has one or both of them have had previous marriages, and subsequent divorces not for the cause of adultery which Christ discusses in Matthew 19, and results in their present relationship being an adulterous one)? Then YES they should separate.

Not married? They should separate to stop comitting fornication.

Gal 5:19-21 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (KJV)

One who has accepted the Lord must repent of his/her sins, and fornication is a sin. To obey the gospel of Christ, and to continue to commit fornication, indicates no repentance.

Luke 13:3 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (KJV)

Unlawfully married in the eyes of God? They should separate to stop comitting adultery. Christ’s teaching on marriage, divorce and adultery is clear:

Matt 19:3-9 3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. (KJV)

Christ said here that divorce, except for the cause of fornication, is adultery. One who has accepted the Lord must repent of his/her sins. Adultery is a sin. To obey the gospel of Christ, and to continue to commit fornication or adultery, indicates no repentance.

Christ Jesus made it clear in Matthew 19 that divorce is sin against God, and is forbidden except in one case — and that is for the cause of adultery. Otherwise, divorce is adultery and is sin against God, just like stealing, and cannot be erased by just saying “I’m sorry,” or even by being baptized for the remission of sins. Of course God will forgive us of the sin of adultery, just as He will forgive us of any sin, if we repent of that sin. But to repent of the sin of adultery, we cannot continue to live with the second wife and continue to have sex. Each time is another adultery.

This really gets confusing when there are multiple marriages involved, as is so often the case today. But the solution is to go back to the origin. My father-in-law preached in Africa about 50 years. I heard of a situation over there where a chief, who had several wives, when he was taught God’s requirements on marriage to only one wife, solved his problem. He kept wife #1, and the other six or eight he no longer had any sexual relations with; but he took care of their living expenses and their children’s living expenses, because they were his reponsibility. This chief repented, and fulfilled his responsibilities to God.

By David Baize

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