Questions on Divorce
by Rev. Jack Barr
This is a subject that has caused cries and anguish.
You ask two question:
What is gods law about divorce?
Would god consider me as an adulteress if I remarried?
I will try to answer both of those questions by showing you the scriptures pertaining to
Does God require you to remain in an abusive marriage? The answer is No. But leaving
an abusive spouse does not mean that you are free to remarry again at your will.
Understand that a divorce is a concept of man and not of God. A divorce relieves one of
legal obligations, but not moral ones. While man will let you set aside the marriage
contract, God will not.
Does God Allow exceptions? Continue reading to find out.
The dissolution of the marriage tie was regulated by the Mosaic law
#De 24:1-4 The Jews, after the Captivity, were required to dismiss the foreign
women they had married contrary to the law #Ezr 10:11-19
Christ limited the permission of divorce to the single case of adultery. It seems
that it was not uncommon for the Jews at that time to dissolve the union on very slight
pretences #Mt 5:31,32 19:1-9 #Mr 10:2-12 Lu 16:18 These
precepts given by Christ regulate the law of divorce in the Christian Church.
The Old Testament Mosaic Laws allowed a man to divorce his wife for any reason, but
then allowed the discarded wife to remarry again without sin.
1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she
find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him
write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife.
3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it
in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took
her to be his wife;
4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife,
after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not
cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
This was then changed by Jesus Christ in the New Testament to, No divorce for life,
EXCEPT for fornication on the part of either the man or wife. To divorce otherwise
causes the other to commit Adultery, and any one who marries that person also commits
adultery because in the Eyes of God that person is still married to the first, even though
man said they were free.
I know that these verses speaks of the man divorcing the woman, but as we will see later
that it is permitted for the woman to leave the husband, with the same stipulations.
31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a
writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause
of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is
divorced committeth adultery.
3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it
lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them
at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his
wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined
together, let not man put asunder.
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of
divorcement, and to put her away?
8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to
put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for
fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her
which is put away doth commit adultery.
2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put
away his wife? tempting him.
3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote
you this precept.
6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.
11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another,
committeth adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she
Note above in verse 11 that the one who divorces the other without the cause of
fornication on the part of the other spouse, commits adultery themselves. In Matthew it
showed that they also cause the discarded spouse to commit adultery.
And in verse 12 above, you can see that the wife can leave the husband.
In Luke 16:18 we are shown that in all divorces, except where one party is guilty of
fornication (see Matthew), that for either to remarry or to have sex with another is to
commit adultery and also causes the other person they marry or have sex with to also
commit adultery, because God says that while you may leave the other, you remain
married for life in His eyes.
18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth
adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth
Now in Romans, and in 1 Cor., it is made clear that if one party dies then the other
surviving spouse is then free to remarry without commiting any sin.
1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the
law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long
as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be
called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she
is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her
husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
Please note here in 1Cor. 7:39 above that since she is a Christian, living by God's Law
that she can only remarry again if she remarries another Christian, (at liberty to be
married to whom she will; only in the Lord). For We are commanded by God that we are
not to be unequally yoked to another person, which we would be if While we are Christen
we were to marry a non Christian.
In 1 Cor. 7:10-11, The wife is warned that if she leaves her husband that she is to remain
unmarried for life. There is to be no sex unless she returns to her husband. (This also
applies to the husband who leaves the wife.)(Any sex outside of marriage is always a
10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife
depart from her husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband:
and let not the husband put away his wife.
And finally, we are told that If while we are already married before coming to The Lord,
that when we turn to Jesus and become Christians that we are not to leave our non
Christian spouse because we may lead them to Jesus and salvation. (This is different than
a single Christian who marries a non Christian.) However, in verse 15, we are shown that
if the non Christian leaves the Christian partner, then the Christian partner is free to
remarry without sin. But if the Christian spouse leave the non Christian spouse this would
not hold true.
12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth
not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to
dwell with her, let her not leave him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is
sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under
bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how
knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
From all of the above scriptures we find the following:
1. A husband and wife are bound to each other for life.
2. If either leaves the other, then both must remain single for the rest of their lives.
3. If either one remarries, there is Adultery. For them and for others who marry them.
There has been given in the New Testament only three exceptions to the above rules
which allow remarriage without sin..
1. The innocent party divorces because the other has commited Fornication (adultery).
2. The other party, husband or wife, has died
3. While being married you have accepted Jesus Christ, becoming a Christian and your
non Christian spouse divorces you because you are now a Christian.
And what about those who have been married and divorced several times before they
become Christians? When you come to Jesus Christ you have asked Jesus for forgiveness
for ALL sins commited before. You did receive Forgiveness and are now starting with a
clean slate, as if this were your first marriage. Now follow God's Word as given in the
Rev. Jack Barr
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