Can Divorced People Remarry?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. Let me see. Can sinners be forgiven? Can runaways come home? Can crooks get a second chance? Can the broken be made whole?
No, it’s not a tough question. It’s an easy question.
Of course divorced people can remarry!
These questions are only tough because religion has told us that divorced people are unforgiveable sinners. They’re lepers who blight our perfect little churches.
As long as they sit quietly and help with our programs, they are welcome. But the moment they start looking for love, they’ve crossed the line. They had their shot at love and they messed up.
What a graceless thing to say!
I cannot imagine anything further from the heart of Christ than telling someone they cannot experience love, that they are bound by the mistakes of their past and they have no future.
The two Pharisees
There are two sour-faced Pharisees stalking the modern church. The first one is called Against Divorce and the second is called Against Remarriage. The first one loves to quote 1 Corinthians 7:27 and the second quotes 1 Corinthians 7:11. Let’s look at each scripture in turn:
Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. (1 Corinthians 7:27a)
This is a healthy exhortation because divorce is destructive. God hates divorce because it hurts his kids. Your loving Father doesn’t want to see you go through that pain.
But some have turned this exhortation into a law. “Thou shalt not get divorced!” Since the law inflames sin (Rom 7:5) this message actually promotes divorce. Thus it hurts the church two ways; by stirring up sin and then condemning the sinner.
Do you take these words as law? Then be consistent and preach the whole verse:
Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife. (1 Corinthians 7:27b)
If the first part is a law, so is the second. If divorced people are sinning, then so are those who get married. Obviously that is not what the apostle of grace is saying. He’s saying don’t seek a divorce. He’s saying divorce is not something to look for.
The hand grenade of divorce
In our marriage, Camilla and I decided years ago that we would never say the word divorce, not even in jest. (This is not a law for us, just a healthy choice. There are situations – abusive marriages, for instance – where it could be appropriate to use the word.)
To say the word divorce during an argument is like pulling out a hand grenade. It escalates matters.
Fear of the hand grenade will kill your marriage. How can you be open and honest about your differences when you worry that your partner might pull the pin? Paul is saying keep the hand grenade out of your marriage. Don’t seek it. Seek Jesus instead.
But the fact is some people get divorced and sometimes for very legitimate reasons. What about them? Can they remarry?
Enter the second Pharisee.
“Remarriage is a sin – the Bible is clear about this. There can be no possibility of remarriage except to the original spouse.” Then they trot out the verse that says a woman must not separate from her husband:
But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:11)
Paul is preaching restoration, which is something we all hope for. If that which has been broken can be put back together, then wonderful.
But what if it can’t? What if the man is a violent abuser? What if the other partner has remarried and now has 14 kids? What if there is zero chance of remarriage?
“Then it’s game over,” says the Pharisee. “If they marry another, they break the command and sin against God.”
Such a law-based message is at odds with the redemptive prospects of grace. This isn’t about rule-keeping but whether our choices lead to life or death. It’s not good for anyone to be alone, but some people are not ready to get married. And it’s not good to divorce, but some are literally dying in their marriages.
Divorced people are sometimes treated like second-class citizens. The message they hear is, “We will accept you for as long as you follow our rules of conduct.” Those who speak like this are far from the heart of God (see 1 John 4:8).
Religion vs reality
It boggles my mind how we treat some people in the church. A sinner gets saved and we embrace him as a brother. A pastor commits adultery and we work hard to restore him. The chief of sinners becomes an apostle and we go “Isn’t God amazing?”
But apparently this sort of grace doesn’t extend to divorcees. No, they must stay on probation for the rest of their lives.
“There’s a difference, Paul. The pastor and the sinner both repented and were forgiven. But the divorced person who marries another didn’t repent. Indeed, they are living in sin, and so they cannot be forgiven.”
So now we’re preaching conditional forgiveness? We’re telling people that Jesus won’t die for their sins unless they repent?! That’s the back to front. That’s the perverted message of DIY religion.
When Jesus went to the cross he carried the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). No person and no sin were excluded from his sacrificial work.
This is why we preach unconditional forgiveness. The punchline of the gospel is not “repent to be forgiven.” It’s “God loves you – repent and believe the good news!”
God’s love is not affected by your marital status
Whatever sins you have done were carried on the cross long before you did them. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more and nothing you can do to make him love you less. If there is an unforgiveable sin, it is not divorce.
(What did Jesus say on the subject of divorce? See this article, and this one.)
To the married, I say this: do not seek a divorce, and don’t treat grace as a license to sin. Only a fool would exchange heavenly treasure (marriage) for earthly junk (illicit intimacy).
And to the divorced, I say this: You are not an unforgiven sinner! God is for marriage and against divorce, but more than that he is for you. God justifies you, so don’t let the Pharisee condemn you (Rom 8:33-34). You are precious to your Father. He loves you and is pleased with you. Your marital status does not affect his great love for you one little bit.
Can you remarry? By the grace of God you can.
Should you remarry? That depends. Ask your Father. He knows you better than you know yourself and he will lead you in the path of life. Maybe you will remarry, maybe you won’t. But with God on your side, you cannot lose (Rom 8:28).
That’s my two cents. Now I want to hear from you, especially if you are divorced.
Have you experienced grace or ungrace in the church? I don’t want to turn this into a bitter thread, so please adopt a constructive tone. Let’s hear your suggestions for how the church can do a better job of loving divorced people.
More articles on marriage and divorce.
Help these messages of hope and healing reach more people. Support E2R today.
Beautiful Paul! Again the issue is Religion (or anything else for that matter) Vs Reality (REAL Reality-not our un-regenerated experience or Incomplete, NON Spirit informed, reading of the Bible) Now is the time to E2R. Keep the encouragement coming man!
Suggestions? It’s always the same: BEHOLD THE LAMB. The amount of love we extend to others (ALL others) is proportional to the love we see revealed in Him.
Grace & peace.
I have been remarried for 29 years to a wonderful man…my divorce was in 1983 the man I was married to was unfaithful, abusive, physically and verbally, he left me with 2 young sons paid no child support for the first year he saw the boys on alternating weekends then he just disappeared. When I remarried a judge ruled that he had abandoned the boys and consented to my husband adopting them…he returned 14 years later when oldest was 19 spent time with him talked him into taking his birth name back…now he has convinced my former daughter in law to change my grandson’s name to his name and my second son has done it too…this makes no difference to my husband he considers both of them his sons and they both call him daddy. We had 2 children as well a son and a daughter we had a happy home involved in church and raise all 4 as best we could…our daughter became a missionary at International House of Prayer and met a young christian man we felt was good and when they asked to court we allowed it …He went to Turkey as missionary and was there 6 mon. He returned and they married…they both went to Turkey for 3 mon. then it was apparent there were problems and they came home. Had a baby girl we worshiped with them in our church…Suddenly they quit coming to church and to our home we saw baby girl on her first birthday…He had come across Matt.5:32 where Jesus said if you marry a divorced woman you commit adultry…so he decided our associate pastor who is married to a divorced woman was in adultry he could not worship under him and that my husband was also committing adultry. The have completely cut themselves off from our entire family and have broken our hearts. they did have another child this year and allowed us to meet him in the hospital…He met with my husband and gave him a 3 page letter explaining his feelings…more broken heart we only hear from him have heard nothing from our daughter in over a year would send you a copy of his letter if you send me your address. contact us at 937 Eden St. Columbus, Ga Paul and Pamela Nipper
My heart breaks for you and I pray that your daughter and her husband receive the revelation of God’s love and grace that they so desperately need. X
Thank you so much! I got married at 21 because my girlfriend at that time became pregnant. We separated before our baby turned 1 because of an affair. I was a Catholic at that time and religion said that dicorce is not an option and that God hates divorce!
I remarried 6 years later and also became a new believer, there was also a time when I was not sure wether I was really saved because I was divorced and then re married. I did not understand God’s Grace at that time and it seemed like the Bible contradicted what Jesus did on the cross. I remember asking a Pastor once about weather I was really saved because I was divorced and re married the answer that I got was God is merciful. But I never really got the assurance that I was really saved till the day I got a revelation of God’s Grace! Deep inside I knew that I knew that Jesus paid it all! He has forgiven me of all sins past present and future. Even my divorce. I just cant explain it the way you did it in this post thank you so much and I thank God for teachers of Grace like you, Joseph Prince, Creflo Dollar & Andrew Wommack.
I’ve seen way too many people get divorced (give up on their marriages without turning every single stone, enduring, persevering, praying and WORKING) because of “grace”. They married too young. They are not compatible. They’ve grown apart. Or: their spouses are not right for them, not serving the Lord as they should, not taking care of them well enough… Then they remarry within a short period of time because they’re not really used to being alone, they never really planned on sorting out what caused the break-up in the first place (since it’s all the other person’s or an immature self’s fault, right?) and now they’ve found someone who fits into their new idea of who they need to make them happy.
I know this may sound harsh and it does not apply to everyone. I’m not trying to condemn anybody and I don’t disagree with your post. I do, however, feel that we should be serious about the marriage covenant because it represents the covenant between God and the church (for one thing). I’ve been married for a couple of years and IT. IS. HARD. Especially once you throw a couple of kids into the mix. Both of us come from broken homes. Giving up on our marriage (and even physically dying) MANY times seemed a MUCH easier option than dying to self. It sometimes takes all the grace of God to keep us together and to prevent… “that we are not consumed.” (Lamentations 3:22)
I want people to start preaching hard FOR staying, AGAINST giving up and yes, even against remarriage, but basically, against this self that has become a god in our society. But preached in a grace kind of way. I need that in my marriage.
You’re not qaulified to determine who is ‘serious’ about the marriage covenant. Mahy, many Christians never ONCE ask the Lord if they should marry this person or that person.
The Lord’s super aboundng Grace is available for every weakness, fall, sin and shortcoming in life. There is no excluysive sin that sits outside the circle of the Lord’s Grace.
Many Christians do not live under Grace. They don’t even invite the Lord into their lives or daily tasks and in life in general. Yet, JESUS, is a God of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. chances.
Marriage is important. But do not overlook the fact that many Christians are not operating or living or making decuisions according to what they have been taught in the Bible. They are operating under the godless world system. And many preachers, unfortunately, have failed believers. They have done the best they could. But Pastor Prince is one that understands the ways of Grace.
I agree with you wholeheartedly.
But, that does not mean that I think if you didn’t ask God who you should marry, you shouldn’t stay married to the person you are with. (Believer or non.)
Or that I believe that grace enables us to take an easier way out because God has got us covered, instead of enabling us to stay together for that very same reason.
I believe a revelation of grace after we have made mistakes (as we see in many of the comments here) is great, but the realization that grace enables us to do SO MUCH better and MUCH more than we ever thought we could (preventing these same mistakes) is MUCH MUCH better!
In response to “Wouldn’t it be better to prevent the divorce in the first place?” that Lillibet asked: I think that in most cases, people who have been through divorce aren’t proud of that. Many live in crippling regret, asking themselves “What if…” and “If only”. Many churches, too, treat divorced members as though their past is a blight on the rest of their lives. But Paul, who once persecuted Christians and referred to himself pre-Christ as having been “the chief of sinners”, says: “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and pressing forward towards the goal” (Philippians 3:13-14). Paul didn’t live in crippling regret, he got busy telling others of Christ and His grace towards him. King David didn’t wear sackcloth and ashes forever, either…he served God in the post-adultery part of his life, too.
The fact is, God can make beauty out of ashes when we surrender our lives to Him. Even if those lives are messed up beyond our own ability to fix. And sometimes, God can use our past failures to draw others closer to Him, when they see the lavish grace of God at work in our lives. HIS work, not ours…and HIS glory, not ours. Had I had the perfect testimony that I desperately wish I had, I am not sure that a friend of mine who was contemplating adultery would have heard my pleas to her to “not do as I have done” and had victory over temptation in that area. To those of you who feel that you’re out of the game and sidelined from having a ministry due to a sin from your past, remember that Jesus didn’t let the sin of the woman at the well stop Him from revealing to her the Good News. She was the first missionary, I believe. Not because of her own flawless testimony…but because of radical grace from Christ.
I am so tired at hearing that people divorce because they don’t “try” to make it work . Just lazy. Don’t care. easy way out. I stayed with an abusive man for 21 years – we did Marriage encounter, called family social services to come in and counsel, tried renewal services, novenas, prayer – always told “he will be saved” if you just love him. He told me – “You will never make a God man out of me” The marriage finally ended when he raped me – he was sober, not drunk. Before that, I excused forced sex on demand because he was drinking – didn’t know what he was doing. I was told – Just give him love. One pastor said – give him more sex. The problem is that there is never enough sex for a sex addict. I am a certified trauma recovery counsellor now – twenty years later and it appalls me that there are still Christians who praying for our marriage to heal. All that trauma, just sweep it under the rug as if it had no effect on my mental, spiritual and emotional health. All my children are in counselling now because of the lack of a father’s love and growing up fearing his fits of rage. Two are in AA.
Spousal abuse is tolerated in the church.
Spousal abuse is the shame of the modern church. It is the bad fruit of bad religion. Thank you for sharing your painful story, Patti.
It is this exactly this type of sustaining grace that allows us to endure the inevitable difficulties in this life that if done for the Lord, gives Him glory, trusting He will come thru in every situation. It is not about self being exalted and having its own way in this life but allowing God to break thru and looking at Him as the source and for the fulfillment of our joy. It was grace that kept him on the cross and that same grace is rendered to us to withstand trials & hardships here on earth, ‘for a little while’ then, eternal glory. I identify with GraceGirl, totally agreeing with her. We need to fight against the real enemy disguising himself with alluring deception while sabotaging God’s plan for intact marriages & families. I Hope Everyone Got to See ‘War Room’ – A powerful eye-opener that tells it like it is.
Hi Paul, I think that in the present day Institutional Church, the “Pharisees” often take this even further, AND include Widowhood, especially when the widow/widower is young to middle-aged, but in their minds they don,t even exclude the “older person” who quite frankly is lonely and vulnerable and “aching” for companionship.
Widows/widowers are also GODS Beloved, and He knows the hurt they feel too – but the “condemnation” emanating from “hostile do gooders” or just plain “nosey(read jealous) Pharisees” is often more than is bearable, and they “drop out” of the Church. Isnt it so sad, that our Church is still the “Only army that shoots its wounded”!!
Yes, that is definitely true. Thanks Peter.
Hello Paul, thanks for a great post! All I can add to this, if anything, is a message I heard last year by Shane Willard about marriage and divorce that really shook me up! Made me realise how much religious rubbish we cling to that has absolutely NO value in any way whatsoever and just causes so much confusion!
Well then …. with this logic in mind…same sex couples can marry…
No fault divorce is a blight on our modern life. This is far from God’s will. Its all summed up in 1 Corinthians 7:10,11, “A wife is not to depart from her husband, ….and a husband is not to divorce his wife.” Know this, these are rules of engagement for the saint, as the sinner has no concern for such (1 John 4:8). If the husband loves the wife as Christ loved the church and gave His life for it (Ephesians 5:15), then the wife would respond to that love and never contemplate leaving. This is what mortifies divorce.
I was divorced and remarried again. I loved my first wife and done everything I could to save my marriage, even begged for her to come back. It was my ex wife that walked and and wanted the divorce but it was me that pulled the trigger on starting the court process to issue the certificate of divorce for a marriage that was already broken relationally (I know that God could have saved us but unfortunately human wills were also at play) During my divorce I realised my own faults and took a lot of growth from my mistakes of not giving enough love, time and emotional support and even the sin of being too religious without a true heart of love. My heart was broken about the mistakes that I had made and i felt rejected by God, myself and the church but over time God began to heal me, restoring my faith in His love for me and is still healing me. Before my divorce I was a religious pharsee but there’s something about a divorce which strips all selfrightouness away and all I could do was come to God empty handed and receive His amazing grace.
Today I’ve found Gods love in my brokeness and God has also give me a good wife who I love so much, she’s the type of girl which knows me so well, is loving and patient towards me, she too was divorced with 4 children. I feel so much that by God’s grace that He has restored both our lives and has made us one bound together forever as a testmoney to everyone. And by God’s grace we have learned from the past but know that in Christ our future is secure in Him.
This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I’m the ex-wife in this same like situation. Hearing you say these things was all I ever wanted from my ex to realize as well. I’ve learned much from my divorce. Many regrets on my end as well. Thank goodness for God’s amazing grace and mercy.
That second to the last paragraph did the job…good revelation brother…more grace…stay blessed….
Wow! I have never heard this put so well! I have seen the pain that my divorced mother has gone through and why haven’t we heard this message sooner?!
another good one Paul, I am divorced and remarried, this issue came up in the church during my divorce,that was back in 79. I was confused,with others,but I remember asking the Lord to forgive me,and him saying “if I cant forgive that I cant forgive anything” He also told me to forgive my ex, more for me at the time then for her because unforgiveness can become a crippler for you. Sooo…..been there done that, after a while you understand why God hates divorce,becuse now I hate it to.
I am noticing a interesting thread running threw these answers,those of us who have been threw hell and back seem to understand and embrace the grace and acceptance of the Father and the great peace and rest that comes with it, and please I am not trying to take away from what others have been threw
Yes, I have noticed that too, Earl. Truly, the gospel is good news for the hurting. And what’s also interesting is that a week ago I would never have dared to write about divorce. I normally stick to subjects I know something about. But one day I woke up with a burning desire to write what you see above. To protect myself from saying something stupid, I did share an early draft of this post with a group of divorcees and pastors before going public, and I am grateful for their encouragement.
In some ways, this divorce post is like the one I wrote about suicide. I know nothing about that subject too, yet God has used my ignorance to spread his grace far and wide. Surely he dazzles in those areas where I don’t.
Yes Brother, it is seen here that you are dependent on Matt 10:16-20 as God leads not you, you have received see and do, no longer a trier a doer form it is not you that are doing it. It is God through you in humility from you to God
Just what I see revealed to me and thank you much as today your post came to my inbox and I am elated over it
I simply agree with you in this, Thank you from me. For it when, I accepted to the pain I was able to be free from it’s execution it was doing to me, in condemning me did I do right and what if all that brought doubt into seeing the God just love me and all not a few all, Wow I changed in a heartbeat and am free to love all in spite of how others might or might not view me, Thank you
I was “standing for my marriage” after divorce for many years, even when I knew Grace. I knew that whether I stood or gave up my stand it would not affect my “standing” (pardon the pun) with God. But there are many “standers” that are extremely legalistic about this subject. I am glad you broached this subject, but I fear even this concise, reasonable post won’t shatter the trap of legalism and religion they are stuck in. My wife is remarried and to be honest I believe that man is much better for her than I. Our personalities, dreams, focus, just general foundations of humanness are completely different, and I am actually very happy that she found someone she can relate to better than I. Now the standers in the standing groups would disagree with that statement, but I know it to be true. Now I am on a different journey, not quite as difficult as my standing journey, but one that has it’s own share of bumps, high spots, and valleys. Again, thank you for addressing this Paul, much appreciated.
Thanks for sharing, Jean-Andre. I have never heard anyone speak about their ex-wife’s new husband like this. I’m amazed.
The woman of Sychar in John chapter four had been married five times, and was living with another man at the time. But she went back into the city, and “preached” Jesus to the men of Sychar, and they “came to Jesus”. Jesus didn’t come for the righteous, but for sinners; all the broken & imprisoned, and most especially for all the ones who had failed in life, like divorced folks. All are sinners–all are failures; from the church pastor to the divorced harlot, there is NO DIFFERENCE; God loves & views all of us the same. God loves us, not because of who we are, but because of “who he is”. everette
I will talk about this lady in my next post, which is entitled “Jesus and Divorce.”
But I was told, “it is possible that all five husbands died” While this IS possible, I think it was probably not the case, but just presenting the answer given me.
If they died, you’d want to arrest this woman on suspicion of murder. No, it’s far more likely they divorced her. Under the law, that was actually very easy to do, as we shall see in the next post.
I divorced my first husband and remarried, over 30 years ago, but I have been told by “spiritually tuned-in” Christians who “hear clearly from the Lord” that God ONLY honors the first marriage covenant and this current marriage is not a “covenant marriage” according to Scripture. Therefore, He sees me as an adulteress living in sin and I can receive forgiveness only IF I leave my current “adulteress relationship” and return to my “covenant spouse” (or remain single), and the only time I would be scripturally free to marry again is if my “covenant spouse” were to die.
There are many online teachings about this (I’ve seen just about all of them in my desperate search for answers), and many Scriptures are given to support their doctrine. This caused me such intense grief, despair and fear that I was sure I was no longer in God’s grace and living as a lost sinner. I felt completely cut off from God and could no longer believe He was listening to my prayers. This is such a horrible thing to go through; the best word to describe it is “tormenting!” I was seriously considering divorcing my current husband and remain single as my first husband has long been remarried, even though that scenario would be unimaginably difficult for me as I have health issues and depend on my husband’s assistance very often.
After much seeking counsel, prayer, searching Scripture, etc. I have just decided to rely on and entrust myself to God’s mercy and grace alone, and look only to the finished work of JESUS on the cross for me. This is one very big reason grace teachers such as Paul Ellis are a balm to my hurting soul and a Godsend blessing to me. The only answer for me is the GRACE OF GOD❤️
Jesus himself said that the only reason for divorce was adultery. Period. The word adultery is not passive, meaning, each time you have sex with an unauthorized person you are married to, you are committing adultery again and again. The bible is not something just to sit on a desk. Go to Matthew 19:19 and read. Then see Romans 16:16.
You may be interested in the second post in this series where I look closely at Christ’s words in Matthew 19.
I am reading your post nearly 2 years after you wrote it. I feel your pain and my response to those who would condemn you is: “You speak absolute rubbish.” The Lord is full of grace and love for you. Seek the Lord. Stay as close to your husband as you possibly can and love him unconditionally. His calling is to care for and to protect you. Bless him and watch him please the Lord because of the way he honours and protects you and your children.
That was an eye opener in truth from our Savior and reveals truth over error that has plighted us all in the air, Thank you much for that eye sight you shared here, always right there in the Bible for us to see and is easily over looked, Thank you much
Thank you Paul. At the time of my divorce, 1980, I had given up on church because of law. I was living the way I wanted to because I felt condemned already. May as well “live it up”. But I never gave up,on Jesus, just the institutions that I knew that called,themselves churches. I stayed single for 25 years, at least partly because of the law teaching which you mentioned in this post. I first heard the Grace message in 1996 from Steve McVey’s book, Grace Walk. It took a Lot of years to shake off law and learn the Grace Life. Through a major life threatening illness in 2013 we really began to see Grace. Just for the record, God did not give me cancer, He just used it as He promises.
I remarried seven years ago at 60 and the Lord has given us a son who is 6 now. Your ministry has been an incredible blessing to my wife and I. Thank you.
Amazing story! Thanks for sharing, Steve. I know many will read your words – many who think that maybe life is over, or at least their love-life is over – and will be encouraged. Blessings to you and your family.
The first thing on the list God hates in Proverbs 6:17 is an “exalted eye”, but I’m not sure how we can judge our divorced brothers and sisters without one. It seems the law has it pretty well covered.
thank you! i have been divorced and have remarried. i was a Christian when it happened, but my heart was cold. i’m fortunate to be in a church where our pastor teaches the entire Word and has a heart that is full of mercy and encouragement. when i came back to the church they didn’t shut me out, but welcomed me back. i never for a moment thought i lost my salvation, but DID feel useless and unusable – set on a shelf until my life passed. but God used my pastor to restore me, to press into God’s forgiveness, and learn to live beyond my past. but the sour-faced pharisee is alive and well in the church. may we all learn what it means to hide in His mercy and draw strength from His grace. that’s where freedom and peace are found.
I was married for 23 years when my now ex-wife decided she didn’t want to be married anymore. It actually started four years prior when she started going down a path that she shouldn’t have went down. I stayed in the marriage during those four years because I believed in our marriage vows, I believed in forgiveness and restoration and I really wanted to keep my marriage and family together. But you can’t make someone stay who doesn’t want to. In the end, it was beyond my control. And to make matters worse, I was a pastor. It was a hard blow but thankfully the Lord walked me through it and allowed me to find someone to spend the rest of my life with. Divorce is sometimes inevitable and people shouldn’t be punished by the church for it. Thankfully, I am still ministering and progressively healing,and in the process learned a lot about God’s ability to put our broken, messy lives together again.
Whew! That’s some journey you’ve been on, Michael. Thank you for your courage in sharing this with us.
I was an unwed mother at 17. I met my husband when I was 18. We married when I was 19. We have been married almost 34 years. Three kids, six grandkids. My husband pastored for 15 years. Our marriage almost broke up twelve years ago because of adultery. By the “grace of God” (literally), we survived. Two of our children have been divorced and remarried. Our daughter had two children while not married. Our oldest son lives with a woman to whom he is not married (but is engaged). We are a mess when you look at all of this; but I boast in the Lord. We are happy, successful, fervent lovers of God and others. If God can “forgive” and give abundant life to our crew, well…certainly, I cannot even fathom not embracing other divorcees/re-marrieds!
Thank you teacher. How are we to take Titus 3? Specifically as to a professed believer who, after months of spousal forgiveness, refuses to turn from their adultery, abandons an otherwise decent marriage/their children, and continues with their paramour? How can we “have nothing to do” with the self-condemned, yet still be a vessel of God’s Grace for them, when they say their adulterer was sent by God?
To say my Adulterer was sent by God, as what I see in this is, not listening to the one true God, that has no intention to harm us as shown by Son going to the cross for us. So those that do believe see what compassion from God is to us and we give out the same to all. So the Devil as we are told comes to us in spirit o error, masquerading as the Angel of light, for he knows how to, once he was that, and revealed and defeated at the risen Christ. So see it for what it is, and pray for those that do not see this truth in Love and Mercy from God to all. not easy to forgive at all. Think about what Christ did in forgiving us for all in spite of whether we do this or not? In response to this from Father through Son, I just forgive and move on, putting what is behind me, behind me as Paul told us in scripture to do by Faith in what is done from God to us all. No more of should have, could have or would haves in our consciences on this side of the cross
praying this helps in your plight to walk away in trust, been through this on the first earth marriage I had, and it was whew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! a plight in the Evil by this trying to take me away from trusting God. Like when Christ told Peter Satan wishes to sift you like wheat, but I pray for your Faith to remain, and when you return, you will strengthen the Brethren. And he did, maybe your turn if you feel like walking away as that is the enemies job to get us to through Adversities from this troubles we all have here on earth, but we do not have to fear fro he overcame it all for us to be in him safe and secure, while we face troubles here on earth John 16:33
I divorced after my husband of 18 years committed adultery. I was bitter, angry, unforgiving…and soon, I found myself in similar sin, between filing for the divorce out of unforgiveness and becoming remarried. I can honestly say now, that God has taught me more about His grace than ever before. Some people in the church who have not been scarred by divorce simply do not understand the pain of it. They think: “Oh! We cannot allow ourselves to appear forgiving of this, because then more families will divorce as a result”. They fail to see that those of us who have committed the sin of divorce have not “gotten away with” anything. We’ve suffered horribly. God didn’t want us to, and that is why He hates divorce. But there is grace and mercy at the feet of Christ. I have found it, after years of self-recrimination, guilt, and Bible study. I have also been required by Christ to go and ask forgiveness for my former attitude of unforgiveness from my former spouse. I am happily remarried, my sins have been forgiven…and I have extended that to others. Legalism didn’t do that for me…Grace did. Those of you who are married…protect that with your lives. Those who are divorced or remarried…the precious blood of Christ was shed to reconcile you to a loving Heavenly Father, so allow Him to change and unharden your hearts.
Well said, Gracegirl.
Yes by grace in Christ we are saved and not of self ever or anyone else, otherwise Grace can not be grace, you remind me of who is saved as of the two men that went into the temple to pray, and one said thank you I am not like that other over there, I go to worship, pay my tithes, do what I am suppose to, Thank you I am not like the others sinners.
The other one says Father forgive me I am a sinner, and he i9s the one that goes home justified, amazing. And not only that who did Jesus pick to follow him? Righteous people or unrighteous ones?
So by his grace in his resurrected life one is saved by belief alone in him alone, so live, laugh and love all the same as he has done for us all is what I see and wow, woe is me, thank you, I just can’t stop shouting through the internet to all, he loves us all that is just the fact, even the self righteous is reaching in due time, I was one once back in time, and can still come across that way as Father is teaching now what say. And so Open to hear from others to help teach me, for only father knows all. and will and does through as you and paul
I think in the church, in marriage and divorce, and in the world hardened hearts allow people to act in ways that hurt and injure others. And also to justify their actions. I don’t think anyone could have predicted what Jesus would do with the adulterous woman beforehand. I think there are some lessons there. Either way I could do with something for my own hardness and hurts.
Yes, me as well, so I go to the well in Hebrews 8:11 and trust God to teach me any errors I attach onto here on earth and be humbly free in Father and Son through it all. Thank you
This post really spoke to me and encouraged me. I went through a divorce about a year ago and while the church I am a part of gave me a lot of loving encouragement and were still as welcoming to me as ever I still wondered and prayed asking God if I should remarry in the future. I was aware of the Scriptures you referenced about marriage and divorce so there was that. Thank you for this post that has encouraged me and given me and given me direction.
My ex husband had an ongoing (20 yrs+) problem with pornography. I forgave and forgave and finally had to move on. I didn’t share this with the church and they treated me as as outcast for leaving him. I am in a grace filled church now and happy alone. One thing pastors can do is take a divorce care class and understand our feelings and fears.
Thanks for the suggestion, Jo.
Good article, love it and yes been divorced and am. Divorced from this world through it all by means of it all. Learned this to be married to God and not this world. He forgave for all mistakes made and all that one might, it is done and it is Father that teaches not man, and in Father teaching me at least I see he is purging and purged my conscience from any focusing on sin, for in his sight by Christ it is gone. So I am taught and being taught this, having nothing but Thanksgiving and praise in this done feat of Christ that defeated the enemy as Christ rose and took the keys the enemy had to Heaven and Hell from Lucifer as the captives that were held captive all the way back to Adam were also freed in the resurrection of Christ, risen by Father, we by belief have this victory, in humility, Thank you much for your insight to me from God working through you, in this ministry we are free in Christ to appreciate for he does not condemn us, we were all already born here on earth in the condemned state from the womb and he reversed it all through the cross completed in Ascension and delivery of Father came in Spirit and truth and lived through the disciples on Pentecost and Father is doing the same today, him speaking through those that ask for this, seeing this is how hey rest in him as while still working for him in an essence this is as Gal 2:20 tells us
❤ thank you for writing this, from that comment on your facebook page, it's clear there's a lot of hurting Christians, and pharisees out there who needed to her this, and you do such a wonderfully clear and anointed job of getting that message across.
I believe the main issue here is what would be considered sexual immorality?
Remarriage is not the same as homosexuality since you are allowed to remarry, if one person cheats, dies, or leaves you in the case that he/she is a nonbeliever.
But I think that the take away from Jesus’s words and Paul’s for many is that sex is kind of a seal to a covenant (or closing the deal, although that sounds kind of crass but makes it easier to explain) and it can only be broken in the cases mentioned above. So if whatever reason you have to leave your spouse you’re still under the terms of that deal in terms of sex.
But this way of thinking kind creates a problem; well if one person does cheat, which one is he/she married to ?
Second thing to note is, at least as far as I understand, there are no new Laws under Jesus, He abolished the old and didn’t add to anything to it, the apostles certainly didn’t have the power to add to I think. And divorce was allowed under the Law and for Jews so it would make sense to see Jesus’s words and Paul’s as meaning of how bad and potentially destructive divorce can be, not that you are not allowed to do it.
I wish there was some way to write an “AMEN” big enough to fill the page if you know what I mean.
Here’s a question though. When reading verses like Gen 2:22-25; (cp 1 Cor 6:16,17) Gen 24:66; Deut 22:13ff and let’s say..Jesus’ use of the Eunuchs in Math 19, in the eyes of God what is marrage? Is it an exchange of wedding vows or is it the intermate act of sexual intercourse?
I ask the question because if it is the latter and i think it is, then thank God for grace for those of us that lived on the “wild side” before “settling down” in “marrage”. And woe to the pharasee who had the same experience and dares scream “Devorce!”
Legalism is in my opinion the way mankind stops the freedom of God in Christ to all and holds one in bondage to all sin coming out from us trying not to sin. For when the commandment came the awareness of sin that needed to be shown waxed worse, for us in this flesh nature here on earth sinned worse than ever before they did before the knowledge of. No punishment can be infused without the knowledge of, yet death remained from Adam to Moses. so after this awareness of Law sin became much worse. so when Christ and took it away by the cross in Father’s sight, and freedom to love, wit compassion to all was revealed and the Disciples rejoiced, man stepped into this and twisted it up, causing mankind to take on Law and Grace turning over truth in full that God does just love us and to just respond to this in thanksgiving and praise as in Psalms 100:4 and 103:12 today what King David looked forward to and saw is one we are looking back in much deeper praise at least this is how I see it to be today
Paul, I had privately asked God to have you teach on this subject for a while. Thank you so much for your obedience…I have been blessed! One other comment I have is, for the person who wrote about “thanking God for one’s ‘adulterer'”…for many, “such were some of us”. And many of us carry the scars of our own foolish choices. But those scars are not from God…they are from the consequences of sin, and from having lost out on God’s ideal plans for our lives. (And some are from comments by Pharisees who haven’t messed up in the same way) When we are in Christ, “the old has passed away”. That means He (unlike people) no longer views me as an “adulterer”, but as His child. Just like His cleansing blood covers the sin of someone who struggles with judging me for my past. I thank God not only for my second chance at marriage, but for His complete forgiveness for my horrible sin. It may seem to those of you who haven’t made wrong choices in this area that God has put up with quite a bit more sin in my life than He has in yours. As a former legalist, I totally get that. It’s just that God sees my heart has changed, and that I see marriage now as He does and now He is first…not me.
Haha – that’s funny! (The first bit.) What else have you asked the Lord to have me teach?
It IS funny! 🙂 I looked on this thread as my gift from a loving Heavenly Father, but I am sure it will bless countless others struggling to forgive themselves as I have. Blessed are they who have been forgiven much (and know it), for they love much! I don’t want anyone to think that I advocate divorce, by the way. I see things now through my Heavenly Father’s Eyes. But for those who have been broken in that way, there is such hope and forgiveness in Christ, and we are not “second-class Christians” to Him, nor do we carry a “scarlet A” or “D” on our spotless, unearned robes of righteousness that He earned us at the Cross. I am very humbled by my mistakes and I deeply respect the testimonies of those who have weathered the worst in their marriages for His glory, and I admit that I have no reason to boast at all. God’s Grace transcends sin and teaches us to love more.
I’ll jump in and presumptuously answer that for myself, Paul. This is what I’d like to hear you teach on. I’ve been in the same church for decades. It is a great church and I genuinely love my pastor. I consider him a friend of mine. Since I found grace about 3 years ago I realize that the vast majority of messages he preaches are performance based. In other words our Pastor is trying to motivate us to be better (or sin less) so that God can bless us more. I now completely reject that premise. I am SO blessed now, regardless of how I behave. For a period I talked about this grace, gave him a book, internet links, etc. Told him and others in leadership how it changed my life. He only had good things to say about all of this, but nothing has changed in the way he teaches. I don’t want to leave. It’s my home. In fact I think most churches are pretty much like this anyway. I’d wager that there are MANY believers in the same positions. I’d like to hear your advice for us.
That’s a tough situation, and one many of us are familiar with. I talk a little about your choices in this article.
That is good article, thank you
Amen a thousand times over to you Sister, the rain has gone in you thanks to God for you, I agree totally in appreciation to you fro God showing you this, I believe the same by his grace alone once received no turning back in this love given us, I became as responder as you just showed
Our sins are no longer “covered”. They were TAKEN AWAY – as far as the east is from the west. That’s how much our father loves us.
Amen to that Psalms 103:12 says so as King David wrote and saw it before Christ had come yey and Even Job saw as well in Job 19:25
Thank you so much for your thought provoking posts. As a Christian divorced woman, I wish so terribly bad I would have had material like this to read 9 years ago. I was in a physically, mentally, verbally, spiritually abusive marriage for almost 20 years. After divorcing my husband, I felt like the woman with the scarlet letter on her chest, but instead of it being an A for adultery, it was a D for divorced. People in my church told me I couldn’t ever marry again. I searched the internet high and low and there wasn’t a lot of material in favor of remarriage without me feeling like I was disobeying God. I was extremely conflicted inside. Thank you for your frank, down to earth posts. I love following them. God Bless you Paul!!!
Wait a minute. Isn’t God himself divorced? He said so in Jeremiah 3:8, didn’t he? If God did it, it can’t be sin, can it?
While it’s clear that God hates divorce (Mal 2:16), I don’t recall any place that he said, “Don’t divorce” or “Divorce is a sin.”
[I look forward to your discussion of Jesus’ teaching on the topic. I understand his prohibition to be against “putting away” a covenant wife (culturally: for a younger and prettier woman) without a proper certificate of divorce (Mat 19:9) – and his emphasis that marriage isn’t to be seen as a temporary state (Mat 19:6).]
Good article, or good intro, to a tough topic.
To Break it all down as real, Did not Adam actually divorce God when he ate from that tree that he was told would bring death and did to all born after him. them he came in the form of Son to remarry us as Paul states in Romans 7, we need to die to this earth and be married to another Jesus Christ as our only one unto Father? All Along through Mercy from Father he has asked fro us to remarry him, that is what free will is from Father and Son is to us
Just the view I see from where he has sat me down in rest in him as in Hebrews 3 and 4 reveals by his Spirit
Thank you for this Paul. I received this from a friend of mine who knows this is the struggle for me. One area that may not have been touched on here, and yet was also very well touched on …haha … is this: I am largely to blame for my divorce due to my many sins against her including emotional and spiritual abuses among others. We get along now, which is great for us and the kids, but remarriage is entirely out of her consideration. I’ve been through years of counseling, but she doesn’t trust that I won’t manipulate her or “preach” to her or any of that anymore. And frankly, that’s totally understandable and she’d by right to assume such. So where I get stuck, and why I appreciate your post today, is the place where I feel like b/c its my primarily my fault that the marriage broke, I shouldn’t be allowed to remarry b/c I wasn’t the victim in the marriage. But it seems like you’re saying that I’m doing that to myself by not receiving the grace and forgiveness and freedom given me by God. So thank you for this. You are right. Divorced people really do feel like we have leprosy and like we can’t bring anything of worth b/c our lives are so wrecked. Stack on top of that the sins still present in me that I feel would be damaging to my next wife, and I only feel despair about my lonely, single future. Do you have any further words of comfort to someone in my situation? If not, that’s fine. What you’ve written here really ministered to me either way. Again, thank you.
It’s the nature of sin to wreck our future and it’s the nature of God to redeem our past. My prayer for you is that you will come to a place of such rest and confidence in your Father’s love, that it will no longer matter what the future looks like. “God is with me! Whether I remarry or stay single, with God on my side how can I lose?” I know those are just words but there is a Truth behind them that I hope will bring you comfort and life.
Yes exactly in short words yes, agreeing with you in trust we learn
God redeems our past, our present, and our future!!! as we yield each to Him.
sorry to possibly interrupt, not being my thread here I am only a observer, yet I am led to maybe help, if not disregard, I mean no harm here and have been through my fair share of wrong use of me over others too and divorced 3 times, I had to deal with my accountability, and put that behind me, for it was keeping me from moving forward in security that God gives us in spite of what I had done, and never means one will not make anymore mistakes, for we will and do. I do know this though, those things we did are to learn from and gain peace from after realizing and then receiver confidence in Faith that it is behind us once we gain peace in victory and that comes from God alone facing we hope to see we can not predict future ever, so live today day by day in the present it is the present from God called a present life not past, not future. past is gone, and future not here yet., as the enemy wants to keep you in bondage, and it sounds like over this past, that you can do nothing to change what happened is as you are holding onto it is as if you are drinking a bottle of poison and are as good as dead over it and can’t truly live past it. Your Ex Forgave you and is that good for you, to forgive you since Christ did no matter what, she is showing this to you, and regret in you ill never change a thing, If you do not accept it as is, then you might never get passed the past and not live for now. You decide your Choice God is calling you to the present, as Paul said he puts the past behind him, for what to never see again, and God says the same in Hebrews 10:17
Just something to think about since God almighty has forgiven you, you can forgive yourself and walk new as he made you through Son as in Col 1:22 first made you whole by his death and completed by his resurrected life for you, for by your belief Father gave you this new life in his resurrected Life for you to walk in confidence that all will work out somehow whether you remarry or not is of no more concern, and then you can truly love her and all
I’m divorced. I’m always asking for father’s wisdom for what to do today. And usually I’m happy, but sometimes I’m crazy. I blow up for God. Then I blow up for love. But it’s a matter of looking away from the barriers and looking at the beauty of the beloved.
And it’s not always clear that I will be able to love her wholeheartedly enough. I’m tempted to try to push against the grain, in my mind is a criminal voice that tells me that would be using self-effort. It was very discouraging, but I found a way through all my failures to find something to hold onto. The promises of God are great when we know how our heavenly Papa loves us. Your books and Joseph Prince’s books have been helpful.
The temptation is to go back to leadership and psychology and business and trying to work all of this on my own. I know that God wants us to have good jobs at least. It seems that romance is a fantasy that is permitted but it must be seen as an adventure that requires grace and nothing but.
We are to be children to inherit God’s promise. Thank God for the grace of loving neighbors and people and even for the promise that Pharisees are just that – they are not the voice of our good God.
Fellow seeker of silent restoration.
A great post Peter and thanks and kudos to you for stepping out in faith and sharing about divorce from your “grace perspective,” even if you have no personal, experiential knowledge. (But didn’t Nee say that we would be the thing that we preach, that He would not leave us in the empirical realm? Well, if you know grace, then you have much wisdom that can be applied to many matters! May you never know anything personally about divorce!!)
As I was going through my separation/divorce process, I would thank those christians who would not remind or point out to me what the Bible has to say on the matter. One of my best encounters was the day after another counseling session gone bad, where I got up and left. I later wrote the counselor and apologized, but that the diatribe that my wife was spewing was one I had heard so many times before and that I was not going to sit through another episode of The Twilight Zone. She wrote me back and assured me that no apology was necessary and that she completely saw and understood why I left. The next day I met with a brother and shared with him my situation and that I was likely going to be divorced. He told me that he and his wife had been separated for 3 years many years previously, but they managed to work things out and now they were happily married. I expected him to tell me what book or program I had to read or engage in to fix my situation. The next words out of his mouth were,”You’re living in the Twilight Zone and you have to get out!” I was blown away.
I was just saying to my current wife of 8 years, that our lives together are a resounding affirmation of the loving grace and mercy of Jesus. I could never have thought or hoped for the degree of happiness and joy our lives together have brought to us and our bonus family.
Love surely covers a multitude of sins. Blessings to my brother and all those who shared their stories.
When i was (too) young, i was married at 18, divorced at 19, and remarried just before my 21st birthday. My new husband was not saved when we married 35 years ago, but the Lord saved him soon thereafter. Whew! what a mess, right? I made some foolish choices.
“But God”…my husband and i have 6 children and a brand new grandson, and the Lord has been faithful (as always) to cause us to give grace to one another through some difficult years. But I sought forgiveness for my sins for years, and had finally arrived at the peace Jesus died to give me when–
About 15 years ago we began attending a new church, and the elders had quite a bit to say about this sinner. We were told we were committing ‘perpetual adultery’, and though we should stay together for the kids’ sake, we should live as brother and sister, and split up when they were grown. My poor husband! He wasn’t even saved when he married this adulteress, and is brand new in Christ, right? Nope; he wasn’t off the hook in the eyes of these men.
The church is doing some real harm to the sinners Christ died for. And blog posts like this one are offering the grace of God to us. Thank God.
“Live together like brother and sister”?! That’s the nuttiest advice I ever heard. Thank God you stayed together.
When you received your heavenly Fathers gift of righteousness he declared you to be righteous and clean. He considers it an abomination for anyone,including you,to call you unclean. There isn’t even anything you can do to change the TRUTH that you are righteous,just like there was nothing you could do to change your sinner status when you where a sinner.
You ARE the righteousness of God in Christ.
God is love, if HIS love share abroad our heart. Every beings in their heart should have love.
If both party fall in love and have mutal understanding whether you are divorcees or remarry they can have blissful marriage. For God send Jesus to redeem us but no condemning us.
The more we should understand the bible that God is love. God sees our heart but not our mind thinking..Dont ever let thought over rule us we should pray and follow the heart and believe God will ordain a good marriage till the last day of the age
I like this post. Please address the issue of whether remarriage after divorce is sin.
Matthew 19:9 would suggest it is.
I address this passage in my next post.
I’m going to save this message in a place I can study it a tad more. I know that sometimes scripture seems to say one thing yet in my gut I know grace is hovering over & above everything we go through. Paul, could you check out divorcehope.com as I discovered it online when I first ‘gave in’ to the ‘d’ word. It is full of testimonies from people who have been let out of a terrible man-made prison… their joy is tangible. Thanks again mate.
I was remarried 32 years ago. The stand in my church for all that time has not been a question of forgiveness but of service. The qualifications of a pastor or deacon (being the husband of one wife) have trickled down to other areas of service such as teaching in Sunday School. We have struggled with that feeling of second class citizenship all this time.
I just LOVE this post. It’s so desperately needed in the church today as many have stated. I have a friend that’s married to a “you know what”. They’ve been married over 25 years. He professes to be a Christian but behind closed doors he’s another person. He’s cruel to her, lustful , been into porn, adultery, cutting towards her, degrading, rude, very short fuse, easily provoked, critical, puts her down for her spending when in fact HE’S the one that wastes money, but in front of others…. Well let’s just say people think the world evolves around him. I blame her tho, she has enabled him to be this way by not allowing the truth to come out. She’s protected his sins and lifestyle and even if she wanted to leave him, she wouldn’t because people would think she’s out of her mind for leaving such a “wonderful husband” and guy. This is his third marriage too. She refuses to leave him because of what she’s heard drilled into today’s church… “divorce is a sin”. She once told me she thinks she’d lose her salvation if she left him. I despise the churches that have taught this to innocent minds. It’s pure evil. So now, I just pray for her and hope that one day, she comes to her senses. Again thank you for this post and please bring us more similar ones.
When we talk about behavior,we are defending the law that kills. I’m not saying there isn’t a time for correction. When the law was given at the foot of Mt.Sinai,3,000 people died.
When Peter preached the Gospel of Grace,on the day of Pentecost,3,00 people were saved.
I don’t ever want someone telling me what I need to do or not do. It Kills.
I don’t want to hear about how bad I am. I want to hear about how good Jesus is.
I want to speak and hear the Gospel of Grace. It Heals and Saves!
The Holy Spirit doesn’t tell us to modify our behavior. He does,however,tell us that Our Father will fix our broken hearts if we labor to enter into his rest. When he fixes our broken hearts, (the root of our problems) our behavior changes.
Divorce and all of the bad things we do and have done have been forgiven. FINISHED!
Our problem isn’t that there aren’t enough preachers telling us what is good and what is bad. The knowledge of good and bad is what Adam received when he ate from the tree.
The problem is that there aren’t enough preachers telling us how good our Father is.
When we get this truth into our hearts,our Father changes us.
When we meet our Father,we will have absolutely nothing to boast of.
My failures in years past drove my wife to leave me and divorce me. She actually did it in Love, that i might get better or die and go home to be with our Precious Jesus… i was loosed from the marriage… Then, HE did heal me and set me free in Himself. Even so, as i worked to reconcile the marriage, she would simply not go for it. The delightful woman had just been too hurt in this life. She had forgiven me, but could not take the risk that i would fall into addiction again…. And then He showed me His heart in 1 Corinthians 7… All of this advice from Paul and from The Lord is not to constrain, but to “make for peace” and to “promote good order.” We are called to do the right thing: that which is righteous, brings deep agreement on central issues (peace), and gives strength in our relationship to God (joy)…. There are no “rules” on this terrible issue. Divorce is a hated catastrophe – utterly horrible. And in the context of this “death without a body,” comes deep Love and Grace and understanding and the path to wholeness – through Christ – for everyone involved. OF COURSE there are optimal and desired outcomes. Regardless, there are other righteous paths in this issue… Some time later, we are both joyfully and healthily remarried; and whole and free in Christ. I did lose a beautiful bride, but gained a great sister and friend.
Thank you for sharing and being so honest, Mak.
can the same people who were divorced, remarry themselves again with each other?
What is stopping them? Certainly not grace.
Great post Paul. I had asked the Lord not more than a week ago to clarify this divorce issue as I failed at my first marriage and remarried over 30 years ago. Thanks to “The Gospel in 10 Words” and Joseph Princes “Destined to Reign” I know that I am forgiven but felt alienation from others and wanted to know how to properly understand these verses from a context of Grace. Thank you Jesus and thank you Paul. TB
i had honestly never heard about divorce or remarriage being a sin until i heard that my sister-in-law was telling her brother he was going to hell for getting divorced… i know for a fact that Jesus saves divorced and remarried people – i’m one of them. 🙂
oh, and He also healed and saved my second marriage 😉
After reading Paul Ellis article and all the various comments, I understand why would our Lord Jesus say to people who called His Name Lord Lord, I never knew you. How ignorant people are to understand that grace of God is a license to continue to be in sin. Paul says in Ephesians that saved people are seated in heavenly places and if it is so believers attitude and walk should be far away from people in the world. Matt 19 is very clear on marriage and remarriage. Jesus even said that it is difficult but with God every thing possible. What is the idea of receiving the Holy Spirit? Whatever was impossible one time, it is possible now with the Lord Jesus. Holy Spirt will enable the believers to do all things. Please see whether we have received salvation. I wrote this because I care for people. Forgive me if I have offended you all
I’m sure Paul is not offended. He must be used to people questioning his salvation by now. 😉 I agree with you that we have received a higher calling. We are called to be salt and light; to show the world what the Kingdom of God and what heaven on earth looks like by living by the Spirit and not carnally. But very few of us realize this to the extent that we would like to – or that God enables us to by His Spirit. For that, there is still the unfathomable, limitless grace of God. I would still like to see the day where we start living in the supernatural provision of God’s spirit, though. Doing the greater things and throwing off everything that hinders… (Hebrews 12:1) Speaking just as much to myself as anybody else.
The Holy Spirit points us towards Christ. Our carnal mind points us towards self. Let us remember that ALL have sinned and “fallen short of the glory of God”, as Scripture also clearly tells us. It is only possible for any of us to be holy through Christ alone. Our perfection is in Christ, not in a list of “dos” and “don’ts”. When we realize what Christ has done for us, and accept the grace offered which He earned for us, we are freed from performance-based religion and we can begin to live and walk in Christ’s love…for our Heavenly Father and for others around us. We can also begin, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to forgive ourselves for our failures and keep our eyes on Christ Who lived a perfect life and died…why did He die? Because all our self-focused righteousness isn’t good enough. It’s like “filthy rags”. Interestingly, the people who called “Lord, Lord” and were told “I never knew you” were people who fully expected that their righteousness would get them in the door. People who had probably done a lot of great works and who never divorced or remarried or you-name-it. But Christ says “I never knew you” to them for a reason. Perhaps they had been so busy looking at themselves and their great track record, that they forgot their need for a Savior. Something that real sinners like me never forget for one moment of any day. I’ll never forget how much I owe him. And THAT makes me live in a different way…in a love-based way. You will see me in Heaven, not because I have lived a worthy life, but ONLY because my life belongs to a merciful, worthy Savior. Don’t look at me or my track record, because I am sure to disappoint you. Look at Him, and His patient love for me which is the only testimony I have and the only boast.
Hey Paul. Good to see you stretch into this area, I sense and appreciate your hesitance. I must say as a 60+ year believer, I have only recently stepped into the knowledge and walk of GRACE. Hold on to your ego as I give God the glory for discovering your site and blog. I’ve been so hungry I’ve purchased multiple copies of all of your books, even The Big House (for the grand kids). But to get to the point. I’ve been divorced and remarried which led me to become involved with multiple marriage ministries for over twenty years. Reading replies to this post has literally brought tears to my eyes. Father hurts when his kids hurt. Not only for the suffering of going through divorce but then to find rejection from the institution supposedly representing God. There is no excuse for the way the church has treated its wounded.
This I know; God is a God of restoration! The answer is JESUS. I’ve seen it over and over. He heals hearts. He fixes broken messes we have made. Marriages are much too valuable to take lightly. They are the very core of the family, the safe place to raise children, designed in the image of Christ and His Church. “What God has joined together let no man separate.”
Divorced? Be free, you are His kid , you are forgiven, walk in His Grace.
Married or Remarried? Fight for the image of God!
Abused? Separate, forgive and pray.
Single? Good Luck
Hi Paul — I am typically in full agreement with you, but I can’t completely agree here. While I do believe that divorce is absolutely forgivable and doesn’t disqualify you from God’s love, I don’t think that’s the real issue here. In the past – 30-40 years ago I know there was great condemnation from the church toward divorced individuals, that doesn’t seem to be the issue in our day and age. Unfortunately it seems to have swung to the farther extreme where there are more recorded divorces within the church than outside. What kind of witness is that? We have been given the ministry of reconciliation — we’ve been reconciled to God through Christ Jesus by his grace — why wouldn’t we be encouraged to extend that grace and hope to prodigal spouses? When someone has been hurt by divorce, why is our first consolation “God has someone better for you”. I really don’t see a picture of that scenario or even that attitude anywhere in the scriptures… but I do see hope of recovery, reconciliation, and restoration over and over. Hosea recovering his adulterous wife Gomer… Jesus telling the church of Ephesus to return to your first love… Exhortations from the word regarding returning to the wife of your youth. God Is faithful and he’s set the marriage covenant in the earth as a display of the love Christ has for the church. Jesus vowed to never leave or forsake (divorce) us. I don’t think there is anything unrealistic to encourage people to obey (1 Cor 7:11) to remain single or reconcile. God’s grace is sufficient!
Thanks Shannon. Yes, as I say in the post, reconciliation and restoration is the ideal. It is something we all hope for – for the prodigals to come home and be restored. But here I am talking about those situations where reconciliation is impossible, perhaps because the other partner has remarried. In such cases calls for reconciliation are perverse.
Incidentally, you would be surprised how often I hear married people tell me that the church has told them they must divorce for this very reason! “Leave your spouse and go look for your first spouse/lover.” In the name of faithfulness and restoration, some are actually preaching divorce. I would not believe it except I have heard from such folk myself. Even this week.
I think you must have a different experience from me. In the correspondence I have received from divorced people, especially this past week, I can tell you that condemnation is alive and well!
Paul, Yes that seems to be it, no matter what way it is sliced , diced or cubed
Perhaps the reason God says He hates divorce is because…He divorced Israel. (.Is. 50:1; Jer3:8 ) .Yes, He knows the pain of divorce…
Wow, thank you for that insight perhaps so rings true in me thank you
Hello and thank you, for your anointed word,…well I was married for 18 months ..divorced now I’ve been married for 26 years, not without tribulations, but I was told my marriage wasn’t approved by God , not because it was my 2nd but because it wasn’t in a church by a minister of God, and that I was really fornicating…I don’t recall reading that , but he was very firm in what he was saying, I prayed, I praised, and 10 years later…we are blessed and highly favored, His grace as always been sufficient…what are your views on Justice of the Peace authority to marry. Thank you in advance for your response, in the name of Jesus Christ.
This article is poison. And, it is very very sad that Paul Ellis would twist the word of God to suit people. No wonder the churches in the United States are full of divorced and remarried people confused about the sanctity of marriage. Coupled with this, divorce has now opened the door for the more reprobate demons of homosexuality… Where does the Bible teach that you can divorce someone for violence, adultery or abandonment? Where??? …
Let me say this to Paul, it is the Pharisees that wanted to give a loophole for divorce and not the other way around. Isn’t it a disgrace that there are more divorced people going to church than people who don’t know God? It is so so said that lies are being taught right in the house of God for money. Now the apostasy what the Bible spoke about is in our midst…I challenge people to hold to the truth even if means persecution and rejection.
You remind me of Job,s older friends, all the right things to say but far from God,s heart. Divorced , and remarried people need to pray for you.
Mr. Sands, I don’t think anyone is proposing married people should abandon their responsibilities to one another and to the Lord.
What would you say to someone like me, who was married at 18 and divorced at 19 due to my first husband’s adultery?
I remarried and have been blessed with 35 years with my husband. God has taught me many things, including how faithful HE is.
What advice would you give the broken people Jesus came to save?
Lambert, those of us who go to church with a history of divorce do so because we have been cleansed and forgiven by Christ and desire another chance to honor the Lord with our lives. Not because we are proud of our brokenness. Sometimes, moving on in the faith requires faith…especially when there are other Christians who persecute and reject us, as you seem to be doing here by calling divorced Christians who attend church “a disgrace”. I think you are confused about the issue of God’s grace to sinners. Where does the Bible “teach” that you can withhold grace from other sinners, when Christ paid dearly for them to have it? Have you ever been cheated on, abandoned, or abused by a spouse, in the name of “sanctity of marriage”? I think you, Lambert, need Christ as much as any divorced, remarried, or homosexual person does, but don’t think so. If that is the case, let me remind you that when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God didn’t make them come to Him…He sought them out and clothed them. And while the prodigal son was “still afar off”, his father RAN to meet him, even though he probably smelled bad and needed a bath. He didn’t speak of being “good enough” to be loved, or “cleaning up your act”…he loved first.
I guess maybe some people can have older brother problems, too.
You mean the prodigal son? I’m sure his older brother felt annoyed. I totally get that. It is why I think so many in the church with wonderful, solid marriages of faithfulness have a hard time with the divorce statistic in the church. I appreciate those who uphold the sanctity of marriage and live it out in their lives. I am saddened every time I remember my 1st husband’s betrayals and my own contributions to divorce statistic. I actually see marriage as more, not less important now, than I did before my divorce. I also see the importance of extending grace and forgiveness to others more, now that I have been through it. I have been both on the older brother’s side and a prodigal. The truth is, the prodigals of the divorce world wish daily that they had had a better past/testimony, without the need for the “older brothers” telling them how they have disgraced the family. And the older brothers need their hard work in marriage to be appreciated and validated as God-honoring holy living. So I am sorry if I have been too hard on Mr. Sands; forgive me.