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.
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It appears that Paul Ellis is very comfortable with posting heresy. He refuses to allow others to challenge his false assertions by not allowing the truth to be posted.
The truth is, for as long as I can remember the church’s primary teaching on divorce is that God hates it. That teaching has produced nothing in the heart of man that would in any way stymie divorce statistics. Maybe it’s time we look at the advice of Jesus and judge that tree by its’ fruit. Maybe it’s time many of us take an honest look at what kind of fruit has been produced by always pointing out to God’s people where they are falling short. In my life, that stuff only produced death. I have only found the good fruit of life from the life we have in Jesus. Not even in a teaching about Jesus, but Jesus Himself. The real, living Person who is seated at the right hand of the Father. As He is, so am I in this world. As He is, so is every believer who has gone through the unfortunate experience of divorce. Is Jesus the source of all life or only the source of life after death? If Jesus is the source of all life, it’s time we get off the hamster wheel and let Him do what He does.
I truly believe in the grace of God after a divorce occurs… but this article confuses me in terms of how God views divorce in scripture. For example… if a woman or man divorce for any reason aside from unfaithfulness… do they commit adultery if they remarry… this article seems to say no…
Simply put from the view I see, all have sinned, all deserve hell, for any sin, no matter how big or small sin brought death period. Just one lie a little white lie and death is deserved forever, whether one sins again or not, just takes one.
Christ by himself, trusting Father did as Father told him and went to the cross to take away all sin in Father’s sight and did exactly that for all to freely believe and be set free in Christ by Faith that produces God’s love to all 1 Cor 13:4-7 for this love once received is the fulfillment of all Law and Prophets, that predicted Christ’s coming to do this for us. Past is gone and all sins as soon as they pass are forgiven. (Roams 3) The only part that is left is to believe God or not. And make the choice consciously between God and you, not anyone else
For only God gives life and remember who he hung out with the worst sort of sinners and even redeemed Saul to Paul who told us by Faith one does the works of God not of self anymore. Romans 4 tells us this.
So matters not that we sinned, what matters do we believe and trust God to love us all this deep, while we were yet unbelievers in God, he died for us and made us Holy before him by Son’s death alone (Col 1:22) Since this is true, how do we respond, I know how I did and do
Thank you, in praises and thanksgiving responding in love and Mercy to others all others, not a few as he did
The article simply panders to divorced and remarried people to make them feel comfortable. Whereas, we can all sympathize with the pain of divorce, telling people what they want to hear instead of truth very wrong and a gross misappropriation of verbage. Here is the truth:… Matthew 19:4-9.
You may wish to read and comment under the second post in this series, which deals specifically with Christ’s words in Matthew 19.
Paul, I believe you have a misunderstanding of the purpose of grace, and thus, your understanding of truth is also confused. Grace is the unequivocal power of God. It’s whatever we need to overcome our circumstances. Yes, grace is forgiveness; it’s also wisdom, healing, power, glory, miracles. It’s God’s unmerited favor given to us. But, it’s not opposed to truth. Grace gives us truth. God gives us the grace and power to live, understand and work with our imperfect husband and wives, thus, we don’t need another husband or wife. We need the grace of God.
Grace also gives us the wisdom to understand that word of God, that, if God joins two people, it can not be undone by human means…why is that so hard to believe or understand if you understand the grace of God.
You have a very poor understanding of the power of God marriage and its purpose, in heaven there is no need for marriage.This is also reflected in your understanding of grace.Marriage is to reflect something that cannot be undone, Jesus,s first miracle reveals what can not be undone, it illustrates the redundancy of some priestly requirement’s.Grace is not what we need to overcome our circumstances, it is what has overcome our circumstances, there is a profound difference.Here is the truth Math 22:29-32.
What a sick understanding of the heart, or grace of God, man was not created for the Sabbath, the Sabbath was created for man Gods rest is for man, Gods grace is for man, not man for Gods grace. You have been speaking to one of Gods children fallen in a hole, you offer no escape, but I am assure you there are many avenues of escape you take, if you did not you would be destitute and living on the street, you live in the awesome grace of God, but I have no grace for you, the worst of hypocrites, Gods grace never ceases to amaze me.
Divorce was allowed because of the hardness of our hearts , the hard hearted may beat the crap out of their wife everyday. Guess what !! Some are still like you hard hearted and for this reason divorce is allowed. Welcome to Jesus,s world Krysta.
Taken from Andrew Wommack’s website…
Tracy, I’d rather hear your thoughts.
Krysta….I’d like your thoughts on my particular situation. I was in a physically, mentally, emotionally, and verbally abusive marriage for 20 years. I finally approached my pastor and told him all about what was happening to me. He counseled me for a few months, but then provided the name of a Christian counselor because of the complexity of what went/was going on. My husband at the time refused to go. I went and poured my soul out to this man. He, in turn, had to go to his pastor to seek counsel from a biblical perspective because it was such a strange situation. Both he and his pastor felt it was in my best interest to file for a divorce as that was the only way to get away from the abuse. I actually felt free for the first time in my adult life. The divorce was extremely nasty and took almost two years. After taking about a year off after the divorce to get my head screwed on straight, I decided to see what dating was all about. I had people in my church tell me I was not allowed to get remarried. This caused extreme conflict inside of me. I felt like the woman with the scarlet letter on her chest, except instead of an A, it was a D for divorce. Nobody could ever fall in love with me (I had no clue what a REAL GODLY relationship was) because I was divorced. I struggled with this because I knew that God said He forgave you your sin as far as the east is from the west, but how could He do that if he remembered my sin of divorce which marked me and rendered me single for the rest of my life? There were a lot of tears back then.
The bible is clear about adultery and abandonment, but it’s not so clear about abuse. Are you telling me that after 20 years of abuse, God wants me to be alone for the rest of my life and not able to enjoy the companionship of a man who can show me what REAL GODLY love is? Are you saying God’s grace and mercy and unending love can be extended to me in every area of my life except for marriage now? I think not. Praise God that 9 years after my divorce, I got married last week to someone who has shown me what true, unconditional love is really all about.
As I stated in a previous post, how I wish I had material like this 11 years ago. I wouldn’t have gone through the turmoil I did thinking what a horrible person I was and that my divorce wouldn’t be held over my head for the rest of my life.
Shame on those Pastors who advised you contrary to God’s word. Marriage is a divine institution and can not be ended by a human and that’s the unadulterated truth. Whereas, we sympathize and empathize with your abusive marriage, we can not disobey or advise you contrary to God’s word (the Creator, the truth Judge). Here is what Jesus said, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)
Abuse, adultery, dishonesty are malfeasance that some marriages have to face for a number of reasons. However, our advice should always come from the wisdom of God and not human fleshly thinking of revenge and human compassion which is contrary to the wisdom of God. What would Jesus advise you, what is the Holy Spirit answer to your problem can only be constructed by knowing the particulars of the circumstances, however, the Holy Spirit will never go against his word. “But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:11)
Thank you for your response. I do have some things to say about it. If you’re implying that I’m going to lose my soul because I divorced my abusive ex-husband and remarried, you clearly don’t have a good understanding of God’s grace (unmerited favor) and mercy and are blinded by the law (Romans 8:3-4).
I also disagree with your statement that abuse, adultery and dishonesty are things some Christan marries must face. God made marriage a blissful union without any room for abuse, adultery, or abandonment.
Certainly I’m not happy about what happened and am clear about how God views marriage and divorce, but I do not agree with your picture of divorce and remarriage. Perhaps if you were in such a situation, you might be able to understand it with a little more compassion.
When does our situations elevate over the interpretation or dictate the word of God? God’s word is always supreme. Our situations happen to prove the word and grace of God. I have many friends and family members who can attest to the wonderful grace of God even in the most troublesome marriages. God was their deliverer. A brother who was adulterous, a friend whose husband was a drug dealer, financial disasters, abuse, bickering and quarreling etc. etc. Some who were delivered even became pastors and ministers.
Again, shame on the pastors and spiritual leaders who compromised the word of God for human compassion instead of speaking to the mountain in faith and belief. No, God usually doesn’t come when we want him…but he’s always on time. The Christian life is one of love, faith and truth. We can not claim to know Jesus refuse to forgive, refuse to walk in faith, and compromise truth because of our circumstances. Tracy, God loves you and I do too….but I will not compromise the truth for you.
Why are you quick to shovel shame onto people when Jesus came to take shame off people?
wow, ,Im glad you can live up to all that,Ive been trying it for years,and the harder I tried the behinder I got……and by the way amen Paul.
My question is about several close Christian girlfriends that I have. Both of them have left their husbands because they have fallen in love with very nice men. They are living with the new man and yet for a few years now are not seeking a divorce. They are my friends and I love them and they love God too, love to worship and talk about God. They know God loves them and that is good, but they seem to see no need to get divorced or remarried, but just live together. I find that I love to get together with them individually at a restaurant or my home, but not together with their new man because they are actually married to someone else, who is also our friend, and I don’t want to promote this new relationship. I feel I have to be true to my heart as well, and that I love them, but there are some consequences to their choices. I would like to hear how you understand the word and grace in this situation with Christians. I know they are Christians and there is forgiveness, and God loves them to bits, but can they just keep on choosing to live in sin on a daily basis and it be OK? Is there not some standards for his children that we can’t expect from those who don’t know Him? I am eager to learn.
This is perhaps the oldest question of the new covenant.
When Jesus met the woman at the well, what was it about her encounter with Him that changed her? Jesus knew she had been through five husbands and was currently living with a man who was not her husband. Did He tell her that to condemn her? Did she go running and jumping through the streets with excitement because He pointed out her sin? She fell head over heels in love with her Savior because He accepted her fully in spite of her faults. She had never known unconditional acceptance like that. She was much more familiar with people looking down at her and thinking less of her. But not Jesus. He didn’t value her based on her lifestyle – He just loved her. Are we that different from her? We’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. So now we’re suppose to make sure people know how wrong they are. We need to withdraw our fellowship and cut them down until they get with the program. Right?…
While we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us. His goodness leads sinners to repentance. His grace is not a license to sin, nor is it a license to judge. His grace and love is the life that changes us into His image. There is no other way.
Thank you Paul. By reading “the oldest question of the new covenant” , it satisfied what has been in my heart. That is a very good article “Is Grace a Licence to Sin” I think it brings great balance to this teaching as well.
LJP, thank you so much for responding to my question. I agree we need to love. I just found that Paul Ellis’s reply to read his one article “the oldest question of the new covenant” answered my particular question.
All I can say in response is read Romans 1 and into 2 where it states it is God’s kindness that does the changing to anyone as has been done with you, It is God who loves us all and left all up to reprobates mind. And none of us have the obedience to convict anyone of anything they are doing or have done, since we are not perfect none of us. Only God is. So what do we do but tell them these are the thoughts I am having, and letting you know I am not convicting you seeing how I see now, God has not convicted me by Son at the cross, and continues not to, even if I sin again as most do.
So we as the ones God did this for without asking anyone if he can, did it anyway.
We are left with to take advantage of this or appreciate this?
Now since the day one you believed are you the same? Has God in you shown you what is good for you and what is not? and you agreed and changed right. Loving your neighbor as yourself, and deeper than that as God has shown his love for you with his Son crucified for you, to give you new life in God to love all not a few as most do only do that. and Christ spoke of this in Luke 18:9-14 woe is me not to condemn anyone
I appreciate your reply, Homeward Bound, and you have a lot of good points. I find that with my particular question, Paul answered it by me reading his article on “the oldest question on the new covenant“. Thank you so much for taking the time. 🙂
I think it may be important to point out most of us had this occur in the past, which we cannot change. I don’t believe any of us would encourage or promote divorce, nor are we antinomian.
And yet….and yet…
I’m thinking if those in Christ cannot be forgiven for divorce and remarriage, Jesus wouldn’t have said, “It is finished”.
Wouldn’t He rather have said something like, “It’s not over”? 🙂
Under the law any who divorce their partner and marry’s another commits adultery, Mark 10:11,12. And under the law the wages of sin is death.
But Christians are NOT under the law (Rom 3:19, Rom 8:2, Rom 10:4, Gal 3:24, Gal 5:18, 1Tim 1:9). Therefore we cannot be charged with sin (Rom 8:33, 1Pet 4:1, 1John 3:9).
Any Christian who divorces and then marries another will not profit by it. Whilst our sin (with it’s death penalty) is put away, when we do wrong there are consequences, just like King David faced when he committed adultery and murder.
But physical marriage is only a shadow of the real marriage God speaks of. What God has joined together no man should separate (Matt 19:6). This is not speaking of physical marriage. Instead it speaks of the marriage between Christ and the church (Eph 5:31,32).
We’re one spirit with the Lord, 1Cor 6:17. Therefore we should flee SPIRITUAL sexual immorality/adultery with another (1Cor 6:18) as this is to sin against your own body (Christ who we abide in, Col 3:3).
Who is the other we should avoid SPIRITUAL sexual immorality with?
The NT warns against this often.
It’s Hagar, who is symbolic for righteousness by works of the law, Gal 4:24.
We cannot mix works of the law, with grace, Rom 11:6.
Under grace we’re married to Christ (Eph 5:32), one spirit with him (1Cor 6:17). To turn back to righteousness by works of the law (Hagar, Gal 4:24) is spiritual adultery and sin that results in death.
King David was under the law.
Yes, King David was under the law. And note God put away his sin (2Sam 12:13) so David did not face the death penalty under the law.
The law is just, good and holy, Rom 7:12. But as a means to attain righteousness we could never meet it’s requirement for PERFECT obedience (James 2:10, Rom 3:19). Thus a much more glorious ministry of the Spirit and righteousness (2Cor 3:7-11) was offered to us. Now our faith is counted for righteousness, Rom 4:5.
But grace is not a licence to live selfishly.
Jesus commanded us to love one another ( John 13:34), and love forgives 7×70 and also love does no ill to another (including divorce and then marriage/adultery with another).
Thus Christians do not condemn others who divorce their partners and marry another. But likewise Christians should not divorce their partners in the first place, if they’re really listening to Christ our teacher. Sadly many do divorce and marry another as they are much more influenced by the selfish society around them than they are by Christ.
Whilst some people do have extreme marital circumstances that genuinely threatens their life for example, the majority of Christian divorces are simply when one or both partners just selfishly give up on each other. The faithful partners who are left stranded by the selfish partners ending the marriage, are not held responsible for the divorce.
But regardless of whether we selfishly divorce and then marry another, or steal, lie, etc, God disciplines us (Heb 12:7). We will not profit by living selfishly.
Under the law, death was the penalty.
Under grace, God chastises those He loves.
I am divorced due to an abusive marriage.I left my unbelieving spouse.
we have talked to 4 pastors.due to their convictions,they will not perform our ceremony.
I was married for over 25 yrs to a minister. We have adult children. It ended in divorce due to the relentless emotional & mental abuse. As much as I tried nothing could ever be resolved. He was impossible to reason with. I honestly felt divorcing him was my only option. After the divorce, he became full of unforgiveness & bitterness especially when I tried to be friends and possibly reconcile? He took up with this woman for 2 yrs and constantly flaunted her in my face. He then out the blue married her. Lately, I’ve kept to myself with prayer and meditation. It’s very difficult to go forward. It seems I’m going through the painful divorce all over again. What bothers me the most is how she (a Christian woman) could agree to marry him knowing he was in this condition and still cares for his wife?
I think this is great advice, but I’m curious how you approach Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels regarding divorce. Unlike Paul’s they don’t seem to have the same restorative/reconciliation aspect to them (that’s my current understanding of those passages), so how would you interpret the teachings in the gospels on divorce?
Please see this post.
Yes, the worst I received was in seminary, from other seminary students. I think my fellow “ministry leaders”, whatever that means, are some of the most brutal. And also from a church elder at that time. Grace usually seems to be in short supply in theological matters, and divorce/remarriage is no exception.
I appreciate your website we need more people like you teaching on the true gospel of who are saviour really is all those people who make you feel so condemned like your going to hell when you are trusting in Jesus and trying your best to move forward from a past your not to proud of and everyone has a past!! We all walk by faith and no one is saved by obeying the law it is believing in Jesus Christ.. I have felt condemned for so long not being able to move forward stuck on wether I make another mistake and divorce my husband father to my child, mess up yet another family when the most important is the children or go to hell bc I’m living in sin a feeling I pray no one EVER has to go through!!! Jesus loves all sinners including divorced and remarried so thank you for helping through this 🙏 we need more grace preachers 😊
Past is past, all sins ever committed once past are forgiven for all, not a few in Christ that is done. Left one thing left to believe this and ask Father for the new life to lead in his righteousness not any of anyone else ever as this flesh and blood carnal natured minds can’t fathom, Only in continued faith you are forgiven in appreciation and asking for Father to lead you in his Spirit and truth of the Risen Jesus. As his grace is for to teach us how deep this love in Mercy and truth is for one to appreciate and see in trust with God leading one can relax from stress knowing they personally are not taking God for granted
So learn from all that is today accept bad and good to learn from as I pray this helps you today
Thank you for this article. I have been divorced for 7.5 years now. It’s not something I’m proud of but it’s something that’s happened. It’s taken me a long time to be able to say “I’m divorced” because shame was my middle name. So I say it now not to brag but to show it’s got no hold on me. My experience has been both good and bad. Some Christians don’t treat me any different but to others, the fact that I’m divorced seems to put me in a different category. The untouchable category. I just heard from some dear Christian friends that if I were to remarry (I’ve been asking God to bring the right Christian man across my path), I’d be wilfully sinning. That just gutted me. It made me wonder if they will hear anything I say to them about God now. I think not because the way I see it, they’ve already decided that I’m going to disobey God so surely, I mustn’t be serious about my walk with God. So be it. That’s something they’ve got to take up with God.
I believe the church hasn’t taken a firm enough stance against those who were guilty and divorced for selfish reasons and allowing remarriage. God does and can and will forgive divorce but that does not mean one is free to remarry. Grace is being used as an excuse and permission to willfully and purposefully sin against God. This is blasphemy. Our bodies are what? The temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said if you divorce and remarry it is adultery. There is evidence that he is referring to the guilty person only who wanted the divorce. Adultery would be defiling the temple of God. It makes sense to me that that is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. For the Lord says reconcile or stay unmarried. Logically speaking would God want a person to sin? Of course not. So if he told you that if you remarry it is adultery, then when a new person enters your life that you want to marry who sent them? I don’t believe God tempts you to sin, I believe thats the job of Satan. So why would you marry someone not sent from God. Second I believe Jesus had a human reason behind telling the guilty to not remarry. It’s called Agape love. When a person divorced their spouse they weren’t capable of that. If they were they wouldn’t have divorced they would have forgiven and chosen to stay and love their spouse like God does instruct us! If we aren’t capable of agape loving the one we are with we have a serious problem. Like Jesus tells us in 1 john and we sang the song as kids…he that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is Love. In other words God knows if you divorced and your heart and mind hasnt changed then you are doomed to repeat the behavior. If you are able to change your heart and mind and truly recognize the terrible sin you have committed then you would be able to reconcile. What we need to come to understand is that divorce is a horrible sin, and the lie we have been taught that all sin is sin really isn’t true if you read God’s Word. The only thing the same is that all sin separates us from God, but there are layers and levels to it. Many are living in self-deception and that is the most dangerous place a soul can be. For even a soul who doesnt claim to know Christ would be in a better place than the soul who believes that they are saved but are willfully sinning and using Grace and forgiveness as an excuse. I think the most important element that the church is forgetting is that like it or not forgiveness kind of is conditional. Didn’t Christ say if you don”t forgive, he will not forgive you. That is a condition. Repentace requires stopping the sin. Shall we continue in sin so thay grace may abound? God forbid. Why do more second marriages end in divorce than first ones? Maybe it’s because they are marriages founded on sin.
Thank you so much for writing this article full of grace and wisdom. It means a lot that someone who isn’t even divorced would seek out what the Bible is really saying about it, and extend a loving hand of grace to those of us who feel like lepers. I’ve read this article a few times, and pray blessings on you and your family each time I read it again.
Thank you, Beth.
I thank God for the life of Lambert sand and few others who stand for the truth. I’m so surprised on how people could heep up themselves a teacher teaching what they want to hear. As a young man I have learn through great apostles of our time : in respect of how their wife I haven’t heard of any new testament apostles divorced and remarried irrespective of their spouse behavior; T.L Osborn married in fact so early as a teenager but we all knew they lived till death do them part. Some so called televangelist will keep sleeping with another man wife until he is cut before pleading for his way wardness and I have checked the characters of all new testament apostles full of the holy ghost without such blame even Paul who was single wasn’t cut in such disgrace. Paul even ask the fellow Christians to imitate him such is far from many of our modern days preachers who has the form of godliness but deny his power. if my grand parents whom are yet to receive Christ could hold on to their marriages for years irrespective of challenges just because of what their own parents taught them about patience how much more should that be expected of me with the holy ghost and have the written word of God in my heart and in my hand(the Bible)? For those who love to quote the woman at the well , Paul the apostle, Zacheus and etc these are their lives before they came into Christ after they knew Christ they were different . God did not called us to uncleanliness but holiness. God knows the intent of our heart don’t be deceived. pls let’s put away the Hollywood movies kind of life , our certificates and positions in worldly system and be submit to one another in humility and love. what kind of love indeed are you preaching to me and the world when you cannot love just one Immediate (husband or wife) Person whom God has committed to your trust? not even immediate per say but your own body. wake up!
The article is not saying divorce is a good thing. Just because we do not treat divorced people as lepers or great sinners does not mean anyone condones the act of divorce. Just because a marriage does not end in divorce does not mean the people inside it are better, more godly or more holy than divorced people. Fear of being seen as bad Christians or sinners keeps good people trapped in abuse, neglect or terrible relationships. Length or marriage does not equal good or godly.
Which one is the reality the word of God or your feelings? let’s be sincere the foundation has already be lay and let’s those who calleth the name of the lord depart from iniquity. this kind of teaching has led many who are at the verge of reconciliation to conclude in their mind why wait to make it work any way when we got our license into ‘unrighteousness ‘ and they goes… some even went as far as divorce and remarry over three times so who got something wrong then? And in the midst of these bizarre they build synagogues and called themselves ministers of God without checking their lives with the word of God. Every body loves to quote the woman at the well with Jesus ;not knowing she is yet to receive Christ at that time with her life style. Many could have lived such lives before coming to Christ but after knowing Christ such is not expected of us. Now tell me how your so called motivational speech fit in the expression …husband love your wife as Christ love the church or wife submit to your husband? how did Christ love the church by seeing the needs and excesses of the church and says papa God I’m not interested in this deal any more right? Show me three characters of the new testament both apostles and congregants who divorce and remarried? The likes like you will tell peoples to walk out of marriage because things are not working as ought to and you called it “good people trapped in abuse” my goodness did you know what the bible says- he encourage your so called righteous man to remain In while the unbelieving partner could chose to stay or go and not by your own standard. by the way what if both were believer then you can tell already – both got to remain there and settled in peace. You can’t say I will cut my head or any part of the body off because is not functioning well any way you rather get the medication to that part of you or cut off and remain maim. be wise.
Count yourself blessed for not having any firsthand experience with an abusive marriage. I’ve lived through it via my parents marriage. It is the most vile ungodly thing to be around. No amount of biblical counselors or going to the church people helped as my father, like most abusers, was a pro at telling people what they wanted to hear yet continuing in his sin at home. My mother because she was female was assumed to be the sinner because my father made himself look so nice and Christian in public while he was the devil at home. She tried and prayed for almost twenty years for him to change. My father is still a two faced rebel playing at being Christ like in public.
Like I said above no one is saying please take the easy road out and say bye-bye to your marriage for stupid reasons. No one almost to the point of healing their marriage is going to read this article and run for the hills. People who have fought that hard to fix the union are not going to quite over an article that says we should being loving to divorced people. God’s amazing model for marriage does not include being treated as a sub-human item for the pleasure of the other spouse. You are holding onto the institution of marriage as an idol making it more important than the people within it. That is one of the things that infuriated Jesus with the religious folks of His day. They held to the rules at the expense of the people something He, God in the flesh, hated for it’s hypocrisy.
Dear Mr. Ellis,
I recently came across your page and I must say that I was deeply concerned about the grace you extend towards spouses who are living in God’s grace to remain in their vow of covenant. I believe that the Lord came in grace and truth, and I understand His grace and love is far beyond many people realize. However, what you believe about remarriage is contrary to what you teach about God’s grace…
So when you tell me Dr. Pastor so-and-so married a woman to another man after she divorced her living covenant husband, you are telling me that God sanctifies adultery. You are also telling me that god recognizes the vows of a woman who did not keep her vows to her covenant husband. You are also telling me that a divorce from this “sanctified adultery” would be sinful.
The truth be told that death is the only way a marriage can end, and to teach other than this is damnable. You have to understand how grace is applicable in the marriage, how sin is handled in the marriage, and how making a vow before the Living God includes His hand in the marriage. Once you understand the truth of marriage, you will teach that marriage is one man and one woman for life. No excuses, no exceptions!
In Christ’s love,
God bless you Mr. Neil. apostate on rampage and may God help us to know the true meaning of grace. Thank you.
What grace? All you speak is perform or else. Grace is not license to do wrong but the safety net for when we do. Should anyone divorce? No as God says marriage is a symbol of our relationship with Him. Yet sometimes because of sin one cannot remain married as the other spouse is in an unrepentant sin that violates the personhood of the other. The violator already broke the covenant while pretending to keep it intact. In no way ever does this symbolize God and us, or Christ and the church. Grace sees the person and everything involved while the Pharisee sees only the rules.
This is rich!! “No excuses, no exceptions! In Christ’s love, Neil”
“you are telling me that God sanctifies adultery.”
Ummm, just for the record, Jesus never died to sanctify sin, he died to sanctify people. Just saying….
Whether you agree with Paul’s post or not; Paul’s premise is the God sanctifies the sinner (through Christ); and you are twisting his words to insinuate that Paul is saying that God sanctifies the sin.
Hi Paul, thank your for your posts! I became a Christian a few months before my divorce which was to the largest part my fault. I have done many mistakes. I was baptised a few months after my divorce and got married again in church another year later. It felt so right (and still does) and I didn’t learn then that my remarriage was considered to be adultery. Now again and again I get confronted with that when being asked about my family. It makes me feel insecure if my second marriage is legal in Gods eyes. If yes, I commited adultery at the start of my marriage and God has forgiven me. Otherwise I live in a state of sin and can’t repend without getting divorced a second time (which sounds far far of to me). Therefore I could not enter the Kingdom of heaven according to 1 Corinthians 6:9. Please help me!
Stay married and enjoy your marriage. Marriage is a gift from God.
Thank you Paul for you encourragement. So you think that my second marriage is valid for God and I’m not living in a state of adultery? Be blessed
Marriage is a gift from God, not sanctified adultery. A “remarriage” after a divorce from a living covenant spouse is adultery. Not my words. The Lord says so. Divorce never represents the Gospel and neither does the false teaching in this thread. Marriage is a one-flesh covenant that can only end in death, and to believe and teach contrary to this is a lie.
So Neil, what would you advise Phil to do?
Hi Phil, there is no wisdom in Neil’s advice. I hope it only serves to drive home that we should want nothing to do with such teaching. Blessings
“I became a Christian a few months before my divorce which was to the largest part my fault.”
Phil, a civil divorce cannot terminate a one-flesh covenant marriage. Provided you and your first spouse were never married, you made a vow to the Lord to become one-flesh with your wife. Your new remarriage is an adulterous union which must be repented of. Repentance of an adulterous union is ending the relationship and never calling that relationship a marriage. Thus, a civil divorce paper will end the physical and civil part of the union, and will be a witness to others (family, friends, Pastors) that your remarriage was adulterous. You must also seek restoration with your covenant spouse. This includes repenting of any sin against her. If she too remarried, you must instruct her that her remarriage is adultery against you. If she remains “hardhearted” and does not seek to reconcile, both of you must remain unmarried till death do you part.
Paul, your part in this is your erroneous teaching that a covenant marriage can end with a divorce. You also sanctify the sin of adultery by telling others to remain in their sin. Repentance from you is simple. Make a public statement that what you taught on marriage is false. IF you performed “remarriages” to couples as an “ordained” Pastor, you must contact everyone of them and tell them the truth. You must also reconstruct all future teaching to the permanence of marriage.
And this is why I write.
Phil, please don’t listen to Neil. The solution to divorce is not more divorce. His suggestion that you can repair past mistakes by divorcing your wife is insane.
If mistakes have been made, it does not follow that you can fix them– at least not in the manner Neil is suggesting. But the good news is that God is redemptive. He can take the mistakes of our past and work them out for his good purposes. Let Jesus be the bedrock of your marriage union.
Neil seems to think I am encouraging divorce, yet I’m the one telling you to stay married while he’s trying to tear your union apart. Go figure.
Thank you, that is very helpful. I read in the commentary of the ESV Study Bible that the “second marriage began with adultery. But when Jesus says “and marries another” in the same verse (Matt. 19:9), he implies that the second marriage is in fact a true marriage. Jesus does not say, “and lives outside of marriage with another” (which was possible, see John 4:18)….The second marriage should not be thought of as continually living in adultery.”
I don’t want to justify my sin but I have hope that
– my marriage is valid in front of God and therefor not continous adultery
– I’m forgiven for my sins and also for the adultery when starting my second marriage.
So I am very very grateful for my saviour Jesus Christ and I will do my very best to give his love further and make my marriage a good and lasting one.
Thank you Paul, for your teaching on grace. I love your books.
why couldn’t you allowed my initial reply to comment posted to come public? because of the hard truth right ? God is washing you better repent of your false teachings.He who has ear let him listen …
Comments that differ from my views are welcome and are usually published. Comments that violate E2R’s Comment Policy or are rude to other commenters, such as yours, are deleted.
Jesus called all the marriages of the woman at the well marriages. If what Neil says is biblically correct Jesus would have just said “Your one divorce and all those adulterous relationship you have had.” Jesus never said soft things about true sin. And we must always be careful to take everything said about divorce and remarriage in it’s full scriptural context. Making an idol out of marriage is not biblical.
Thank God for blessing Christiandom with ministers of the TRUE GOSPEL; GRACE…I always wonder why people esteem some sins more than others. I use to be self-righteous thinking am better than others because I haven’t done this or that…I don’t wish anyone falls into sin, but some of our brothers, especially the ” older brothers” need the law to whip them then they can turn to Christ…if ever you have a dear one suffering abuse ( and many times its not one) and the abuser has also hardened his/her heart and is not yielding to the Holy Spirit and teachings of the church ( love our wife as Christ loved the church, and so on …) his can they remain married. Must one die before religious Christians give them permission… as a matter of fact I don’t see the Bible diffrenciating between liars and divorcees, hell would have been their destination if not for the Grace of God
Sis! I couldn’t have said it any better. As Ive stated before, I was part of a large org. that preached “Divorce/Remarriage evil” and I embraced it with a ferver that couldn’t be quenched by anyone or anybody! But what many of us failed to realized (myself included) is that we were categorizing sins as if one had more or less weight than the other, and with the same hypocritical breath, tell people: “GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS” How spiritually schizophrenic can one be? I believe at the end of the day, when people find out what true grace is and who they are in Christ, The answers for divorce AND/OR remarriage becomes an easy fix!
My husband and I divorced from adultry. He remarried so did I. We both divorced. Found our way back to each other. We do live together no sex. Have not remarried is this a sin. Or can we in God’s eyes remarry each other. That the question. My pastor wouldn’t allow me to join the church unless we remarried. I could go but not join.
Wow, people exalt certain passages not rightly divided with the New Covenant and not understanding manners and customs at the time. Here is the truth, not all divorce is sin! God commanded divorce under the Old Covenant when Israel married into Pagan tribes. Jesus did mention adultery, but Paul mentions abandonment and neglecting or abandoning the marriage covenant. Abuse constitutes abandonment of the Marriage covenant and breaks the marriage commands in Ephesians 5 for spouses to love as Christ loved and submit one to the other. Therefore the sin isn’t in the divorce in these specific cases, the abuse, the adultery and the abandonment is the sin. The one committing these sins need to seek wisdom and guidance and recovery for these wicked actions. The spouse who left because of these events is free to remarry and is not committing any sin! They honored the covenant, the abuser and adulterer did not.
God didn’t institute marriage as some sacred cow that trumps all wisdom and common sense and love He has for individuals.
Yes, in reality, more often than not divorce occurs because of selfish reasons, people looking outside the covenant for fulfillment emotionally, and people just look to their spouse to complete them instead of Christ and His Grace. If abuse or adultery isn’t occurring, and one spouse isn’t leaving for weeks and months at time *(not speaking of Military families come on that’s different), not supporting the family, then by all means rely heavily upon His great Grace to turn your marriage around!
I have a niece who divorced her first husband then later remarried. That did not go well and she is divorced for second time. There are three children from first marriage. I’m wondering if thinking of the children’s welfare is more important than only being concerned with your own desires. Met a woman once at a New Year’s prayer meeting who had a couple of kids who married a man who had five children after they both divorced their spouses, She was questioning what happened since they were both Christians.
My mother is remarried and not quite blissfully. I think many people rush back into relationships and remarriage without first recovering and learning what led them to divorce in the first place. Even when the divorce came about because of abuse or infidelity the injured partner has much to work through healing and the like.
If it is just general unhappiness and dissatisfaction divorce is brutal on the children. However in cases of an abusive spouse leaving the abuser is far better for the kids than staying.
Marriage should not be jumped into without serious consideration or jumped out of without it. God does not approve of us discarding others simply because they do not fill our happiness, roses and rainbows ideals.
I should have added I honestly did not know what to say to this woman. It seemed she was
having second thoughts about the remarriage.
Again! so much of this brings back some painful memories of my former church association. But what strikes me is this. Ive seen people come into our fellowship and they would hit it off (Spiritually) and all is well, God is good, ect ect. Then some time later, it was disclosed that these visitors who were contemplating membership are divorced/ remarried couple. Oh well! that ends that! Really? if wer’e so fired up spiritually, why didn’t the Holy Spirit reveal this sooner before we all started getting along with these people? It’s obvious it wasn’t an issue now or ever with the Holy Spirit. Sadly, the doctrine was more important than the fellowship! How Sad! Nevertheless,Thank you Jesus for your amazing grace!
I was nineteen when I found out I was pregnant. I was told I had already made God mad and needed to marry to not make the situation worse. The day after my wedding (at the courthouse as to not embarrass family and parents hoping their friends couldn’t do math) he went to the strip club with friends. I wanted to leave then, I had no where to go because I was told I was a disgrace to God and needed to make the situation right. My daughter passed away a few months later. We have been married for 25 years and have 9 kids (3 live in heaven) I have did everything the church told me for 17 years sex at least three time a week, take communion for his salvation daily for years, pray with the kids for daddy and he would change. Seven years ago while pregnant with baby number 8 he said he didn’t want anything to do with us so he basically lives his life and comes and goes as he pleases yet still expected sex at least three times a week and five years ago I watched my daughter die in ultrasound and he didn’t even care. This was when I was done, I stopped being his personal whore. I was told my sins killed my babies, and everything was my fault by the church. I was even told my first baby was not in heaven because I was not saved when she died. Seriously the church needs to get a clue and start being Jesus. If there were not preachers like Kellie Copeland and Joseph Prince and you, Paul I would have given up on God because I would never have made the cut.
I asked to go back to school and he cut grocery funds for my kids for a month. I am completely under his control and have no recourse because I dropped out of school when my daughter died. I am a stay at home mom and have no access to the bank accounts. I have talked to an attorney and he says the courts will give him partial custody even though he has never been around his younger kids. I have eight years until the courts will listen to my daughter and I won’t risk giving him custody because he treats females like we are less and uses shame to keep people under his control. This is a game to him. Where is the church? Thankfully I have raised strong girls who know who they are in Christ ( I have 8 girls and one boy). I was told to defend my husband to keep praying and he would change while he lives a life where he does what he wants and has the appearance of a perfect family. I am done being told I am worthless, ugly, and unloveable. I am also stuck. I asked for custody and was told by him divorce is wrong. Divorce is wrong but his affairs and pornography use is all okay, he controls all finances. I was told I needed to give him a “reward” to keep the power on. This is a lot longer story and I know God has a plan I just wish more people in the church had grace because I don’t tell my story because I am shamed enough in my own home I don’t need to go to church and be told how horrible I am there as well. His statement is “I tried God and it didn’t work”.
If the church would realize that women have value and we have a more to offer than sex, we are not property we are made in the image of Christ just like men. God has a plan and a purpose for women as well. It’s time for the church to preach this.
Thank you, Jane, you just did preach it and quite well. You must be an amazing person to be doing such a great job raising your kids in spite of the situation. As you said, God has a plan and a purpose for you and your kids. You are so precious to Him. Blessings to you.
That is a beautiful testimony Jane. Like Joseph, you have learned the art of making lemonade out of life’s bitter fruit and your children are drinking the sweet drink of love, grace, and forgiveness. Many blessings to you on your journey and may you continually experience His love and mercy.
Paul, I can appreciate your sentiment, but I can’t agree with the way you get around some 1 Corinthias 7:11. You said:
“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?”
It seems like you’re basically just saying “this is good advice, but it can be ignored when it’s not practical.”
Again, I can appreciate your sentiment, but it would be nice to see some more solid exegesis.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and your ministry has been a blessing to me.
There are only two ways to read 1 Cor 7:11. Either it is a law-that-must-be-obeyed or it is a life-giving exhortation. I appreciate some English translations, such as the NIV, swing for the former by using words such as “must” where other translations have “let.” However, if you interpret Paul’s exhortation as a law-that-must-be-obeyed, you turn him into a liar and a hypocrite. The apostle of grace said “all things are lawful,” but apparently divorce and remarriage are not lawful. Paul said there is no condemnation in Christ, but apparently there is. In other words, grace is for everyone – except divorced people.
If you interpret 1 Cor 7:11 as a law-that-must-be-obeyed, you are not only opposing God’s word, you are participating in a ministry that destroys people, as many of the comments on this thread attest. Reconciliation is always the goal, but where reconciliation is impossible there is grace, not law and condemnation.
Hello everyone, thank you for your comments . . . I think Paul’s teaching is clear . . . 1Co 7:27 Do you have a wife? Don’t seek a divorce. Are you divorced from your wife? Don’t look for another one.
1Co 7:28 But if you do get married, you have NOT sinned. Peace and grace !!!
To all those people who have been so harsh and judgemental against divorced christians I will say this. “Until you experience a situation like physical and emotional abuse against yourself and your children in a marriage, you have no idea” I see your hearts are far from God’s grace and until it becomes personel you will never see the Grace of God that is beyond your understanding.
Paul co. I apologize. there was two girls named bek and remi which you recently responded about god forgiving us under the new covenant completely compared to the bloodless pre-cross words of jesus about an unfaithful servant being thrown into jail. that was my ex-wife and i just want to say thank you for seeking the truth and you probably know I already forgive you bek. are you seeking to re-commit? it didn’t seem so obvious and I just want you to know i was not aware of god’s forgiveness either. thank you jesus. if there is any desire to contact me one way today is my father’s facebook page. i understand you may not feel the need if not don’t worry but i do miss you.
my email is also listed here as other contact emails are currently closed to me because of passwords. I’ve been so caught up in know jesus in truth that i didn’t have much else i needed from my emails. but i will be looking to see if you needing me. firstname.lastname@example.org
As we seek God in our daily lives we do become more like Him. Fact is when we do come to Him we are damaged and generally see life, marriage and even His love through the subconscious conditioning of previous experiences. To really receive God’s love into our soul is truly the beginning of many changes to our desires and preconditioning. For a man to love his wife or a woman to respect her husband in even a ‘normal ‘ marriage requires a maturity in Christ for it is indeed challenging old fears and habits and requires an ongoing commitment to Christ to develop. All this is to say we can easily be fooled by old fears, expectations and habits to say a marriage is irreconcilable when it is not. How to realise this in the midst of unhappiness and despair is difficult but not impossible. Seek God first and ask , ‘how do I need to change’ is really the only question. For the church the question is ‘how can I love that couple or person’ before major issues arrive. That means being obedient to the Holy Spirit when it is not convenient. We all need to be open to God’s leading. Why is it we get married publicly and seperated privately?
I am the guilty party. I stepped out of a marriage. I cannot remarry but live a life of solitude as sexless because of my sin. I am now 53. Perhaps, the lord will find grace and take me on. I don’t want to live a single life or alone. It’s miserable. But, hell is too horrible to think about for eternity.
If you are trying to get into heaven on your own abilities then you are correct. But Jesus’ way is not about our own goodness, our ability to not sin or based upon how sorry we are when we sin. It is about His blood upon our sins and our faith-trust that He alone is THE way to get every sin dealt with. Tradition lies about heaven, sin and what it takes to get/stay saved but Jesus never lied about anything. Go re-read John 3:15-18, 11:25-26. It is not about your past but about your Savior. Let go what people and religious traditions have told you and just listen to what Jesus said.
Hello everyone! Divorce was the solution that a loving God gave us so that one person could not destroy another, divorce was not a sin under the Old Covenant and it’s not a sin in the New!
“It was said also, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: but I say unto you, that every one that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, maketh her an adulteress: and whosoever shall marry her when she is put away committeth adultery.” Matthew 5:31 and 32
According to the Law they had to give a writing of divorcement to be able to put their wives away, so this is what Jesus was really saying:
Whosoever shall put away his wife (without giving her a document of divorcement) if he marries another woman, he’s committing adultery, why? Because there was no document of divorcement, so according to the Law he’s still married, in the same way, the wife couldn’t marry anyone because she is still married.
Now a man could put his wife away only if he was living in porneia/fornication (it doesn’t say “adultery” which is moicheia in greek) because they were not married in the first place, their marriage was not valid (I Co. 5:1) . . . so Jesus was saying: “Hey, keep the Law and if you want to put away your wives, remember to give them a document of divorcement, if not, you are still married.”
Jesus is not talking about adultery since adultery has never been a cause of divorce under the O.C., it was a cause of punishment and DEATH.
Divorce is NOT a sin, even God is divorced:
“And though she saw that, because Israel, turning away from me, had been untrue to me, I had put her away and given her a statement in writing ending the relation between us, still Judah, her false sister, had no fear, but went and did the same.” Jeremiah 3:8
Peace and Grace!
This really help and brought clarity. I have been divorce for 8 years and feels as though I shouldn’t even think about remarrying because I had my turn and messed up.
I am divorced many years now.My ex she left me and my boys even after I begged her to keep our marriage.She has gone with another man at that time and wanted to marry that guy.Reason she left as she said cause no more love and loves another.I met someone now and been with her many years now and people are asking when will I decide to marry her even the church or else she can’t be baptised and receive Jesus.I love her and want to marry her,I had done all the invitation and marriage event but I just got a call from my assistant pastor that they cannot perform the service even for a blessing cause their licence maybe provoked.
So sad they don’t accept us but I know down deep inside my Father in heaven accepts me in any way.
So I am just looking around if any pastors that can conduct the service to accept us.
God is on my side as His grace is sufficient for me.
That is my story and I know he is always Just.
Love you Jesus and thank you God the Father for bring so understanding with our struggles
Luke 16 Verse 18 and these are words that Jesus himself spoke between the parable of the unjust steward and Lazarus and the rich man. He just dropped this verse in between those two stories. Your thoughts?
I have been reading accounts of Christians having dreams of seeing other Christians in Hell, or themselves after remarriage. One account is from a devout missionary pastor who sought God for years on the matter. I would rather stay celibate in any case after divorce..I think we should earnestly seek God before entering a re-marriage to find out what He says.
My teens have stumbled across a few videos containing stories of people who supposedly have visions, dreams, events where they see who is in hell. I noticed one common theme. They are all deficient of the mention of Jesus and all hype hell, hell, hell. God from start to finish in the New Testament point to nothing but Jesus. Jesus for salvation, holy living and everything. The hell hyping visions have the person looking to themselves, their behavior and how well they may or may not fit a certain church package. Flesh from start to finish. What better way to keep people from their Savior than by keeping them wrapped up in the dead works of the flesh? Not saying people should get remarried or should without being extremely cautious but don’t let the father of lies scare you with a crafty sales campaign.
I say gently that Visions mean nothing unless they can be backed up by the Word of God, so we can’t write a person who has been divorced off to hell without clear Bibibical evidence and it doesn’t match the truth that the perfect love of God casts out all fear. There’s no such thing as remarriage, meaning that to remarry would be to marry your ex spouse who you were married to first of all. Marriage was a binding contract in the old testament and the only means by which it may be broken was death and divorce, in both cases marriage was allowed according to the torah (Gods laws) but a person who loossed their wife from the marriage by sending her away with a divorce certifiacte was not to marry tbe same woman a if she married another and that spouse dies. When Jesus came He upheld the law of Moses before the time of grace and in upholding the law of Moses the same laws for marriage, divorce and marriage was upheld. Altho in the beginning it wasn’t so, there was no sin which often leads to divorce (not always due to sin bit a God given way out should a spouse be mistreated because God cares) and neither was their death to release a spouse from marriage. Here’s the crux of it people, we arnt in the beginning, sin is rampant and wills are often at play but divorcees may marry again as long as they have their divorce certificate and have been put away from the marital home. No divorce, no getting married again or else you’ll be in adultery. God restores even those that were the guilty party in their divorce God bless.
As a divorced Christian I can say it is extremely painful, and that my divorce was not for adultery. My spouse left me and told me it was both our faults. I certainly have owned up to my part of it. But reconciliation has failed and I know she is looking for a relationship. I had tried looking as well but felt convicted not to do so after very briefly talking to a lady online. The hardest thing for me to deal with is that God has created us to be in relationships it seems. He says it is not good that man be alone, so He made women. The desire for sex and just plain affectionate contact is almost overpowering at times. Prayer is necessary every day to deal with this.
I will for the record here state I hold to the exception clauses and adultery is acceptable grounds for a marriage ending. I might be wrong in some of my beliefs but I do firmly hold that a relationship by either spouse after a divorce frees the other person.
I will tell you what makes divorce so hard from one standpoint, and that is the idea of whatever intimacy you had is gone, ripped from you. You have nothing in human form. Sexual temptation abounds. In many cases divorce is betrayal, and nothing less. Not all of them though.
Part of me thinks sometimes that she is going to find someone anyway so why not do the same myself. But I am stopped from doing that by the wish to uphold my end of the marriage. It sounds crazy to a lot of people. One of the problems I have is that being autistic i have a hard time with guilt, and I know that breaking my vow would probably cause me a lot of guilt which I would rather not deal with. Plus too if Paul’s statement in Corinthians is actually a law then the Spirit is working on me as well.
The bible says that you can remarry if there has been sexual immorality. The word used in the original greek translation is Porneia.
Porneia means idolatry and sexual immorality.
Therefore would it be right if i said my exwife idolised drugs and put them before God so therefore i am free to divorce and remarry?
Maybe translations do not accurately portray what Jesus meant in divorce/remarriage scriptures. Thoughts?
Validating our position from scripture is amongst the worst ways to determine how walk forward.
Without a renewed heart it’s just another way of dancing around the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We have been invited to live out our life receiving guidance in a different relationship. “Proof texting” our way through life allows us to judge and condemn and leaves us open to being judged and condemned.
For me, I had to decide weather I worshipped Jesus or the Bible.
If you worship the Bible you will probably misunderstand the true nature of God and miss Jesus.
If you worship Jesus, an understanding of the Bible will be smallest part of what you will receive.
Jesus said he would leave us with the Spirit so that no man would need another man to teach him . . . but we still want another man to teach us in some sort of dependency relationship.
I’m not against teachers or teaching, and I love to learn however we must receive what has been given to operate as sons of our Father.
Check out Isaiah 11:2 to see what has been given.
I really liked this post because our church is going through the process of looking for elders. Two of the people suggested had been divorced before and have since remarried. They are friends and love Jesus. It says elders are to be a man of one wife and others are adding their divorce might disqualify them. It had been awhile since they remarried and they are faithful to their wives. I have voiced my favor cope them as much as I could buy it is still a sticking point that they divorced to others. Am I in the unwise to speak in favor of them? If not, what else can I say? Even one of the candidates believes it disqualifies him. I think Satan is messing with him. Any comments anyone?
Wanted to thank anyone who might have prayed for my church after reading my post. Sorry about the typos in it. All is going well and we are presenting one of the guys as a candidate in coming weeks. Please pray for wisdom for us and to be able to clearly explain, as other people might have questions regarding them being divorced and being an elder in a church body. Many thanks for this article and any considerations.
I needed this!!
I’ve settled – through scripture – that God rescued me from a very abusive marriage to a Jekyll & Hyde man. There’s no question he was “for” that divorce (He tried to gently warn me not to marry him in the first place).
Where I’ve struggled – is with re-marriage. Too much mixture and law out there to keep me in a place of having it ‘settled’ once and for all. I’m wired for marriage. I was not made to be alone. The gifts Daddy has put in me are such that they are enhanced when in covenant relationship with a husband. So why would he put such a desire for that in me and not allow me to remarry?
It’s been 7 years now that I’ve been single. I’ve worked through the trauma, been restored and am out on the other side a much stronger woman (in Christ). But just when I start praying for a mate, low and behold here will come Pharisee #2 claiming I have to remain single for the rest of my life.
Ugh. Law is so nauseating, ugly and disgusting.
This article lifted a burden and a yoke. I’ve never heard of you, Mr. Ellis, but will now be following you and reading your books. Thank you for teaching this from the perspective of a happily married man – NOT someone trying to justify being divorced in the church. That perspective…is everything. Selah!
My denominination says you can get married again but you cannot serve in the church in any capacity . So in other words its the church that forgives sin. Not God. Who do you beleive.
It doesn’t sound like this church forgives at all! No doubt they dress up their policy with lovey-dovey words and scriptures, but it’s nothing more than discrimination and punishment. I hate it.
Read Hebrews 11 and tell me that God doesn’t used flawed people who’ve made mistakes. Paul called himself the chief of sinners, yet he served God far more effectively than these rule-loving people-hating turkeys. Why don’t they just leave a pile of stones at the door for those who have no sin.
Good stuff. There is a major ministry here that holds its pet doctrine that once divorced you should never remarry. Unless of course one remarries the one they divorce. Sad. Where is the love, the Grace and goodness of God in all that? I think love, mercy, restoration and goodness are cuss words in some places…
Beautiful. I think the best Christian article I’ve read so far about remarriage after divorce. I said the best because it focuses on the unconditional love of God and the redemptive power of the blood of Jesus. I believe every other argument could be silenced by that.
I am divorced. Ending my marriage wasn’t my plan. I ended up remarrying. Going to church through all of this, I must say, I had great compassion extended towards me while my marriage fell apart. I wasn’t ostracized until I got into another relationship. My new boyfriend (now husband) was treated so badly from his church, we had to find another church. He had never been married before. We are at a wonderful church now, but there are still people who won’t befriend us because I was divorced.
Thank you again Paul,
I went through a divorce about 16 years ago due to MY unfaithfulness and failings. It’s not what I wanted but there seemed to be no way my ex would have me back which I can fully understand. One of my daughters insisted I was sinning in remarrying exactly because of what you shared in this article. In her eyes I was continuing in sin and therefore she couldn’t have a relationship with me. I am in a good place, I have found grace, I have found freedom from religion 🙂 I hope and pray they will let go a accept what they can’t change.
I was unfaithful to my husband and divorced him. Went down a long path of remorse, brokenness, loss, then found my way back to God, and His forgiveness. My ex forgave me, then I finally forgave me. It’s been 8 years. I have been really hung up on the writings of Paul on marriage. Would my possible future husband be an adulterer? Why do Paul’s writings say that? Aren’t they true?
Insight like never before – Thank you!
My situation: my husband had an affair. Emotionally since 2010. Physically since Feb 2017 and sexually since Nov 2017. She ended the affair March 2018. No contact ever since. I made it very clear that I love my husband, want to forgive what he did and will do my all to save our marriage….and NOT settle for an “unhappily ever after”. He, on the other hand still kept pursuing her but to no avail. All the wile going with me to counselling, sleeping with me and lying to me. Connecting and disconnecting like it’s a light switch.
Yes, we had our AWESOME moments. Spiritual reconnection. Mind blowing intimacy… But yes, he is still “with her”. All the time. Every day. And when he is, I feel immediate pain, rejection, disconnection and loneliness. Yesterday I asked for a separation. He (unwavering) agreed. I don’t want to divorce my husband.
I love my husband. Divorce is destruction I do not want. We have an 18, 17 AND 6 year old that needs BOTH (whole and happy) parents and a stable home…. things have been an excruciatingly painful roller coaster ride to say the least…
How do I stay married to a man who has a divided heart? Who cannot get himself to choose “life” with me? Who is no longer the “Godly man” that I fell in love with and married? 25 years… How do you “un-love” the love of your life? It is now one year after discovering the affair. Hours has been spent in therapy. I am dying in my marriage. Am I now trapped in a marriage “till death do us part” with a man that refuses to stop loving another?