Marriage - Divorce - Remarriage
“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?  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,  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?  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder”’ (Matthew 19:3-6)
What we see from these above Scriptures is that in the beginning God made Adam and Eve – two became one flesh, and the legal instrument and institution of marriage was made universal and was applicable to ALL mankind - both saint and sinner alike. Jesus declared and commanded in Matt. 5:31 WHOSOEVER... As such, in God’s mind he did not intend divorce. If Adam or Eve would have decided to ‘divorce’ then whom would they have married. In addition, while Adam was created from the dust of the earth, Eve was created from the bone and flesh of Adam. Hence,
“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:23)
Moreover, what God personally thinks about divorce we find in the following Scriptures,
“Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.  And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.  For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” (Malachi 2:14-16)
So what did Jesus have to say on the subject of Divorce and Remarriage?
"It hath been said,
Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of
divorcement:  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." (Matthew 5:31-32)
Thus, according to Jesus the only legitimate and viable Scriptural ground for divorce is for the cause of 'Fornication', which we will define a little later in this article. However, what we see from the above Scriptures is something unique. Hence, if a man/woman divorces their spouse for reasons other than fornication he/she causes them to commit adultery. How could this cause the innocent in a divorce to commit adultery? Look at what Apostle Paul says regarding this subject.
"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." (Romans 7:2)
Therefore, if the woman/man marries or lives (shacks up) with another, they commit adultery, because they were not divorced (loosed) from their spouse on legitimate Scriptural grounds.
So what is FORNICATION? According to Strong's Biblical Hebrew Dictionary we find the following:
zanah, Hebrew 2181, Strong’s
zanah, zaw-naw'; a primitive root [highly fed and therefore wanton]; to commit adultery (usually of the female, and less often of simple fornication, rarely of involuntary ravishment); figurative to commit idolatry (the Jewish people being regarded as the spouse of Jehovah) :- (cause to) commit fornication, × continually, × great, (be an, play the) harlot, (cause to be, play the) whore, (commit, fall to) whoredom, (cause to) go a-whoring, whorish.
taznuwth, Hebrew 8457, Strong’s
taznuwth, taz-nooth'; or taznuth, taz-nooth'; from Hebrew 2181 (zanah); harlotry, i.e. (figurative) idolatry :- fornication, whoredom.
Again, according to Strong's Biblical Greek Dictionary we see,
porneia, Greek 4202, Strong’s
porneia, por-ni'-ah; from Greek 4203 (porneuo); harlotry (including adultery and incest); figurative idolatry :- fornication.
porneuo, Greek 4203, Strong’s
porneuo, porn-yoo'-o; from Greek 4204 (porne); to act the harlot, i.e. (literal) indulge unlawful lust (of either sex), or (figurative) practise idolatry :- commit (fornication).
ekporneuo, Greek 1608, Strong’s
ekporneuo, ek-porn-yoo'-o; from Greek 1537 (ek) and Greek 4203 (porneuo); to be utterly unchaste :- give self over to fornication.
Thus, with respect to both the above Hebrew and Greek definitions, as can clearly be seen fornication simply is defined as, ALL illicit [proscribed] sexual intercourse that is both condemned and forbidden. The only thing one needs to apply here is an understanding of the Holiness/Righteousness of God along with His intended purpose for His creation.
Is homosexuality/lesbianism wrong? Yes. Is prostitution immoral? Yes. Is incest wrong? Yes. Is bestiality (sex with an animal) an abomination? Yes. Is adultery wrong? Yes. Is pedophilia (sex with children) wrong? Yes. Is necrophilia (sex with dead corpses) an abomination? Yes. As can be seen the list goes on and on. Thus, fornication includes any and all imaginable unclean sexual actives plus idolatry - Israel was married to Jehovah. From the above you can clearly begin to see that Scripture does not define per incident in each culture's specific language all sins within a given category. In this case the 'Inspired Word of God' simply lumps all immoral sexual sins and the lustful worship of pagan gods under the generic heading of 'Fornication'.
So do not make the foolish mistake of thinking that just because the lustful sin you may want to commit is not listed by name in the Word of God, that you have God's blessing. Instead, you must search the Scriptures to see if your intended fleshly lust is proscribed by God under a generalized heading for sin.
Meanwhile, what else did Apostle Paul have to say about divorce and remarriage? Actually what we find in Scripture is that Apostle Paul was extremely conservative on this subject and complied exactly in accordance with God's Law. As such,
"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?  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.  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." (Romans 7:1-3)
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." (1 Cor. 7:39)
Apostle Paul continues by stating,
"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God." (Romans 7:4)
So what is Paul saying? He was/is simply making the analogy to the Jews/world that they were once married to the Mosaic Law which had/has become dead due to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ – His death on the cross paid the penalty for our sins and brought the Mosaic Law to a close. Paul is only making the point that with the death of one of the marriage partners, in this case the Mosaic Law, the other partner is now free to marry Christ.
However, do not be confused into thinking that God's moral laws are dead. Murder under the Mosaic Law is still murder under the New Covenant of Christ. Theft under the Mosaic Law is still theft under the New Covenant. Fornication under the Mosaic Law is still fornication under the New Covenant. Adultery under the Mosaic Law is still adultery under the New Covenant. This is why Apostle Paul cautioned whenever he declared,
"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, [freedom to sin] but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Galatians 5:13-14)
"For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Romans 13:9)
You have been called to total freedom from all the law, but do not let this cause you to think that you have no responsibility or obligation to live righteously. The New Covenant demands righteousness of all people and the love of your neighbors as yourself.
Moreover, Paul continues by revealing that if you are married, stay married (!!!), and do not go about looking for an occasion to get a divorce. In reciprocity, if you are legitimately divorced do not go about looking for a wife/husband.
"Art thou bound unto a wife [husband]? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife [husband]? seek not a wife [husband]. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you." (1 Cor. 7:27-28)
"For I would that all men were even as I myself [unmarried]. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.  I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." (1 Cor. 7:7-8)
But why would Apostle Paul advocate remaining unmarried?
"But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:  But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.  There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction." (1 Cor. 7:32-35)
So what happens if an innocent martial partner is left, abandoned, or put away (divorced) due to no fault of their own? What we see from the above and below Scriptures is while Paul emphatically advocated the bonds of marriage many think he left open, depending on your interpretation, the door for the possibility of legitimate Scriptural divorce and remarriage on the grounds of ABANDONMENT.
"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." (1 Cor. 7:15)
However, Jesus declared, that if a spouse puts away (divorces) their spouse for reasons other than fornication they cause them to commit adultery, because they were not legitimately loosed (free from the moral law) to remarry. Having said this, there appears then to be a paradox between Paul's statement (1 Cor. 7:15) and that of Jesus (Mat. 5:32).
"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." (1 Cor. 7:15)
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." (Matthew 5:32)
How could this be? Many eager detractors today have wrongly twisted Paul's statement to imply that he felt that if an innocent individual was/is left (divorced) through no fault of their own they were/are free from the moral law (bonds of marriage), thus advocating the possibility of remarriage to another on legitimate Scriptural terms.
Paul made no such declaration. Point in fact is that what Paul implied was that a brother or a sister was not subservient to the sinful request and demands of the departing unbeliever. Christians were not to compromise their faith in Christ in order to gain acceptance of an unbelieving spouse. They were not to try and violently restrain a departing spouse just to remain married. Paul clearly stated..."but God hath called us to peace."
Look at the transliterated Greek text from a couple of other well published Bibles that clearly show Paul's original intent for 1 Corinthians 7:15.
"But if the one who is not a Christian has a desire to go away, let it be so: the brother or the sister in such a position is not forced to do one thing or the other: but it is God's pleasure that we may be at peace with one another." (Bible in Basic English – BBE)
"If, however, the unbeliever is determined to leave, let him or her do so. Under such circumstances the Christian man or woman is no slave; God has called us to live lives of peace." (Weymouth's Bible –WEY)
As plainly indicated by these above cited Scriptures, Paul in NO way suggest the abandoned (deserted) spouse be given the right to usurp God's law and remarry another. They were/are to remain single or to be reconciled to their former spouse, unless the departed unbeliever at a later date commits fornication. The so-called 'Pauline Privilege' for divorce and remarriage on the grounds of abandonment (desertion) is born out of the pagan practices of Catholicism.
Therefore, the summary of this argument is, if the alleged Pauline Privilege was to be an acceptable instrument of Divorce/Remarriage, it only stands to reason that Jesus would have declared, 'If any man puts away his wife, except for the causes of fornication and desertion, he causeth her to commit adultery...'
As such, if such an "alleged" Pauline Privilege actually was a legitimate Biblical grounds for divorce - then why did Jesus clearly declare that, WHOSOVER puts away his wife EXCEPT/SAVING for the cause of fornication CAUSES her to commit adultery (Pauline Privilege), and WHOSEVER marries her after she is divorced commits adultery.
Matthew 5:32 (KJV)
In addition, the concept of fornication by 'idolatry' and the perpetual oneness of marriage are plainly illustrated throughout the history of Israel in their relationship to Jehovah. When Israel has attempted to put away their God Jehovah, and marry other pagan idolatrous gods, the result is always the same. God declares them to be an idolatrous, adulterous harlot which results in their being profoundly punished. Therefore, how can Israel ever be legitimately and righteously married to another god other than their one and only true God Jehovah, who shall never die nor commit fornication against them?
Remember YOU and not God are the one who makes the decision as to whom you will marry. So take it very seriously.
Meanwhile, when we look at the actual Greek word for 'Bondage' we find the following.
douloo, Greek 1402, Strong’s
douloo, doo-lo'-o; from Greek 1401 (doulos); to enslave (literal or figurative) :- bring into (be under) bondage, × given, become (make) servant.
Nowhere in this definition does it ever imply the dissolving of the martial bond or 'God's Universal Law of Marriage and Divorce'. It simply means the individual abandoned is not a slave to keep the marriage together and continue the support of the departing unbeliever at any cost.
Moreover, the Greek word 'douloo' is used in the Perfect Tense: As such the verb means that the Christian is not now, nor has he ever been in the type of bondage indicated by the word bondage. This could not mean marriage.
Meanwhile, Paul returns to the subject by cautioning illegitimate divorces by stating,
"And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:  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 Cor. 7:10-11) (visa-versa husband depart from wife)
So what was/is Paul saying? Simply, if an individual departs or divorces their spouse for unscriptural reasons they are never again to marry, otherwise it will result in adultery. If they are ever again to have a marriage partner they must return to their former spouse.
Therefore this begs the question, can an individual say that they left (divorced) their martial partner for illegitimate unscriptural reasons while they were in sin, and since that sinful past they have sought the Lord's forgiveness and want to remarry another individual other than their former spouse? After all does not Scripture say that when one comes to Christ, all is made new?
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Cor. 5:17)
The blunt answer is emphatically NO!!! Why? Let us look once again at what Jesus and Apostle Paul had/has to say on this matter.
"But I say unto you, That whosoever [Christian or Sinner alike] shall put away his wife, saving [Except] for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery." (Matthew 5:31)
"And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:  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 Cor. 7:10-11)
What must be understood about sin is that while the act of the sin within itself can be forgiven by God, the natural consequences of that sin will still remain. For example, if a partner in a marriage commits adultery and an illegitimate child results, the guilty person can seek God's forgiveness. However, the natural consequences of that sin, the illegitimate child, still remains. Again, if someone commits murder, humbly seeks and finds God's forgiveness, the innocent victim is still none the less dead. As such, as a heinous premeditated murder God has ordained government to take the life of the perpetrator of such a crime against humanity – murder/sin, even though they have received forgiveness. Therefore, the natural consequences of their sin remain.
While it may sound unfair or unjust, because Adam and Eve sinned against God, even though we have been born again and redeemed by the 'Blood of the Lamb' we still have to die (short of the rapture) – the universal naturally inherited consequences of the stain of Adam and Eve's sin continue.
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon ALL men, for that ALL have sinned:" (Romans 5:12)
So the summation of the matter is this. If someone is legitimately put away (divorced) for 'fornication', while they can receive forgiveness, the time limit and consequence of the penalty for their former fornication sin is such that, that individual must remain unmarried for the remainder of their life or be reconciled to their former spouse. There are those that would say wait just one minute, I have remarried and there are now finances, property, children, etc. involved. This only serves to complicate the issue but does nothing by way of legitimizing the fornication sin.
Adultery resulting from an illegitimate marriage is an ONGING and progressive sin - not simply a one and done event...the two parties are sinfully and illegitimately continuously living together. Thus, if one RETURNS to the same sin for which God has forgiven them (i.e. illegitimately living together) they woefully continue in their former sin of fornication/adultery...
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 16:25)
To reiterate, if it is adultery before we seek God's forgiveness it is equally adultery after we have received God's forgiveness, if we continue in the same sinful practice. In another example, if we are a thief who has secured God's forgiveness for a sin of stealing, we are still a thief if we continue the same stealing activity. Hence, 'God Forgives Us Of Our Sins but Not In Our Sins.' If fornication does not carry a natural life long consequence then the marriage vowel of 'until death do we part' becomes absolutely meaningless.
This would ultimately result in the destruction of the universal institution of marriage as is being evidenced today where now one out of every two marriages ends in a divorce. With this in mind, what do we see? Get an unscriptural divorce, remarry and go to Church and get forgiveness. Don't like that partner, or God has allegedly told them that the partner they now have is really not the right one He would like for them to have... No problem - just get another unscriptural divorce and simply find a new Church, and you got it, get forgiveness for their sin, remarry and start all over again, infinitely. Thus, in today's society there seems to be no such thing as the sin of adultery.
This should seem to get the attention of those who hold to the permissive 'any reason is acceptable' for divorce/remarriage conundrum. They easily accept a divorced individual from a typical heterosexual relationship, applying forgiveness and remarriage both readily and amicably. However, if the divorce is subsequent to one of the partners being engaged in the habitual repugnant sins of pedophilia (sex with children), necrophilia (sex with dead corpses) or bestiality (sex with animals), this causes an immediate pause. Nonetheless, according to God sin is sin – big or little. So it only stands to reason that anyone, with pleasing God in mind would not advocate or condone a marriage to a fornicator with this type of sin as a perquisite, even though they had been forgiven – the natural consequences remain.
From the above information we can easily ascertain that when someone considers divorce they must establish the 'One and Only Scriptural Ground Permissible – Fornication.' Thus, the only acceptable means for the disannulling of the marriage contract is through death, fornication - idolatry. In addition, they should have a sober attention that they are walking a very fine line, and should not be deceived by weak Preachers of weak Churches whose major thrust is to increase membership and financial growth, at the expense of the unsuspecting lost soul.
Sad to say one of the most proliferate sins in America today is 'adultery'. Why? The Church has become complacently silent on this particular subject because of fear and financial gain. We need to return to the days when men and women of God gladly bore the Cross of Truth with fire and courage, and stood before the world and boldly proclaimed, 'Thus Saith the Lord'.
In his own words Apostle Paul declared,
"From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." (Galatians 6:17)
"Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;  In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;  In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness... The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.  In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:  And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands." (2 Cor.11:24-27, 31-33)
In closing, I encourage you to search the Scriptures for the TRUTH, for in them you will either gain Heaven or enter THE Eternal Hell. This is entirely an exercise of your own FREE WILL.