“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Eze. 36:26)
One of the reasons why God is able to give us the victory and keep us from falling is because He has given us another nature empowered by the Holy Spirit that we can choose to live by.
It is only because of this new man living inside of us that we can determine right from wrong and have the strength to live according to the principles of the Kingdom of God.
Matthew chapter five verses 31 and 32 instructs us,
“It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Matt. 5:31-32)
These Scriptures give us the parameters concerning divorce. However, as it is with all the words of Jesus, there is the apparent meaning and there is the deeper meaning.
One of the things we must realize concerning the principles of the Kingdom of God is that the Lord is talking about living according to the abilities of a new and righteous heart.
He is talking about always living in peace and forgiveness.
In the Gospel of Mark chapter ten and verse five,
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.” (Mark 10:5)
We who have been born again and filled with the Holy Ghost have been delivered from a hard heart. The Lord says,
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Ezek. 36:26)
We as Christians have been given a new heart.
The psalmist cries out in Psalms 51 verse ten,
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
As believers in a Christian marriage, God gives us no excuse to head towards divorce. We do not have a hard heart but we have a softened heart. We are able to work things out.
We can come to the peace that God wants us to come to if we are willing to change and forgive.
However, for unbelievers sometimes such is not the case.
In First Corinthians chapter seven verses ten through 17 we read the Apostle Paul’s instructions concerning marriage as given through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:” (1Cor. 7:10)
“But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” (1Cor. 7:11)
“But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.” (1Cor. 7:12)
“And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.” (1Cor. 7:13)
“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.” (1Cor. 7:14)
“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” (1Cor. 7:15)
“For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” (1Cor. 7:16)
“But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.” (1Cor. 7:17)
In verses ten and 11 the Lord through Paul is talking to husbands and wives who are both believers and married in the Lord. He says to “Let them not depart.”
In verses 12 through 16, the Apostle Paul says “but to the rest speak I, not the Lord”. Here he is referring to believers who find themselves married to unbelieving spouses that are not part of the body of Christ.
In verse 14 the Bible says that the unbeliever is sanctified, meaning set apart, by the believer. They are sanctified unto salvation. In God’s eyes that saved individual’s unbelieving husband, wife, or children are set apart from the rest of the world.
It is true that all individuals have to come to a personal acceptance of Christ for their salvation, but when God says they are sanctified it means that He has set them apart for a concentrated ministration of the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin and bring them to Christ.
By living with a changed, born again individual on a daily basis, 24 hours a day seven days a week, the unsaved spouse or children will witness firsthand the reality of God and His ability to transform a life through the power of a new heart and a new spirit.
“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 (Greek: behavior) of the wives;” (1Peter 3:1)
God has not only promised to save us but He is has also promised to save our household.
“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31)
These Scriptures go on to say, “But if the unbelieving depart let him depart. A brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases.” (1Cor. 7:15) Not under bondage means they have been set at liberty.
First and foremost, God has called us to peace.
The key for a believer to continue in marriage to a non-believer are the verses which declare “be pleased to dwell”,
“But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.”
“And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.” (1Cor. 7:14-15)
The unbelieving spouse must accept and be pleased with the changes in the spouse who has become a believer.
In no way does God condone abuse. The Scripture says, “God hath called us to peace.”
We have been given a new heart and a new spirit made in the image of His heart and His Spirit. As God’s children, we should act as our Heavenly Father would act.
“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4)
In Matthew chapter five verses 43 through 48 Jesus says,
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.” (Matt. 5:43)
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matt. 5:44)
“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt. 5:45)
“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” (Matt. 5:46)
“And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” (Matt. 5:47)
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48)
The Bible says in First John chapter four and verse 18,
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1John 4:18)
Charity or love is the doorway to perfection, and the “perfect love” that the Scripture is talking about in First John chapter four and verse 18 is the love that many people call the “agape” kind of love.
This is the “God kind of love” which loves someone even when they may be against us. This is what God did when He sent Jesus. This is what God did when He loved us before we loved Him.
“We love him, because he first loved us.” (1John 4:19)
Colossians chapter three and verses 12 through 14 says,
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;”
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” (Col. 3:12-14)
As Jesus said in Matthew,
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
The Bible says that charity is the “joint tie” or bond of perfectness. The Greek words that are translated “perfect” in Matthew 5:48 and “perfectness” in Colossians 3:14 are the words that mean “complete” or “completeness”.
It is only through charity, or “agape” love, by which we can achieve completeness, or full maturity, in Christ. It is only by realizing and determining to live and walk in our newness of life, our new heart, and our new spirit that we can walk in charity and enter into “perfectness”.