When Your Spouse Remarries

One of the most absurd and outrageous false teachings rampant in the Christian church today concerning marriage, divorce and remarriage is that when adulterers get married, they’re no longer committing adultery in the eyes of God. Since that’s SO TOTALLY CONTRARY to everything Jesus Himself taught, that’s one of Satan’s MOST destructive and effective weapons against marriage. As Hebrews 13:8 says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today And forever., and Jesus Himself told us in Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Since the EXACT same verse is found in Mark 13:31 and Luke 21:33, and it’s unusual for three of the four gospels to contain totally identical verses, it’s not wise to dismiss what Jesus said.

Speaking out against such a destructive false teaching in the church today is a great example of what 2 Corinthians 10:5 means when it says We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. So, even though this may be a very difficult teaching for many to understand and apply, we have to trust and rely on God’s Word and promise in John 8:31-32, which says To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” So let’s take a look at what Jesus taught about marriage, divorce and remarriage that totally refutes and destroys the validity of such dangerous and antichrist teaching, meaning it opposes Christ, as this obviously does. The following verses are what Jesus Himself taught us about marriage, divorce and what HE proclaimed adulterous remarriage.

Matthew 19:3-9 says:
3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’
5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?
6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.
9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

So, according to Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, and whose words will never pass away, if a man or woman divorces their wife or husband for ANY reason other than marital unfaithfulness and marries someone else, they are committing adultery and they are an adulterer EVEN THOUGH MARRIED BY LAW! That’s VERY clear and unambiguous, so ANY teaching OTHER than that is CONTRARY to the written Word of God, even the words spoken and taught by Jesus Himself. And God very clearly and unmistakably warned us about the dangers of such false teachings in 2 Peter 2:1-2, which says But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.

In Matthew 5:31-32, Jesus even went so far as to say “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. So Jesus CLEARLY and very unambiguously commands us NOT to live in accordance with today’s “no fault” divorce laws, which is totally destroying the fabric of society as God intended marriage to be. How heart breaking it must be for the Lord that even the church, the body of His Son the living Christ, not only fails to condemn and reject practices so contrary to the teachings of Jesus Himself, they even endorse, promote and participate in them by performing sacrilegious wedding ceremonies that Jesus spoke and taught against as adultery!

Then in Mark 10, what Jesus taught about marriage, divorce and remarriage is recounted WITHOUT the exception for marital unfaithfulness found in other passages and verses, as we see in the following verses:
2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
3 “What did Moses command you?” he replied.
4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied.
6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’
7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.
9 Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this.
11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.
12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

This passage of Scripture clearly creates a problem for anyone in a second or subsequent marriage, even when marital unfaithfulness was the cause for divorce, and leaves no doubt that Christian leaders are wrong to encourage, accept and condone adulterous remarriage.

It’s so ironic that the one chapter, 1 Corinthians 7,, most often used by Christians to come up with all sorts of “loopholes” for divorce and remarriage is actually the one that MOST strongly supports Mark’s account of what Jesus taught about marriage, divorce and remarriage. Because in verses 10-11, Paul said To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. Clearly there’s NO marital unfaithfulness exception mentioned there, or anywhere else in the chapter, so the ONLY possible “presumption” of allowance for divorce and remarriage for marital unfaithfulness, or adultery, is found at the end of the chapter in verse 39, where Paul concluded by saying A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. At that time, as when Jesus taught about divorce and remarriage, anyone caught in adultery was stoned to death, which meant the other spouse was free to remarry. Paul obviously felt very strongly about that since he used it again as an example in Romans 7:2-3, which says For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. So, once again, the practice of stoning an adulterous spouse at that time is the only possible presumed exception for remarriage found in these verses.

Then, as further evidence and confirmation that God does not recognize or bless ALL marriages, Mark 6:17 says For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. And Matthew 14:3-4 says Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And then Luke 3:18-20 says And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them. But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison. In all three gospel accounts, Herodias was always referred to as Philip’s wife, even though Herod had married her, so the Bible makes it very clear that God does not recognize or acknowledge adulterous marriages, much less approve, condone or bless them! And let us not forget that John the Baptist lost his head for preaching AGAINST that particular adulterous marriage because he refused to accept and acknowledge it as lawful!

Another very important point to make here, without going into great detail, is that even though many people believe and teach that God’s grace and forgiveness means that getting married makes it okay to continue living in adulterous relationships, or to remain in adulterous marriages, Jude 1:4 clearly warns against such teaching, because it says For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Not only that, the same grace Christian leaders now presumed to cover and allow the continuation of adulterous relationships and marriages was already in effect at the time Paul wrote what he did about marriage, divorce and remarriage, in which he NEVER eluded to the “grace” exceptions, even though it was well after the death and resurrection of Jesus. In fact, quite the contrary, Paul makes it VERY clear that the grace of our Lord and Savior is NOT a license to sin, as he wrote in Romans 6:15, which says, What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! And One REALLY BIG problem with this perverted concept of God’s grace and forgiveness is that it forgets and ignores the fact that without confession and repentance, there is no forgiveness for our sins. And I know of no other sin Christians believe God’s grace (often confused with God’s mercy) allows us to continue in, while expecting and claiming God’s forgiveness and redemption. Proverbs 28:13 makes that point very well because it says He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.. And 1 John 1:9 says If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Obviously, we can’t confess something as sin and expect to receive God’s mercy, the power of His forgiveness and the purification of His righteousness if we have no intention of renouncing and discontinuing the sin! That’s what makes the false teaching that marriage causes God to accept or forgive the sin of adultery so absurd and outrageous! I wonder just how many Christian leaders would tell a homosexual couple that it is okay to continue in their sin once they are saved because of God’s grace and that their sin is forgiven just by their confession and does not require them to discontinue their homosexual behavior. (Update: Unfortunately, many would do exactly that today!)

While everyone standing for marriage restoration must seek God’s will for their particular circumstances through serious Bible study, fasting and prayer, the important point of this page is to understand that even if our spouse gets married again, God does not want us to give up standing for marriage restoration when that’s what HE called us to do. No matter what the ENTIRE rest of the world tells us, GOD DOES NOT RECOGNIZE ADULTEROUS MARRIAGES, and neither should we! BUT we DO have to totally release our spouses and live our lives in peace. Then it’s up to God to deal with the sin in their lives as we work on the sin in ours. It’s up to GOD to make His thoughts known to them…NOT US! We just need to get (AND STAY) out of His way!

No matter what we hear or see, God wants us to stand strong on His Word and promises and understand that contrary to what many church leaders teach, He doesn’t and won’t accept or condone our spouses’ adultery just because it’s now sanctioned and recognized by man through a non-covenant marriage. I have no doubt this is an important message for someone in particular, so PLEASE be encouraged and know that you are NOT alone!

For a more in depth study about standing for marriage restoration when your spouse remarries, which explains in detail why adultery is NOT grounds for divorce and remarriage, read Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage.

All Bible verses are from the New International Version 1984 unless otherwise indicated.