Divorce and Remarriage, Adultery, Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9

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What Does the Bible Say about Divorce and Remarriage?

 

What did Christ say about divorce and remarriage? We have a sample of His teachings on divorce, remarriage, and adultery in Matthew’s gospel. Though this is a topic marriage speakers seem to shy away from, Jesus made it front and center in His teachings.

 

A Light View of Marriage

 

Frankly, I am surprised to see the number of couples that call themselves Christians that view divorce and remarriage as a viable option to their marriage issues. If you will receive it, I would like to make what some will deem to be a rather strong statement:

 

​The only differences between outright adultery and a number of our divorce and remarriage situations are time and a piece of paper filed in divorce court.

 

If you carefully read the gospels, you will find that ​Jesus mentioned marriage on just a few occasions.  But, when He did, He often related divorce and remarriage to adultery. We find these accounts in Matthew’s gospel:

 

“But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”  (Matthew 5:32)

 

“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)

 

Jesus, the Marriage Speaker

 

We often ask, “What Jesus would do?”. As a Bible teacher, I take the question a little further and wonder what His sermons would be like if He were alive today. In Matthew 5 and 19, we have an example of how Jesus would teach in relation to marriage, and, it is quite the contrast to our marriage messages today. The very topic that we conveniently overlook was front and center in Christ’s teachings.

 
divorce and remarriage

When Jesus dealt with marriage, His goal was not laughter, tear-jerking stories, or countless explanations as to why couples struggle to get along. His intent was for people to view divorce and remarriage from God’s perspective. Part of Christ’s motive was to to remind people that a light view of marriage leads to the heavy sin of adultery.

 

Not a Legalist, but a Biblicist

 

Even as I write these words, I am confident that a few will be tempted to categorize these words as archaic, old-fashioned, or legalistic. Keep in mind, I have simply quoted the God that we all claim to serve, and the same Jesus that said, “whosoever believeth in me shall not perish” also exclaimed the previous verses.

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15 comments on “Divorce and Remarriage, Adultery, Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9
  1. Shay says:

    My current husband and I have both been divorced, him once and myself twice. His divorce could be validated under grounds of fornication but mine cannot. I have the same concerns as the above commenter, Yonni. Are we committing continuous adultery? Are we supposed to get divorced to be right in God’s eyes? I know you told her that we should look to the future instead of the past but what do you say about Jesus saying that we are making each other adulterers? Wouldn’t that be for the entire duration of the marriage? Any advice is appreciated. I love my husband dearly and hate the thought of having to leave him. Thanks.

  2. Shauna says:

    I believe the book God’s Been Divorced too is one of the best on the subject. I am married 14 years and not contemplating divorce, but there are some in my own family with very sticky situations. The hardest thing for me is that I can find nowhere in scripture that allows a woman to divorce her husband for any reason. Separate, yes but not divorce. It is not a blackand white subject but like all other things scripture, studying it gives us an opportunity to understand our Lord.

  3. Sherry says:

    I and my husband have been married for 14 years now and he committed Adultery 6 months ago and i’m struggling with divorcing him but i love him and i don’t want to lose my family over this but i think it’s very unfair for me to make that dicission because he decided to leave the marriage when he committed the act..and now i don’t know what to do…Do you have any advice for me?

    • First off, I would recommend that you read this article: http://hittinghomeministry.com/after-an-affair/

      Also, if you choose to move forward, I would recommend that there be certain boundary lines established. Here is a very helpful article:

      http://hittinghomeministry.com/forgiving-your-spouse-after-an-affair/

      Thank you,

      Dr. Force

    • Haloe says:

      Adultery is valid reason for divorce according to the Bible. I wish it was simple to say forgive and move on but I know you may possibly be attached or dependent not sure but that is something to forgive at a distance in my belief not saying it’s easy but adultery is big.

    • Amy West says:

      Look to Hosea’s example, and realize that you now know more about what it feels like to be God loving us. I am so sorry for your hurts, ((HUGS)), but we are as stuck as Adam & Eve and others in the beginning as Jesus said in Matthew 5 & 19. We are to love like Him, and that is very hard sometimes, but know that there is hope to win your husband fully back to you. Never sign divorce papers. Jesus says you are no longer twain, but one. You adopted that man, and you get to love him irrationally, like Jesus loves us….see Romans 4 & 5, also 6, 7, 8. The fruits of the spirit do not permit divorce of our spouse that Jesus says we are one with. Know that many others are watching your reaction to betrayals small and large. What an amazing ministry your marriage loyalty is right now, and more so as you embrace your opportunity to show the world what God’s love is like. It’s a secure salvation, free gift of love, Jesus said he’d never leave us or forsake us. Not even murdering him could cause him to give up on those people that mocked & killed him. Be glad you only have the job of wife for life, rather than Savior of the world. We have it easy. I wrote about my marriage reconciliation and learning about the 2 loves in my blog…. WinsomeWife.wordpress.com In Matthew 5 & 19, Jesus was describing the 6 ways people commit adultery, and it is a lie of modern translations that our Lord is to blame for conditional love, divorce for fornication. It’s common sense that there are WAY worse ways for a spouse to treat a spouse, and it would be cruel of Jesus to permit divorce for cheating, but not the several worse behaviors a spouse could do. Jesus commanded us to love like Him, and that includes our spouse, it’s not just love everyone else but give up on a rotten spouse. Jesus said breaking our vows was of evil…Matthew 5. He is our true husband, our true provider of happiness and life. Anything we get from our earthly husband is extra, not need. The day I realized that was the day I started really showing appreciation to my husband and he really liked that change in me. Before, he never felt he could please me enough, so lost interest in me. Now, I tell him that every single good thing he does is MORE than what I need!! And it’s true! And all the bad things he does to hurt me, well that too is better than I deserve. I deserve HELL, not living here on Earth being safe & happy now and then or often. I deserve the lake of fire, not marriage at an level of happiness or not. Gotta keep things in perspective. When you stop being offended at your husband’s faults, and start seeing his any good deed as icing on the cake, your husband will notice you stopped complaining and started gushing about his every positive act that maybe wasn’t even for you. When he sees that he CAN please you after all, maybe he’ll prefer you over a whiny jealous tramp that you KNOW is being difficult, often angry with him. You CAN tell your husband he is sexy, every day, several times a day. I now do with my husband. He says he doesn’t need compliments, but oh, he DOES. It’s a big way how he knows he’s good enough for me. That’s what they want, to feel MORE than good enough, and to be touched often and sincerely. When I don’t feel like being loving, I just let God love for me. My emotions are brats. They often don’t cooperate. I still get the divorce desire emotions where I feel zero for my husband because of past emotions when I wasn’t a believer yet. The brain gets into habits, and we need to renew and transform our minds, and ignore emotions that don’t fit with the fruit of the spirit. Jesus had to ignore his emotions at times too. Don’t “follow your heart” as people may advise you. Follow Jesus’ heart instead. Let Jesus love your husband for you when you can’t. Love never fails….1 Cor 13:4-8, compare with the dictionary “love” which is what we are all born with the first time. Enjoy being a conduit of God’s permanent can’t lose love, it’s electric! What a rush!! Each time there is a horrible incident where the normal wife would be hurt or angry, you can just let go and let God love him through you, then you’ll do and say loving things and smile, and it will feel AWESOME!! It’s hard to get started, but you have nothing to lose but pride. It’s fun! Unconditonal love is way more fun than business deal love that gives up if expectations aren’t met. God’s love is a free gift…see Romans 4 & 5. Hard in the short run, but more fun and more rewarding overall, now and forever. Don’t listen to Christians would would have you violate your wedding vows. Jesus warned against that in Matthew 5. There is no adultery exception for divorce. Jesus said we are ALL guilty of adultery, not just a physically cheating spouse. And who’s to say that physical cheating is worse than our anger or complaining or disrespect of a husband or being a feminist and not letting him lead the family? Which sin is worse? Only God knows. Have you read the Above Rubies .com marriage article “Bring Him Home”? Best story EVER!!! 12 long years of his cheating and CRIME, and it ended very well. I could read that story every day the rest of my life. Now there’s a Romans 4,5 wife.

  4. Shay says:

    I totally agree that divorce is out of control in today’s society and I understand your point, however, I think this post was far too vague and left out other verses that give acceptable reasons for divorce. Adultery for example. And I Cor 7:15 where it states if you are married to an unbeliever and they leave, you’re free. I would like to caution you to be careful how you present topics like this because you really could cause havoc in people’s lives. You totally freaked out Yonni for example. Of course, people should seek out answers for themselves and not just take another person’s word for it. I’m glad you added the verses I John 1:9 and Romans 5:20. When we read scriptures that point out our failings, it’s easy to lose sight of other verses about forgiveness. We have to remember that we don’t live under the law but are saved by grace. But we would certainly have far less divorce if people took time to seriously ponder who and how they choose a mate, and looked at marriage from a biblical standpoint. Thank you for your effort to tackle a rather complex touchy subject to try and get a point across.

    • Thank you for your comment, however, if we were “too vague” as you say, then so was Jesus in Matthew 5 and Matthew 19.

      By the way, Jesus’ main emphasis was not on the potential exclusions as much as the fact that God’s intention has always been that one man and woman stay married until death.

      Jesus nor Paul ever obligated themselves to give all the potential disclaimers every time they brought up a topic, therefore, neither do I, especially in a 300 to 500 word post.

      In love,

      Dr. Force

  5. Yonni says:

    Myself and my spouse were previously married. My first husband was not a Christian and committed adultery on me continuously and eventually left me for another woman. My current husband was divorced when I met him and he did not divorce for infidelity but his ex wife was abusive, even physically at times, both of them professed to be Christians. I am very happily married to my second husband and I do not want to divorce him, but if this is sin I don’t want to go to hell either! Teaching I previously had on divorce and remarriage from the church did not emphasize the need to be sure your spouse had a biblical grounds for divorce (not using that as an excuse). So my question is what do I do now? I am very stressed out about this! I love my husband and he has been a great source of help and healing for me emotionally from the trauma of my first marriage. He has changed my opinion of men because he has been faithful and loving to me. I would be devastated if I had to leave him but I want to be right with my savior more. I am praying God will give me an answer.

    • I feel it is best for a man or woman in such a state to make the best of their current situation and love their spouse in a Biblical manner. God is not the author of confusion, and it seems that trying to undo the past causes more confusion.

      Paul encourages us to forget those things which are behind and reach forth for those things before us. In my view, this would be the best option for you at this time.

      Thank you,

      Dr. Force

    • Anonymous says:

      Yonni, I have been where you are 4 yrs ago. My advice to you is go to the One who created you. Pray and read His words and pray, earnestly pray. He will give you an answer. Then obey in faith. Dont take anyones opinion for we are all sinners and fall short of the glory. God is the only answer!!!!!!

  6. Lew says:

    In the case of a divorce other than for fornication, does the couple have to get a divorce to make their forgiveness apply?
    Thanks
    Lew

  7. Marco says:

    A question:Will a person who divorces and remarries by forgiven by Christ once he/she accept Him as personal savior?

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