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DIVORCE
/ REMARRIAGE

Is Remarriage Scriptural?

Marriage was originally intended to be permanent when instituted by its Designer (Matthew 19:3-6). The following words are presented to bring to light what the Almighty has stated concerning the unfortunate issues that face the victims of marital sins and what instructions and liberties He has sovereignly granted in such cases. Through the preponderance of Scripture it becomes clear that just like our covenant relationship with the LORD, so marriage is conditional upon the continued fidelity of each party.

The following biblical view is utterly important to apprehend, especially in light of “deceitful” or “evil workers” like Stephen Wilcox and his cultic followers who seek to bind people to their first marriage using twisted and convoluted interpretations of Scripture to the exclusion of what the whole of divine Counsel reveals (2 Cor. 11:13; Phil. 3:2; 2 Tim. 2:15). These people also seek to break up second marriages and are bringing great destruction to those gullible enough to follow their legalistic and un-scriptural counsel. Beware!

Recently, a common question about divorce and remarriage came to me via email

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and here it is:

QUESTION:

If you are married and a believer, and your spouse leaves you, who is not a believer, by Biblical terms, are you free to marry again?

ANSWER:

*There are two Biblical (divine) reasons that one may choose to be freed from a marriage covenant:

1) Adultery/Fornication - Matthew 19:9

    Matthew 19:9 "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."

2) Abandonment - 1 Corinthians 7:15-16

1 Corinthians 7:15-16

    15 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.

    16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

**Whether the departing party ("unbelieving") was saved in the past or not is irrelevant at the time of the departure. JESUS taught that one could stop believing and become "unbelieving" or and UNbeliever (and therefore no longer be saved). See Luke 8:13; John 6:66; Ezekiel 33:12-13; Col. 1:23; Heb. 3:6,14; 10:38-39; 2 Pet. 2:20-22... In light of this clear Biblical truth, what state a person's heart is in at the time they "depart" from their own mate is what is important to acknowledge when considering this matter/text. I am personally of the opinion that a truly saved person absolutely would NOT depart from a marriage covenant without clear Biblical grounds. Isn't holy matrimony the second most important and sacred vow made upon the earth?...For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer...".

Below, Bible commentator Donald Stamps speaks to this text in 1 Corinthians 7:15:

    IS NOT UNDER BONDAGE. In the event that an unbelieving partner abandons or divorces a believer, the marriage relation is dissolved and the believer is freed from his or her former marital obligation. "Not under bondage in such cases" means that the believer is released from the marital contract. The word "bondage" (Gk. douloo) literally means "to enslave"; ie., the faithful believer is no longer enslaved to his or her marriage vows. In this case, the abandoned believer would be free to remarry, provided he or she marries a Christian (v 39). Life in the Spirit Study Bible

    "Wherefore they are no more twain (two), but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Matthew 19:6

It is my opinion that only an apostate (one who has departed from Christ after once knowing Him) heart could "put asunder" what God hath joined together without a clear Biblical precedence (Matt. 19:6; Hebrews 3:12-14). Leaving one's mate by departing from a marriage covenant without clear Biblical grounds is sinful and hurtful to all parties and takes a hardened, conscious effort and decision to go through with. It is my opinion that this is proof in itself that the departing one is not a believer.

Note: "But if the unbelieving depart, LET HIM DEPART. A brother or a sister is not under bondage (to the marriage covenant because it has been broken) in such cases: but God hath called us to peace." 1 Corinthians 7:15

Here the Holy Ghost instructs those who have been abandoned to "Let him depart." Notice that God does not instruct the victimized (abandoned) marriage partner to run after the departed spouse, nor does He say to "hang in there, it might get better." Nor does God instruct the deserted one to seek to be the saving agent of this unsaved alienated partner. Although this is the belief of many in Christendom, such is no where to be found in Scripture and would be utter foolishness. In most cases, God would be contributing to the misery of His own child.

In the next verse He illustrates the possibility of the current heart state of the departing partner never changing:

    "For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?" 1 Corinthians 7:16

Paul is saying here that there is NO guarantee that the departing UNbeliever will ever choose to change his/her ways. So, in light of this, "Let them depart." Is Paul not saying here: "Don't try to be a hero, you are free if you would like to be. You can't force the departed unbeliever to repent and be saved and there is no guarantee they ever will?"

Again, it is my opinion that a true believer (one who is currently believing - saved) could not possibly abandon ("depart" from) his marriage partner without Scriptural reason which would be the ONLY case in which the Holy Spirit would give him liberty to do such. The marriage covenant is sacred before God and is to be sacred before His people - For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer... Holy Matrimony is to be permanent.

Another Bible commentator states the following concerning the believer who is victimized by an abandoning or adulterating marriage partner:

    When we use the word Christian (or believer) it means that one is a new creature and a true imitator of Jesus in life, conduct, and works (2 Cor. 5:17-18; Gal. 5:24; 1 Pet. 1:21-22, 3:18, 4:1). There could not possibly be such a thing as any two people of this kind having disagreements enough for a divorce or any Scriptural grounds for it.

In following what this commentator states here, we realize that two who are truly believers, would have absolutely no reason to divorce. At such a time as one of those two would begin to turn his/her heart away from the Lord ("depart from the living God" having "an evil heart of unbelief" Heb. 3:12-14), "becoming an unbeliever", this person could ultimately cause there to be a divorce.

Remember, the person departing without Biblical reason, is violating the most sacred covenant upon the earth (second only to that one with the LORD). The Lord doesn't make the victimized party suffer for the sins of the violating party any more than is necessary to overcome this major offense.

REMARRIAGE

That remarriage is honorable to the LORD is also clear from the following passage:

    1 Corinthians 7:27-28

    27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife (divorced)? seek not a wife.

    28 But and if thou (divorced person) marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin (unmarried) marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

One prominent Bible Commentator states the following:

    • Divorce on scriptural grounds meant that a person was free to remarry, providing it was to another Christian (v15, 27-28; Matt. 5:32; 19:6). The innocent was not to be held responsible for the sins of the guilty (Ezek. 18:2-4, 13, 17-32).

Did you know that GOD divorced His own people? The LORD got a divorce! What?! Well...

    Jeremiah 3:8 KJV "And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also."

Do you realize that GOD Himself would not qualify to pastor certain denomination's churches because He got a divorce and Remarried - the Gentiles?

God was abandoned by Israel and they also committed adultery on Him. Either of these violations alone warrant and fully justify divorce (Jer. 3:7-9, etc...).

Beloved, if you are going to stare the Word of God in the face and still say that abandonment is not a Scriptural reason for divorce, are you not willingly deceived and full of self-righteous religious pride as the pharisees of Christ's day?

    "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition...Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." Mark 7:9,13

    "Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." Matthew 22:29

Does your denomination of mere men have any authority at all outside of obeying the Word of God? Obviously not. Are mere men and their silly doctrines final authority? Not for the true disciple of Jesus. Time to get a real life isn't it?

DIVORCE AND MINISTRY:

Does divorce disqualify a person from God's calling on their life to serve Him? Let's briefly examine the Scripture most used to prove such:

    1 Timothy 3:2 KJV "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;"

What does the term "the husband of one wife" mean? One study Bible states the following about this phrase:

    "the husband of one wife":

No polygamist. One could be a bishop without a wife, as Paul (1 Cor. 9:5).

Sexual immorality (fornincation), including polygamy, was popular in the east in the days of the NT writings, especially in Corinth. It would appear that this is what Paul is addressing here.

The term "the husband of one wife", means that a bishop could not be a polyamist. Paul had no wife (1 Cor. 9:5). Therefore we know that there was no requirement for a minister to be married to a wife. So, if Paul were speaking of this being a requirement, then he himself was disqualified from fulfilling the office of a bishop and yet he fulfilled the very highest office in the Church - that of an apostle. In light of this, we can see that what the Scripture is saying here is that a bishop must not be one who has many wives or more than one at a time. This is no way justifies a divorce on unscriptural grounds.

Yes, the Bible says (one time) that God hates divorce ("putting away" - Malachi 2:16), and He does. It hurts everyone involved, especially precious children. But He obviously hates abandonment even more than divorce if abandonment breaks the marriage covenant. He certainly hates adultery more than divorce because it is mentioned 40 times in Scripture and stated as a covenant breaking violation. Why would the Lord make provisions for divorce if no divinely justified divorce were possible? His provision for such started in the OT (see Deut. 24). For certain we know that God hates divorce because of the great destruction it causes to all the people involved (the marriage partners, children, extended family, friends, etc.). He cares about His creation and grieves when His people are afflicted (Judges 10:16).

Isn't it amazing that we usually only hear one side of this issue in the BOC (Body of Christ)? Yes, God hates divorce and divorce should be avoided as much as is possible, but the same God who is unchanging (Malachi 3:6), hates abandonment and adultery even more than He hates divorce and has made provision for divorce given these violations! One is not forced to leave his/her mate if they commit one of these two offenses, but would not sin if they did (1 Cor. 7:15-16; 27-28). Forgiveness is an option/liberty for the offended partner and it is his/her decision alone to choose between staying and leaving. Every marriage in completely unique, so please don't expose your ignorance by implying that you completely understand someone else's situation.

No doubt that as believers we should do all and everything to cause our marriages to flourish, yet there are certain offenses which the LORD says break the covenant of marriage. Unfortunately people in this life, including marriage partners, make decisions that are not in the way of righteousness and those decisions/choices affect the people around them.

At the point that either abandonment or adultery are committed, it is up to the offended partner to choose to stay or go. The violated partner can certainly choose to remain in the marriage, forgive their mate, and help bring restoration to his/her life. (There are so many variables here that I won't take time to expound, but the Lord will give wisdom in each individual case when His wisdom is sought - James 1:5). God has granted the liberty to stay or go to the offended party and no man can take it away. Man didn't give the liberty to divorce for these two offenses and man can't take it away. The choice is solely granted by the Lord (who is the One who joins people together in holy matrimony) to the offended party.

Please read the following text very carefully:

    "Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife (divorced for a Biblical reason)? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry (remarriage), thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you." 1 Corinthians 7:27-28

Why would Paul say "Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou (RE) marry, thou hast not sinned" if remarriage were not permitted in certain cases? Note that in this scenario Paul is speaking of the case when a believer is "loosed from a wife" (Scripturally). He then states that that person "hast not sinned" if he remarries. LORD, let Your truth makes us free! Amen.

Neither of the covenant breaking clauses stated in Scripture are an excuse to seek to be loosed from a mate. God sees our hearts and would count it to be adultery if one were to seek to get out of a marriage without clear Biblical justification. Marriage is intended to be permanent (Matt. 19:3-6). Once again, this article is only being written to bring to light what the Lord has stated concerning the unfortunate issues that face the victims of marital sins.

Seeking to divorce a mate who has not violated the marriage covenant in one of these two ways (Adultery or abandonment) is a violation of God's Word and will result in the sin of adultery (Matthew 19:9).

Matt. 19:6-9 Never be apart of causing a marriage to end in divorce. The child of God must do nothing to contribute to the demise of any marital bond (their own or another’s). If and when another person is divorced, the unmarried believer can consider that person for marriage especially if that other person has had a divorce based upon being violated by the other party in their previous marriage.

    “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:6-9
     

There are two books offered on this topic at http://www.divorceremarriage.com/. Here is their introduction:

    The conclusions (of the books):

    • The Bible's message for those suffering within marriage is both realistic and loving
    • Marriage should be lifelong, but broken marriage vows can be grounds for divorce
    • Biblical grounds for divorce include adultery, abuse and abandonment
    • Jesus urged forgiveness but allowed divorce for repeated unrepentant breaking of marriage vows
    • Only the victim, not the purpetrator of such sins, should decide when or whether to divorce
    • Anyone who divorces on bibical grounds or who is divorced against their will can remarry.

EXHORTATIONS:

To the violated marriage partner: Remember that if God granted you a liberty, no man can take it away. The decision is your and should be approached with much prayer (James 1:5). Beware, the legalists will cause an interruption in your peace if you do not yet have the full revelation about this matter from the LORD/Word (Matt. 22:29). Study, pray, study, pray... Close your ears and depart from those who refuse to acknowledge the full counsel of God's Word - in most cases they are willingly blinded and lifting tradition above God's very Word (Proverbs 9:6; Mark 7:6-13). If the LORD says you are not in bondage to a marriage where your spouse has departed from you (this breaks the marriage covenant), then that choice lies in your hands and no one else's. (John 16:22; Gal. 5:1).

Beloved, though it may never happen to you (I certainly hope not), there are many Christ-centered disciples whose spouses

Book-DFPS title

Are You Being Deceived ?

have waxed cold and departed from them or committed adultery as the LORD foretold would happen, especially in these final days (Matt. 24:10-13; 2 Tim. 3:1-5, etc.). To them (the violated party) God gives liberty to remarry and man or religion can't take that liberty away. It wasn't man's to give and it isn't his to take away! Give God the praise.

Let us never frustrate the grace of God by attempting to impose upon these violated Christians, something that God Himself doesn't impose upon them (Matt. 11:28-30). Whether you understand this or not at this time, it is clearly revealed in Scripture and must be acknowledged by all who name the name of Jesus, acknowledging the Bible as the final authority. Friend, let God's Word override the myths you may have espoused in past teachings about this topic.

Here is a truth that will help govern you:

    "And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." Acts 10:15

Remember, the LORD doesn't hold the innocent partner in bondage because the other marriage partner chose to break the covenant. God "hath cleansed" them from that marriage covenant. He is not going to punish them (the victim) for the actions of another (See Ezekiel 18:19-24; 33:20). God judges all people on an individual basis. He is perfectly just/fair. In light of this, it stands to reason that He would not force one of His own to endure the covenant-breaking sins of the other partner.

Have you noticed that when God, who is eternally perfect, made the rules, He didn't ask for your input nor mine nor the input of a denomination? The Word of God is non-negotiable. The kingdom of God is not a democracy. Your vote means nothing. :o) If it seems that I am being harsh in repeatedly making this point, it is due to the fact that there have been far too many believers who have been disdained and rejected in various ways because they had the misfortune of being a victim of marital abuse that lead to a divinely sanctioned divorce on Biblical grounds. There are those around you and I who have experienced this misfortune and need to be healed and lifted up, not condemned or looked down upon because they went through a divorce. Divorce is terrible enough as it is. These people have and are suffering greatly and need to be lifted up with healing oil poured upon their wounds. This is why Christ came (Luke 4:18; Psalms 147:3). As you condemn not, but rather facilitate healing, you are living out the cross and following the Master who came not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved (restored). See John 3:17; Luke 9:56.

We should humble ourselves and acknowledge "every word of God" to be true, lest we be found to be "liars" before the Almighty. See Matthew 4:4; Proverbs 30:5-6.

    "Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed." 1 Corinthians 7:27

Let those who are married seek total romantic fulfillment within our marriages as we build our homes upon the foundation of God's truth (Proverbs 5:15-23; Psalms 127:1). God sees our hearts. He says: "seek not to be loosed." 1 Corinthians 7:27 If we are lusting in our hearts for one who is not our marriage partner, we are committing adultery and should repent (Matt. 5:28). This is what Scripture calls "evil concupiscence" which means the secret desire for that which is forbidden (Rom. 7:8; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 4:5).

Let those who are married love our spouses. In the cases of others around us, let us also acknowledge the whole of the written Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16), and be transformed from the legalistics about divorce and remarriage that have long occupied the leaders and denominations of men. We must become resourceful Berean believers who are of "an honest and good heart" (Luke 8:15), and take God's Words in the full-counsel setting in which it was placed (Acts 17:10-11; 20:20,27).

We should immediately cease from attempting to experience God vicariously - through a denomination or minister (man). Let's get a real relationship with the LORD by getting into His Word daily for ourselves so that we can know Him and His truth for ourselves and be made free from all erroneous concepts of God (John 8:31-32).

*For sound commentary on Scriptural divorce and remarriage, see the Dake's Annotated Bible and Life in the Spirit Study Bible.

**For more information about the Scriptural doctrine of conditional eternal security, see articles under Eternal Security heading toward bottom of the Articles Page.

todd tomasella

This message was sent out to each person who is on our Moments For My Master email devotional list. We would love to add you and have the privilege of nourishing your heart with God's Word (1 Tim. 4:6).

MORE . . .

Someone else wrote in with these pertinent questions:

QUESTION: What about 1 Co. 7:10-11 and verse 39?

ANSWER: Good question. I wondered the same about vs 10-11. As you read this text though, vs 10-11 coupled and compared with vs 15-16, I believe you will see that vs10-11 deal with a Christian marriage or a marriage that is in tact with no covenant-breaking violation.

The key difference between vs 10-11 and 15-16 is the word "unbeliever."

Vs 15-16 clearly deal with abandonment BY A PERSON WHO IS AN "UNBELIEVER". Vs 10-11 speak to (are instructions to) two believers who are married and may have a time of separation due to troubles of some type, which could include great periods of persecution of the Church. Vs 15-16 deal with a believer who is married to an UNbeliever. Read the three texts closely and prayerfully and the Lord will give you the mind of Christ. Here are the three texts: vs 10-11; 15-16, 27-28.

When an UNbeliever departs, the covenant is broken and the Christian victim is free to "marry" and "hath not sinned" by doing such - see vs 27-28.

Concerning v10-11, the Full Life Study Bible, commentated by the late Donald Stamps, states:

    IF SHE DEPART, LET HER REMAIN UNMARRIED. In v10 Paul recognizes that God wants marriage to be permanent. He also acknowledges, however, that sometimes a marriage relationship may become so unbearable that separation from the partner is necessary. In v11, therefore, Paul is not talking about divorce, permitted by God because of adultery, or the abandonment of the marriage partner. Rather, Paul is speaking of separation without legal divorce. He may be referring to situations where a marriage partner is acting in such a way as to endanger the physical or spiritual life of the wife and children. In such conditions, it may be best that one of the partners leave the home and neither partner remarry. It is inconceivable that Paul would advocate that a woman remain with a husband who repeatedly brought physical harm and abuse on her and the children.

Vs 39 deals with the permanence of holy matrimony, yet does not negate the instructions of God when the covenant is broken by adultery or abandonment. The only way to apprehend the mind of Christ in this matter is by considering the whole counsel of Scripture, otherwise there will be confusion and false beliefs. All preconceived and taught conceptions about this subject should be laid down in order to hear the voice of God speaking through His Word and Holy Spirit. The Lord is not as rigid and stiffnecked as many religionists today, and is not going to punish a person who has been victimized by a sinning, unbelieving marriage partner. This would be cruel wouldn't it? Is such the nature of the one true God revealed in Scripture? I think not.

One prominent Bible Commentator states the following:

    • Divorce on scriptural grounds meant that a person was free to remarry, providing it was to another Christian (v15, 27-28; Matt. 5:32; 19:6). The innocent was not to be held responsible for the sins of the guilty (Ezek. 18:2-4, 13, 17-32).

Resources: (we do not endorse any ministry or their resources on this site except God’s pure Word and are at this time unable to go through the whole body of belief of every ministry)

For more on this subject, see:

http://www.assembly-ministries.org/ - the Gospel truth about marriage, divorce, and remarriage

2 Books on Divorce & Remarriage: http://www.divorceremarriage.com/

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