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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

  Divorce And Remarriage

Author Unknown


1. A troubling trend was revealed by a recent survey from The Barna
   a. So-called "born again Christians" are just as likely to divorce as
      are non-Christians
   b. Among married born again Christians, 35% have experienced a
   c. That figure is identical to the outcome among married adults who
      are not born again: 35%.
   d. Barna's figures show that nearly 1/4th of the married born agains
      (23%) get divorced two or more times
-- cf. The Barna Group

2. The apparent reason?  Evidently many do not believe divorce can be
   a. Although Bible scholars and teachers point out that Jesus taught
      that divorce was a sin unless adultery was involved, few Americans
      buy that notion
   b. Only one out of every seven adults (15%) strongly agreed with the
      statement "when a couple gets divorced without one of them having
      committed adultery, they are committing a sin"
   c. A majority of both Protestants (58%) and Catholics (69%) disagreed
      that divorce without adultery involved the commission of sin
   -- ibid.

[A survey like this reveals the need for constant reminder of what God
has spoken concerning divorce and remarriage.  It is truly an issue
confronting Christians today, and so let us consider....]


      1. In His sermon on the mount - Mt 5:31-32
         a. Many scribes and Pharisees taught that divorce was
            permissible for any reason, as long as a certificate of
            divorce was granted
            1) Technically it was - cf. Deut 24:1-4
            2) But the effect was to defile the wife when she remarried
               - Deut 24:4
            3) Note well:  her remarriage "defiled" her!
            4) "The second marriage of a woman who had been divorced is
               designated by Moses a defilement of the woman...a moral
               defilement, i.e., blemishing, desecration of the sexual
               communion which was sanctified by marriage, in the same
               sense in which adultery is called a defilement in Lev 18:20 and Num 5:13,14." - Keil & Delitzsch
            5) "Thus the second marriage of a divorced woman was placed
               implicit upon a par with adultery, and some approach was
               made towards the teaching of Christ concerning marriage
               (Mt 5:32)..." - ibid.
         b. Jesus taught that divorce led to adultery, unless
            fornication was the cause of divorce
         c. Note well:  the bill of divorce did not necessarily end the
            first marriage!
            1) Jesus described the second marriage as committing
            2) The term "adultery" implies the first marriage is still
               valid (binding)
      2. In His response to the Pharisees - Mt 19:3-9
         a. The Pharisees thought divorce was permissible, as long as a
            certificate was granted
         b. Though they differed among themselves as to whether it could
            be "for any reason"
         c. Jesus explained that Moses permitted divorce because of the
            hardness of their hearts, but it was not God's will from the
            beginning (of creation) - Mt 19:8
         d. Jesus then provides the only ground for divorce without it
            leading to adultery:  if the innocent spouse puts away his
            or her spouse for fornication - Mt 19:9
      -- Jesus allows only one reason for divorce:  when a spouse is
         guilty of fornication!

      1. Jesus warned twice that remarriage can result in adultery
         a. Divorcing a wife can cause her to commit adultery when she
            remarries - Mt 5:32
         b. Divorcing a wife for can cause oneself to commit adultery
            upon remarriage - Mt 19:9
      2. The only way to avoid adultery when remarrying is for the
         innocent spouse to put away his or her spouse for the cause of
         fornication - Mt 19:19
      3. Jesus suggested celibacy might be necessary for some - Mt 19:10-12
         a. Chosen for the sake of the kingdom of heaven
         b. The only scenario I can imagine is where one realizes they
            are in adulterous marriage and are willing to leave it for
            the sake of the kingdom of heaven
      -- Jesus allows only one reason for divorce and remarriage:  when
         a spouse is guilty of fornication!

[In teaching His disciples concerning divorce and remarriage, Jesus was
very clear.  But what about His apostles?  Inspired by the Holy Spirit,
what do they add to the subject...?]


      1. Paul reminded people of what the Lord Himself taught - 1Co 7:10-11
         a. A wife is not to depart her husband; a husband is not to
            divorce his wife
         b. If a wife leaves her husband, she must remain unmarried or
            be reconciled
      2. He revealed more concerning marriages with unbelievers - 1Co 7:12-16
         a. Believers are not to divorce unbelieving spouses if they are
            willing to live with them
         b. If unbelieving spouses depart, believers are not in bondage
            (to fulfill marital duties)
      -- Paul reinforced Jesus' teaching on divorce, and permitted
         separation only when initiated by an unbeliever!

      1. Paul in writing to the Romans - Ro 7:1-4
         a. Paul used what the Law taught on marriage for the purpose of
         b. The Law (of Moses) taught that a woman was bound to her
            husband for life
         c. Even if she legally divorced her husband, she became an
            adulteress when she remarried
         d. Remember, according to Moses she became "defiled"- Deut 24:4
      2. Paul allowed remarriage after the death of one's spouse - 1Co 7:39-40
         a. But only "in the Lord", which many believe to mean "must be
            a Christian"
         b. But it may mean "in the will of the Lord" (in harmony with
            His teaching)
      3. Some assume Paul permitted remarriage if abandoned by an
         unbeliever - 1Co 7:15
         a. That "not in bondage" means they are permitted to remarry
         b. But such permission is not necessarily implied by the text;
            believers are simply not in bondage to fulfill marital
         c. To say that Paul allowed remarriage is to put words in his
      -- Paul allowed remarriage on the death of a spouse; only Jesus
         gave another ground for remarriage (fornication)

[Other than saying that a believing spouse was not obligated to fulfill
marital obligations toward an unbelieving spouse who leaves, and that
death permitted remarriage under certain circumstances, the apostles
added nothing to what Jesus taught.  With that in mind, here are some
thoughts on...]


      1. As disciples of Christ we must be faithful to the Lord - cf. Lk 6:46; 2Jn 1:9
      2. This requires heeding Him in both teaching and practice - cf.
         Mt 28:20
      3. As with all sin, it may take time to fully learn and apply what
         Jesus taught - 2Pe 3:18
      4. Even if it means we must choose celibacy to be faithful to His
         teaching - Mt 19:12
      5. In this way, we can demonstrate that God's will is good,
         acceptable, perfect - Ro 12:1-2
      -- Rather than conform to the world, allow Christ to transform us!

      1. They should be taught the gospel - Mk 16:15-16: Mt 28:18-19
      2. If they are baptized, they need to be shown what Jesus taught
         - Mt 28:20
      3. Some may ask, "Cannot those in adulterous marriages be
         a. Yes, but forgiveness does not make an adulterous marriage a
            holy one (just as it does not transform a homosexual
            marriage into a holy one)
         b. Repentance requires that one turn away from sinful conduct
            (e.g., adultery)
      4. Again, it may take time to fully learn and apply what Jesus
         taught - 2Pe 3:18
      5. And we should be willing to work with those in difficult
         situations - cf. Ga 6:1-2
      -- Souls are at stake, and we cannot water down the doctrine of


1. From what we have gleaned these past two lessons...
   a. God intends for marriage to be for life ("till death do us part")
   b. It is God who joins a man and wife, and He alone can truly put
   c. He does not release the married from their marriage simply because
      they get a divorce
   d. The state might recognize divorce and marriages, but they might be
      "unlawful" to God
   e. Unless divorce is for the grounds of fornication, remarriage
      results in adultery!
   f. Celibacy is a viable option (if need be) for those serious about
      the kingdom of heaven

2. When confronted with issues like divorce and remarriage...
   a. We are tempted to take the path of least resistance
   b. To simply conform to the standards of society
   c. To reinterpret and reapply the words of Jesus to be socially

But we do ourselves harm and others no good by watering down what Jesus
and His apostles taught.  When it comes to doing and teaching the will
of the Lord, may we never forget these words...

   Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always
   abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is
   not in vain in the Lord. - 1Co 15:58