Jesus on divorce and remarriage:
The offended partner was devastated and traumatized. She offered to forgive the offender and work on restoring the marriage. Did the victimized party have a right to a new marriage? From all appearances, certainly so. The case seems relatively clear. One might, therefore, if his or her counsel were sought, express an opinion that a new union for the victim appears to be permissible.
His sordid lifestyle eventually became known. His wife, with every justification, divorced him on the grounds of adultery though the specific charge was not permitted in the court document. He was then a divorced adulterer with no remarriage privilege. He is in an adulterous union—in spite of the fact he now is honored as a faithful brother in the congregation with which he is identified. It does not. There are consequences to some sins that cannot be altered, and with which one has to live. And brethren who endorse illicit arrangements, quite clearly known to be wrong , are enablers of serious sin.
Unfortunately, frequently it is the situation that the marriage entanglements are so complex and ambiguous that no one, apart from the parties themselves—and God—know what the real resolution is. On many occasions, after listening patiently sometimes for hours as a couple explains the entanglements of their marital history, I have been forced to say:. I do not know! There are too many unknowns in your case. If you have any doubt , do not proceed further in the relationship. If you feel absolutely confident in going forward, the church will not judge you for it. You will answer only to God.
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And no one can expect all others to accept his or her opinion in assessing cloudy situations. If I disagree with you, or you with me, regarding a situation where all the facts simply cannot be known by third parties, let us leave the matter for the Lord—and not presume to make the judgment for him. We must not condone the guilty nor crush the innocent.
Either is dangerous. God help us in our frustration! For further study, see Divorce and Civil Law. Jackson, Wayne. Access date: September 22, If an unsaved husband or wife refuses to continue to live with his or her spouse and departs, the believer may agree to this separation 1 Corinthians Such separations may result in divorce, and in that case the Christian is guilty of no wrong.
Sign Up For The Current
Scripture permits remarriage after divorce under certain circumstances. If, after being divorced, one of the original marriage partners dies, the remaining partner is free to remarry. Romans and 1 Corinthians make clear that death dissolves the marriage relationship. When an adulterous relationship has brought about a divorce, the party who is innocent of adultery has a right to remarry Matthew The consistency between the Old Testament and the New Testament is recognized as Jesus interpreted it.
Jesus did not change the nature of divorce as dissolving marriage and permitting remarriage; He simply rejected all rationalization and excuse for divorce and made clear that only the innocent party whose former marriage was revoked by divorce could remarry without guilt. According to 1 Corinthians 7 , remarriage on grounds of desertion alone is not permitted.
When two unbelievers have been divorced and one is subsequently converted and neither has remarried, the Christian should attempt to restore the marriage. If the non-Christian refuses, this makes the marriage the same as the kind described in 1 Corinthians If a person is divorced on other than the above scriptural grounds and his or her former partner remarries, that partner by remarrying has, according to scriptural standards Matt.
Remarriage is never commanded; it is, in some cases, only permitted. Divorced persons who have scriptural grounds for remarriage should enter into such remarriage only with the greatest caution. A believer who seeks to remarry should demonstrate an attitude of repentance for any part he or she may have had in the original failure. Such individuals should receive counseling from the church so as to avoid repeating destructive attitudes and behaviors.
Persons who remarry after being divorced on other than scriptural grounds are guilty of adultery Matthew A Christian clergyman should not perform such marriages. Persons who have been divorced on other than scriptural grounds who subsequently become Christians are not absolved from the necessity to remain unmarried by having become Christians.
Divorce and Remarriage: White, Black, or Gray?
While it is true that we are made new creations in Christ, we continue to bear legal and moral responsibilities that existed before conversion. Those who entered into marriage while non-Christians must honor the terms of their marriage contract even after they are in Christ. Persons who were divorced and remarried without scriptural grounds prior to conversion should not feel obligated to withdraw from the subsequent marriage after conversion. The remarriage that was entered into wrongly constituted an act of adultery, which broke the former marriage.
With the former marriage having been dissolved, the remarried person is responsible to be faithful to the new contract. Having broken the former marriage, a person is living in adultery only if he is unfaithful to his present marriage contract.
MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, AND REMARRIAGE
Persons who are divorced, or divorced and remarried on scriptural grounds, are entitled to the full privileges of fellowship and membership in the church. A believer who was divorced—or divorced and remarried—on other than scriptural grounds while still a nonbeliever should likewise be received into full Christian fellowship.
The grace of God in Christ forgives all sin; the person in Christ is a new creation.
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