I was recently speaking to someone on the subject of divorce and remarriage and here are some of the objections that were raised and my answers to those questions.
Scenario: A man cheats on his wife, divorces her, and wishes to remarry his lover (who was also married at the time).
Question: “Since this man has divorced his wife, and he wishes to marry his lover, can he Biblically?”
“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.“ Luke 16:18
Question: “But if the man has already ‘broken the marriage covenant’ and the ex-wife is ‘seeing someone else’, wouldn’t the abomination mentioned in the mosaic law about a man divorcing his wife, letting her marry someone else, and then remarrying her apply (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)?”
Answer: Absolutely not. Dating is hardly the same thing as marriage. If the man wishes to do things Biblically, he should seek his wife’s forgiveness and reconciliation. Even she refuses to reconcile, then this does not free the man up to remarry.
Objection: “But God can forgive the sin of adultery.”
Reply: Notice that Christ did not say, “…if the unrepentant man marries another woman, he commits adultery…” Repentance of former adultery and divorce is therefore a non-issue in relation to one’s marriage status. Don’t confuse God’s forgiveness with the consequences that people must sometimes face for their actions. Even should a person sincerely repent for a sin that they’ve committed, it does not mean that the consequences for that sin are removed. Consider this, when Moses struck the rock after God had told him to speak to it, God refused to allow Moses to enter the Promised Land. Don’t you think that Moses was contrite when he realized that he had angered God? Knowing the relationship that Moses had with God, being one of the few people who have ever had the opportunity to look upon God, I would say that they had quite a close relationship. I’m sure that Moses was quite contrite for his actions. He had, however, dishonored God in the eyes of the people and that action carried consequences. I’ve also several people talk about David’s sin time and time again, saying “but God forgave David!” Yes, God did forgive David, but David’s actions still carried consequences. David lost 4 children for his sin (wow!) and nearly had his kingdom taken from him. The same is true in marriage. Though a person may regret and repent of their fornication and their divorce, this still does not free them from the consequences of their action. In this case, the consequence is being unable to remarry.
Also of note: The DMV or BMV has a motto: Driving is a privilege, not a right. This slogan’s purpose is to point out that the driver has to abide by certain rules and not to abuse the license he has been given, or it is their right to revoke that license. You could say that the same rule applies in marriage, but more so. Marriage is a privilege and a gift from God. God is the One Who instituted marriage and continues to sanctify it, and it is God sets the rules for marriage. If God decides that those who would divorce their wife have forfeited their right to remarry, then this is perfectly within His right as the One Who created us and gave us marriage in the first place.
Objection: “But Jesus’ words were meant for the Jews who thought that they could divorce their wife, remarry, and still be right in the eyes of God. His words do not apply to us.”
Reply: Totally untrue. When Christ speaks of this subject, He references the creation and how God intended things. When He mentioned the Mosaic law, He says that God permitted the act of divorce out of the hardness of men’s hearts, but that this was never how God intended for things to be. (Mark 10:2-12) Those who wish to follow God’s commands and live as Christ’s disciples are definitely obligated to live by His words. Christ specifically says that God’s design was for marriage to be between one man and one woman until the end of their days on earth. I would say that taking Christ’s words and trying to invalidate them in the lives of fellow Christians is a very grave error and transgression that needs to be repented of.
“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:3-6
For more reading on this subject, see my previous post, Jesus’ Words on Divorce and Remarriage.