Divorce & Remarriage (6) Final
Resolving The Issues:
My salient advice is to prayerfully consider all the spiritual issues involved in embarking on divorce and remarriage. Moreover, we will discover that as unlikely as it seems, confusion is the ideal launching pad to fire us to the answers we need. Perhaps the discrepancy between the ideal and God’s response to practical reality explains some of the seemingly contradictions. It is better to defer all critical decisions until one feels confident that God’s Will has been revealed. I suggest you keep seeking until you at least feel the peace of God that such answers exist and that your decision goes perfectly with every part of the Bible as God’s eyes.
For me, the issue is simplified in a violated marriage. The prior act of infidelity in adultery was the fact that the marriage was still inviolate. There is a different scenario once a marriage has been dissolved due to an act of adultery. In this case, the parties are no longer husband and wife, so it is difficult to see any biblical ground to conclude that the remarriage of the guilty divorcee is an act of adultery. There is no biblical evidence affirming that the person who has been divorced for adultery commits another act of adultery when they remarry.
However, in upholding morals, the Church must condemn adultery and other sexual sins. Christ must be honored in all ways, so the Church’s discipline must include sexual offenders. But the Church must not go beyond scriptural teachings. Categorizing the second marriage as an act of adultery does not rest on the requisite biblical evidence and does not fall within Church discipline. It means the second marriage of the guilty partner cannot be declared right or wrong. Dogmatically we are not in any position to declare either way. The person divorced for adultery who remarries may not be regarded as having committed adultery or living in an adulterous relationship. The Church may not categorically declare the remarriage as legitimate or place its imprimatur and benediction; at the same time, it cannot declare it illegitimate.
In summary, marriage is envisaged between a man and a virgin. That is a marriage devoid of fornication. Fidelity in this type of marriage is also envisaged; infidelity is adultery and can lead to divorce. Paul’s words in 1 Co 7: 8, 9, 10 & 15 become our final Word on divorce and remarriage. Vs. 8 & 9 “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: it is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am, But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” NIV. Unmarried refers to any single person for whatever reason who remains single.
A divorced woman or man has become unmarried, so the Word of Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, speaks to such a person. V.10 of the exact text encourages doing the right thing in marriage. A marriage by right is indissoluble, but if it happens due to the exceptive clause given by Christ, v.9 applies, which is the determinant for remarriage if so desired. Also, v.15 deals with the divorce of an unequal yoking of a believer and unbeliever. If the unbeliever spouse leaves, Paul says, “let him do so.” A believing partner is, therefore, not bound in such circumstances, for God has called us to live in peace. In essence, due to the unbelieving spouse’s going away, the believing partner becomes an unmarried man or woman now and therefore has a right to remarry.
The bottom line is the ‘Grace of God.’ If Righteousness can be gained through the law, then Christ died for nothing. No goal can be achieved by human effort. Let the Spirit of God lead us in whatever action we take in divorcing a spouse or marrying another. We should be dead to the law so that we might live for God. Galatians 2: 20 “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Paul also told us in Gal 3: 10 & 11 that “All those who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the law.” The law justifies no one before God because “The righteous will live by faith.” Only by faith can we receive the promise of the Spirit.
Righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ to those who believe in Him. We are called in Christ to be free but not to use our freedom to indulge the sinful nature; instead, to serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single Command; “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Gal 5:14; who can be the closest neighbor to you than your spouse? If the Spirit genuinely leads you, you are not under the law. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” Gal 5: 22-23. All the above-listed fruits of the Spirit are the requisites for a good and indissoluble marriage.
My final submission is a prayer for my readers. The same prayer Apostle Paul offered to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi:
And this is my prayer that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1: 9-11 NIV.
Marriage is envisaged between two virgins (the man and the woman). Fidelity in this type of marriage is contemplated. Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 7: 8, 9, 10 & 15 become the final words on divorce and remarriage.