Remain Unmarried Or Be Reconciled

I Cor 7:10 reads “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband” – clearly teaching a woman should not depart (divorce or maritally separate) from her spouse. Some teach though that once the wife leaves her husband unscripturally, it is okay for her to remain apart from him after her repentance. They get this from the next verse which tells such woman to “remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.” They reason that since Paul gave the separated woman two options, the two options must be equally acceptable – that remaining unmarried is just as acceptable an option (to God) as being reconciled.

But just because two options are given, that doesn’t necessarily mean both choices are just as acceptable to God. Compare to Rev 3:15 – ” I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” There John is chastising the Laodiceans for being lukewarm in their service to God. In doing this he tells the Laodiceans that it would be better for them to be cold or hot than lukewarm. Does that mean cold is as good an option as hot? Not on your life! Instead it means that cold is better than lukewarm, but hot is the best choice. We should be on fire in our zeal for the Lord!

Likewise in I Cor 7:11, remaining unmarried is a better choice than marrying a second person, because marrying another involves the additional sin of adultery, but the best choice is being reconciled to the original spouse. That is the only choice that does not involve continued sin. Some argue that if “be reconciled” were preferred over “remain unmarried,” then it would have been listed first. But Rev 3:15 has cold before hot; does that mean God prefers us to be cold rather than hot?

Here are a few Bible instructions that (when violated) involve ongoing sin as long as a marriage partner remains apart from their rightful spouse:

· I Cor 7:3-5 “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”

· Matt 5:32a “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery …”

· I Pet 3:7 “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

Conclusion: Texts like I Cor 7:10 and Rom 7:2a (“For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth”) mean that God intends for husband and wife to stay together till “death do us part.” If they are apart, they need to repent of departing and get back together. The very definition of repentance demands it.  We should never compromise the I Cor 7:10 imperative.

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One Response to “Remain Unmarried Or Be Reconciled”

  1. Joe McClure Says:

    Agree

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