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Question #28

Can a Christian Scripturally Marry a Person Divorced for Other Than Adultery?

At 18 this young man married divorced she would not go to his home town out of the service so they divorced , few years later he married she had another man they divorced with one child he then again years later married and she left him for another man he determined never to marry still non Christian then a Christian lady who had never been married , married him should she the Christian have married him? And now he is studying and we have hopes he will become a Christian this is 30 years after the first wife which I believe would be the problem. Can he become a Christian and be right with his new Christian wife?

The Answer:

Please read all of the answer to Question No. 2, but especially the answer to Subparts 2 and 3. If I understand your question, a man now 48 years of age has married a Christian woman who had never been married. It is not clear how many times he had been married. What is clear is that he did not have a scriptural divorce from his first wife. The Christian woman was eligible to marry, having never been married; the man was not eligible to marry since his first divorce was not because of adultery on the part of his wife. The Scripture plainly says, “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” (Matthew 19:9.) Some suggest that when the first wife married, thereby committing adultery according to Matthew 19:9, the husband was freed to remarry. The truth in that case, however, is that the adultery in that case was the result of the divorce and not the cause of it. To avoid this conclusion some teach that God does not recognize earthly divorce. To the contrary, they argue, divorce in God’s eyes occurs when one of the parties commits adultery either with or without marriage. Such, however, does not seem to be the teaching of Scripture. Notice that the person who got a divorce in Matthew 19:9 “married” another. If a man was still married to the first wife in spite of an earthly divorce, and God recognized the second state as “married,” which He plainly does, then He must endorse polygamy. True, it may just be for a short time until the second union is consummated, but it remains polygamy until God recognizes the second union. It does seem strange that one would take the position that God does not recognize the dissolution of a marriage until an unscriptural marriage occurs. 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 clearly establish that such thinking is erroneous. “10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” When one who is married departs from the spouse, the departing spouse must remain unmarried. If God did not recognize the departure (“to leave a husband or wife: of divorce, 1 Co. vii, 11, 15,” Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament), how could the departing spouse be referred to as “unmarried”? The language of the New Testament on marriage and divorce is not nearly as complicated as some make it. Generally, those who seek to avoid it are themselves or have family members who are caught up in unscriptural relationships. The family is important to God. He requires that it be respected and kept pure by man. Many are the tears and regrets that could have been avoided if people would had thought about the teaching of Scripture before they married instead of after they have gotten into an untenable situation. Once they find themselves in that situation and a marriage is terminated for reasons other than fornication or adultery, only two alternatives are available – remain unmarried or be reconciled to the one from whom they are separated. (1 Cor. 7:11.)

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)