To sum up, under the traditional view, we have sometimes counseled married couples with children to divorce, we have split churches, and we have denied remarriage to perfectly innocently divorced spouses, making their victimization by their former spouses permanent. We have a doctrine that allows for no mercy, that offends notions of common decency, and that drives our members from Christ.
Moreover, we have here a doctrine that is more legalistic than the Law of Moses. Jesus said (repeatedly), “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” Paul taught (repeatedly) that the gospel is based on love not law. And here we have an unmerciful law. The only justification is a legalistic policy argument — that by making divorce horribly painful, we discourage divorce. But this flatly contradicts the rest of the Christian message. And experience shows plainly that it doesn’t work.
Christ died to bring forgiveness. Murder, adultery, rape, theft, homosexuality, not to mention lust, greed, and failure to evangelize, are all forgivable and forgiven (1 Cor. 6:9-11, for example). That’s what grace is for. So can it really be true that a marriage, once made, can’t be ended except for fornication? Is it truly God’s law that he holds couples to their marriage vows until death — even innocent wives who have been beaten, abused, and abandoned by their husbands?
Now I readily admit that the Bible teaches that breaking the covenant of matrimony is sin. It is. But does that mean that divorce doesn’t really happen? If a couple divorces, they may well have sinned in God’s eyes, but are they still married in God’s eyes? What passage actually says that they are still married?
Doesn’t Jesus flatly say in Matthew 19:1, “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Doesn’t this imply that what God has joined together can be separated?
Now the last thing you’re going to hear from this teacher is that Jesus was wrong, but I do believe that he has been mistranslated and misunderstood. Also, as I’ll point out in more detail later, these are the wrong passages to begin our study. In the Gospels, Jesus was interpreting the Law of Moses for the benefit of Jews who were at the time under the Law of Moses.
In Matthew 5, when Jesus says, “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement” (KJV), Jesus is referring to Deuteronomy 24, from the Law of Moses, regulating how Jews were to divorce under the Law of Moses.
In Matthew 19, when the Pharisees ask Jesus, “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?” (KJV) they are asking Jesus about the same passage in Deuteronomy.
Jesus’ teachings matter to Christians, but only in the context of who he was speaking to and what he was speaking about. Wouldn’t it make much better sense to start with what the Bible says directly to Christians about divorce and remarriage?
After we give some more background, we will very carefully study 1 Corinthians 7, because that chapter was written by Paul to Christians, no longer under the Law of Moses, about divorce and remarriage. That is where we must start, not in the Gospels. After letting the inspired Paul instruct us on what Jesus really said and how Jesus’ teachings apply to Christians, we’ll return to the Gospels to demonstrate that Paul and Jesus don’t contradict one another.
 Matt. 9:13; 12:7, in each case quoting Hosea 6:6.
 (Rom. 13:8) Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law
(Gal. 5:14) The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’