Does salvation depend on whether or not you get a divorce?

by Matt Slick

Your salvation does not depend on whether or not you get a divorce. Divorce is not automatically a sin. God divorced Israel.

  • Jer. 3:8, "And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also."

If divorce is a sin, then why did God "divorce" Israel? It wouldn't make sense. But, that doesn't mean it is okay to get a divorce for any reason. In Jer. 3:8 the adulteries of Israel were about them going after other gods and committing spiritual adultery. Likewise, physical adultery is a grounds for divorce.

  • Adultery, Matthew 5:32, "but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

Another grounds for divorce is abandonment.

  • Abandonment, 1 Cor. 7:13-15, "And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, let her not send her husband away. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace."

So, we can clearly see that adultery and abandonment are grounds for divorce. 

Some people still feel that if they get a divorce and they do it for the wrong reasons, they will lose their salvation. First of all, we cannot lose our salvation. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand," (John 10:27-28). Jesus said that His sheep will never perish. Therefore, salvation is not dependent on whether or not we get divorced--even if it is for the wrong reason.

Our salvation does not depend upon our goodness or our ability to keep the law. "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes," (Rom. 10:4). Also, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law," (Rom. 3:28). At the same time, we should not let our freedom in Christ be an excuse to sin and go get divorced. Too many people take the easy way out instead of working through the difficulties of marriage. Some couples need counseling. Some need mutual forgiveness and repentance from various sins. But, all marriages can be saved in Christ Jesus. 


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.