Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Seriousness of the Sin of Remarriage after Divorce, part 2

This is a series of posts designed to convince people of the Biblical truth that remarriage after divorce is adultery and that the fact that the modern American Christian church has by-and-large rejected this teaching is proof that it is in a state of apostasy.  This article is the second in the series.  Click here to read the first article.

The Unforgiving Position on the Issue

Suppose a young teenage girl committed promiscuity and got pregnant as a result.  Suppose the young girl completely repented of the sin of promiscuity and was completely forgiven of it by God.  Would that mean that it is not a sin for the girl to have an abortion?  An abortion advocate (such as Obama) might argue that the girl would have to endure months of embarrassment, shame, labor pains, and fears and worries about how she is going to take care of the baby.  How can you punish the young girl with these things if she has been forgiven by God?  I would hope that no one reading this would fall for this argument.  The purpose of forbidding an abortion is not to punish young girls for committing promiscuity.  The purpose is to uphold the sanctity of life which is a moral absolute.  Forbidding an abortion does not in any way take away the forgiveness that the young girl received when she repented—not even a little bit.  Just because you have been forgiven of a sin, that doesn’t mean that you have now have a license to commit another, even if it supposedly alleviates some of the consequences of the first sin.  There are moral absolutes.

Now suppose a woman commits a sin against her husband which leads to a divorce.  Then suppose the woman repents of this sin and is completely forgiven of it by God.  Is it then acceptable for the woman to marry another man (while the husband she was divorced from is still living)?  No, it isn’t according the Scriptures.  The purpose of the commandment not to remarry is not to punish the woman for the sin that she committed and it does not take away the forgiveness she received when she repented—not even a little bit.  The purpose is to uphold the sanctity of marriage, to keep oneself sexually pure in God’s eyes refraining from that which is dirty and degrading.  Remarriage after divorce is called adultery several times in the Scriptures above which is a form of sexual immorality.  Is there any other form of sexual immorality which not dirty and degrading?  Why this one exception?

To further illustrate this point, suppose that a woman became pregnant by rape.  Suppose that she did absolutely nothing wrong that led to the pregnancy.  Is it then acceptable for her to murder her own baby?  I would hope that no one reading this would think so.  Even though the woman did nothing wrong, the murder of an innocent baby is still a murder which is absolutely wrong in all cases.  Similarly, even though a woman may have done everything that she could to keep a marriage together and committed no sin at all to cause the divorce, it is still wrong for her to marry another man while her husband that she was divorced from is still living.  This is because sexual immorality, as God defines it, is always wrong without exception.

Matthew 23:4 says of the scribes and the Pharisees, “They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”  I suppose some people may conclude from this verse that Jesus never asks anyone to give up anything that is difficult to give up as a precondition of becoming one His followers.  This axiom is blown out of the water by Jesus’ discourse with the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:21).  Jesus doesn’t ask everyone to sell all of their possessions and give the money to poor before they can follow Him.  But any claim can be disproven with just one counterexample.  See also Matthew 16:24 and Luke 14:33.  Jesus does not ask everyone to give up marriage as a precondition of following Him.  But if He can ask a certain man to give up everything he has in order to follow Him, then there is no inconsistency in the premise that He requires certain people to remain unmarried for the rest of their life in order to follow Him.  This point is actually expounded on in the very context of some of the seven passages.  Matthew 19:10-12 (KJV) says,
His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
Like many Christians today, the disciples had a hard time accepting this teaching. That is why they say "[then] it is not good to marry." When Jesus brings up the subject of eunuchs, He is not changing the subject, but is rather continuing to prove His original point. If God allowed to men to become eunuchs (from birth or by the hands of men) then what does a divorcée have to complain about? If some even made themselves eunuchs (or "denounced marriage" as the NIV says) for sake of the kingdom of heaven, then it follows that this was God's will for those particular men. So why is it so hard to believe that it is not God's will for a divorcée to remarry?

As I said in beginning, I am not adding anything to or taking anything away from what the Bible plainly says about remarriage after divorce.

Click here to continue to the next article in the series.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

The Seriousness of the Sin of Remarriage after Divorce, part 1

This is a series of posts designed to convince people of the Biblical truth that remarriage after divorce is adultery and that the fact that the modern American Christian church has by-and-large rejected this teaching is proof that it is in a state of apostasy.  This article is the first in the series.


I got into a discussion with the elders of my church about the sin of remarriage after divorce.  It is adultery. 

Whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.  If a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.  For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.  So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. If she does depart (from her husband), let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

Whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.

If you disagree with this, you are not disagreeing with me, but God.  Everything in the above two paragraphs is word-for-word from Jesus and the apostle Paul in the New Testament.  (Matthew 5:30-31, 19:9, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18, Romans 7:2-3, I Corinthians 7:10-11, 39 NKJV)  I take all these passages at face value without exception.  I am absolutely not saying anything more or anything less about the issue than what the New Testament clearly teaches.

The purpose of this article is to refute arguments which water down these Scriptures.  I categorize these arguments into three main catagories.  First, some have said that my position is an unforgiving one.  Second, they said this is not a “black and white” issue (in other words, I am being too legalistic).  Third, the Old Testament teachings uphold remarriage after divorce in some cases and we should regard these passages as applicable for us today.  Finally, I will address some other false arguments about exceptions to the rule.  

I want to be clear that I am not addressing the issue of when it is acceptable for someone to divorce their spouse or what to do if your spouse abandons you.  These are important questions, some of the Scriptures that I have quoted above are relevant to these issues, and they are somewhat related to the current topic, but they are outside the scope of what I want to talk about in this writing.  Just because someone may have biblical grounds for divorce, that doesn’t mean that they can remarry without sinning.  These are two distinct issues.

Note that, in this writing, all Scripture quotations come from the 2011 NIV unless otherwise noted.  Note that there are some slight differences between the 1984 NIV and the 2011 NIV.  For purposes of this discussion, the only one which I can see that is of any importance is that the term “marital unfaithfulness” is used in the 1984 version but is not used in the 2011 version.  In this respect, the 2011 version is more correct and actually in more in agreement with older versions, especially KJV and NKJV.  The Greek word is pornea, which obviously refers to fornication or sexual immorality.

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