What does the Bible teach about divorce and remarriage between Christians

Here we see that the only ground for divorce between Christians sanctioned by Jesus is fornication. Fornication refers to any kind of sexual immorality. It includes adultery, incest, homosexuality, prostitution, etc. The only other ground for divorce sanctioned in scripture is desertion by an unbelieving spouse (CP 1Cor 7:12-15). This did not arise as a ground for divorce during Jesus' ministry, so He did not have to address it. It was left to Paul to do so because it only became evident as the church expanded. These are the only two grounds for divorce sanctioned in scripture, and it is only on these two grounds that the right to divorce is also a right to remarry. Whoever divorces and remarries for any other reason causes everyone involved in the divorce and subsequent remarriage to commit the sin of adultery. Everyone is affected - the one who initiates the divorce, the one divorced, and the ones they remarry (CP Mt 5:31-32; 19:9; Mk 10:10-12; Lu 16:18). Here we see the consequences of divorce and remarriage for reasons other than what is permitted in scripture. Divorce and remarriage for any reason other than fornication or desertion by an unbelieving spouse is sin. That may seem harsh to some, but it is what the Bible teaches. It is not the unpardonable sin though - it can be forgiven, and God will forgive it, if it is confessed and repented of (CP 1Jn 1:9).

That is why God commands Christians who divorce for other reasons to remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to their spouses (CP 1Cor 7:10-11). This is a directive to married Christians, and while Paul addresses it from the wife's perspective, the principle applies to both husbands and wives. The only other ground permitted in scripture for remarriage by Christians is the death of a marriage partner. The surviving partner is then free to remarry (CP Ro 7:2-3; 1Cor 7:8-9, 39; 1Ti 5:14). In all marriages however - not only when a marriage partner dies - Christians must marry other Christians. They cannot marry an unbeliever (CP 2Cor 6:14-16). The reason there has to be restrictions on marriage, divorce, and remarriage in God's order, is because in the first instance divorce and remarriage were not options God considered in His eternal purpose for marriage. God intended marriage to be a permanent, monogamous relationship between a husband and a wife. There was no provision for divorce and remarriage whatever (CP Gen 2:18, 21-25; Mal 2:13-16; Mt 19:3-8; Mk 10:29). God did not institute divorce and remarriage - man did. God only tolerated it because Moses permitted it, but Moses only permitted it because of the people's hardness of heart, and that is why Jesus would only sanction divorce for fornication, and not for any other reason. Divorce and remarriage was never mentioned in scripture until De 24 where it is presented as a fait accompli -something already established (CP De 24:1-4). None of this is teaching that divorced Christians who have entered into new marriages have to divorce their present spouse and remarry the one they previously divorced, even though the previous divorce may not have conformed to God's eternal purpose. Marriage is in God's perfect order and He will bless the present marriage.

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  • leea
    Did the bible sanction Remarriage?
    4 months ago

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