It’s so good to hear from you!
I have a kind of personal question to ask you. I have been going to a church for a while that I have grown quite fond of, but they have a to me strange concept of marriage/divorce/remarriage. I would appreciate your thoughts, as I have not gone back because it goes against my conscience for somebody to be turned away from God.
Anyway, the teaching is that if somebody wants to come to the Lord they first need to separate from their husband if its their second marriage and it was an “unscriptural” divorce. These are unbelievers. Otherwise they are committing perpetual adultery. I don’t see this as being scriptural at all, as I see it in I Cor 7 everyone is supposed to stay in the “state in which they are called”. Any thoughts on this?
It is SO good to hear from you! I have missed you sooo much!
This is a VERY good question. And, this is a very tough question. I haven’t looked up this aspect completely in Scripture, but my pastor just taught on a passage that came to mind reading your email.
The passage is from 1 Corinthians 7. There are several things that back up what God is already putting on your heart. The background of this passage is a teaching from Paul to a church that was battling with a flury of diverse opinions about marriage–some false teachers were teaching that the new Christians should divorce and marry MORE GODLY spouses…others were teaching that they should divorce and remain single “to the glory of God” and yet others were teaching that spirituality and sexuality/physical needs were separate, so the Christian could do whatever they wanted with their body because they did not believe it was tied into the spirituality. Of course, all of those doctrines were totally false doctrines and completely missed what God instructs in Scripture.
My first reaction to anything taught about divorcing your spouse is to remember what God told me when Harold and I were sitting in shambles unsure if we could keep on going in our marriage. He hates divorce. He is sooo clear about it and it is not a “I don’t PREFER…LIKE…THINK YOU SHOULD kinda feeling” about the issue–It is a very serious “I HATE DIVORCE.” Take a look at Malachi 2. I find only a few things that God is literally repulsed by His people doing–divorce is one of them. That makes this teaching of this church very, very serious. You are correct to have a strong check in your spirit.
Nothing was more difficult for my flesh at the time than reading that my precious Lord HATED what I thought was an inevitable choice for us. However, I knew that if He required something different of us than our natural leanings, that He would also provide a way for us to have all that Christ had died to give us. AND BOY DID HE! I am so grateful that God had everything that both of us needed to stick it out. I thank God daily that HE held our marriage together when we had no earthly reason to stick it out!
So back to your questions, can God bless a second marriage or does He consider it to be adultery and a repulsion to Him. Boy, that is a LOADED question! It truly depends upon the situation. I think that is why Paul addresses it soooooo thoroughly in 1 Corinthians 7.
For one thing, there are many couples who marry, yet are not Christians. When one becomes a Christian, so many things can change in the relationship because the Christian becomes a completely new creature. Whereas, this is really a great thing, here Paul says in this passage that the unbeliever DOES have the freedom to leave the Christian. Of course, many Christians of his day AND ours take this to mean that they can be a thorn in the unbeliever’s side long enough that they can make them leave OR that they, as Christians, need a more “GODLY” spouse. This thinking is completely contrary to the character of God. Paul is clear on this in this passage and others like 1 Peter 3. In this passage, He says that the spouse is sanctified (set aside) because of the covenant relationship with a Christian, so that the children are clean and covered under the Christian Covenant (see vs 14). This matches up to other Scripture too. One of God’s main purposes for marriage is GODLY SEED–this is one reason that He says in Malachi that He hates divorce. He says in Malachi 2: 15 that He seeks for godly offspring and that divorce destroys godly offspring. The godly Christian is to (vs 17):
“Only, let each one seek to conduct himself and regulate his affairs so as to lead the life which the Lord has allotted and imparted to him and to which God has invited and summoned him.”
“Everyone should remain after God calls him in the station or condition of life in which the summons found him.”
“So, brethren, in whatever station or state or condition of life each was when he was called, there let him continue with and close to God.”
Why would the Christian HAVE to stay married after they are saved? Paul says here in this passage that you never know if the other unbelieving spouse WILL or WILL NOT be saved. It is their choice. Just look at the SUPER marriages that DO happen after both are saved! TRULY AWESOME TESTIMONIES! But, as Paul says, there are also tragedies in the marriage relationship when one spouse gets saved and the other wants to continue living a life of sin and debauchery. In those marriages the Christian is completely different from the person that the partner married. In that case, the unbeliever who does not want that spouse any longer is free to leave and divorce. BUT! The bottom line, you never know which way that they will go, so it is important to live a life like Christ Who loves us all so dearly, yet allows for those that choose to leave Him to go their own way.
Sooo, similarly, the first situation is salvation of one partner after marriage. The unsaved partner is free to leave and divorce.
What about remarriage by the Christian, well verse 15 says that if the unbeliever left them and divorced them, they are “no longer morally bound” to the relationship, but FREE.
And…look at the most important part of vs. 15, “But God has called us to peace.” God gives instruction not to tear us to pieces or to cause a burden, but rather to give us LIFE and PEACE and TRUE HAPPINESS! 🙂 So, say that a believer is married again and both are Christians, should they as this church teaches divorce and go back to their original spouse? NO. Scripture says here in the passages above to stay where you are. Also, in verse 27, he says again, “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free.”
Now…this is what Paul instructs AFTER becoming a believer, kinda hints that you can become a believer without all of this divorce and remarriage rhetoric that this church is teaching, huh? EXACTLY!
Jesus is just not this complicated! He SO loves us that HE did all that was necessary for us to be saved. He did all of the “to-do’s” for salvation. Our only “requirement” is to BELIEVE in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and we shall be saved. AND…I love Romans! That there is therefore now NO condemnation to those that are IN CHRIST JESUS…note that He did not say to those that GO BACK to their unbelieving spouses, divorcing their current spouses, and are in Christ Jesus. Ha!
Anytime that any church ADDS to the simple gospel, they are teaching false doctrines and are in heresy.
God does not allow any of this divorce and remarriage AFTER salvation. He would never require any of it BEFORE becoming a Christian. It is really sad that a church would get off track like this. I will really pray for the leaders to get deeply in the Word and let God’s Word be the ONLY thing that establishes doctrines in the church.
Again, I am SO happy to hear from you. I sure miss you deeply! I hope that this will make sense and truly help in some way!
Well, more later!