Divorce & Remarriage Before Salvation

 

Comment/question
If a couple is divorced and remarries and afterwards gets saved, are they supposed to divorce and go back to their first spouses?

 

By some posts, this couple would still be living in adultery. If you think they are still living in adultery, don't you think trying to force them to go back to their former spouse would discourage them enough to quit church? Plus the confusion between families and children would be horrendous and very harmful, IMO.
Response  
I think what we need to do is go back and decide if God's laws are only intended for the "saved". Personally, I believe scripture teaches that God joins the unsaved in marriage, just as He joins the "saved". God made marriage for ALL of mankind, not just saved mankind. With that said, if a couple divorces and remarries and are unsaved, they are committing adultery against their covenant spouse.

 

I don't see where someone coming to the faith turns an illicit relationship lawful in the sight of God. If one is in adultery BEFORE they are saved, then get saved and are still in the same relationship---they are STILL in adultery and need to repent. If a couple is fornicating outside of marriage and then get saved, they need to stop their illicit relationship. If homosexuals get married civilly, then get saved, they need to forsake their illicit relationship----as God does not view it as lawful. Any illicit relationship needs to be forsaken as it is revealed as such to the new convert.

 

Would "forcing" someone to go back to their lawful spouse discourage them from the Lord? First of all, no one can really "force" another to obey God and really have it be true repentance. In my opinion, forsaking a remarriage absolutely would take great personal conviction----revealed by God----only then will someone TRULY, from the heart and then outwardly be able to forsake that relationship. If they really love the Lord, repenting will not hinder their walk with Him----it will only strengthen their walk and commitment to the Lord and bring it to a new level.

 

For someone who is not saved and being "pushed" to repent, yes, I do believe it would cause them to "quit church"........because they are not there for God, but for some other reason (to be "religious", make social connections, etc). Their "flesh" will rebel.

 

Truthfully, forsaking sin will never lead those who are truly seeking God away from Him---permanently. They may "hide" for season, but they will come back----because they have already tasted the goodness of God and they know He forgives when we come in true repentance----willing to forsake our sin and follow Him.

 

Comment/question
Ok it would be nice if someone would answer my question. Do these things apply to someone who has divorce(s) before they were saved and remarried after?
Response  
Personally, I believe ALL first marriages are joined by God until death. If it is adultery for a Christian to remarry because they are already joined to another until death, then it is adultery for an unbeliever to divorce and marry another when they have a living spouse. Sin is sin. Conversion does not do away with a lawful spouse just as it does not do away with children. If the Lord blesses one with children, the children do not become non-children when one is saved. If the Lord joins two in marriage before salvation, they do not become "unmarried" having to be married now "in the Lord" to be considered husband and wife. And a divorce does not do away with a spouse that God has joined one to.

 

I know many use the scripture in I Cor. 7 "remain as you are" concerning illicit marriages (adulterous marriages), to say that if one has sinned by divorcing while an unbeliever and married another, they should STAY in that relationship. We need to ask ourselves this: if God calls a relationship sin, when one comes to saving faith in Christ, should they continue in the relationships that Jesus has called sin? If my husband is unsaved, having an affair (committing adultery) and has 4 children from this affair, can he keep that relationship he's having when he gets saved---because the scriptures say "remain as you are"? Does having children matter in the scope of things? Can the legally married homosexual continue his/her marriage after coming to faith because the scripture says, "remain as you are?".............just some things to ponder.

 

Comment/question
neither of you were a christian when you divorced the first time, you became a believer after and the old was put off and new was put on, is the second marriage valid if you marry a christian?
Response  
Becoming a Christian does not do away with a marriage God joined together---a marriage of two unbelievers. If I'm divorced and come to Christ, I am expected to remain unmarried---otherwise I commit adultery if I marry another while my husband is alive. Sin is sin----for the believer and the unbeliever. The vows one takes as an unbeliever are just as important as those one takes as a believer----and just as binding in the Lord's sight.

Comment/question
What happened to not being unequally yoked? what happened to sins of the past being forgotten? Wouldn't the sin of the past divorce be forgotten if you became a Christian after? I guess I just don't understand all of this.
Response  
Jesus said to marry one after a divorce was adultery. That means a divorce does NOT dissolve the union in God's sight---otherwise if divorce did dissolve, then one couldn't commit adultery when they marry a different person. When we look at who Jesus was speaking to, we must ask ourselves this: were they saved? Was He only addressing those who were born again, or are His sayings applicable to all of mankind?

 

Also, concerning being unequally yoked, I believe that pertains more to a first marriage AFTER one is a Christian to a non-Christian. However, in I Cor. 7:13-15 we see that there ARE valid marriages in God's sight where a believer is joined to an unbeliever.

 

A friend of mine just told me this story: a woman in her church divorced her husband. She stayed "unmarried" for a time, but then met a nice Christian man and married him. They set up their(wife/1st husband) child's pick-up for visitation at her church. The first husband decided to attend the church. He ended up coming to know the Lord. The Lord commands those who depart from their husbands to remain unmarried or be reconciled. Do you think she went ahead of the Lord and sinned by marrying the second man?

 

In any case, divorce is like any other sin. If one comes to faith and they are a thief, they will stop stealing and in many cases will make restitution where they can (remember little man Zachias up in the tree). If one is in adultery, they not only will confess this sin, they will forsake it. The same goes with divorce. If one is divorced, they will confess the sin of divorce and then do as Paul taught----remain unmarried or be reconciled to their spouse. They will not want to enter into adultery once they have seen the scriptures which forbid it.

 

The problem is that most churches today are not teaching the Word of God.......so many end up in relationships that the Lord Himself calls sin.........not digging into the Word of God for themselves, but trusting others to tell them what God's Word means and what they are allowed to do.

 

(name deleted), if you are anxious over this issue, I really encourage you to get into God's Word and STUDY. Ask the Lord to teach you HIS way as you seek truth in this matter. There was a time several years ago that I was burdened to know the truth on this issue and felt compelled to study all I could and weigh church teachings/practices up against what I saw in the Word of God. Maybe the Lord is leading you in that direction as well.

 

Comment/question
According to the cross, the captives or their past are set free, which means their sins they committed from that day are past, and are set free from those sins.
How then could they be continuing in an adulterous relationship, etc. based on sins that the Father no longer remembers?

 

I just can not see how this can confuse people? It's a clean slate!
Response  
So you believe then that ANY illicit sexual relationship can continue AFTER conversion, or is it only adultery in a remarriage?

 

Comment/question
Something else I don't understand is that is it possible to be married to someone God didn't want you to be married to? In other words, is it possible that there are first marriages outside of God's will?
Response  
Speaking generally here, not about a specific marriage, yes, I believe we can marry outside of God's Will in our first marriages. However, that does not negate our marital vows. God, if two people who are free to marry, do marry---will join them as one. As seems to often get discounted/not looked upon is this: when a marriage takes place, God is not only the Witness, HE joins the two as One----HE sets the terms of marriage and it's dissolvement (which He has stated will occur at death(Rom. 7:2-3, I Cor. 7:39)----- not divorce, not adultery, not abandonment, etc).

 

Because God knows all from the beginning, He knows that when two unsaveds get married, one may become saved, while the other is not-----yet He joins them as ONE. Paul speaks of such marriages in I Cor. 7:12-16. Paul in those cases, never says the marriage is dissolved, he says to the believer to "let them leave".......you are not under bondage (whole different word in the Greek than the bound of Rom. 7:2-3). The bondage is defined as slavery/servitude.

Many want to say that the believer is "loosed" from the bond of marriage when an unbeliever leaves. If that is so, then they would also have to concur then that the unbeliever is then no longer sanctified (set apart)..........and that is a very sad thing. One, that the believer will no longer have that sanctifying influence on the covenant spouse and two: because of this, the other spouse, in their unsaved state, will have MORE ungodly influence in the lives of any children from that union.

 

To do things in opposition to the Word of God has long lasting, far reaching implications that we can only slightly grasp concerning the spiritual.

 

Comment/question
Do you honestly expect unbelievers to live to a standard that they don't believe in? Does God approve of the divorce just because they are unbelievers? No. Does He approve of them being unbelievers in the first place? No.

 

Unbelievers are not asking God, who they don't believe in, to be a covenant member of their civil union (which ultimately their marriage contract is). Yes, I know that you don't agree. So if you want to stay legal and not mystical, All parties have to agree to be in a contract and they did not invite God into their contract
Response  
ALL are held to the same standard in regards to sin. The difference for unbelievers is that they don't have the power to NOT sin, the believer does---when they are walking by the Spirit.

 

The Lord's wrath is coming upon the world BECAUSE of sin. If the Lord created marriage, which He did--(man did not) and man enters into what God created, God is there. "Inviting" Him does not give Him permission to be a part of the marriage He created..........He created it and He set the terms for the use of marriage----for better or worse, 'til death do us part.

 

Comment/question
I missed where the anti-remarriage camp answered my question about if it is alright to have a remarried person/couple as a member(s) of their church.

 

What if a couple is non-Christian and they get married with no church, no mention of God, etc. and at some point they get divorced and one or more of them becomes a Christian?
Are they free to remarry or are they also considered adulterers?

 

They could not have possibly made a covenant with God because they didn't know God.
Response  
We have discussed this numerous times on this thread. It is my belief, which I think can clearly be ascertained by the Word, that God made marriage for ALL of mankind, not just "saved" people. When Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees on the topic of marriage, He was not speaking to regenerated peoples.

 

Also to be considered, breaking the moral law applies to all people's, not just Christians. It is because of sin that God's wrath will come upon unsaved mankind. If someone who is unregenerated commits adultery by remarriage it is no different than if a Christian does---both acts are sin. The difference is in the Response  to sin by a believer. Once it is revealed as such to them, they will not be able to remain in it with comfort. Do you understand?

 

Comment/question
I've read that here and don't have any questions really, except that I don't think all first marriages are a covenant. Like I pointed out earlier, two atheists can get married, but they can't make a covenant with a God they don't believe exists. So, I do think there are exceptions to this.

 

I don't believe that two people who don't know the Lord are in an adulterous relationship if they are on their second marriages.

 

I believe that He expects different things from His children than He does from His creation. IOW- I don't think He holds the Christian and the satanist, atheist, tree worshippers, etc. to the same standard of accountability. I think He holds Christians to a much higher standard. Therefore, I think there is a difference between the accountability of marriage, divorce and remarriage of Christians and of non-Christians.
Response  
Do you believe that the couple Paul is speaking about in I Cor. 7:13-15 is in covenant with God? In that scenario we have a believer (presumably an unbeliever when they married) with an unbeliever. You have to ask yourself this question: Can you biblically base your belief that unbelievers are not "joined" by God in marriage? Since God is the creator of the institute of marriage for ALL of mankind, how can we then say that He is "left out" of marriages between unbelievers? It seems to me that throughout the OT and NT we see an acknowledging of unbeliever's marriages as being valid in the Lord's eyes. The fact of the matter is that MANY who are unbelievers acknowledge God in their covenant to each other.

 

Also, another point to consider is this: If an unbeliever divorces and remarries, is it a sin for them to do so, and if so, do they get a "free" ticket to sin with God?

 

I will agree with you that the Lord holds us (true believers) to a much more stringent lifestyle, one that reflects Him---because we have the power to do so (the Holy Spirit). With that said though, scripture teaches us that ALL will stand before God and answer for the things we have done in the Body----both the saved and the unsaved. What is adultery is still adultery for the believer as well as the unbeliever. The unbeliever doesn't get to "stay" in adultery and have that sin be ignored because of their unsaved state. What is sin when one is an unbeliever is still a sin when one comes to Christ. Sinful relationships do not "miraculously" change into lawful relationships once one becomes "in Christ"............an adulterers is still expected to forsake his/her adulterous relationship, the fornicator is still expected to stop fornicating, and a homosexual is expected to forsake his/her sexual relationships. Somehow though, because the law of the land has put a stamp of approval on remarriage adultery---calling it lawful, people now focus on repenting of the sin of divorcing their covenant spouses, but neglect repenting of the adulterous union they are now in.

 

Also, another point to consider is this: If an unbeliever divorces and remarries, is it a sin for them to do so, and if so, do they get a "free" ticket to sin with God?-----------
I wanted to add this thought as well. There are 4 marriages in the OT/NT that I know of that God did NOT acknowledge as "bound" by Him or at least doesn't appear to be so:

 

1. Michal's 2nd marriage. Her first husband was David. After he went into hiding, she married a second man who loved her very much. However, David came back for her. She went back with David after having been another man's wife. (obviously the second "vow" did not dissolve the first taken with David)

 

2. Ezra 9-10. The Israelites had joined themselves to women of other nations against the commandment of God. They put away (divorced) these wives in repentance.

 

3. Mal. 2. The man on the altar is weeping. He has put away his covenant wife and taken another wife. The Lord tells him that He rejects his offerings. (the teachings in today's church would say that all one has to do is be really sorry for a divorce/remarriage, yet here in this passage we see that sorrow is not sufficient to the Lord-----it is REJECTED. It also appears that the first wife is STILL the wife of the covenant, not the second. Pretty clear which "marriage" the Lord is in favor of).

 

4. Herod/Herodias. Herodias divorced her husband Philip to marry Herod (who also put his wife away). John accused Herod of having Philip's wife, telling him it was not lawful. (Obviously a divorce did NOT dissolve Herodias' and Philip's marriage. She was STILL considered to be Philip's wife----in spite of a second marriage. For those who say a remarriage dissolves a previous marriage, it is clear that in the case of Herod/Heriodas that is not the truth).

 

Comment/question
How does God recognize a marriage? Because God recognizes the marriage vows of anyone, even the pagans.
Response  
I agree, that's why 1st marriages contracted BEFORE salvation are just as binding to the Lord as those 1st marriages contracted AFTER conversion.

 

Comment/question
I have a question for u? If 2 people who r sinners(have never been born again) get married and after 20 years, her husband leaves her for another woman, they get divorced does she have to remain unmarried for the remainder of her life? If she started living for The Lord, couldn't she then marry a christian man? Isn't wantever u do while in sin forgiven when u r born again?
I can understand what u r saying about 2 people who r christians who divorce is it the same for 2 people who r not living for God.
Also for people who r married the second time while their 1st husband is living who have children from that marriage, do they have to leave each other and live alone?
Response  
I believe that ANY marriage the Lord joins is bound until death. It is the law of marriage----not made only for saved mankind, but for ALL of mankind. God honors/joins unbelievers just as He does believers. I also believe if an unbeliever divorces and remarries, they are just as much in the sin of adultery as the believer who does this. The difference is that the unbeliever is following his sin nature. There is no room for such in the life of believer who says they now "live for Christ" though.

 

As for repentance, the counsel should be no different that what we would tell any person who is involved in a biblically defined illicit relationship.

 

Comment/question
What about people who divorce before they get saved? They can't get saved and meet a nice Christian gal at church?
Response  
Concerning marriages contracted prior to salvation, does God only join Christians in marriage---all others who "marry" are in actuality fornicating? If God joins the unsaved as well as the saved, which I believe is support by scripture, do we find that salvation then dissolves the marriages God joined together----allowing one to marry a different person? Does salvation also nullify our relationships as parents, siblings, children, etc? Does the passage: "all things have become new" mean that I no longer have children, or parents, etc?

 

See also