Permission is granted to reproduce this in its entirety only.
Please realize that we do not claim to know everything for every
situation. This article was posted only to counter the flippant
attitude of many who want to "divorce" their spouses on unscriptural grounds.
Similarly, Scripture states:
[INTERNET POST BY UNKNOWN MAN] I really need some input here. If a Christian man (me) divorces his wife due to incompatibility and neglect (and various other mental anguish associated with a marriage that could not/would not be fixed even with MUCH prayer), and has a significant female other who is also a Christian and divorced due to abuse and mental cruelty, can they (we) marry each other after being truly forgiven by God for divorcing our spouses?
She and I are SO much in love and we want to serve the Lord together as husband and wife. We have read the Bible and seen prohibition of marriage of divorced people, but we know so many Christian couples who are both divorced and remarried and have good, solid marriages and serve the Lord well.
Thanks for your help.
[EVANGELICAL OUTREACH RESPONSE] Greetings in Jesus' name.
You said you really need some input. As a person who has spent thousands of hours reading and studying the Bible,and one who pastored for over 6.5 years in the Pittsburgh area, the following is my input:
(1) To divorce over "incompatibility and neglect" is not a legitimate reason, according to the Word of God! Please note Matt. 5:32:
"But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to commit adultery, and anyone who marries a woman so divorced commits adultery."
"I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery" (Matt. 19:9)."Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery" (Lk. 16:18)."Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?' 'What did Moses command you?' he replied. They said, 'Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.' 'It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,' Jesus replied. 'But at the beginning of creation God "made them male and female." "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.' When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, 'Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery' " (Mk. 10:2-12).
The aforementioned Scriptures about divorce and remarriage were given by the Lord Jesus. Clearly, He stated marital unfaithfulness (sexual immorality) is the only cause for a divorce! Hence, if one divorces his spouse for any other reason besides sexual immorality, regardless what that reason is, he is indicted by these verses! If such a person would then "marry" another, not only would he be committing adultery, but the person he "marries" would likewise be committing adultery! All people, who have never been married, need to know these facts before they consider marrying someone who might not be eligible for marriage again, namely a divorced person. When we consider passages like 1 Cor. 6:9,10 and Rev. 21:8, we can only conclude that an adulterous marriage, as referred to in Matt. 5:32 and 19:9, will result in both parties being thrown into the lake of fire, that is, unless that ceases and they find forgiveness for their adultery.
Divorce in Jesus' Day
On the other hand, Lk. 16:18 seems to teach that even the innocent party in an unscriptural divorce that remarries becomes guilty of adultery:
The Innocent Party In A Divorce"Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery (KJV)."The Apostle Paul gave these instructions about remarriage to the Christians of his day:
"And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. 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. 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. 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" (1 Cor. 7:10-15).The Greek word for "depart" in verses 10, 11 and 15 is also found at Matt. 19:6 and Mk. 10:9 as used with divorce:"Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."But then on the other hand that same Greek word does not have to refer to divorce:
"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.""After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth" (Acts 18:1).
"For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever" (Philemon 15).
The widow could also remarry, but only IF her spouse dies:
Until Death Do We Part
"For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man" (Rom. 7:2,3)."A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord" (1 Cor. 7:39).(2) You mentioned getting forgiven for "divorcing our spouses." Please know that there is no such thing in Scripture as getting forgiven from the sin of divorce! This subtle twisting of the Word regarding getting forgiven over the sin of "divorce" has led some to go through with it, then remarry, hence committing adultery themselves and causing their new "spouse" to become guilty of the same sin. Without a doubt, in many cases, "remarriage" is the world's term for what the Lord taught is adultery. It would be adultery in God's eyes because it is an unrecognized marriage as far as He is concerned.
(3) When Jesus spoke of committing adultery over an illegitimate marriage, as cited in Matt. 5:32 and 19:9, a CONTINUOUS-TENSE ADULTERY is what would result. This would be impossible if one would illegitimately marry a person, then "repent" of his sin of divorce and an illegitimate marriage and go on as if it was now a marriage recognized by Almighty God.
(4) Whose wife was Herodias? Please consider the following passage from Mk. 6:17, 18:
Herodias"For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, whom he had married. For John had been saying to Herod, 'It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.'"NOTE: Even though Herod had "married" Herodias, she is still considered "Philip's wife." That is why John said it was not lawful for him to have his brother's wife. In other words, adultery was being committed by both Herodias and Herod.
(5) You say you are so much in love and desire to serve the Lord together as husband and wife. Such is an impossibility. Neither of you two will be recognized from God's perspective as bound together by Him as husband and wife! This statement, though it may seem hard, is the truth, based on Scripture. The best way for you two to serve the Lord is to begin to stop entertaining the devil's temptation that you two would like to get married. This is like two people saying "We want to rob a bank and then serve the Lord with the money."
(6) To say you know of other "Christian couples" who are both divorced and remarried and have good solid marriages and serve the Lord well is meaningless! To be guilty of adultery excludes one from being a real Christian. What other people have or don't have or do or don't do has nothing to do with us individually. We are to go by the Word of God regardless if anyone else goes by it or not. It seems like you are trying to find every possible reason to "marry" outside of the will of God to justify your desires, even to the point of looking at others who have done a similar evil thing.
There are many people, even in the "church," who are illegitimately married. Such are committing continuous adultery from God's perspective and really are not "Christian" as they may profess to be. It is impossible to be a Christian and to be sexually immoral at the same time, in spite of what some are teaching. Do not be deceived: There is no such thing as once saved always saved, also known as eternal security or the perseverance of the saints. So if you think you can both divorce, then marry each other and be spiritually safe, based upon eternal security, you are Scripturally mistaken. The teaching of eternal security is a rampant heresy that has multitudes in danger of Hell without such knowing they're in this type of danger. [Please see our other information exposing and refuting the heresy of eternal security, perseverance of the saints or once saved always saved.]
(7) A wayward wife is called the adulteress:
A Wayward Wife or Divorcee"It [wisdom] will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it" (Prov. 2:16-22).COMMENT: Please note, the adulteress in the above passage is really a divorcee, for she left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. Marriage is a covenant between two people and God. Also, a "wayward wife" is called elsewhere in Scripture an immoral person, a prostitute and an adulteress:"For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life" (Prov. 6:23-26).Consider also the following Scripture which states that marriage is a covenant before God:
"You ask, 'Why?' It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. 'I hate divorce,' says the LORD God of Israel, 'and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,' says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith" (Malachi 2:14-16).As Scripture says elsewhere, what God has joined together, let not man separate:"So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matt. 19:6).Notice the rest of the dialogue:"'Why then,' they asked, 'did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?' Jesus replied, 'Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.' The disciples said to him, 'If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.' Jesus replied, 'Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.' " (Matt. 19:7-12).
This life is a test (Jam. 1:12; Rev. 2:10,11; 3:10). The stakes are eternal. Only the minority will pass the test and enter through the narrow gate that leads to life (Matt. 7:13,14). The vast majority of people will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15; 21:8). Don't get yourself snared by an illegitimate marriage that may bring much temporal pleasure and comfort now, but reap an eternal torment in fire and great regret over such later:"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mk 8:36).Again, it is NOT always God's will to remarry, as 1 Cor. 7:11 clearly states. Ponder the apostle's teaching on this, under grace, if you are thinking about doing such:
"But and if she depart, LET HER REMAIN UNMARRIED, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife" (1 Cor. 7:11).
Stay in the Bible and go by its counsel. Live in the fear of God. Think beyond the grave and ponder your own judgment before God. No person, regardless how much you may be drawn to him or her, is worth going to eternal punishment over.
The Lord Jesus taught on many touchy subjects. Among them all, divorce and remarriage being adultery is one of the most volatile, especially in our day when 50% or more marriages are ending in divorce. In fact, if one wanted to study divorce and remarriage for himself, he should also look up adultery in the Scriptures to learn what Jesus said about divorce! In every case it is crystal clear, except twice (Mt. 5:32; 19:9). Both of those passages say "except for fornication." The same Greek word translated fornication (KJV) is also found in 1 Cor. 5:1 and refers to the incest (and adultery) mentioned there. Hence, the word should be translated sexual immorality, since fornication in our day is understood differently and between two unmarried people.
Divorce Except For Fornication
Many remarried people are resting their salvation on the sexual immorality of their former spouse, which they think has freed them to remarry without being guilty of adultery, based on Mt. 5:32 and 19:9. How sound is that? To expand the possibility of what those verses are saying one should focus on Mt. 1:19:Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her [Mary] to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.Joseph was planning on divorcing Mary. What is significant is, that was BEFORE they were actually married, that is, while they were only pledged (engaged) to be married (Mt. 1:18; Lk. 1:27)! Also, the same Greek word for divorce as found in Mt. 1:19 is also found in Mt. 5:32 and 19:9! Could it be that only during that engagement time (as we would say in our day) is divorce permitted and that being only for sexual immorality? This could be the intended meaning of Mt. 5:32 and 19:9. If that is how we should understand Mt. 5:32 and 19:9, then there are no exceptions for divorce once a person does actually get married, as is clear in the law of marriage (Rom. 7:2,3) and even at 1 Cor. 7:39. Please study this subject out for yourself, especially if it applies to your situation. Such a study could benefit your soul or the souls of your loved ones. This information is important for Christian singles looking for a life-long godly spouse to serve God with.
Ministers who "marry" two people that are not eligible for marriage, because of a past marriage, are helping to perpetuate this rampant problem with adultery. To teach contrary to the Scriptures on any issue, including divorce, can stumble others and bring judgment down on the teacher(s):
Ministers Who Marry Divorced People
(a) They are causing another to commit adultery through their teachings:" 'But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble' " (Mal. 2:8).(b) Such ministers would also be indited by Lk. 17:1-3:"Jesus said to his disciples: 'Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.' "
(c) For ministers to have known illegitimately married couples, that is adulterers as God sees them, in their folds and to extend the right hand of Christian fellowship toward them, is to jeopardize the spiritual well-being of the entire congregation:
Jeopardizing The Entire Fold"Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are" (1 Cor. 5:6, 7).Christians are commanded under grace not to associate with or even to eat with a person who is sexually immoral and claims to be a Christian:"But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat" (1 Cor. 5:11).Ministry is not a popularity contest. A true shepherd is to preach the truth, and guard the sheep that have been entrusted to him, even if it is unpopular as it was for John the Baptist.
If you are now convinced from the Scriptures that you are in an adulterous so-called marriage, please know it is adulterous because it is NOT recognized by God as a marriage to him. Man might refer to it as a marriage, but God sees it as adultery for both parties because it isn't legitimate. To God, it is not different from two people living together who would never claim to be married and who are having sexual union! They are continuing in sexual immorality, just like it is a continuous state of adultery, which is being committed by people who are not married in God's sight. Since the two people in an adulterous so-called marriage are NOT married, if they went their own separate ways it would not be divorce, since they were never married in God's eyes, only in man's eyes. In man's eyes, divorce would result from such, but that is not the issue here. The issue is how does God view two people in an adulterous marriage? If the same two people in an adulterous marriage live under the same roof as brother and sister with no sexual contact, would that be acceptable to God? Some think it might be and perhaps they are right! One thing is certain, their sexual contact is adultery to God and that will send them to the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8; 1 Cor. 6:9,10; etc.) unless they get forgiven and stop all sexual union (adultery). Don't be deceived by teachers like John MacArthur who downplay such adultery!
IF You Are In An Adulterous Marriage
Since two people in an adulterous marriage are not married in God's eyes, the 1 Cor. 7:1-5 passage referring to married people does NOT apply. The sexual union for them must stop for it is adultery and therefore forbidden because the marriage is in name only. It is not a bonafide marriage before God. Don't be deceived by the multitude of ear-ticklers, who downplay the adultery in an adulterous marriage. Be on your guard. Your SOUL is your most valuable possession.
1 Cor. 7:1-5 Passage Does Not Apply
To An Adulterous Marriage
Though it might sound like the message of the Lord Jesus about divorce and remarriage being adultery is too harsh for our day, it is relevant and true mercy because it is based on God's truth and spiritual reality. Remember this: a false teacher is DANGEROUS, especially when teaching on any subject connected with salvation. In fact, he can be your worst enemy, though he may seem compassionate, caring and lenient. A false teacher is NOT ultimately concerned about your SOUL! He is more concerned about himself and keeping his own congregation and/or ministry! Chances are he has a mortgage or a car payment! For some it might just be his teaching influence over a large number he is thinking about! With over 50% of the professing Christians in the American churches being divorced and remarried, the typical pastor of our day will be reluctant, at best, to repeat Jesus' teaching on divorce and remarriage, but his negligence doesn't change Jesus' message! Don't be deceived. God's word is final authority. Your eternal destiny depends on what you do with that message! NO sin or person is worth going to hell over. GOD BLESS YOU.
It is NOT Merciful To Deceive
About Divorce and Remarriage
Below is a praise report from a woman who reconciled with her divorced husband after hearing the truth:
Praise ReportI first found you by accident....I was about to re-marry (after a divorce from my Christian husband) and your video warned me that I would be in adultery. It inspired me to study covenant marriage further and the truth about Matthew 19:9 partly referring to engaged couples. As a result, I have broken up with my carnal Christian boyfriend and reconciled with my covenant spouse. Thank you for helping me avert the biggest mistake of my eternal life.
Wicked People and How To Be Forgiven
The Plan Of Salvation
Backslider, God Wants You Back
Lust: Another Name For Adultery
A 25 year marriage is destroyed by wife's adultery
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