Divorce And Remarriage
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Divorce and Remarriage

Virtually all church groups maintain that adultery is sinful. The problem lies in the definition of adultery. Who has the authority to define adultery? Does this authority reside with a man or a religious organization or does this authority belong to God himself who created marriage? It is clear that God alone can define adultery. God's definition was given to us by his son Jesus Christ. Jesus is the final word and highest authority on this matter. Those who truly love Jesus will keep the commandments of God delivered to us by the Lord Jesus.

John 14:24 He who does not love Me does not keep My Words, and the Word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.

There is a huge problem within the professing church today. It is the problem of adultery. Many of our churches, particularly in the United States, are literally full of adulterers. What is even worse is that they were encouraged and counseled to commit these adulteries by pastors, elders and other church leaders.

Several years ago a I sat in a counseling session with Mark, a recent visitor in our church. He had asked for a private session with me because of some very serious questions he had about church leadership and the counsel that he had previously received. Mark began by asking me to listen to his story and to give him my opinion on what had transpired in his life.

Mark had been married prior to his conversion to Christ. His unbelieving wife was a constant critic of his new found faith in God. Things in his home were certainly not pleasant. However, Mark suffered the persecution and continued to attend church and to seek God's will for his life. One day in church he met Kathy. Kathy had the identical problem that Mark had. She had received Christ and her husband was her constant critic. Mark and Kathy talked at church about their common distress. One thing led to another and these two new believers decided that their marriages had been mistakes. Kathy divorced her husband and Mark divorced his wife. They took all this to the elders of their church who told them that it was obvious that God had brought them together. With the blessing of the church leaders, Mark and Kathy married.

After completing this account, Mark asked me what I thought about what he had told me. I did not hesitate. I told him that when he divorced his wife and married Kathy he committed adultery. Also when Kathy divorced her husband and married him she also committed adultery. I also told Mark that the elders who advised him and Kathy to marry were lying to them about God's will.

My answer was simple and purely based on the word of God. I was prepared for Mark to become angry as many professing believers do when they hear the truth about this matter. Instead, Mark smiled and told me that he had presented this same account to numerous pastors and I was the only pastor to tell him the truth. Mark then added, “We will be going to church here!”

Mark and Kathy had committed adultery and faced chastisement from the Lord for listening to the opinions of men rather than the word of God. They had later repented, confessed their fault publicly and constantly opposed the lies which had deceived them. God forgave them but they had lots of trouble and heartache. Just as King David who found God's forgiveness but also faced the consequences for what he had done, this couple was forgiven but grieved as they encountered the consequences of their adultery. God's chastisement will never leave us glad that we have sinned. We will always lament in our hearts and say, “If only we had heeded the words of the Lord!” Those who do not encounter this chastisement do not belong to the Lord.

Hebrews 12:6-8 for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives." (7) If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father does not chasten? (8) But if you are without chastisement, of which all are partakers, then you are bastards and not sons.

Unfortunately, Mark and Kathy are in a vast minority. Most of those who have been led astray by pastors and church leaders never truly come to repentance. In many instances, they go on to another divorce and marry yet again. Each time they repeat this cycle they involve themselves and the person who marries them in yet another adultery. They become angry when confronted about their behavior. One lady who was about to enter her third ungodly marriage was confronted with the adultery she was about to commit. Her response was, “I don't have time for this sh**!” Yes, she was a church member and attended regularly. Like so many church members today, she did not know the will of God because she was ignorant of the scriptures.

WHAT JESUS ACTUALLY SAID CONCERNING ADULTERY

Let's look at what the scriptures actually say about divorce and remarriage or more specifically what the scriptures say about adultery. The Lord taught about adultery in the fifth chapter of Matthew. He defined three ways of committing this sin:

1. lustful desire for another man's wife
2. a man wrongly divorcing his wife and marrying another woman
3. a man marrying the wrongly divorced woman

Matthew 5:27-32 You have heard that it was said to the ancients, "You shall not commit adultery." (28) But I say to you that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (29) And if your right eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell. (30) And if your right hand offends you, cut it off and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell. (31) It was also said, Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce. (32) But I say to you that whoever shall put away his wife, except for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever shall marry her who is put away commits adultery.

A man who inwardly desires an adulterous relationship with a woman is already an adulterer before any act has been committed. Matthew 5:29 & 30 speak of the seriousness of this matter of adultery. No effort will be made to explain this warning away or to say that Jesus did not really mean what he said.

The Lord then spoke of adultery being committed through ungodly divorce and remarriage (Matthew 5: 31 & 32). Jesus taught that a man who divorces a faithful wife is "causing her to commit adultery" and the man who marries this wrongly divorced wife is committing adultery.
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