Sunday, August 3, 2014

2 Questions on Divorce (Part 7) What About Remarriage?

Oh boy, now we get into the really sticky stuff.  If anyone actually reads this one, I'm bound to make someone mad.  So let me apologize in advance.  To be clear, my goal is not to make anyone mad, feel judged, or anything else that might be disagreeable.  I know people personally whom have been through divorce.  Some biblically, some unbiblicaly.  Regardless, I know some carry pain from it to this day.

The challenge is, I have found that people tend to see and hear what they want to see and hear from a blog, article, or sermon.  Not saying that to mean accusatory or judgmental. It is simply human nature to filter what we see and hear through our life experiences and emotional baggage.  It very difficult to be objective sometimes when you come across subject matter that hits you on a personal level.  So please know that I understand this truth and my heart is not to offend anyone unnecessarily.

I simply want to take a look at what the bible says about remarriage for anyone who is interested.  In order to strive for some semblance of brevity, I will reference other posts to some degree because they speak to this as well.   I hope it helps.

Is Remarriage Ok?
Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:3-9, Mark 10:1-12, 1 Corinthians 7:10-16

In light of these scriptures, we have established that there are specific instances in which divorce is permitted in such a way as to release the spouse for remarriage.  So if you were the victim of marital infidelity or your unbelieving spouse left you, then you are free and clear to marry again.  For more on that, please refer to the previous posts regarding those instances.

Perpetual Adultery.  Is It Real?
The scriptures referenced above suggest that if you get divorced for a reason other than the acceptable reasons discussed and then remarry, that you are guilty of adultery.  So, does that mean that everyone who is remarried unbiblically is guilty of perpetual adultery?  That's a tough question.

The only unforgivable sin is blaspheming the Holy Spirit(Mark 3:28-30).  This is a spoken sin specifically relating to to the attributing of works of the Holy Spirit to the works of Satan.  It is understood to be a rejection of clear truth.  It results in a hardening of heart that will cause a lack of desire for repentance.  This is an accusation toward someone that should not to be assumed by any person as only God knows the state of a persons heart.

So, unbiblical remarriage is not unforgivable.   We must not assume that remarriage which is not biblically supported, leads to an endlessly sinful lifestyle that God's grace cannot cover.  I certainly do not believe that God would have anyone pursue a second divorce in order to be remarried to your original spouse.

The issue then becomes one of the heart.  If you did not know the biblical teaching on divorce and are already remarried, you are not guilty of blatantly disobeying those teachings however, you are not off the hook either.  As with any other sin ask yourself, are you recognizing your mistake in the first divorce, repentant and contrite in your heart regarding the rightness of it, and are you committed to not repeat the same mistake again?  If so, then I would say rest in peace and pursue righteousness in your current marriage and if possible, look for an appropriate opportunity to share your convictions with your previous spouse and seek forgiveness.

The one thing I absolutely do not want to convey is that it is better to ask forgiveness than permission, i.e. get remarried and then repent afterward, knowing all the while that it was wrong.  That is not a biblical approach to sin and obedience.  If you have ever approached life with God that way, please repent.  Consider scriptures teachings before you make decisions on anything and then act according to God's word.

What If I Am Divorced and Have Not Remarried?
Even if you are contemplating divorce for an unbiblical reason, this is important for your consideration as well.

Scripture only allows two options for this scenario.  The ideal result would be reconciliation with your spouse and remarriage to that same, initial spouse.  If you do not believe that is possible and there was no marital unfaithfulness or apparent unbelief between the two spouses, i.e. you are both seemingly believers, then singleness is the only option.

Now before I speak to the unnecessary faux pa that is singleness in our day, let me say this.  If  you have struggled in your marriage, and there are those whom have called you both to repentance in relationship to divorce, and you get divorced anyway, then you do have some evaluation of your relationship with God to do.  You have now blatantly ignored God-given biblical counsel and placed your own will over the will of the Father in a very deliberate way.  This is a very dangerous but certainly not unforgivable mistake.  I want to encourage you not to come under condemnation but to come under conviction, repent, and pursue reconciliation.

There is so much to be said about being single in service to the Lord that cannot be said here.  Unfortunately, it is almost considered shameful to be single.  As if our identity and happiness were tied up in whether we are single or not.   Jesus was single.  Paul was single.  Contrary to the culture, our identity nor our happiness should ever be wrapped up in whether we are married, single, or divorced.  There are only two identities, rebellious sinner or repentant sinner saved by grace. Which do you identify with?

If you identify as a sinner saved by grace based on no merit of your own, but on the saving work of Jesus Christ on the Cross and you desire to strive for living a life surrendered to Him, then you are a child of the Most High God and He will see you through.  He may see you through to reconciliation of  your marriage or He may see you through to a satisfying single life.  Either way Jesus must be your all in all and, the one you depend on and look to.  Scripture does not promise you happiness but it does speak to joy.  Joy unspeakable and full of glory can be found in His presence, satisfying needs that no human being could fulfill(1 Peter 1:8).

Are you Angry?
If I have offended anyone and you are angry with me, I am sorry.  As I said, that is not my goal.  The truth is, there are biblical consequences for unbiblical actions and some are more difficult to face than others.  I do not know your varying circumstances and I cannot judge your heart.  All I can do is speak generally to the overarching ideas surrounding marriage and divorce and what God's word says about them.  What you do with it from there is between you and God.

If you have actually read this, it is not by mistake.  God wants to communicate something with someone through what I am writing.  Perhaps someone who has already divorced and remarried will realize an offense against God that they did not realize before and go before him with a repentant heart asking forgiveness.  Maybe that will help them to release some underlying guilt or anger and see more success in that second marriage.  Perhaps someone will reconcile with a spouse.  Perhaps someone else will decide to pursue a single life of service to their Lord and Savior.

I don't know.  I just want you to consider the possibility that there is something in the bible that can draw you closer to Jesus in very difficult circumstances, give you wisdom, and bring Him glory in the process.

No matter the circumstance, Eat God's Word.  Pray Fervently.  Live before the face of God (Coram Deo). He will show you the way.



1 comment:

  1. Hi Josh, i just wanted to say thankyou for your balanced and pastoral approach to this issue. I am a pastor, doing research on this topic for a sermon series, and found your commitment to the integrity of scripture and your pastoral wisdom in acknowledging the painful complexity of this issue in our culture both inspiring and helpful. God bless