Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Seriousness of the Sin of Remarriage after Divorce, part 5

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 fifth in the series.  Click here to read the first article.

Real Exceptions to the Rule

Sure there are exceptions to the rule that remarriage after divorce is adultery.  But you cannot make up your own exceptions!  Only the ones mentioned in Scripture are acceptable.  If a man and a woman get a divorce and then he dies, then she is free to remarry (in the Lord) according to Romans 7:2-3 and I Corinthians 7:39. 

The second real exception is that a man can remarry if he divorced his wife because of her fornication.  I am assuming that Matthew 19:9 is a more complete version of the same statements found in Mark 10:11 and Luke 16:18. And (I repeat) note that sexual immorality and fornication are the most correct translations of the Greek word used here.

The third exception is not so obvious.  This is because, technically, the case of a man abandoned by his wife is not an exception to a commandment, but it is simply territory that was never covered by the commandment to begin with.  It is very important to note that this has nothing to do with I Corinthians 7:15 (this passage will be discussed in the next section).  The only statement in the New Testament about a man remarrying after divorce is in Matthew 19:9 (NKJV):

I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.

Focus on the “…who divorces his wife…” part for a minute. The verb divorce means to “put away” (in the King James Version) or “drive out”.  When a divorce occurs, it is sometimes the man who puts away his wife and sometimes it is the other way around.  Nothing is said in Scripture about a man remarrying after his wife put him away.   If a woman leaves her husband without his consent, then this could hardly be described as “he put away his wife”.  And if that happened, then how could it be said that “he causes her to commit adultery” (1984 NIV) or “makes her the victim of adultery” (Matthew 5:32, 2011 NIV)?  As with other exceptions, I am not saying that anyone in the situation could never sin by remarrying, but generally speaking, it is not sinful because the Bible does not address this specific case.

But it is always wrong for a woman remarry while the man she was married to is still alive.  All of that territory is covered by the commandments.  It doesn’t matter whether he was the one who put her away (Matthew 5:32, 19:9, and Luke 16:18) or vice versa (Mark 10:12, I Corinthians 7:10-11). Romans 7:2-3 and I Corinthians 7:39 also cover both cases and any other case that you might imagine (e.g. a mutual separation).  It doesn’t matter if the husband committed fornication because this exception is not mentioned.  As I said in the beginning, I take everything word in the Bible about this issue at face value.  Men and women are different.  This means you can’t generally interchange the words husband/man for wife/woman.  The resulting statement may not necessarily be true.  To assume otherwise would be to deny that women and men have different roles in marriage.

In the next two sections I will address in depth two false exceptions.

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