Remarriage Question

Hi Pastor.  I never married. May I Biblically marry a Christian lady who divorced her husband because HE adultrated their marriage then He remarried? One verse has an “exception” clause and in another Gospel the clause does not appear.  We know that God never contradicts Himself. Please explain if we would be guilty of adultery if we marry. Thank You, Christopher

Christopher,

What I understand from your e-mail is this:

1) The woman is a Christian.

2) Her husband committed adultery.

3) He is now remarried.

From his actions, I infer a fourth fact: he is an unbeliever. (He may claim to be a Christian, but his actions belie his claim.)

If I were to say that she should not remarry, I would be saying that in God’s eyes she is still married to him, which makes his present marriage adulterous, and that he should divorce his current wife and remarry his first wife.

Since it is clear from Scripture that God hates divorce, I would be advocating something that God hates.

I find nothing in Scripture that says that if an unbeliever commits adultery, leaves his wife and marries another, that the first wife is still bound to him and he to her, and she must remain unmarried until he decides to divorce and return, or until his second wife dies. I know there are some who think that is what the Lord requires, but I do not agree. In fact, I find it monstrous. There has already been one broken marriage. Do we really think the Lord wants two?

The key Scripture for your case is I Cor. 7:15: “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” In other words, God has not called us to create more pain and disruption.

Matthew Henry has a useful explanation of this passage:

“But though a believing wife or husband should not separate from an unbelieving mate, yet if the unbelieving (spouse) desert the believer, and no means can reconcile to a cohabitation, in such a case a brother or sister is not in bondage (v. 15), not tied up to the unreasonable humour, and bound servilely to follow or cleave to the malicious deserter, or not bound to live unmarried after all proper means for reconciliation have been tried, at least if the deserter contract another marriage or be guilty of adultery…

“In such a case the deserted person must be free to marry again, and it is granted on all hands.

“And some think that such a malicious desertion is as much a dissolution of the marriage-covenant as death itself. For how is it possible that the two shall be one flesh when the one is maliciously bent to part from or put away the other?

“…But the deserted party seems to be left more at liberty (I mean supposing all the proper means have been used to reclaim the deserter, and other circumstances make it necessary) to marry another person. It does not seem reasonable that they should be still bound, when it is rendered impossible to perform conjugal duties or enjoy conjugal comforts, through the mere fault of their mate: in such a case marriage would be a state of servitude indeed.”

John Gill agrees:

“nor are they bound to remain unmarried, but are free to marry another person, after all proper methods have been tried for a reconciliation, and that appears to be impracticable; desertion in such a case, and attended with such circumstances, is a breach of the marriage contract, and a dissolution of the bond, and the deserted person may lawfully marry again; otherwise a brother, or a sister in such a case, would be in subjection and bondage to such a person:…”

As does the Westminster Confession of Faith, chap. 24, sec. 6:

“…nothing but adultery, or such willful desertion as can no way be remedied by the church, or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage: wherein, a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it not left to their own wills, and discretion, in their own case”

So, Christopher, I do not believe either of you would be guilty of adultery if you were to marry. May the Lord bless your union abundantly!

In Christ Jesus,

Pastor Mencarow

Thank You Pastor. I can’t tell you how i have struggled with this.

 

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