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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