Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage Situation # 3
A Christian couple was married scripturally. We will call them John and Sue. They both had good jobs, but in two separate and distant cities. Sue wanted a divorce, but John did not. Furthermore, he correctly told her she would be violating God’s word by pursuing an unscriptural divorce. Sue filed for divorce anyway (not for the scriptural reason of fornication, Matthew 5:31,32; 19:9). Shortly thereafter, Sue married a man named Jack. Several months later Sue told John she had committed adultery with Jack and her desire had been to divorce John and marry Jack. After three years, John met a single lady named Lucy and married her. They had a child together. After twelve years of marriage, members of the Lord’s church lovingly told Lucy that according to God’s word she was not scripturally married to John because he did not have a right to get remarried since his divorce was not for the scriptural cause of fornication. John rationalizedthat since he did not consent to the divorce from his ex-wife, Sue, and since she had committed adultery with Jack while they were married(even though he did not learn this until after the fact), he had a scriptural right to marry Lucy. What do the principles of God’s word say about this situation?
The Bible teaches that a divorce can only be scriptural if the innocent party divorces the guilty party because of the guilty party’s fornication (Matthew 5:31,32; 19:9).
John did not divorce Sue because of her fornication. Since he was not even aware of her fornication, it would have been impossible for him to divorce her for such.
God recognizes a divorce whether it is consensual or not. In the case of an unscriptural divorce, both parties only have the options of either remaining unmarried or being reconciled to each other (1 Corinthians 7:10-16). In this situation, neither Sue nor John remained unmarried; therefore, they both violated Jesus’ marriage, divorce, and remarriage laws. They must get out of their adulterous marriages and remain unmarried, becoming “eunuchs” for the kingdom’s sake (Matthew 19:12; compare Ezra 10:1-19).
Since Lucy (and Jack) married an unscripturally divorced person, she continues to abide in an adulterous marriage and must dissolve that unlawful marriage in order to be right in the sight of God (Matthew 5:32; 19:9; Luke 16:18).