In response to a sister’s question from my previous post on matrimony my response is taken from my book “CHRISTIAN WEDDING: WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES.”
The book has three chapters dealing with important aspects of the doctrines of no divorce and no remarriage. The following are excerpts from chapter twelve.
Doctrine Of “You Cannot Remarry If Your Ex-Husband Or Ex-Wife Is Still Alive.”
The vast majority of churches orthodox, evangelical and Pentecostal insist that a Christian cannot remarry if his or her ex-spouse is alive regardless of the circumstances. This doctrine has led to disaster in the marital relationship of many couples. It has brought unnecessary hardship to innocent people. The outworking of this kind of doctrine can lead to infraction of God’s holy laws and derailment from the path to heaven.
“Divorced People Can Never Remarry”
The churches say if you divorce or separate you cannot remarry as long as your spouse is alive. Only physical death can annul a marriage regardless of whether it was joined by God in the first place or not. These postulations would appear to derive from the following scriptures: Malachi 2:16; Mark 10:11-12; Matthew 5:31-32; Romans 7:2 & 1 Corinthians 7:39
Unfortunately, these church denominational doctrines place every married couple who attends church on the same footing. This is wrong. There are four groups of married people in the church:
Group #1: Man and woman who married as believers.
Group #2: Man and woman who married as unbelievers but both of them have become born again Christians and have continued to live together as husband and wife.
Group #3: Man and woman who married as unbelievers and one of them has become a believer but the other spouse is still an unbeliever.
Group #4: Man and woman who married as unbelievers and are still unbelievers and church attendees, separated or divorced.
The Bible deals with these four categories differently. The rules are clearly spelt out in 1 Corinthians 7. Apostle Paul addressed this letter to believers hence no mention of unbelievers’ marriage in that chapter. Let me deal with the four categories one after the other.
Those Who Married As Born Again Christians
Assume two mature Christians seek the face of God before marrying each other. When two eligible Christian male and Christian female obtain the consent of their respective parents with a view to living together as husband and wife and engage in conjugal sex for the first time as complete personalities the result is exchange of spiritual tokens, tying of the two souls together, and uniting of the two bodies in a mystical way. This is a marriage joined by God. It is indissoluble except by physical death or spiritual death in the unusual event of one partner becoming an infidel. This is the kind of marital union Apostle Paul was referring to when he said: “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife” (1 Cor 7:10-11 KJV).
A married Christian can commit sin in ignorance or willfully. If the same sin occurs repeatedly, it can ensnare. A besetting sin, undiscovered and not repented of in time, can lead to falling away. Unmitigated falling away can lead to hardness of heart which produces infidelity, the denial of faith, rebuttal of basic Christian doctrines. Infidelity is a step away from apostasy, the unpardonable sin. Infidelity is denial of the means of grace. When this happens the situation becomes irremediable; the marriage is dead and must be treated as such to save the innocent partner from falling away too.
Who Can Remarry?
The following people can seek the face of the Lord and remarry if it is commanded by the Lord.
A Christian man whose wife has fallen asleep.
A Christian woman whose husband has fallen asleep, especially if she is below the age of sixty.
A Christian man whose wife has died spiritually by falling away and has become an infidel.
A Christian woman whose husband has died spiritually by falling away and has become an infidel.
A Christian man whose unbelieving wife has refused to live with him as a result of his becoming Christian.
A Christian woman whose unbelieving husband has refused to live with her as a result of her becoming Christian.
A Christian man whose unbelieving wife is guilty of desertion with no intention of reunion, unreasonable withholding of conjugation and immitigable whoremongery.
A Christian woman whose unbelieving husband is guilty of desertion with no intention of reunion, unreasonable withholding of conjugation and immitigable whoremongery.
To say that there can be no dissolution of a Christian marriage and remarriage while the spouses are alive no matter the circumstances is not correct. When a marriage has broken down irretrievably and both partners are living apart a diligent investigation must be made as to the foundation of the marriage, how and where contracted and the circumstances of the collapse. If a spouse is unwilling to continue with the marriage, the other spouse is relieved of all liability and may remarry if permitted to do so by the Lord. Forcing two unwilling partners to live together can lead to the untimely death of one or both parties. If the two are willing to live together, the ministry of deliverance can take care of their problems. Sticking to a dead marriage portends of all kinds of problems sometimes resulting in avoidable spousal assassination and destiny truncation.
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