Before I get started I would like to make it clear that I am not speaking for any group nor anyone else for that matter but am simply attempting to put forth what I believe the Lord has revealed to me and hopefully continuing to reveal to me. Please do as scripture exhorts and prove (test) all things but I implore you that your test be kept strictly with what scripture says and not according to what other men say or have said nor according to any tradition.
I realize that the topic of “Divorce & Remarriage” brings out strong emotions in many people. But I also believe that the neglect of this truth or the downplaying of it is like a cancer and is spreading. I can hear some say when confronted with this truth: “I didn’t realize that divorce & remarriage was the unpardonable sin!” I can also hear some say after a divorce has been filed: “So does this mean that I have to be alone for the rest of my life? God wouldn’t want that!” I hope that by the end of this writing I will be given to clearly show forth what the scriptures have to say about this matter and do it without the sway of emotion.
My first attempt at writing on this subject was back in October of 2019 and it is now October 2020, a year later, and I felt the need to update this writing. With the update I attempted to go a little deeper into each of the scriptures that I have quoted. I rearranged the order of a couple of the verse references because I thought it flowed better with the new arrangement. I also completely revamped the section entitled “What About Before Conversion?” With re-reading that section I came to realize that what I had written wasn’t as consistent with the rest of the Scriptures as I had initially thought. Another change is that I removed the section entitled “Difference Between Those In Leadership and Those Not”.
January 2021 – I updated the section where it refers to the woman caught in adultery. I added some thoughts that have recently been shown to me. I also updated some verbiage and sentence order throughout.
April 2021 – A reader started corresponding with me. He kindly pointed out something that I had overlooked. I have attempted to correct that with this update and a few more updates including making the tense of the words more consistent throughout.
I hope that if you were given to read this writing before I updated it, that you take time to re-read it. As always I welcome any comments. – Tom
MARRIAGE IS HONOURABLE
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
I’m opening with this verse for you to hopefully meditate upon and may it be at the foundation of your thoughts as you are reading the rest of this writing. “Marriage: honourable in all”. The lawful union of two separate people (a man and a woman) is honourable, esteemed and precious in all and the act of intimacy in that marriage is pure. But those that go about performing that intimate act outside of marriage, both those that are not married (whoremongers, fornicators) and those that are married (adulterers), can be assured that God will judge them even if the world (fleshly man) has no problem with it. The world sees absolutely nothing wrong with violating the sanctity of marriage. It sees nothing wrong with doing its best to attempt to make the marriage unhonourable nor does it have an issue with discarding the commitment made between the two original people and starting fresh or new with someone else. That is definitely the world’s way of looking at it, BUT believers are not to follow the world as these next verses clearly proclaim.
“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:15-16) (emphasis added – TA)
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2) (emphasis added – TA)
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (I Corinthians 2:12) (emphasis added - TA)
Don’t be mislead by others. Scripture is not silent nor is it confusing on the matter of divorce and remarriage. In fact it is quite the opposite. IT IS VERY VOCAL AND CLEAR! Yet many say today as the disciples said to Jesus, “...This is an hard saying; who can hear it? (John 6:60b)” And since it is a hard saying many tend to overlook it or set it aside as not important. But that should not be so!
MEAT AND POTATOES
Let’s look at the verses that deal with this important subject matter.
“The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. 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. (Matthew 19:3-8)”
“And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
What the Pharisees were referring to is recorded in the book of Deuteronomy:
“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. (24:1-4)”
I am quoting these two sections of verses together because they both basically say the same thing.
In Matthew’s account. The Pharisees approached Jesus and sought to tempt him with what they figured was a hard question. The question was “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” Jesus immediately answered them with a question. The question was: “Have ye not read…” He then went on to proclaim TRUTH to them. They didn’t acknowledge any of it but after He was finished they asked Him another question. They asked: “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?”
In Mark’s account. The Pharisees came and sought to tempt Jesus with the same question which was: “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?” However, with this account He redirected and put it back on them to answer their own question. They answered with “Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.”
In both accounts Jesus didn’t correct them in the fact that their statement was incorrect, but He did make it clear that the ONLY reason this was so was because of the “hardness of your heart”. In the Matthew account, Jesus ended this conversation with “from the beginning it was not so.” With Jesus saying this, He was stating that what Moses said was simply appeasing the flesh and it was not a mandate from the Lord. So, with this single statement He put an end to Moses’ mandate and made it null and void.
In both accounts He declared the truth to them about what a marriage really is. He said that “a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife...” The word “cleave” means to adhere like glue. So the man is supposed to be glued to his wife. He then went on to say that “they twain shall be one flesh; so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.” Yes, I believe that this is talking about the physical intimate bond that a husband and wife have but I don’t believe that is all this is referring to. There is also a spiritual bond or oneness that a husband and wife have. Jesus then ended His conversation with the Pharisees with a rebuke in His statement: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
The verse “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” is a vital point in regards to the topic of which we are looking into. In the Greek the wording of this verse is: “What therefore God yoked together man not separate.” If we take into consideration that absolutely nothing happens outside of God’s will then we can’t help but come to the conclusion that when two people get married it is solely because God has joined them together. Is man strong enough to separate that bond which God brought together? Absolutely not! Man cannot separate that which was brought together by God! Because of that, Mark ends his declaration with this absolute truth: if one (male or female) marries someone who has been divorced then both parties are committing adultery! The truth is that even though those that may “think” they are separated from their spouse when they divorce, in God’s eyes they are still one.
Looking back at the beginning of these two section of verses, please notice something with me. The Pharisees asked Jesus a one-step process question. They answered His question with a two-step process. Then Jesus goes back to it just being a one-step process with the rest of these verses. What do I mean?
The Pharisees asked Jesus if it was “lawful to put away a wife?” That is only one process of “putting away”. They answered His question with “Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.” That is a two-step process: 1) write a bill of divorcement, 2) put her away. Jesus then continued with the one-step process with the rest of these verses. What does that mean? It means that the two go hand-in-hand and they are equal with each other. When it is mentioned that someone is “put away” it equals them being given a bill of divorcement. I only bring this up so that as you read the rest of the verse references below you will keep in mind that Jesus combined the two into one. Also another thought to ponder is that in order to be married legally you have to be either single, divorced or widowed. But, also keep in mind, just because it is “legal” for someone who is divorced to be remarried, it doesn’t make it right according to God’s standard.
“And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”
This account is directly after the verses as quoted above when the Pharisees sought to tempt Jesus. Jesus is speaking to His disciples who inquire of Him after the matter of divorce, marriage and adultery. His answer to them was very straight forward and to the point. He said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” When a man puts away or divorces his wife and marries another he is committing adultery. When a woman puts away her husband and marries another she is committing adultery.
“Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”
When I read this passage my first thought is that this is simply the facts and nothing else. I don’t know about you but I love the simplicity and and straight forwardness of it. Luke stated it so that no one should be able to misconstrue or misunderstand what he was saying. To put it in modern vernacular he said: “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery: and he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” There is absolutely no wiggle room here!
I Corinthians 7:10-11
“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.”
Here again we have Paul making it crystal clear. The ultimate goal is that the wife does not depart from her husband. But sometimes the wife will depart (one example might be abuse). If that happens she is not free to remarry but must remain unmarried (living as without a husband – and he is not talking the modern single lifestyle of dating and going out with other men) or she is to be reconciled to her husband. Even though she departed they are still husband and wife and Paul finishes his command to say that the husband must not “put away” or divorce his wife.
“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.”
“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.”
I hope that I have been given to clearly show, thus far, that there is no freedom or justification of a believer to get a divorce and marry someone else while the one they divorced is still living or for a believer to marry someone who has been divorced. I am quoting these two sections of Scripture together because they basically are saying the same thing and to go over both of them together seemed to make the most sense.
Matthew chapter 5 was recorded during the time when Jesus went up on a mountain and taught his disciples. “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, (Matthew 5:1-2)” In this chapter of Scripture Jesus touched on the ‘nine “blessed” statements’. He told his disciples that they are “the salt of the earth”, “the light of the world” and to let that “light shine before men”. He then confirmed that He came to “fulfill” the “law” and the “prophets”. He then corrected some misinterpretation of some commands. He said: “Ye heave heard that it was said by them of old time…” (5:21, 27) and then He said: “But I say unto you…” (22, 28). Verse 27 is the context of our first section of verses. Jesus started it off with “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery”. Then he said, “But I say unto you…” and explains further what “adultery” truly is.
Then we get to our verses and again He said, “It hath been said…”
The first thing I want to touch on is that even though these two sections of verses were directed at different groups, they both basically say the same thing. Also please notice that both of these sections of Scripture deal with the aspect of “fornication” and in both sections the mention of this topic is inside a parenthetical expression. A parenthetical expression is there to help clarify the overall sentence but is not necessary for understanding the sentence and it will not change the meaning of the sentence. In Matthew chapter five, if we take out the parenthetical expression it says this: “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife causeth her to commit adultery:…” In Matthew chapter 19, if we take out the parenthetical expression it says this: “Whosoever shall put away his wife and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”
So, when we look at the base of these verses here again we can’t escape the fact that there is no wiggle room to attempt in justifying getting married again after a divorce. And if or when a remarriage happens then both parties are presently and actively committing adultery. If we look back to the time period when this letter was written we see that women “needed” a husband to provide for them in order to live. When a man put away his wife for any reason (saving for the cause of fornication) he was the causing force behind her having to go out and commit adultery in order to live. Otherwise she would have no means of support. So, looking at this verse do you not see the clear statement that the man is “guilty” of causing his wife to commit adultery if he puts her away?
So, what’s up with the parenthetical expression then? One says “saving for the cause of fornication” and the other says “except it be for fornication”. Why would “fornication” be an exemption to the causing of committing adultery if one gets married afterwards?
The Greek word for “fornication” is a completely different word then the Greek word for “adultery” and they both mean something different. The Greek word for “fornication” (in the verses quoted above) is: “porneia” and it means “harlotry” or in other words to “indulge unlawful lusts”. In the 1806 Webster’s Dictionary it says this about “fornication”: “incontinence of unmarried persons”. The Greek word for “adultery” is: “moicheia” and it means “adultery”. The 1806 Webster’s Dictionary says this about “adultery”: “a defilement of the marriage bed”. And we see this confirmed from Ezekiel 16:32 which says “But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband.”
The word “fornication” is found 30 times in the KJV New Testament with 24 of those times are the same Greek word “porneia”**. There are 5 times when “porneuo”** is used and it is translated “commit fornication” so it is the act of fornicating. The one other time is the word “ekporneuo”** and it means “to be utterly unchaste – to give ones self over to fornication”. The word “adultery” is found 18 times in the KJV New Testament and not once is it the Greek word “porneia” or taken from that word. These words are not interchangeable but are distinct in and of themselves. We also see Scripture very clearly proclaiming that they are distinct in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)”
Getting back to our verses in Matthew, what I see is that the act of fornication is committed by someone who is technically not married yet. Contrary to that we see that the act of adultery is committed by someone who is married. So, how does this fit in? It is mentioned here because of the tradition of betrothal. In the Jewish tradition men and women were betrothed to each other for a time period before they were legally married. But, in that betrothal period it was like they were married only without the intimacy. They were committed wholly to one another and only to one another.
Here is an excellent example from Scripture of what I am talking about.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. (Matthew 1:18-19)”
Mary was “espoused” which is the same as “betrothed” to Joseph. They were not “married” yet, thus they had not been intimate and Mary was still a virgin, yet “she was found with child”. It says that “Joseph...was minded to put her away privily.” As far as Joseph knew, Mary had fornicated and thus she was going to be “put away” by Joseph. That is until the Lord intervened!
So, this is where the parenthetical expressions come in to play. When a couple is “espoused” or “betrothed” together and the woman goes out whoring or playing the harlot, the man can put her away and marry another without committing the sin of adultery. The same goes for the woman, she is also free to marry another without committing the sin of adultery.
We have looked at these verses in light of the aspect of the parenthetical expressions. Let’s take another look at them in a little different light. The verses say “whoseover shall put away his wife causeth her to commit adultery:…” and “Whosoever shall put away his wife and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” As we saw above the word “adultery” means “a defilement of the marriage bed (1806 Websters Dictionary)”. But, look at the timing of it all. The man puts away his wife and because of that he causes her to commit adultery. Please stop and ponder this for a little bit. The wife has been put away. How then can it be adultery if she is no longer in that marriage? It is called adultery because God says it is and the only explanation is that even though man thinks he can “put away” a spouse, in God’s eyes they are still married and therefore any other attachment is considered adultery (if the spouse is still living).
With the single act of putting away his wife, not only is the husband causing her to commit adultery but he is also causing him who marries her to commit adultery. We see this very clearly in His next statement: “whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” The words “committeth adultery” is one word in the Greek and is in the present tense. In other words it is not something that happened in the past only but is an on-going or present situation. Therefore if a woman has been divorced and she gets married again, the man who marries her is presently and continually committing adultery along with her.
So, where does that leave us nowadays? During the time of “engagement” if one of the parties break their commitment to the other and sleeps around, then the “innocent” party can break off the engagement without worrying about committing any sin, especially the sin of adultery. But, when we look at the whole of Scripture, and we see when two people who are officially married and there is a divorce or “putting away” and that spouse is still alive, there is absolutely NO freedom to remarry anyone without committing adultery with the new spouse.
Let me end this section with quoting two important verses:
“It is also written in your in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.” (John 8:17)
“In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” (2 Cor. 13:1b)
These two verses have nothing specifically to do with divorce and remarriage. I am simply quoting them as a reminder to what they are proclaiming. These two verses boldly state that we are to adhere to what is proclaimed in the Scriptures when it comes from two or three witnesses as TRUTH. We should not set a standard on something that is only mentioned once in the Scriptures.
RECAP AND WRAP UP.
I hope that with what the Lord has granted me above to write, you have been given to see that it is TRUTH and it is a STANDARD to be adhered to. It is not just from one witness but a multitude of witnesses. We see this same truth repeated over and over again throughout the Scriptures by many different men inspired by the Holy Spirit. This truth is not something to wink at or look half-heartedly at. It is something to take a serious look at and beg the Lord to open your eyes so that you might be given to embrace His truth. “If you are divorced and marry another person or if you marry someone who has been divorced you and that other person are actively committing adultery.”
Let’s look at three more sections of Scripture to emphasize this truth even more.
“Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.”
I Corinthians 7:39-40
“The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.”
I Corinthians 7:8
“I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.”
The top two sections of scripture clearly proclaim that the ONLY way a wife can be remarried is IF her husband is dead. If her husband is still alive and she marries another she is committing adultery. If there was an option for divorce and remarriage, that option should have been stated here in the midst of his letter to the Roman brethren. If divorce and remarriage is an option why wasn’t Paul instructed to state that here? For example it could’ve said: “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; unless they are divorced, but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then, if while her husband liveth, unless they are divorced, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress:…” (underlined words added – TA) It would have fit perfectly, but NOTHING whatsoever is mentioned. Paul clearly was not given those words to write because it is not an option.
Then please notice with me verse 40 of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian brethren along with verse 8 of chapter 7. Paul is speaking specifically to and about the unmarried (single – not divorced) and widows and dogmatically states that “it is good for them if they abide even as I.” What does this mean? Paul was not married and thus he is stating that both should remain unmarried. He then re-iterates that same truth later in verse 40. He states in verse 39 that if a wife’s husband died then she is at liberty to be married again. Then we have the word “But…” which is a contrast to what was previously stated. Paul was given to state that the widow would be happier if she didn’t get married again.
DEALING WITH THE TWO COMMENTS OR EXCUSES
At the top of this writing I posted two “comments” or “excuses” that I have heard for disregarding this important truth. They were: “I didn’t realize that divorce & remarriage was the unpardonable sin” and “So does this mean that I have to be alone for the rest of my life? God wouldn’t want that!” Let me briefly touch on these and show from scripture that neither comment holds any ground to justify someone in disregarding what Scripture clearly states on this issue.
The first comment “I didn’t realize that divorce & remarriage was the unpardonable sin” says something to me immediately. What it says to me is that this person recognizes that “divorce & remarriage” is sin and yet wants to justify it somehow. And if they do happen to see it as sin and they ask for forgiveness, they assume that it will be granted unto them and after that they can continue to live in that lifestyle of sin. What this person doesn’t appear to be taking into consideration is that if one is divorced and remarried and has been convinced by the Holy Spirit that the life they are living is sin then they will ask for forgiveness. With that forgiveness there will come a desire to not live in that specific sin anymore and they will be convinced to remove themselves from that situation and therefore they will physically “stop committing adultery”. This is not something that God just winks at or looks the other way.
There is only one reference to what has been termed the “unpardonable” or “unforgivable” sin. But there are three views of that same reference: Matthew 12:31-23; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10.
“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. (Matthew 12:31-32)”
Please notice that the “unpardonable” sin has to do with “blaspheming the Holy Ghost”. It has absolutely nothing to do with “divorce & remarriage”. And to me, to throw out a comment like this is a horrid misuse of scripture and/or an attempt at manipulation.
Going on to the second comment “So does this mean that I have to be alone for the rest of my life? God wouldn’t want that!” At least this comment is relevant to the subject at hand. But, it has no scriptural grounding. My first thought with this comment is: If someone truly believes scripture why would they be asking this question? Scripture is very clear that if you marry a divorced person you are committing adultery. Based upon this truth, let me ask the million dollar question, “Is the price for continually committing sin worth not being alone?”
“For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. 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. (I Corinthians 7:7-11)”
I touched on a portion of these verses above but felt it necessary to revisit them in context. Paul is very clear here that those that are unmarried (single) or widowed should abide the same as him, which means to stay single. He then gives a “but” to his statement with “But if they cannot contain, let them marry:” Then he says to the married “I command...Let not the wife depart from her husband:” Then he finishes his thoughts with another “But” saying “But and if she (the wife) depart let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” (emphasis added – TA) Here we see that if the wife depart, she CANNOT remarry and the husband CANNOT put her away. So, by default they both (husband and wife) MUST remain single.
WHAT ABOUT BEFORE CONVERSION?
I Corinthians 6:9-11
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
I bring these verses up to show that before conversion many people were many things and did many actions that they now view as sinful. And notice that those that continue in those actions shall not inherit the kingdom of God. With regards to the topic of this writing, please note that one of those actions in this section of verses is the act of adultery. Paul then ends the list by saying “such were some of you: but...” (emphasis added - TA)
Again, I hope that I have been given to clearly show above this section that if someone is divorced and remarried or their spouse has been divorced they are committing adultery. I bring these verses up to show that there is a distinction between “before conversion” and “after conversion”. Paul gives a list of lifestyles that are considered sinful but clarifies that with the believer “such WERE some of you.” The term “were” is in the past tense, therefore the believer is no longer whatever they “were” before. So, does this mean that a thief, who is converted and is now considered forgiven, can continue in the lifestyle of thievery? Does this mean that one who was effeminate, now better known as homosexual, can continue in that lifestyle? With both these examples everyone* would agree that the person will not continue in that lifestyle. They would want NOTHING to do with that old lifestyle because of their realization that it is sinful and their great love for He whom has granted forgiveness to them! So, why is it okay for someone committing adultery because of remarriage to continue in it? IT’S NOT!!
Some have looked to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (including myself but not anymore) as a justification for a new convert to be able to stay in an adulterous marriage.
“Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God...Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. (I Corinthians 7:20-24, 27)”
Paul tells the Corinthian brethren to “abide in the same calling wherein he was called.” Then he explains further on what he means by that statement. One of the situations he mentions is “Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed.” At first glance and the way that I looked at it previously is that it appears that it fits with our topic. But, taking into consideration all of the verses that we have gone over, I can’t help but come to the conclusion that if two people are committing adultery because of being divorced and remarried or marrying someone who has been divorced then that so-called marriage is not a true marriage and is therefore null and void. And I can’t help but think that if Paul were here today that he also would NOT call that situation a “marriage” but he would deem it “adultery”. Thus this section of verses do not apply.
I touched on the woman caught in adultery a little above but I want to go a little further into it here.
“Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:1-11)”
Here we see Jesus out ministering to the people when the Scribes and Pharisees attempt to tempt him. They bring to him a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Just as something to think about: How did they catch her in the act? We mainly have two different scenarios. Was someone spying on her around the clock to catch her in the very act? Or was it known that she had been divorced or her “husband” been divorced and thus she was committing adultery just being in the relationship? I personally see more validity with the latter scenario. To me it aligns with other Scriptures (that are mentioned above) and the first option is just kind of creepy thinking that the Scribes and Pharisees were actually lying in wait to catch this lady in the act of intimacy with a man. I only mention these two possible scenarios as something for you to ponder because bottom line Scripture doesn’t say and to base any doctrine on it is wrong. But, Scripture is clear when it says that she was caught “in the very act” (which does not disqualify the latter scenario because “the very act” of adultery could simply be her being in the relationship). They are confronting Jesus with this and they attempt to quote the law to Him. He gives them no verbal response to them but instead leans down and starts writing something in the ground with his finger. There is plenty of speculation and conjecture about what He wrote in the sand but Scripture is silent so we must also be silent. The scribes and Pharisees are getting no response from him and knowing our human nature, I am sure getting very upset to the fact that He is ignoring them. At the perfect time he stood up and said something to them that cut them to the core. He said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Right after he spoke, he immediately leaned down again to the ground and continued writing.
I find it extremely interesting and telling that it was the oldest of the group that was first to leave. Ultimately all of her accusers ended up leaving without saying another word. Which resulted in it being just Jesus and the woman left when he stood up again and spoke with her. He asks her where her accusers are and verified that no man condemned her. She replies with “No man, Lord”. Jesus, showing grace says to her, “Neither do I condemn thee:” Can you imagine what was going through her head and heart (emotions) at that very moment. She was caught dead to rights in an act that was worthy of being stoned for. The very one that has the authority to call for that action to be done instead turns to her and says “Neither do I condemn thee”. And then Jesus says to her, “Everything is great, your slate is clean. Now go back to your adulterous relationship and continue to live in sin.” Right??? Absolutely not! Jesus concludes his conversation with her with the command, “go, and sin no more.”
Taking into consideration everything that I have attempted to show from Scripture above, those that are divorced and remarried or those that are married to a spouse that has been divorced are currently in the exact same situation of this woman – actively committing adultery. To them that “are washed, … are sanctified,” and “are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God (I Corinthians 6:11)” Jesus is saying “I do not condemn thee”. But, just like this woman He ends His glorious statement with the command to them, “go, and sin no more.”
An excellent cross-reference verse to John 8 verse 11 “And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” is Proverbs 28 verse 13. It says: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
THOUGHTS TO CONSIDER
Please bear with me as I end this study with another little side note. This “side note” does not specifically have to do with the topic of “Divorce & Remarriage” but it does affect it and I believe it is too important of a topic to not be included. Please read with me this section of Scripture below.
“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? (I Corinthians 6:1-7)”
When a believer gets a divorce from their spouse, where do they go? Do, they take it before their brethren at the local church? No, they usually go to the world’s court system. This should not be so! Paul starts it off with saying, “Dare any of you, having a matter against another,”. Wanting to file for a divorce constitutes a “matter against another”. He then continues with “go to law before the unjust and not before the saints?” It is obvious that Paul was very frustrated with the Corinthian brethren for he says, “I speak to your shame.” Can we not say the same to the brethren who take their “matters” of divorce before the worldly court system instead of keeping it in-house? We are not to take brethren to court but we are to settle our differences before other brethren. To go to the worldly unbelieving courts is wrong and goes against the truth of the Scriptures.
I realize that this is not a fun topic to think about. Let alone have to deal with it in one’s own personal life. But, you must ask yourself, “Is it ever wrong to stand on what Scripture clearly states?” The obvious answer is “No it is not!” This is not an easy thing to take a stand on either because the “cancer” of error is spreading and has been spreading for years through many churches. When someone takes a stand in one of these churches they are castigated and accused of being a “conditionalist” among many other things. But stand we must!
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Ephesians 6:11-18)”
Updated:strong> April 2021
P.S., It seems that I have been labeled a legalist for what I believe and have attempted to write upon above concerning this subject. If you have made it this far in reading this writing I hope that you see the outlandishness of such a statement. Since when is it wrong to stand on Biblical principles? – Tom
* Everyone = Obviously not everyone will be in agreement here. What I mean by “Everyone” is in reference to those that believe scripture to be God’s Word and is Truth.
** Please notice that we get the word “pornography” from the base of these three Greek words.
*** All scripture references are from the KJV.