We’re diving right in to today’s Q&A – does God allow for a Christian to remarry after their ex-spouse remarries somebody else?
QUESTION: If two Christians divorce and then one of them pursues a relationship with another, is that Biblical adultery and therefore justifying the divorce after the fact and thus freeing the person from the marriage?
Answer: I didn’t make the rules, so don’t shoot the messenger. You’re asking a religious question while seeking a religious answer.
The key to this question is what was the reason for the divorce?
- Adultery, including pornography?
- Physical abuse that could lead to your death or could physically contribute to your death? (Ex: repeated concussion could lead to death.)
- Abandonment – as in the person literally disappears from your life to fake their own death and you honestly assume they’re dead, or conversely, throws you out onto the street in an attempt to cause you to die?
Nobody is allowed to try to cause their spouse to die to circumvent the Biblical prohibition against remarriage except in the case of the death of your spouse. Using murder as a loophole to have “permissible” sex with a new partner is in the running for the worst kind of sexual immorality.
Those aforementioned reasons are justifiable and Biblically sound reasons for divorce.
Now onto the second part of your question, is it adultery after-the-fact once two people are already divorced? For non-Christians, this question absolutely makes zero sense, but again, you’re asking a religious question while seeking a religious answer.
Let me guess, you got divorced for a non-Biblically permitted reason. Your ex-wife has gone and married another, so now you believe that you should be free from your marital bonds.
“But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” – Matthew 5:32
Women had to be married if she was going to survive in society. Life was a group effort before the industrial age, and still is in many parts of the world today. Women needed to get remarried, even though this divorce would cause them to be adulterous.
Jesus was speaking to Pharisees – men. These “super extra ‘righteous’” Pharisees were forcing women into adultery because these men and women were trying to find loopholes in Jewish law that allowed them to sleep around. You’d “get married” to a woman on paper, sleep with her, then divorce her, rinse, repeat. This concept of a temporary marriage to circumvent what is really just premarital sex exists today in Islam and is called “Nikah mut’ah.”
There is no such thing as justification after-the-fact for your divorce. This is why even the apostles were taken aback by how strict Jesus was when it came to marriage and divorce.
“9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” 10 The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” – Matthew 19:9-10
Did you marry a crazy person? Too bad. Is the person no longer attractive? Too bad. Did this person ask for a divorce even though you didn’t want one? Still too bad, which is why the apostles were so aghast!
Unless you reconciled with your spouse before either of you “became one flesh” with another (including through pornography) you must stay single or it will Biblically be considered adultery on your part. Once one spouse has been joined to another, you are never allowed to remarry that ex-spouse.
“then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the Lord. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.” – Deuteronomy 24:4
Marriage and divorce are SERIOUS undertakings to God. It doesn’t matter what falliable human beings are doing, their sin doesn’t justify your sin. This is why you better know who you’re marrying and you better have a life and death reason for getting divorced, because God doesn’t play around.
God Himself is divorced, and is awaiting His new bride, the church. Did God divorce Israel every time she upset Him and didn’t uphold her part of the marriage covenant? No. God was long-suffering. That’s what Biblical marriage is a picture of today – God’s covenant with His people.
When did God get divorced? When Israel committed adultery.
“She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore.” – Jeremiah 3:8
This is why God can’t rejoin Himself to His former bride Israel, but can only await for the Bride of Christ, the church, because the blood covenant, the engagement, was already made with us when Jesus went to the cross.
Unless you had a Biblically sound reason for divorce, even if your spouse left you high and dry, you are NOT allowed to remarry without it being adulterous on your part before God.
If you have already remarried after getting a Biblically unsound divorce, you are not to divorce your new spouse. You can’t undo adultery.
I didn’t make the rules, so don’t shoot the messenger.
Originally posted to Quora on June 11, 2018