Has One Committed Adultery by Remarrying After Divorce?

Divorce is rampant among Christians and non-Christians alike. There are some instances where people have married not once or twice, but three, four, five, or six times. They have had a succession of mates, a succession of children, and a succession of problems.

God is on the side of people. He loves people, and He understands what has happened in such situations. But it is impossible for me to say that this conduct is all right. A minister of God must teach what is in the Bible; yet the teaching must be tempered with the biblical understanding of God’s love. It is very difficult to make hard and fast rules.

Does one, for example, tell a three-times-divorced man to go back to his previous mate? What if the previous mate is now remarried? Is it right to ask the remarried couple to make a second divorce and break up a second home? The basic rule is that divorce and remarriage are not permitted, except for adultery or desertion, and that is the rule the church should stick to. Young people should be made aware that marriage is for life – for keeps – and not something to be entered into and then gotten out of whenever one feels like it.

However, given the appalling state of marriage in the modern world, I feel that the church should use its power of “binding and loosing” (see Matthew 16:19) to provide guidance in the way of forgiveness to divorced and remarried couples who have received Jesus Christ after their divorce. In other words, the church should (and I personally would) say that what happened in your past life is covered by the blood of Christ. Enjoy your present marriage and live in it to the glory of God without recrimination. However, for Christians who have divorced (after being born again) for reasons other than adultery or desertion, I believe they should either be reconciled to their Christian mates or remain unmarried.

Finally, in these complex personal matters I recommend prayer, study of the Bible, and that you counsel with a wise and godly pastor in your own community.