The Bible and Divorce

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  • From the beginning it was not so

    Part I of IV

    Introduction

    A position paper on a the doctrine of divorce is very serious business. First, because it is a doctrine with so many diverse positions from the ridiculous to the Biblical sublime. But most important is the fact that when we teach this subject it deals with the lives of precious people and children who will be effected for perhaps eternity by either the right of the matter or the wrong. If we suffer for righteousness sake then we are compensated, but if we teach a position that unnecessarily brings havoc and anguish to those we effect then we have something to face in the judgment. 

    There are three basic positions taken in teaching the divorce doctrine:

    1. The extreme liberal view that divorce is no great sin and that marriage is indeed dissolvable, and that if we do remarry knowing it is wrong then we need only repent and admit we know the wrong of it and go right on living in the union believing that to ask forgiveness and admit the wrong of it removes all penalty for the wrong.

    This paper is intended to show that the perpetual adultery teaching does not represent the whole teaching of Scripture on the subject of divorce and adultery. It is not intended to be a treatment of the doctrine of divorce, but more of a discussion that compares the doctrine of “perpetual adultery” with other Scriptures on the subject of divorce.

    DIVORCED CHRISTIANS

    LEV 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

    David committed adultery with his neighbors wife under the most evil of circumstances. Bathsheba’a husband, Uriah, was away in battle defending Israel. Uriah was a loyal husband and a loyal soldier. Not only that, he was a proselyte of the Jews and so his loyalty is greater than David’s in that he chose Israel as His nation – David was born an Israelite. David violated this moral law just as it is stated. The penalty: Death by stoning for both the adulterer and the adulteress.

    THE PERPETUAL ADULTERY TEACHING does not represent the whole counsel of God on the matter of divorce. It represents certain verses taken literally and combined together arriving at a conclusion that cannot be correct until ALL OTHER VERSES ON THE SUBJECT are included and reconciled with their special collection of verses. In this position paper we consider the verses used by the perpetual adultery doctrine plus many other passages of Scripture dealing with the matter of divorce.

    For correct doctrine to happen, we must be honest with God’s Word. To be honest with God’s Word we must include all His Word states regarding the subject we are discussing. In this paper we do precisely that. All knowledge on a given subject is not known of any man or group of men, so vast is the mystery of godliness! With that in mind, we would not dare give the impression that this paper represents all the truth there is on the subject, but is at least including Biblical facts beyond what is taught in the perpetual adultery doctrine.

    In this paper we include a. This treatment of the subject, DIVORCED CHRISTIANS; b. Robert Culp’s outline entitled, BIBLICAL TEACHING ON DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE.

    Adultery often led to the breakup of the original married pair. Under Moses law divorce was allowed. However, as in may other ways, man began to abuse the divorce laws and used it to put away the wife of his youth to marry someone he was having a secret affair with. It is this promiscuity that the no divorce commandments are intended to halt. Divorce was out of hand among the Jews and Romans in Jesus day. The Talmud had made it possible for a Jew to divorce His wife for such trivial reasons as just not pleasing him any longer. This trend Jesus stopped with the words 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.

    Let us consider here the Exception Clause as it is so famously called. We will do this by comparing Matthew 19:9 in the light of Matthew 1:18-25.

    It is our objective here to shed some light on such Biblical terms as, espousal, fornication, putting away, innocent party and remarriage. What these terms meant when Jesus spoke them two thousand years ago is much different than our loose morals today imply.

    Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and shall marry another, except it be for fornication, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

    The Biblical explanation of…except it be for fornication, Matthew 1:18-20, 24-25 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. It is so clear here that Joseph and Mary were not actually married but espoused or “engaged” as American society calls it. Several things make this clear; First, the word espoused (mnesteuo; engaged, betrothed), secondly, the word for marriage (sunerchomai, to cohabit conjugally) is not used to describe their relationship and thirdly, the text says very clearly, before they came together, which is the word (sunerchomai) for marriage. So, Mary became pregnant with Christ by the Holy Spirit while she was engaged or espoused to Joseph before they were married.

    (19) Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. Put her away, (apoluo) to free, release, divorce. To put away a woman you were engaged to was considered a divorce even though it was prior to the wedding. If they had been married Mary would have been given a bill of divorcement or stoned to death for adultery according to the law of Moses.

    (20) But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost… So, the fact is, Joseph and Mary were betrothed to each other but not committed in marriage. 1.The angel told Joseph to take Mary because her condition was of the Holy Ghost. The word take is paralambano, meaning to associate with intimately. The angel was commanding Joseph to take her in marriage. 2. This is why Joseph is shocked and reacting to her pregnancy and though to put her away because he knew he was not the Father.

    Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: (25) And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

    Joseph obeyed the angel and married Mary but had no conjugal relationship with her until Jesus had been born. This text is a very clear explanation of what it means to be espoused to a woman in ancient Israel under Jewish law and then have that commitment threatened by a serious act of what was apparently fornication with another man. Under these circumstances it was called fornication because it was an act of infidelity before the wedding takes place. The put away of Matthew 1:19 is the same condition Jesus also spoke of in Matthew 19:9. The exception He speaks of is putting away the espoused wife to be for fornication (infidelity or unfaithfulness) before the actual marriage and consummation (physical union) takes place.

    This is fornication and not adultery!

    Jesus used the word fornication in its literal sense and not figuratively. He is speaking on the matter of infidelity prior to marriage and uses fornication (porneia) because He was speaking of an illicit sexual act before the marriage and NOT after the marriage. It is precisely in matters such as this that we must be very careful to apply good exegesis to the Scriptures before we teach them. A knowledge of the words fornication then and now have changed (as have many moral values and teachings) and we must understand Jesus’ words in the setting of His day and not the day we live in now.

    THE OPTION TO REMARRIAGE

    If you are a Christian contemplating remarriage, don’t do it! Remain single and dedicate your life to the Lord in special ministry.

    The Grace of God is sufficient…and remember there is something worse than loneliness. That is to enter a life of adultery with all of your apostate friends and the Charismatic and secular counselors telling you to go ahead; God wants you to be happy.” Yet in the deep of your heart the question of the rightness of it foments and will not leave you.

    The option to remarriage is obedience to what Jesus and the apostles teach on marriage. If your partner leaves you simply reconcile yourself to a single life whether you have children or not. If the partner passes in death you are free to remarry. So long as your partner lives, your first commitment in life is to Christ. Take up your cross, die to self and stay away from the singles classes in your church or better yet find a church that does not have such abominable arrangements in the house of God.

    THE INNOCENT PARTY

    After forty years in full time gospel ministry and nearly two decades of counseling ministry, I can think of possibly two such “innocent party” cases. The others that claim they are “innocent” are dishonest and trying to justify themselves for the benefit of their own image. We could sight many classic cases of partners who cleverly and even ruthlessly pursued mates with words that drove them to emotionally morally insane. The partner driven to infidelity was accused of being the one guilty of the act but too often they are driven to it by a forked tongue behind the scenes. A thorough and probing counseling sessions will reveal in most cases that there is really no such thing as “the innocent party.” A minister who performs remarriages with living mates will share the fate of the adulterers.

    SEPARATION AN ALTERNATIVE TO DIVORCE?

    WHAT ABOUT MINISTERS WHO REMARRY?

    If they divorce while professing Christ as Lord and the Word of God as the infallible revelation of the rule of life and they enter an adulterous relationship, all the pink lace and, white roses and rice seen at a wedding will not keep them from hell!

    Preachers of double marriages will be judged before the eyes of all those they deceived. God is patient and waits for those who profess Him to repent. If they do not and arrogantly persist in their adulterous ways and dare to contradict the Words of God will be chastised and their sorrows will be made known to all.

    A man and woman, both evangelists, suddenly divorce and after some months remarry into an adulterous relationship. These people both stress the love of God in their ministries, practice divine healing and believe in the power of God. Strange isn’t it…to preach God’s power to heal and do wonders but they could not reconcile their differences and bring God’s healing to their own marriage. Of course, the bottom line is that the lady evangelist holds special very expensive retreats for other women to teach them the how to live victorious lives full of love and power.

    And then they are still being called upon to minister in well publicized conventions. The hurt and shame of this whole mess is the influence it has upon this merging generation of young people in the churches.

    The demons of divorce rage on, devouring the saints and mesmerizing the masses with their lies and smooth talk about love and grace.

    BUT THERE ARE SO MANY HAPPY REMMARRIAGES

    1. That happiness is not real nor is it the joy of the righteous. Much of that happiness is manufactured by either one or both partners in many instances. I held marriage seminars for seventeen years and counseled hundreds of remarried couples who did not find happiness in a second marriage. God is weary of marriage doctrines that are based on biological expedience rather than on His Word and faith in His spiritual power.

    2. One of the reasons remarriage is being tolerated and even promoted by many contemporary apostate Christian ministries is because it would be unpopular to teach the simple truth of Scripture in this adulterous generation. One statement made by a well known radio preacher pretty well expresses the filthy spirit that has made its way into the church. He said, “You may have to get divorced and remarried for or five times before you find the right one.”

    3. All one has to do to understand why God considers marriage indissoluble and remarriage the sin of adultery is to look at the human misery, the social disorder, what broken homes do to the character of our kids. Divorce means broken homes, broken hearts and ultimately a broken nation!

    BEFORE 2228. {ay}; a primary particle of distinction between two connected terms; disjunctive, or; comparative, than: -and, but (either), (n-)either, except it be, (n-)or (else), rather, save, than, that, what, yea. Often used in connection with other particles. Compare especially 2235, 2260, 2273.

    CAME TOGETHER 4905. – accompany, assemble (with), come (together), come (company, go) with, resort.

    MATTHEW 1:19 AWAY 630. forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away, release, set at liberty. Divorce, the noun, means to Disassociate, nullify, dissolve any kind of a relationship. You can be divorced from your job by losing interest in it and deciding to terminate. You can be divorced from your prejudices, and divorced from your sins when you come to Christ.

    MATTHEW 1:20
    TAKE 3880. {par-al-am-ban’-o}; from 3844 and 2983; to receive near, i.e. associate with oneself (in any familiar or intimate act or relation); by analogy, to assume an office; figuratively, to learn: -receive, take (unto, with). WIFE 1135. gune {goo-nay’}; probably from the base of 1096; a woman; specially, a wife: -wife, woman.

    THE FALLACY OF THE “EXCEPTIONAL CLAUSE”

    In verse 24 it says Joseph knew not his wife (Mary) until she had brought forth the first born. If Joseph had been married to Mary and not betrothed or espoused then he would have had conjugal relations with her before the pregnancy and there would be no reason for Joseph thinking of putting her away. The fact he is alarmed indicates they were not conjugally married in a final ceremony and that they were only engaged.

    The famous “exceptional clause” has come to be coined by what Jesus said in Matthew 19:9 should be called the “fornication clause.”

    His subject is marriage and the contention over the right to divorce between the two Jewish schools of the Hillil and shamaites(?)

    What God’s Word makes so simple the escapism of human desire rationalizes and makes just as complicated and complex as it possibly can. The advantage to complication is that it can produce so many variables that it provides sinful humans so many options he or she can choose what they prefer to believe rather than what clearly commands.

    To be spiritual simply means to be in such close association with God that you think like God and that His influence is the greatest influence on your thinking.

    The meaning of false; False, Human, powerless, imitation, sham, cheap, synthetic, superficial, counterfeit, artificial, fictitious spurious, apocryphal, fanciful, lying, bogus.

    False ,mod. Perfidious, villainous, treasonable, faithless, treacherous, unfaithful. untrue, spurious, apocryphal, fanciful, lying, mendacious. Sham, counterfeit, fabricated, manufactured, synthetic, factitious, bogus, make-believe, assumed.

    Fallacy, n. inconsistency, sophism, sophistry, casuistry, quibble, quibbling, evasion, deceit, deception. Delusion; blunder, mistake, fault, faux pas, oversight, inaccuracy, mismanagement, misdoing.

    If Mary had committed adultery as a married woman she would have been stoned to death according to God’s law. The fact that Joseph was “putting her away” indicates they were not married but espoused or betrothed only.

    God hates “putting away. Malachi 2:16 For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for {one} covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

    There are two subjects being covered in this statement; adultery which is the subject of the staement and fornication which Jesus added by way of explanation in regard to espused engaged wives.

    A good way to understand precisely what Jesus actually said is to separate the two subjects He is alluding to and then put them back together just as He said it.

    THE ADULTERY STATEMENT
    Key Word: Adultery

    And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

    If Jesus was speaking of a woman married to a husband He would have said, “except adultery.” But He used the term fornication that has a broad meaning including prostitution, incest, adultery and fornication. It is clear that he was speaking of sexual promiscuity and not specifically of adultery or He would have used moichao (adultery).

    Under Hebrew law a wife who commits adultery is not put away but stoned.

    THE FORNICATION CLAUSE
    Key Word: Fornication

    except it be for fornication, Jesus uses the word fornication in the context of marriage and infidelity. We conclude therefore that the use of the word porneia

    THE STATEMENT AND THE CLAUSE TOGETHER 
    Adultery And Fornication Mentioned Together

    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

    God is not against marriage but the abuses, the promiscuity and looseness that starts eating and eroding the happiness of the family life. It is not marriage that either the laws of the Old Testament or the commandments given to the church is against, but rather the abuses of divorce and those who advocate it as acceptable. From the beginning it was not so! Jesus has to take man back to the original intent of God and enforce what was determined by God when marriage was instituted in the Garden of Eden.

    MOSES AND JESUS ON DIVORCE – God gave the commandment, thou shalt not commit adultery, He later gave permission for the bill of divorce and even remarriage. The adultery commandment as given to Moses (seventh commandment) was primarily directed at immoral people who were secretly carrying on adulterous affairs as married people. It had nothing to do with divorce and remarriage until Jesus made the remarriage with a living mate the sin of adultery. (Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:1-12) So, at one time (under the Old Testament) divorce was tolerated by God and not punished as adultery so long as there was a bill of divorcement. Under the law of Moses, therefore, a remarriage after a bill of divorcement was issued was NOT considered adultery. Under Moses it was tolerated but under CHRIST IT IS NOT! And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he [Moses] wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Mark 10:5-9. All of the language used by the Lord when teaching on divorce and the adulterous remarriage is very strong and easy to be understood.

    JESUS ENCOUNTERS ADULTERY – L. L. Collins preached a message entitled, “What Would Jesus Do”? But regarding this question of whether or not sinners are forgiven a double marriage of the past after becoming Christian, we would ask, What DID Jesus Do? Jesus encountered and dealt with adultery while He was teaching in the temple at Jerusalem. Hundreds if not thousands witnessed it. Then after it happened the Holy Spirit saw fit to have this account recorded in the Scripture for the history of the church to take an account of it. It is said that early Catholic translators tried to omit this passage of Scripture from John’s gospel because it was
    contrary to the Catholic doctrine on divorce.

    The purpose of this paper is to consider the question of “Perpetual adultery” and present certain Biblical truths that puts some additional light on the subject of “divorced Christians.”

    First, let us consider the two kinds of adultery;

    1. LICENTIOUS ADULTERY: By this we mean sexual activity involving a married person or married people. It is to commit a sexual act as a married person with a person other than your mate BUT WITHOUT DISSOLVING YOUR MARRIAGE. It is an act of infidelity such as having a sexual affair with another person while remaining married to your wife or husband. In this case it does not involve a divorce but infidelity.

    2. LEGAL ADULTERY: By this we mean that a marriage has been legally dissolve by the laws of civil government and there is a separation from the married partner by legal process perfectly permissible by civil law, followed by a marriage to another partner. Many times the second marriage does not follow the divorce for many years and there is no connection between the party in the second marriage and the divorce.

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A GOOD DIVORCE and there is no such thing as legally DISSOLVING a marriage! Jesus said, What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Jesus simply notified the world that the Kingdom of God does not recognize legal adultery!

    Because your adultery is considered to be legally proper according to civil law, it does not make such a second marriage acceptable to God.

    The Bible addresses both kinds of adultery. In the Old Testament divorce was permitted (Legal adultery) but Jesus rectified that law of Moses saying it was tolerated only because of the “hardness” of man’s heart. (Matthew 19:8) Under the New Testament teachings of Christ, adultery includes both kinds of adultery as being sins unto death and sin that will bar souls from Heaven (Leviticus 20:10; 1 Corinthians 6:9).

    The question is, is adultery in either form forgiven once we become Christians? Or is just the licentious adultery forgiven and all penalty cancelled while legal adultery in the form of a legal marriage is not to be forgiven and the penalty is to definitely be executed unless the two people separate and go their separate ways?

    THE PERPETUAL ADULTERY DOCTRINE teaches that married persons with a double marriage in their past while they were sinners, must separate, break up their home and if possible return to their first mate. Their doctrine is based solidly on three passages of Scripture, and then exclude the truth of any other Scriptures on the subject of adultery to continue anything further. The three Scriptures they use are, (1) Thou shalt not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18); (2) 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) and (3) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind. 1 Corinthians 6:9.

    INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY – By joining these passages of Scripture the “Perpetual doctrine” people establish what they believe to be God’s intent regarding how converts with double marriage in their past are to be treated by the church. This simplified interpretation is safe and easy but do these three Scriptures reveal all God has said on the subject of divorce, remarriage and adultery? Of course not! There are many, many other Scriptures that speak on the matter of adultery as it regards marriage and remarriage. In fact, for some reason these brethren seem to always avoid certain Scriptures when they speak on the subject. No doctrine can be correct if it excludes certain verses from being a part of the teaching given. This is called intellectual dishonesty.

    INTELLECTUAL HONESTY – If I am going to establish what the Bible teaches on any given subject, the first thing I do is collect all verses dealing directly and indirectly with that subject, and then make an explanation of the subject by being very careful to incorporate all of the Scriptures on the subject in my conclusions. No two Scriptures are ever going to contradict – they will always compliment the other verses when they are all placed in order. This is called intellectual honesty.

    There is a serious error in establishing a doctrine on three or more (or any amount of verses) when all of the verses and passages on the subject are not included. Its not until all verses on a given subject are included in the explanation that pure doctrine is achieved. In many cases one verse left out of an explanation can change the whole meaning of several other verses.

    All of the verses in the Bible on the subject of adultery and divorced Christians must be included when establishing a belief based on what the Bible teaches. There are many, many other verses of Scripture in the Bible on the subject of adultery than the three mentioned above. A man of God once said, “THERE IS NOTHING TAUGHT THAT IS NOT TAUGHT BY THE WHOLE BIBLE.” That is what we feel to be very important in presenting this position paper on the subject of DIVORCED CHRISTIANS.

    There has been too little said about this latter day plague called divorce, and especially has the church and pastors failed to take a proper and Biblical position on the matter of divorced people being converted and coming into the Pentecostal churches.

    We encourage pastors to become more open and vocal about this matter so that our people and especially converts with double marriage in their past may know where the church stands and where they stand in the church fellowship.

    Some holiness people have been guilty of treating converts with previous marriage as though they were carrying a contagious disease. The new converts are no sooner saved and seeking the fellowship of the Christians when suddenly they realize that those they look to for help and understanding are avoiding them and barring them from the fellowship they hunger for so much. I wonder if in the judgment those who have been cold and cutting in their attitude toward people who reach out to us will not receive the greater condemnation than those with we accuse of “having a mixed marriage.”

    Let’s take the matter of a new convert “returning to their first married partner.” In 98% of the cases of people coming to the Lord with double marriage in their past, it would be impossible to return to the previous partner. The chief reason being that the first wife (or husband) initiated the divorce to marry another person and are not willing to return to the converted partner. There are many other reasons why returning to the first mate would not be possible which we are all aware of and need not discuss.

    Most of those cases are impossible to correct in this way. Such a requirement might only apply where the mate was definitely waiting, but that would be the rare exception. Teaching people to return to their first partner creates much, much confusion. When doctrine is Scriptural and correct it does not create problems, it solves them! BUT – if God the Holy Spirit deals with any individual to leave his wife of a second marriage for reasons of conviction and God’s Spirit dealing with him (or her) then He will make a way for that marriage to be dissolved in an orderly manner.

    Example: A dear brother with a double marriage in his past became convicted about his married state. He carefully discussed it with his wife and explained to her how he felt and that he did not want to miss heaven, nor did he want her to miss heaven. He decided to build her a small home where she and the children could live comfortably and then supported them. He spent time with the children frequently. They all attended the same church together but he never sat with her but with the children only. This arrangement seemed to work very well.

    Why did God deal with the brother in this way? We are not sure but when God convicts any of us regarding our own lives then it must be that we married having light and did so against knowledge. God knows when people have sinned against Him and He is faithful to deal with their hearts and bring a solution to the matter troubling us. WHEN GOD DEALS WITH SOMEONE REGARDING A MATTER IN THEIR LIFE, NO MAN, NO PREACHER OR PERSON SHOULD TRY AND PERSUADE THEM AGAINST THAT CONVICTING PRESENCE IN THEIR LIVES!

    There is another Scriptural reason why it would not be right to return to the first mate. SCRIPTURE FORBIDS IT.

    OLD TESTAMENT AND NEW TESTAMENT ADULTERY LAWS (Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Matthew 19:3-13) In the old Testament divorce was allowed as well as remarriage. In fact, under Old Testament law, once a wife was put away and married to another, she was not to be taken back again by her first husband. And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) Paul did not teach contrary to this commandment – 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 Corinthians 7:10-11) Paul clearly taught that the divorced partner was not to marry again but seek the possibility of reconciliation by remaining single. It is apparent that Paul upheld the divorce laws of Moses in this matter. (Deuteronomy 24:4) So, we conclude that if we tell people to go back to their first wife (or husband), we are telling them to return to a partner that has been “defiled” which is contrary to the divorce laws of God. According to Moses and Paul converted Christians were not to return to a previous mate if they had taken another married partner.

    We have a problem when we think that a sexual love affair between two people involving a married person(s) can be forgiven because there is no marriage involved and that it cannot be forgiven when a person is in a second marriage. The perpetual adultery doctrine teaches that just as a person having an adulterous affair must stop engaging in adultery and be faithful to the married partner, so must those in a second marriage in their past stop their living together and return to their mate. These are not the same set of conditions.

    1. does God forgive the wrong marriage and give the married couple in a second marriage the chance to start their new Christian lives with the previous marriage cancelled? If Jesus can forgive adultery He can forgive it whether there is a marriage involved or not. So long as the newly saved people confess that divorce and remarriage are sinful and that they denounce divorce and remarriage and that from their conversion to Christ onward they will not remarry so long as they serve Christ.

    2. Note that in Jesus teaching on divorce in Matthew 19:9 that stoning was not mentioned as a penalty for marrying into adultery. Yet the woman He forgave in the temple (John 8:11) had committed adultery under the law which demanded death by stoning! If Jesus forgave adultery under one condition can He not forgive an adulterous marriage and give them a chance to start over again and find a new life without suffering the consequences of a law that was not even spiritually perceived by them?

    3. To say that God does not and will not forgive an adulterous marriage of the past, allowing the married family to have a new beginning, and to insist on holding the past marriage against them is to do so without one single example of Scripture to back you. On the other hand, there are strong Scriptural examples proving that God does forgive and cancel what the law demands of those who do such things with evil and incorrigible intent.

    4. In the case of David, he was released from the penalty which law required and allowed to keep Bath-sheba as a wife. In the case of the woman caught in the act of adultery, she also was released from the penalty which the law required and commanded to sin no more. To shatter a family unit where there is not the consent of the husband and wife involved and apparently without any evidence of the Holy Spirit dealing directly with the hearts of the couple involved can be nothing but human effort and human righteousness acting on human interpretation. The Holy Spirit should be operating with any real work being done in the name of the Word of God. Demanding rigid adherence to the moral law apart from a work of the Holy Spirit is not in keeping with Scriptural example. [e.g., David and Bathsheba; the woman caught in the very act of adultery; Matthew 12:7; Psalm 103:10-13]

    THE PUTTING AWAY UNDER EZRA THE REFORMER – This was not a matter of separating from a second partner but a breach of God’s commandment to the Hebrews not to go in the way of the heathen (Leviticus 18:1-5; Deuteronomy 12:30-31) The men of Israel had married to heathen (unsaved partners) and were being corrupted by the abominations of heathen gods. (Ezra 9:1-3)

    TWO CIRCUMSTANCES OF ADULTERY – There is adultery which involves an illicit sexual relationship involving a married person(s). This is promiscuous adultery such as the woman brought to Jesus in the temple was guilty of. Then there is adultery by marriage which is to enter into a conjugal (including all the privileges of marriage) relationship with a previous living mate or mates. These are both adultery. If God forgives one without requiring any penalty or consequence then God can forgive both without penalty or consequence when repentance is made.

    When they happen, God can forgive both and we mean by that He cancels them as if they never happened and does not remember the past against us.

    WHAT GOD HATH JOINED TOGETHER LET NO MAN PUT ASUNDER – Man cannot but GOD can! When the sinner comes and repents of the past admitting the wrongs of a life of sin that was void of the Spirit of God, the past is forgiven. When we are “justified freely” spoiling a marriage in their future. Sin that is confessed is a cancelled sin whether it be stealing (and how will you go back and make all of that right?), murder (and how will you restore the dead? or will you turn yourself in to the police?) or marriage – God removes that past that is confessed and the sin that is forsaken. If God forgives the wrong of a past second marriage committed in sin then it is no adultery being committed if that forgiven marriage remains in tact. But if they remarry again and violate the marriage laws of the Kingdom having received the Spirit of God in regeneration, they violate the moral laws of God and become adulterer and adulteress and barred from the Kingdom of God according to God’s word. (1 Corinthians 6:9) If remarried persons forsake the sin of divorce they are forgiven as much as the man who forsakes stealing or murder. According to the Word of God THESE CAN BOTH BE FORGIVEN

    JUSTIFIED – Justification is a legal term that has been expounded in the rhetoric of some of the church’s most brilliant masters of the Bible. But does it not mean to be declared free because of insufficient evidence? There is no better illustration of justification than when Peter cut off the ear of Malchus when the priests came with Roman soldiers to apprehend Jesus. (John 18:10) It was an open and shut case! There stood Peter with his sword dripping with the blood of Malchus. But why was not Peter taken and imprisoned for his violent act? Because Jesus had reached out in the lantern light and put His hand on the side of Malchus’s head and restored the ear until there was no evidence that Peter had struck him. THE EVIDENCE WAS REMOVED. Every vestige of injury had been removed by the Master! There was no evidence to incriminate Peter. Jesus knew very well that if He removed all of the evidence of Peter’s crime that there would be no way religious or civil authority could bind him and find him guilty. This final miracle of Christ as the last miracle of His earthly ministry is a perfect example of what His death on the cross was to accomplish for us – our justification! How? By taking our sins upon Himself to receive our punishment and thus remove the evidence of our guilt that separated us from God. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Colossians 2:14. To say that a twice married couple coming to Christ, with previous living mates, are committing adultery by sharing the same bed together after being saved, is to say that God did not or that He will not forgive the second marriage. If He does forgive the marriage then there is no adultery so long as they have acknowledged their sin and ask forgiveness. If He does not forgive the marriage then they would be living in adultery if they continue to share the same bed together.

    The Christian who lives with a second mate is in adultery because we are living under the responsibility of supernatural morality. The sinner is forgiven a second marriage and released from the consequences of sin because Christ covers that error made in sin – but when a Christian sins against the knowledge of God’s Word there is no cover for such wilful sin. The sinner has to be redeemed and start his new life in the state he finds himself at conversion (1 Corinthians 7:17, 20, 24), while the saint must live above sin. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1-2)

    WHAT DETERMINES RESPONSIBILITY FOR SINNING? Or what is meant by “sinning against knowledge”? Is this term really correct. Romans chapter 8 contains two passages of Scripture that helps us understand this thing about who should and who should not be accountable for sin. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Romans 8:6-9. From this we conclude that any man having not the Spirit of Christ is in sin and incapable of being morally responsible. This does not mean that a person can backslide and sin against God and then be saved again and be forgiven a second marriage he entered into while backslidden. God is not mocked.

    So long as Christian does not repeat the sin he is confessing then forgiveness releases from the penalty put upon the transgressor. Modern Charismatics teach that if a Christian divorces and remarries and then admits it to be wrong and asks forgiveness that the marriage is sanctioned in heaven. This is the wildest kind of heresy! In such a case you planned to sin then ask forgiveness. In such a case intentional disobedience was premeditated and then confessed?!? If this can be done in one instance of sin then it can be done in all instances of sin – which is heresy! Christ and the apostles taught that sin that is confessed and not forsaken is not forgiven!

    SIN CONFESSED AND NOT FORSAKEN IS NOT FORGIVEN! God’s Word makes that very clear: And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed {that} thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 1 Samuel 2:28-30. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever. 1 Samuel 3:13-14. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, Hebrews 10:26.

    DIVORCE ALWAYS GIVES THE FEELING OF BEING FREE TO REMARRY AGAIN.

    Divorce is in reality proves the intention to remarry. If that were not the case, then why divorce unless you are being divorced by an ungodly or unsaved mate? When a Christian divorces their mate it reveals their intent to be free to remarry. When they do, they enter an adulterous state and a degenerating spiritual condition.

    CORRECT DOCTRINE ON MARRIAGE BEGINS WITH NOT BELIEVING IN DIVORCE as an action for Christians to take. Once a Christian is divorced from the first marriage, and a second marriage takes place, you have destroyed the possibility of reconciliation with the first and rightful partner.

    CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE OPPOSED TO DIVORCE AS THEY ARE TO ADULTEROUS REMARRIAGE. Lenience toward divorce in the church has started an avalanche of adulterous remarriages within the fundamental church. Pastors have been soft and silent on a doctrine that is sending them and their adulterous followers to hell.

    THE BIBLE IS CLEAR AND JESUS IS THE AUTHOR of the adulterous remarriage commandment. The only time Christians should be involved in a divorce is when they are being filed against by their wicked and unsaved partners. The only time they should take any defensive legal action in a divorce is in that rare case where, for example, a homosexual husband wants custody of the children. In such a case the Christian Mother (or Father in a reversed situation) is morally obligated to keep the children from the wicked lifestyle of the perverted partner. In such an event the divorced Christian must remain single and pray for the conversion of the unsaved partner and keeping herself (himself) free to be reconciled to the partner in the event of his or her
    conversion to the faith. With God all things are possible!

    LITERAL INTERPRETATION OF THE MORAL LAW apart from all other truth relative to the commandment is a dangerous trap to fall into. Thou shalt not kill is in the same list of  commandments as Thou shalt not commit adultery. Is the commandment to be taken literally with no exceptions to the literal meaning as given? Of course not! All of God’s commandments have two forms: First there is THE LETTER OF THE LAW and then there is the SPIRIT OF THE LAW.

    THE LETTER OF THE LAW VERSUS THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW

    Thou shalt not kill must receive its meaning by what all other things written In the Scripture on the subject of killing tells us.

    THE LETTER OF THE LAW is the literal sense of the a moral commandment given in its simplest form. When you isolate any verse of Scripture from all other Biblical facts and attempt to make it binding, you accomplish two things; First you will place a burden on men which God never intended and you have no Scriptural precedent to back you up. Secondly you end up in heresy and that makes you a heretic for teaching it. Literal interpretation accuses all other interpretations as being “man made.” The truth is that literalists are very good at creating false doctrines by ignoring any Biblical fact that disproves their literal interpretation. THERE IS NO MORAL COMMANDMENT THAT CANNOT BE MISINTERPRETED BY EITHER ADDING WRONG VERSES OR IGNORING CERTAIN VERSES THAT EFFECT ITS MEANING. Below are examples of what we mean.

    THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW gives us the true meaning of any moral commandment. There is no Scripture we can isolate from all other Biblical passages and find its true meaning within itself! Any given verse of Scripture must be reconciled with all other Scriptures before the SPIRIT OF THE LAW is achieved.

    EXAMPLES OF THE LETTER OF THE LAW – There are many of the commandments that are not literally. We are rational creatures which God endowed with a brain and a conscience. Man is capable of understanding that THOU SHALT NOT KILL is not to be taken literally. This is clearly explained below. The ten commandments are highly condensed and simplified moral laws for the sake of memory and convenience. The conscience of man tells him what those commandments mean and how they are to be kept. But the conscience of man has been corrupted as well as his intelligence. Depraved man tends to devalue and belittle the moral law of God while the Born again tend to require more than even God requires in their attempt to be Biblically correct. There are two wrong approaches to the Word; to either humanize it or to literalize it. Man whether regenerate or unregenerate can’t seem to draw the line where God draws it in His Word but must go to one extreme of another in the doctrine. Thank God for His Word! By it we can avoid error and know just what His Word teaches.

  • The Letter and the Spirit of the Law

    Part II of IV

    THE LETTER OF THE LAW AND THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW – Now we will look at the moral commandments given by Moses and see why literal interpretation can be very dangerous and lead to error.

    1. KEEP THE SABBATH DAY HOLY

    This is the fourth commandment. The Seventh Day Adventists teach this commandment as a literal commandment and have themselves in hot water! The creation Sabbath was indeed observed on our present Saturday and was so observed until Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. Beginning with the Passover and Israel’s exodus from Egypt the Sabbath was celebrated every seventh DATE beginning at the first Passover feast. All Sabbaths of days weeks and years were kept from that DATE, let us say the 15th day of April for clarity. This would mean that the seventh day of rest would fall on a Tuesday for the first year and then Wednesday on the second year and so on. If this is a fact, and it surely is, then will the Adventists admit they are wrong and reverse the teaching they have dogmatically defended for tens of decades? Not hardly.

    THE WAY THE SABBATH COMMANDMENT IS GIVEN IN ITS LITERAL FORM ALLOWS FOR NO EXCEPTIONS! That is, as it is given by Moses there are no exceptions or explanations that would change that commandment. So we have the majority of Christians observing Sunday (the resurrection day) as the Christian Sabbath and then another segment of the fundamental church holding to Saturday (the original Sabbath). Where has all of this confusion come from? It has come from those who teach a literal commandment according to THE LETTER OF THE LAW and will not deviate from it and admit for neither THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW or THE PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW.

    THERE IS ALSO REGARD TO BE GIVEN AS TO ACTIVITY ON THE SABBATH. In the previous paragraph we spoke of the DATE OF THE SABBATH and now we will consider what activities are to be carried out on the Sabbath. There is no exceptions given when we are told not to work on the Sabbath. So literally, not to work on the Sabbath according to the law as Moses gave it has no exceptions. But other Scriptures and in other places God speaks and qualifies the commandant and tells us that there are certain exceptions. So in the ten commandments He gives us THE LETTER OF THE LAW, but then later as we read more about the Sabbath we learn of THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW such as pulling your ox out of a hole. The priests were also exempted in the carrying out of their priestly duties in the ministry of the tabernacle on the Sabbath, even though another man was stoned to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath! This does not include eating out in restaurants on the Sabbath or taking pleasure trips. Commerce, personal pleasure and secular activity are forbidden by the Word of God. (Isaiah 58)

    IN THE CASE OF THE MAN GATHERING STICKS – In the case of the man gathering sticks the commandment was taken literal, it was an act which God found to be worthy of death. (Numbers 15:35) Why was the death sentence put upon the man by God?!? Because this man’s trifling with the law of God would set a precedent and bring an early break down of the law if he was not punished severely. He was to be made an example. This trend of trifling if not dealt with harshly, would lead to an early apostate condition in Israel.

    IN THE CASE OF THE PRIESTS – In the case of the priest, it was necessary for them to officiate and carry on the worship of Israel at the alters of sacrifice. In this case there was an exception made for the priesthood. So there was an exception to the literal meaning of the Sabbath commandment. So, we see by Biblical example that there are reasonable exceptions to the literal day the Sabbath (rest) is to be observed and Biblical exceptions as to the literal meaning of the commandment when it states Thou shalt not do any work. (Exodus 20:10)

    In Luke 13:13-17 Jesus illustrates for us the difference between THE LETTER OF THE LAW, or limiting the commandment to its literal form, and THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW. In Luke 13 Jesus rebuked the ruler of the synagogue because he took the Sabbath commandment too literally. The fourth commandment says Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. (Exodus 20:8,10) The ruler of the synagogue was disgraced by Jesus for putting a literal interpretation on this commandment. The Rabbi was not directing his remarks at Jesus but rather at the people who were thronging around Jesus, who had been walking from a distance to be in Jesus presence. Walking any distance was considered labor and was prohibited by the teachers of the law. According to the LETTER OF THE LAW they were right, but according to THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW they were “dead” wrong! And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: IN THEM THEREFORE COME AND BE HEALED, AND NOT ON THE SABBATH DAY. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. Luke 13:13-17

    And then in Luke 14:5 He addresses this matter of the literal interpretation of the commandment; And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? An ox lodged in a deep miry pit is a pretty big task involving a lot of sweat and work! Jesus taught that there are sensible and necessary exceptions to the commandment as it is given in its literal form. Jesus made it clear that compassion for the animal laying afflicted in a pit with perhaps a broken leg was an exception to the law in its literal form, and so how much more should the people be allowed to walk to the place of their deliverance.

    Does Matthew 12:1-8 teach that Jesus abided by THE LETTER OF THE LAW or by THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW? At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND NOT SACRIFICE, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day. THE LETTER OF THE LAW forbid David or any but the priests to eat the shewbread. But THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW took into consideration the fact that David and his men were being hated and hunted wrongfully and their urgent need of food was being met by the shewbread. God did make an exception to the law which forbid David under normal circumstances of doing such a thing. The law is not senseless or insensitive – the law is both sensible and sensitive.

    THE MERCY PRINCIPLE AFTER THE CROSS – We know that the law was exacting, but under Grace more is required of Christians morally. The reason is obvious – more of God’s power is available to us. HOSEA 6:5 Therefore have I hewed {them} by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments {are as} the light {that} goeth forth.

    When Jesus called Matthew from the receipt of custom (the table for paying taxes), He went with His disciples to eat in the house of Matthew. Many Publicans and sinners came and sat at the table with them. When the Pharisees saw this they criticized Jesus for sitting with these kind of people. that was when Jesus answered with the words, But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Matthew 9:13 Were there divorced people among those sinners? Probably so. Jesus was making a point; that under the dispensation of Grace there would be a full pardon. The way He uses the word mercy here implies that. The word sacrifice refers to the Mosaic sacrifice system, the ceremonial law. It has nothing to do with the moral law.

    The mercy principle was shown in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. In the old Testament it was shown to David and Bathsheba. In the new Testament the woman brought to Jesus in the temple by the Pharisees was shown mercy in that the law was NOT exacted against her as they demanded and as the law read.

    Mercy implies that penalty is relaxed against the transgressor when there is sufficient reason to believe that pardon will make reform possible. God was not legally obligated by any Kingdom laws to redeem us. The fact that man’s soul is eternal caused God to think that He was morally obligated to provide man with a way out of his damnation.

    Under Grace the evidence is very strong that God excuses mistakes buried in our past giving us a whole new start, a new birth, a new beginning.

    TERMS THAT SPEAK OF THE CANCELLING OF THE PAST TRANSGRESSIONS

    BORN AGAIN – To be born again would indicate that the whole life of sin behind you is in the past and that you are being given a whole new start in life. It means that you have no past, that you are another person with a new name written in the book of Life and nothing from the past remembered against you. Repentance is a birth into a new life. Nothing can be held against a person who has no past!

    In the case of David and Bethsheba as well as the woman brought to Jesus in the temple caught “in the very act” of adultery there was no penalty. In David’s case he repented and was forgiven – the penalty was deferred. In the case of the woman there is no record she repented, but nevertheless Jesus granted her forgiveness (which indicates He saw a repentant spirit in her demeanor) and she was cleared from the penalty of her sin. Where the forgiveness of God is actually granted there is with it reprieve.

    There are two words in the New Testament that imply a complete release from sin that has been committed in the past. JUSTIFICATION and REMISSION both speak of being released from sin. Not forgiveness IF… but a complete and unconditional release from any sin committed in the past. That means that what sin you have been forgiven of you should not return to. In the case of married persons with marriage in tact that would be the sin of divorce and remarriage. If you have been forgiven that past remarriage then you will not commit that sin again, and if you do it is an act of open rebellion against God and His Word!

    This is the only way we can explain God releasing David from death by stoning and the woman caught in adultery in John 8.

    But should we continue in sin that Grace may abound? GOD FORBID! So, once Grace enters our lives then there is no more sacrifice for sin! (Hebrews 10) To remarry under any conditions after becoming a Christian is to be removed from church membership. To remarry if your partner leaves you is expressly forbidden by the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:10-11)

    Three times in 1 Corinthians 7 Paul speaks of the Christian remaining in the state he is in when converted. (Verses 17,20 and 24.) This instruction is given in the marriage and divorce chapter and in the context of the state of marriage by new converts. In all of this chapter Paul never once addresses the idea of previously married partners separating. It is apparent by this that the apostles nor any of the early churches required this separation of converts with a previous marriage before conversion.

    IS STEALING AND MARRIAGE THE SAME? – Those who believe that previously married couples who get saved and continue to live together are committing adultery, often insist, “When a thief gets saved he stops stealing, and when murderer gets saved he stops killing – and when somebody living in adultery gets saved they have to stop committing adultery. But by this you are comparing murder with marriage. God created the married state. In the words of the Bible, marriage is honorable – stealing is never honorable; killing is never honorable and God is not the author of sin. You may say that God is not the author of second marriages…but He did allow divorced people to remarry in the Old Testament! He has never allowed stealing or murder. Adultery as it is mentioned in the ten commandments must be referring to extra-marital affairs by married people showing infidelity toward a married partner. This is indicated in Jesus words found in MARK 10:11 when He said, And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. The words, “against her” implies that the choice of another woman was unjust and out of lust for another woman. Men ought to be content and keep their marriage vows as they were uttered before God in the marriage ceremony. To turn against the wife of “thy youth” is evil and shows a spirit of infidelity. So there was a time that remarriage was tolerated by God. If He tolerated remarriage under the law, would He forgive it under Grace and allow a happily married couple to continue their lives together thus avoiding another divorce experience, avoiding the temptations of a single life, avoiding the possibility of backsliding and remarrying the third time! Marriage is an honorable state for man and God’s plan for a man to be united with a wife. THE FACT THAT THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE INSTANCE OF THE LORD OR ANY OF THE APOSTLES REQUIRING THAT TWICE MARRIED CONVERTS SEPARATE AND THAT THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE INSTANCE OF TWICE MARRIED PEOPLE BEING INSTRUCTED TO SEPARATE, AND BECAUSE THE SCRIPTURES WERE WRITTEN IN THE TIME OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE THAT WAS RIDDEN WITH HIGH DIVORCE RATES AND IMMORALITY, we come to a conclusion based on Biblical evidence that the early church did not require converts with a previous marriage in their past to break that marriage.

    THE PRINCIPLE OF THE MORAL COMMANDMENT – There is yet another way to understand the moral commandments of God. We have spoken of THE LETTER OF THE LAW and THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW but here is also the principle of the law. While we are speaking on the subject of the Sabbath we will use it to demonstrate THE PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW. When we speak of a principle we are speaking of the purpose or meaning of a given law. None of God’s commandments are without principle, that is a purpose, a good reason. Sometimes we may not understand the good of some of God’s commandments but you can rest assured there is always a principle or a good reason behind them. One of the great joys of searching the Scripture is to get understanding that reveals the purpose and meaning of God’s commandments. This is why Satan wants to keep you from the Word of God! He wants us to fall out with the Lord because we think His commandments are unreasonable and harsh. Apostates all have this problem with the moral law. They don’t understand it so they try to rewrite the book and improve on God’s moral government. But when they do this they only self destruct and bring judgment on themselves.

    THE WORD SABBATH MEANS INTERMISSION – The Greek word for sabbath (sabbaton) is taken from the Hebrew word shabbath meaning a day, a week or year of rest. There are two purposes of the sabbath. The first would be what the word sabbath implies, a time of rest from secular work. So the first principle of the sabbath is to provide a time of respite and rest, an intermission for the laboring person. Those who work in offices and factories can relate to the sabbath every time they take “break.” The second and very important principle of the Sabbath is that it’s origin is in the instantaneous creation of the world by God the creator. The sabbath commemorates the instantaneous creation and for that reason also Christians should observe the sabbath. The enemies of Christian values, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, who want to eliminate all blue laws prohibiting the shut down of businesses on Sunday are opposing instantaneous creation and Biblical influence on society when they do so. SO WHETHER WE KEEP THE SABBATH ON SATURDAY OR TUESDAY DOES NOT VIOLATE THE PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW NOR THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW SO LONG AS EVERY SEVENTH DAY IS OBSERVED. The principle of the sabbath is not keeping a certain day as the Sabbath, the principle of the sabbath is resting every seventh day no matter the day.

    Jesus was mentioning THE PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW concerning the sabbath when He said, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: (Mark 2:27). As Charles Finney has said, God’s commandments are not good because they are God’s commandments, but they are God’s commandments because they are good.

    CONCLUSION: God’s systematic sabbath system assures the preservation of the seventh day principle to give rest and to commemorate the Genesis creation. It is not the commandment itself which God hopes to achieve in man but THE GOOD THAT RESULTS FROM IT.

    2. THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS (LIE)

    Are there any exceptions to this commandment? Rahab the harlot lied to the men of Jericho (Joshua 2:4-6) and was later commended for her lying as showing faith in God! (Hebrews 11:31) Critics may say that Rahab was not under the law of God and therefore not to be guilty for lying as a Hebrew would be guilty. That is the point in referring to Rahab. If she is not to be blamed because she was not under the teaching of Israel then it means no one is accountable to God for what they have done before becoming a believer. WHAT SHE DID WRONG IN HER PAST WAS FORGOTTEN ONCE SHE BECAME AN ISRAELITE BY FAITH. But if she was guilty of lying in THE LITERAL SENSE then it must be admitted she was not condemned for her lie under the circumstances.

    RAHAB’S LIE NEVER CONDEMNED – It says she received the spies with peace. At the same time she told the men of her cities that the two strange men had left at dark and gave them a false direction which they pursued. The point is that God did not blot her out of the book of life because she was a harlot or because she lied but commended her for her faith in God. Rahab’s case shows us that God did not deny her favor because she lied but winked at her lying because she had such great faith in God and that He was with Israel.

    LYING HARLOT SAVED BY FAITH! – In Joshua 6 (verses 17-25) as Israel was preparing the seventh day to march the seventh time around Jericho, Joshua lectured the priests and soldiers giving them strict orders to destroy everything but those who were in the house of Rahab (6:17). Some of the most beautiful words of Scripture are found in Joshua 6:25, And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. Joshua 6:25. Rahab found a godly life and a whole new future among the Israelites. Her past was never mentioned, neither was she reproved for lying. Taking the commandments literally can destroy the meaning of God’s forgiveness of the past and cancels the real meaning of faith, which Rahab was commended for.

    3. THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY

    Is a very clear commandment which we understand to be an absolute moral fact. THE LETTER OF THE LAW makes no exceptions. But how has God treated this commandment? I am asking a very direct question when I say, how has GOD HIMSELF handled this matter of adultery? Would God do anything contrary to His own moral commandments? Would God not want us to understand this commandment? We have the LETTER OF THE LAW in the commandment as it is given in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, now let’s consider THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW. The best example of God dealing directly with adultery is the case of David and Bethsheba. Even though it is an Old Testament sin it covers everything in Jesus teaching in the New Testament.

    And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. Leviticus
    20:10

    ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD David and Bathsheba should have both been stoned to death! There is no quibbling, no getting out of it . . .according to Leviticus 20:30 David and Bathsheba were both guilty of transgressing the law of adultery. YET WHEN GOD SPOKE TO THE PROPHET NATHAN HE DID NOT TELL NATHAN TO GO TO THE ELDERS OF ISRAEL AND HAVE THEM DRAW DAVID AND BATHSHEBA OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF JERUSALEM AND HAVE THE PEOPLE STONE THEM! NO? THE PROPHET CAME TO DAVID AND SAID, “THOU ART THE MAN”!

    God did not impose the death penalty on David and Bathsheba according to the literal meaning of the law. He did require the death of the baby conceived in adultery but did not bring death by stoning ACCORDING TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW. He then allowed David to marry Bathsheba and gave David a son, Solomon. who all were a part of the Messianic line!

    DAVID’S SINS DEMANDED DEATH ACCORDING TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW – David’s sins were legion in his affair with Bathsheba! He coveted another man’s wife (10th commandment); He committed adultery with her (7th commandment); He conspired against the innocent (Uriah); He lied (9th commandment), he murdered (6th commandment) and then married the victim’s widow! David was not just guilty of adultery, he had violated about every moral principle in the ten commandments! Yet it is very clear that God did not deal with David after THE LETTER OF THE LAW. Those who teach perpetual adultery would not agree with God in the way He showed mercy and did not carry out absolute and literal meaning of His law on adultery.

    Let’s stop right here to point something out that is very important. Please notice how angrily David reacted to the man who had selfishly killed the pet lamb when he could have killed any of the many other lambs; And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: 2 Samuel 12:5

    DAVID’S HUMAN REACTION AGAINST THE MAN WHO KILLED THE LAMB WAS IN GREAT CONTRAST TO GOD’S JUDGMENT OF DAVID WHO HAD KILLED A MAN! We humans are much more demanding and harsh in our judgment of evil than was God against us.

    Perpetual adultery doctrine is a human way of reacting against adultery when we never see God making the extreme demands on us that we make upon ourselves. Remember, we are speaking of how we are to react toward sin when it is committed by people who have repented and confessed their rebellion and sin against the laws of God. David and Bathsheba lived under the full knowledge of the law and yet God graciously wiped out their transgression and cancelled the law that was against them, yea! that demanded their very lives.

    Oh, but that was under law, someone says. Yes, it was under law but nevertheless it was not executed in its harshest and literal sense according to THE LETTER OF THE LAW. It matters not which dispensation. God’s law is as binding under one covenant as the other and even more so under the law than under grace.

    BUT LET US CONSIDER ADULTERY NOW UNDER GRACE and see what Jesus did regarding this matter. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, (4) They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. (5) Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? (6) This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with {his} finger wrote on the ground, {as though he heard them not}. (7) So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, HE THAT IS WITHOUT SIN AMONG YOU, LET HIM FIRST CAST A STONE AT HER. (8) And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. (9) And they which heard {it}, being convicted by {their own} conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, {even} unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. (10) When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? (11) She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:3-11)

    SOME PEOPLE READ MEANING INTO THE WORDS OF JESUS THAT IS NOT THERE – Go and sin no more are the words Jesus spoke to a woman who was caught in an adulterous act and not to a woman who had been divorced and remarried. The idea that this means that the woman caught in the very act of adultery was not to commit adultery again or there would be consequences. . .and then further conclude beyond the meaning of this text, that if this applies to this woman’s adultery, then it applies to people who are twice married, and that they must stop living together if they are to “sin no more” (stop sinning) is to read into the word of God something not mentioned or implied.

    This woman was forgiven a promiscuous act of adultery – Therefore Jesus’ words to her were meant for her and would apply to people guilty of her sin – Go and sin no more. In the case of promiscuous sin it means just that, but it cannot be made to imply separation of married people who remarried in sin before conversion. That bit of added meaning to this text by those who badly lack Scriptural support of their separation theory try to wrest the Scriptures to back their contentions. It is amazing how rigid and literal some brethren can be with some texts and then be so loose and assuming with other Bible texts when they want to make it mean something not implied in the text.

    GOD’S OBJECTIVE IS TO REDEMPTIVE, TO SALVAGE US – There is another way we see the words of Jesus as they apply to this woman that are just as logical as (and certainly more Scriptural) as the interpretation that demands separation. He might have meant by His Words that she was not condemned by any wrong she had done in the past and that she was to go and never commit again the sin He was forgiving her of. In the case of persons with remarriage in their past before they became Christians, would mean they would be forgiven of their past marriage but they should never do it again.

    THE PHARISEES WERE APPLYING A LITERAL INTERPRETATION of the law to the woman caught in the act of adultery. What Jesus did with this woman and how He Himself regarded THE LETTER OF THE LAW is our example in applying the adultery laws of God to those who come to Christ in the church today. Did Jesus demand that THE LETTER OF THE LAW be carried out without one bit of regard for this woman, her future, the marriage she apparently had? No! He released her from all obligation to the demands of the law and warned her that she was not to commit this sin, implying grave consequences.

    JESUS WAS QUITE AWARE OF THE ALTERNATIVE. He knew that stoning was what the law called for. But He made an exception to THE LETTER OF THE LAW! Why? Was it because He knew her accusers were also guilty of breaking the law of Moses? Was it because their motive was to embarrass Him in the eyes of the temple crowd? Was it because He felt a compassion for her in the way they were publicly disgracing her because of their hatred of Him? These are all factors very real and present in this confrontation. But if we believe in a literal obedience to a literal law then none of these are good reasons for the exception He made. He made and It simply demonstrates what the compassion of Christ really is. It a chance to start all over again with a clean slate, no matter what the past had in it!

    THIS WE KNOW, THAT JESUS DID MAKE AN EXCEPTION TO THE LITERAL MORAL LAW OF GOD, AND HE DID NOT REQUIRE HER TO SUFFER THE PENALTY OF DEATH AS THE LAW IN ITS LITERAL FORM DEMANDED.

    JESUS HAS MADE A POINT PERFECTLY CLEAR, that THE LETTER OF THE LAW is not to be used without or apart from the SPIRIT OF THE LAW. THE LETTER OF THE LAW may be required when we violate THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW. is not always the rule by which God acts but rather by THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW. What did Jesus finally say to her? He said, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. What?!? But she was caught in the act of adultery and her guilt is established by both the accusers and the Lord! Jesus was not a literalist who went by THE LETTER OF THE LAW, He was a Savior who wanted man redeemed and to be able to go from His presence and SIN NO MORE.

    GOD HATES THE PUTTING AWAY!Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for {one} covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. Malachi 2:14-16

    If God cancels our sin and showing mercy gives me a whole new life with a new beginning and then after tasting that heavenly life I ignore to apply His will to my life, there can be grave consequences To live contrary to the truth and not appropriate the power of the Spirit and commit a sin (rebel) against what I know to be God’s will as revealed in His Word, IS SIN! Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4:17) For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26-27.

    WE REPENT BECAUSE WE AWARE OF OUR SINFUL STATE. If God forgives us through Christ of our past that included a divorce and remarriage and then we divorce and remarry again, we have flagrantly abused THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW and have fallen under the consequences of THE LETTER OF THE LAW. There remaineth no more sacrifice for our sins.

    NO EXCEPTIONS TO THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW! This we know, that in the case of David and Bathsheba God did not apply His judgment according to THE LETTER OF LAW! There were conditions involved, though we may not understand them all, the Word reveals that there were consequences which were according to THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW, though not after THE LETTER OF THE LAW.

    God has made exceptions to THE LETTER OF THE LAW but never does he make exceptions to THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW!

    NO TRIFLING WITH THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW – Saints will not get away with trying to live by Scriptures that are given to sinners! Nor will God tolerate sinners taking advantage of Him, nor should we be deceived into believing that God’s grace is mercy winning out over justice. Paul said of the Jews, For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. Romans 10:2.

    RECONCILING THE WORD WITH THE WORD – What Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery must be applied to the meaning of what He taught in Matthew 19:9. He is personally speaking to the woman caught in the act of adultery, yet He also taught that this woman could be forgiven of adultery.

    REMARRIAGE AFTER REBIRTH IS ADULTERY – Remarriage in sin is a sin that is removed from us and cancelled by the legal death we experience through faith in Christ.

    SAINTS ARE RESPONSIBLE TO THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW – Hebrews 10:28-30 The Word of God warns against those who “do despite unto the Spirit of grace” and warns of a terrible fate. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. Hebrews 10:28

    ALL SCRIPTURE IS TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY – We have no argument against the fact that all Scripture must be understood as being literal and that it should be accepted as being literal when possible. One of the first laws of hermeneutics is that all scripture is to be taken literally when possible. HOWEVER, ALL SCRIPTURES TAKEN IN THE LITERAL SENSE MUST NOT CONFLICT WITH ANY OTHER SCRIPTURE, ALL SCRIPTURES DEALING WITH ADULTERY AND MARRIAGE MUST BE CONSIDERED AS A COMPLETE REVELATION ON THAT SUBJECT.

    GREAT HARM COMES FROM SUBJECTING ALL OTHER VERSES ON A GIVEN SUBJECT TO ONE VERSE. It is wrong and even evil to force twenty verses into the meaning of one verse. Scriptures on any given subject are reconciles with each other and not forced (interpreted) to fit the meaning we give a pet verse. No one Scripture can be used as being the complete meaning when there are other Scriptures on that same subject which give the other verses a broader meaning.

    SINNING AGAINST KNOWLEDGE – Teachers of perpetual adultery insist that sinners are as morally responsible for breaking moral commandments as saints, that to enter heaven they must divorce and break up their home and go back retroactively into their past, no matter the consequences, and be responsible for a sin they committed against God when they divorced and remarried as sinners. Jesus makes a very clear statement regarding adulterous marriages. But to disobey that commandment is the same as disobedience to any moral commandment including murder. If a murderer gets saved we praise God and let him testify of his murderous past and ordain him to the ministry even though he never rectifies or restores or pays the penalty for his
    murder. We treat murderers better than we do people who have transgressed a commandment that was not even considered wrong under the Old Testament! Surely adultery is as pardonable as murder! Both were to be punished by death. Do we make the murderer go to prison for a murder he committed in his sinful past? He can become a preacher with a sensational testimony but the persons who had a double marriage are not forgiven and told they will not go to heaven and sometimes denied church membership.

    BULLDOG DOGMATISM IS GOOD WHEN YOUR RIGHT – One of the reasons dogmatic people will not admit that there is a complete release of guilt from adultery at the time of conversion is because they have been so dogmatic and have made such rank assertive confident and forceful statements about their views that they are ashamed to recall them. This is a trick of the enemy to destroy the happiness and faith of some of the strongest and best Christians . . .to get them off on a tangent championing some doctrine and then fight the truth and resist the light of God until they are chastised or suffer a complete spiritual setback. Christians be warned.

    THE TERM “PERPETUAL ADULTERY” is man-made term that teaches that any marriage in the persons past has to be dissolved no matter the consequences. This is a good example of THE LETTER OF THE LAW interpretation. We know what Jesus taught in Matthew 19! He taught clearly that second marriages were adulterous and forbidden of God as of the revelation of the cross! “If any man” is a reference all who hear Him and all He speaks to. Any person who claims to a Christian and possessing the Spirit of Christ is absolutely living in adultery and damned if they have entered a second marriage having heard and known the teaching of Christ. In this case grace will lead you in dissolving the adulterous marriage and keep you in self control to remain single and in the fervent service of the Lord the rest of your life. People think they have to get married only because they WANT TO GET MARRIED. Get rid of the thought and reconcile yourself to the obedience of the cross and you will lose that desire.

    PERPETUAL ADULTERY DOCTRINE NOT SUPPORTED BY SCRIPTURE – The “Perpetual adultery” doctrine is a cold and literal interpretation of a moral commandment that is certainly not supported by the Biblical case of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel chapter 11; Jesus forgiveness of the woman caught “in the very act” of adultery in John, chapter 8. This story from the life of David is ample proof that God does not require the letter of the law in all cases. God deals with us not according to THE LETTER OF THE LAW but according to THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW. (Psalms 103:10-18)

    IT VIOLATES THE PRINCIPLE OF PRECEDENT – There is not a single instance in all of the New Testament where Jesus or any of the disciples ever commanded any persons with double marriage to separate themselves or break up their homes in order to enter the Kingdom of God, and the Roman empire was full of it!. THIS IS A CONSPICUOUS FACT! There is not one instance in Scripture where the matter of “perpetual adultery” was illustrated by example. If separation of married partners with divorce in their past prior to conversion keeps one from heaven, why is there not one Biblical example to illustrate this fact?

    THERE IS NO ARGUMENT to the fact that Jesus makes it clear that adulterers and adulteresses will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not to be argued that Jesus made double marriages with a living partner adulteress relationships. (Matthew 19; Mark 10)

    THE JESUS ONLY DOCTRINE is a literal doctrine. Literalists should all be Jesus only. One or two verses make this doctrine literally correct.

    SOUL SLEEP is another doctrine that is taken from one or two verses of the Bible and then all the rest of what is said about departed saints is forced into those few verses that use euphemism when referring to the death of the sanctified.

    PENALTIES FOR ADULTERY ARE THE SAME – Someone says, Yes, but this woman didn’t marry into adultery she was only found committing adultery having nothing to do with her marriage. So is one kind of adultery to be judged as something different from another kind of adultery? Of course not. According to Moses promiscuous adulterous affairs between married or by a married person was a sin unto death (received the death penalty. According to Jesus remarriage with a living mate is adultery and no adulterer shall enter the Kingdom of God. It seems they are both sins unto death.

    THE DOCTRINAL COMPLICATIONS OF “PERPETUAL ADULTERY” – If you believe that this woman caught in adultery can be forgiven and not be stoned as the law of Moses called for, then why is it you cannot believe God would also release converts from the guilt of their sinful past?

    JESUS DID NOT REQUIRE THE LETTER OF THE LAW – for this woman, AND SHE WAS AN ISRAELITE WHO KNEW THE LAW. Why do we want to apply THE LETTER OF THE LAW to those who had sinned in their past who had little or no knowledge of God living in a lost state?

    LITERALISM ANSWER: Because Jesus was living under the law of Moses and therefore not teaching grace. Bunk! Think! Be honest with the Word of God! Jesus was demonstrating grace as clear as crystal. He was certainly acting according to the law of Moses. He, in fact, referred to the law of Moses and eliminated it from being executed according to THE LETTER OF THE LAW. Jesus was clearly demonstrating the power of God’s forgiveness and the divine desire to give man a new beginning WHATEVER HIS PAST.

    FORGIVENESS AT THE CROSS but obedience AFTER THE CROSS. When we speak of God’s forgiveness we are speaking of grace at the time of forgiving the past. After we become new creatures then we WILL NOT TRANSGRESS THE LAWS HE HAS WRITTEN ON OUR HEART! If we do then we are sinning against grace and there is no forgiveness of sin we choose not to forsake. That is transgression against THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW and there is no redemptive salvation from that except to forsake it!

    THE DEPTH OF GOD’S FORGIVENESS – Moreover, Rahab was the mother of Boaz, the great grandmother of King David (Matthew 1:5; Ruth 4:18-21) and a member of the family tree of Jesus! If God forgave the adulterous harlot Rahab and made her a part of the savior’s genealogy then I do not have much stock in the man made doctrine of perpetual adultery.

    IS FORGIVENESS OF ALL SIN RETROACTIVE? The perpetual adultery teachers say it is not, that the sinner must go back and right every wrong in his past before he can be forgiven. It is the Catholic view of making personal atonement for your sins by afflicting yourself with punishment that will please God and earn you your right to heaven.

    FORGIVENESS IS REDEMPTIVE, NOT RETROACTIVE! God is interested in getting people’s lives back on a course of pure living from the point He finds them. He is not interested in remembering everything they ever did in there past and holding it against them until they retrace their steps and restore every wrong they ever committed. God is more interested in us repenting of every wrong we ever did more than rectifying the wrongs. The reasons are very easy to see. A wicked man could spend the rest of his life as a Christian trying to dig up and re-live his life. When God delivers us out of the pit its alright to glance back and thank God for deliverance from the pit, but to go back into the pit and try to straighten everything out that was done in the pit is not the meaning of forgiveness and it is not taught in the New Testament.

    THE PURPOSE OF SALVATION IS A NEW BEGINNINGThe purpose of redemption excludes the idea of putting distress and tension into life when that is avoidable and unnecessary. There are cases of remarriage that do need to be dissolved, and especially when both partners are sensing it for spiritual reasons. All of the instruction given to saints in the New Testament is as if the Christian has had a new beginning and the thrust of the new spiritual life is toward living a pure life from the day of conversion. We do not find the apostles turning believers out of the church because of something in their past. IT IS JUST NOT THERE!

    ONLY LOVE FOR GOD CAN OBEY GOD – Jesus said, If you love Me, keep my commandments. There is no way sinners are able to keep Christ’s commandments and there is no way they are to be legally responsible morally for something they are incapable of and uncaring for. Sinners do not have a moral nature capable of response to spiritual truth. They are spiritually dead! BUT, ONCE THE CREATURE ACKNOWLEDGES HIS OR HER SIN AND TAKES ON THE NEW CREATION NATURE OF CHRIST, THEN THAT PERSON BECOMES RESPONSIBLE TO EVERY WORD FOUND WRITTEN IN THE WORD OF GOD. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know {them}, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:11-14

  • Divorce Remarriage and the Law

    Part III of IV

    THE “INNOCENT PARTY” DOCTRINE IS NOT BIBLICAL – Christians who remarry with a living mate are living in adultery. For those Christians who have remarried as Christians have apparently been lied to by false teachers and take the word of a man over the Words of Jesus. (Matthew 19:3-9) They are told by the dogs that cannot bark, that they are the “innocent party” and therefore free to marry again. There is no innocent party doctrine in the New Testament. This is only a high sounding theory that appeals to those who want to remain saved and go to heaven and live against the teachings of Christ at the same time. All of these who propagate this doctrine of respectable adultery will share a common fate in the judgment.

    DIVORCED AND SINGLE? – Sinners may have a past life wiped out and buried in the sea of God’s forgetfulness, but for saints divorce and remarriage is a sin unto death. (Matthew 19:9 with 1 Corinthians 6:9) To these I admonish to seek God’s grace, leave the adulterous marriage and reconcile yourself to a life of service for the Lord the rest of your single days. But if you have a divorce in your past and have not remarried, then remain unmarried and pray for the reconciliation of your marriage till the day of your death. For you there is a special crown of reward. If a person with divorce in his or her past becomes converted to Christ as a single person, having not remarried, remain unmarried for if you remarry now with the knowledge of God’s Word in your heart, you will commit adultery, violate THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW and destroy the possibility of your marriage ever being reconciled.

    PERPETUAL ADULTERY IS RETROACTIVE GUILT – Retroactive guilt is a better term for breaking up established homes with double marriages in their past than the clever term PERPETUAL ADULTERY. We have heard all of the arguments such as marriage being a binding oath for saint and sinner alike. But some old time holiness preachers would certainly not go along with that. For they did not even marry sinners in their churches! The historical Biblical position of holiness preachers has always been that sinners are living in darkness and rebellion toward God and are not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be! To put an unregenerate person on the same level of moral responsibility with the saint shows an ignorance of the Word of God. That God requires of the sinner the same moral obligation as that of a saint walking in the light is not Biblical. it is not religion that is committed to truth but rather to a literalism that is heartless and foreign to the Spirit of the cross.

    He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. Psalms 103:10-18

    TRANSGRESSING THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT – It must be noted that God’s mercy forgives the sin of those who fear Him . . .and to those that remember his commandments to do them. The Christian with a remarriage in their past must take a firm stand against divorce in the church and in the life of Christians. The reason many pastors are skeptical of allowing converts with divorce and remarriage in their life into the full confidence of the church is because these people so many times want to make people think that divorce and remarriage are Biblically permissible, even for Christians. No! As Christians we are now responsible to THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW and if we transgress that law there is no covering. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, Hebrews 10:26

    CHRISTIANS MUST REGARD THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW – It is very plain in this Scripture that sin is in the same life that fears God and who remember His commandments. It also states clearly that God does not deal with these imperfect people according to their sins, according to THE LETTER OF THE LAW but according to THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW. But if a child of God transgresses THE LETTER OF THE LAW AND THEN THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW that person is reprobate.

    THE DEATH OF THE PAST IN THE CROSS – Perpetual adultery teaching violates THE SPIRIT OF THE CROSS. When people are married in sin they experience a legal death that leaving their past behind them as a dead man. There is perception of spiritual truth, no sense of moral obligation to God. When the sinner comes to Christ and repents of His past, he is becomes new creation and possesses a new desire to please God and keep the moral law. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4) Some Christians believe that life becomes new at the time of new birth and others believe that the new convert must go back into his past and by self effort correct any wrongs he did in his past.

    DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY AGGRESSIVE SPIRITS – Christians who are dedicated to a literal interpretation of THE LETTER OF THE LAW try to intimidate other Christians into believing their way by being so cock-sure of themselves. Like the Jesus Only preachers they put you on a guilt trip convincing you they are right on the sheer literal fact that the Scriptures they carefully select and have only the literal meaning they convey to you. DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED INTO BELIEVING SOMETHING ON THE BASIS OF SOMEONE ELSE’S DOGMATISM AND ZEAL. Truth doesn’t have to convince by intimidation and condemnation. Truth is like light – it reveals all of the facts when it fills a room and not just one little spot in the corner!

    TRUTH INCLUDES ALL OF THE FACTS – It is true that the law says Thou shalt not commit adultery, but here is more to that commandment than is contained in that one commandment. It is true that Jesus said, 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. But there are more than these two verses of Scripture on the subject of marriage, divorce and adultery in the Bible. In the case of Jesus statement there is also the very strong possibility that He is speaking of the husband who is casting off a wife for another woman, and that the woman being put away cannot be remarried but she can be reconciled to her first husband so long as she does not. Or, if another man marries her who is divorced commits adultery because she is the first man’s wife according to the law of God.

    LITERALISM CAUSES CONFUSION: To put a literal interpretation upon a single commandment passage and then press that single statement of Scripture as the “law we go by” will result in several outcomes. (1) First you must make no exceptions to your law and that will mean a separation from brethren who do not agree with you. There are doctrines we are to separate from apostates over if they teach them but when we do this with doctrine that is being wrongly held it is fractures and fragments the body of Christ. (2) You create more problems than you solve. That is not the work of the Holy Spirit! Example: If the literalism insists that people previously married before their conversion must separate if they have living mates, then that means that the person they are married to is not their wife (husband) in God’s sight and so they are living in adultery. But this family has children and are living haply together when they are converted. They are told they must divorce and live apart from each other. But – the woman was not married previous to her marriage to this man, it was he who had been previously married. According to literal interpretation, she never was his wife and therefore she can remarry a man who himself is a widower or never married! If you say she cannot remarry again then you must believe she was indeed married. If you say she has been married to a man and then put away and is forbidden to marry another man according to the law of Moses. (Deuteronomy 24:4-5) Not so! Moses law forbid a woman to return to her first husband but the divorced woman could marry again – according to the law of Moses. So if you divorce the family with marriage in their past life of sin then that woman not having been his real wife in the eyes of God,” can, according to literal interpretation of THE LETTER OF THE LAW be married to another unmarried man because she was never really married “in the eyes of God” unless you want to be literal when making them split the home when they are converted and then NOT BE LITERAL ACCORDING TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW when it comes to that woman being free to marry again. If it sounds confusing that is because it is. When doctrine that is not Scripturally consistent is taught and believed then it only creates confusion when you start to carrying it out to its logical ends.

    WOMAN OF SYCHAR HAD FIVE “HUSBANDS” ACCORDING TO JESUS – Jesus told the woman of Sychar that she had five husbands and that the man she was living with was not her husband. The literal translation of this statement by Jesus then means that He recognized all five men she lived with as “husbands.” That would be permissible according to the law of Moses. But if this woman knew the law of God, which she did, then she also knew that she was living in adultery sharing a bed with a man she was not married to. Jesus revealed to this woman that He was Messiah and used her as a means of entering Capernium to bring the Kingdom message. We do not read in the account that Jesus made an issue over the woman’s moral life or make any demands on her. Of course, we know from other Scriptures on the subject of sin that this woman would have to “depart from iniquity” if she is to have eternal life and enter the Kingdom of God.

    THE MORAL LAW OF GOD FOUNDED UPON PRINCIPLE – He was demonstrating THE PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:17 Saved FROM their sins, that is. Not, saved IN their sins or WITH their sins but FROM their sins. To make this mean that a person’s remarriage, perhaps twenty years into their past, must be remembered against them and that their going to heaven depends on a retroactive correction of something buried in their past is contrary to the redemptive purpose and power of the cross and certainly contrary to all the Scriptures teach on the adulterous state and what happens to it when it is judged by God.

    THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY is a command that simply tells man that violating the marriage vows between married people, or by a married person, or remarriage among previously married people is forbidden and adulterous. To practice these things or to remarry into an adulterous remarriage as a Christian is absolutely forbidden. It is to be understood that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom

    A DOUBLE STANDARD OF PUNISHMENT? – Some will say that the woman caught in the act of adultery was not remarried into adultery but committing adultery with another man while she was married. And she was certainly married or they would have brought the man or both she and the man she was caught with. Have you ever wondered why they brought only the woman? What happened to the man? No, she was not caught in committing fornication – she was caught committing adultery, as a married woman. The point is that Jesus, again, did not apply THE LETTER OF THE LAW subjecting her to death by stoning.

    HER MARRIAGE WAS NOT INVOLVED – But now we have another problem for the perpetual adultery teachers: Does it mean that a woman who commits adultery with other men and leaves her marriage in intact can be forgiven with no penalty in this life, and if that is so then why punish people who commit adultery by marriage?

    SHOULD WE STONE THEM? – A well known campmeeting Bible teacher was asked what he thought of pastors who ejected new converts from the church if they had previous marriage before becoming Christians. His answer was not exactly theological but did carry a certain ring of truth. “What do they want us to do with these people – take ’em out’n shoot’m?” But that is exactly what the law required of adulterers. They were stoned to death. What do the literalist do with this? If they believe people are living in adultery, then they are to be stoned! Where are their stoning squads? This is a serious question for those who insist on carrying out the law of Moses literally, those who committed adultery, having a secret affair, were to be stoned. The penalty for this transgression was death. According to THE LETTER OF THE LAW should we not be doing this today?

    WHEN A SECOND MARRIAGE WITH A LIVING MATE IS ADULTERY – According to Jesus, a second marriage with a living mate is adultery, and especially is that true if they have Christ and professing Him as their Saviour from sin. DO WE TREAT THOSE WHO HAVE HAD ADULTEROUS AFFAIRS AND REMAIN MARRIED THE SAME AS THOSE WHO ARE LIVING IN AN ADULTEROUS STATE OF MARRIAGE WITH A SECOND PARTNER? IS HAVING A SECRET ADULTEROUS AFFAIR WITH ANOTHER PERSON, SHOWING INFIDELITY TO YOUR MARRIED PARTNER, THE SAME AS DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE THROUGH CIVIL LAW AS THE LAW OF MOSES PERMITTED, THE SAME TRANSGRESSION OF LAW ACCORDING TO MOSES? No. they were not. We conclude therefore that all men who are not under Grace, are under the law of Moses until they come to Christ. ONCE THEY COME TO CHRIST ARE UNDER THE TEACHING OF CHRIST, AND MUST LIVE ACCORDING TO GRACE WHICH TEACHES US TO DENY UNGODLINESS AND WORLDLY LUSTS WHICH MOST DEFINITELY INCLUDE THE MARRIAGE LAWS OF CHRIST (Matthew 19:3-9) (Titus 2:12).

    It is not just adulterous marriage that is wrong, but ADULTERY! What does the church do with those Moses had put to death when caught in adultery? Are they forgiven or put out of the church even though they repent? No, they are forgiven and restored. They are treated with much more tolerance than those who are living in an adulterous marriage by the “perpetual adultery” teachers.

    However, there are several other doctrines of Scripture that effect the lives of those double married with living mates.

    THE DOCTRINE OF FORGIVENESS

    THE DOCTRINE OF MORTIFICATION

    THE DOCTRINE OF MORAL LAW – The basis of the moral law is the welfare of others. The moral law is benevolent at its very root. This helps us to understand why Jesus dealt with the adulterous women as He did in the Bible narration. This is also why moral law cannot be trifled with! It provides and guarantees the highest form of happiness for man. To trifle with the law is to tamper with the perfect order God’s law produces. The whole purpose of the law of God is to produce order and a peaceful existence for man. If man tampers with or changes that law or violates these principles of holy love (they being the same), penalty and ultimate judgment will be the consequence. God will uphold His law!

    When a person demands that a newly converted family with a marriage buried in their past before they had any saving knowledge of Christ, must divorce and scatter their children and destroy that home, that is intact and established for many years, is literally interpreting the moral law refusing to consider all other Scriptural facts regarding marriage and the power of the cross taught in the New Testament. WHILE DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE WITH LIVING MATES ARE ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN BY CHRIST AS ADULTEROUS, MARRIAGES THAT TOOK PLACE PRIOR TO CONVERSION MUST BE CONSIDERED IN THE LIGHT OF WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BELIEVER’S PAST AND WHAT COULD HAPPEN TO HIS FUTURE. These are the apparent considerations of the divine mind according to the writings of Paul concerning divorced Christians coming into the church as well as what Christ taught when He encountered adulterous women. (John 4:16-18; 8:10-11)

    In the case of the woman of Sychar, she she had five “husbands.” And although Jesus was living under the dispensation of law, remember that He was teaching this as being adultery and that He represented the dispensation of Grace – yet He did not make an issue of her life style to the point of demanding she rectify this marriage mess she was in. Not even after two days of teaching in Sychar was this mentioned in the text. In the case of the woman caught “in the very act” of adultery, she was not involved in a marriage entaglement but rather in infidelity. In this case Jesus wavered the death penalty, which the law of Moses called for, and commanded to “sin no more,” which would apply to infidelity and not to the case of marriage involvement as in the case at Sychar. It is clear that these were two different kinds of cases and therefore judged differently by the Lord. The woman of Sychar represented the adulterous abuse of the marriage laws while the woman caught in the very act of adultery represented infidelity while apparently living an honorable wedded life.

    RESTITUTION AND THE “PERPETUAL ADULTERY” DOCTRINE – They say that separating those with a double marriage in their sinful past is the same as restitution. That is ridiculous! Restitution means to restore something I have taken from another person as a thief or by wrong and evil intent. When I become a new creature in Christ, the Holy Spirit convicts me about having those things in my possession that belong to another person. I must respond to that conviction by returning those stolen objects to the person I took them from. In the case of people who have had a previous marriage, the wife wasn’t “stolen” and no one has suffered a loss of property. However, if a couple is convicted about their remarriage and how they violated their partner(s) and under the conviction of the Holy Spirit mutually agree to return to their partners, who still want them back, then that would be acceptable. But that is the work of Holy Ghost conviction and not the pressure people put on them. The question would be in such a case, would they be defiled and is there any Scriptural reason why they should not return to that original partner having been married to another (“defiled”). (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) Divorce in a sinners life who had no knowledge of God prior to conversion has nothing to do with the doctrine of restitution.

    WORDS OF WARNING TO THOSE WITH DOUBLE MARRIAGES – It is a fact that people with divorce in their past have a history of several wrong kinds of influence on the church which should be mentioned here;

    1. THEY TRY TO PERSUADE PEOPLE of their being just as saved as others in the church by speaking in tongues, assuming roles of leadership, being vocal, demanding that they be heard and respected, insisting that divorce not be mentioned from the pulpit or in the teaching of the church, that they are not second class Christians and other such behavior.

    2. DIVORCE IS A PLAGUE OF MODERN SOCIETY. The statistics continue to worsen each year. Since the Eastern European countries have joined the West, already their divorce rates have begun to soar! Materialism, lust and worldliness in the church is behind this devilish trend. Pastors have become dumb dogs, afraid to mention this popular sin lest they become unpopular and out of Job. God have mercy on men who claim to have the call of God on their life and have condoned the sin of adulterous marriage to become established in any Bible church.

    3. DIVORCED PEOPLE COMING INTO THE CHURCH should understand the wrong and evil of divorce and remarriage better than any one else on the fact they have experienced it! These people should be ready to make any sacrifice and do all they can to stop this raging plague of legal immorality that is cursing society and threatening the church with God’s judgment. For this reason any person who comes to Christ with a previous marriage in their sinful past should be eager to do all they can to keep this curse from becoming a respectable “alternative” to God’s original plan (“From the beginning it was not so”).

    4. THE BEST WAY PEOPLE WITH DOUBLE MARRIAGE CAN SERVE THE CHURCHand put a stop to this dilemma is to (a) not seek any visible office in the church including any work of servitude that gives you a visible contact with the people of the church or the possibility of becoming a model role to the young such a teaching Sunday School, leading any of the youth groups or ushering. (b) Assure your pastor in private that you oppose divorce and hate it as a sin that must be kept out of the church and that he must speak against it with your full backing. (c) Talk about your situation between yourselves as husband and wife and submit yourself to the pastor, joining him in any opposition to a spirit that may enter the church that condones divorce. If God has forgiven you your past then you must not go back and justify that sin which you have committed and is under the blood. HOWEVER, THAT THE FACT OF DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE IS IN YOUR LIFE, FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHURCH’S BIBLICAL POSITION AGAINST DIVORCE, YOU MUST RESIGN TO LIVING THE REST OF YOUR CHRISTIAN LIFE WITHOUT CERTAIN PRIVILEGES WHICH THOSE WITHOUT DIVORCE IN THEIR PAST MAY HAVE. To explain this in a very vivid manner let me mention a Mother in a state of depression drowned three of her children in a bathtub. She later became a Christian and attended my church. As a Christian she must live with that loss the rest of her life. There are many things we did in our sinful past that we must live with in the Christian experience – losses we incurred in our ignorance of sin – losses will not be restored to us even in the Christian life. The best way a divorced person or persons can show the genuineness of their conversion is to submit to any limitations they must live with as a result a very serious mistake in their past. For the sake of the purity of the body of Christ divorced people must submit to a place of submission to spiritual teaching of their pastors on this matter or leave the church.

    WHY IS IT THE CHURCH HAS TO BE EXTREME about some of her doctrines instead of teaching what the Word of God teaches. Some preachers put previously married converts out of the church – just tell them to “get out” and find another church. Other pastors harbor them, agree with them and marry divorced people at their alters! Neither of these approaches to divorced converts is Biblical.

    DIVORCED PEOPLE WHO BECOME CHRISTIANS should sit and talk with the pastor about the fact or their remarriage in the past. They should be given the alternative to separate and remain single or remain together according to their conscience and what the Holy Spirit is speaking to them. In that meeting the pastor should make it clear to them the Biblical doctrine and teaching for the church as opposed to both divorce and remarriage and that he often speaks against this social sin and that he expects them to support him in his war against this anti-family demon, and that they are to never, justify divorce or become soft against divorce and the adulterous state of remarriage . . .and that if they ever do choose to oppose the church’s position against divorce and remarriage that they would be asked to leave and seek another fellowship of their choosing.

    CHRISTIANS WITH DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE IN THEIR LIVES must not demand that they have “rights” the same as Christians who have had no remarriage in their past or who are divorced but keeping themselves from marrying into adultery. While the Scripture does not give us an explicit case of previously married persons splitting up after conversion, it does make divorce absolutely forbidden by those who know Christ as Lord.

    DAVID COMMITTED ADULTERY WITH BATHSHEBA another man’s wife and had her husband put to death to cover the pregnancy. He killed one of his most loyal men to steal the man’s wife. God judged David and took peace from his reign after that. The child conceived in adultery died. But Bathsheba later gave birth to Solomon who was in the lineage of the Messiah! Did God forgive David his sin? Did God demand that David leave Bathsheba? Was David and Bathsheba put out from the Messianic chronology? No! God’s forgiveness was so effective and powerful that David continued in the Messianic lineage and Bathsheba became a part of the Savior’s ancestors.

    CHRIST MAKES ME DEAD TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW – Romans 7:1-7 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? (2) For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to {her} husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of {her} husband. (3) So then if, while {her} husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. (4) Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, {even} to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (5) For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. (6) But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not {in} the oldness of the letter. (7) What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. In these verses the Bible reveals the actual legal death principle that applies to those who come to Christ with the intent to “serve in newness of spirit.” When converts come to Christ and experience conversion who have double marriage in their past they must renounce divorce and especially remarriage as a sin which they will vow to be opposed to the rest of their Christian lives! In the day we live in this has become a necessity because of the raging trend of divorce.

    FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINE ON DIVORCE HAS BECOME PERVERTED into thinking that remarriage is a sin that can be casually repented of and the Christian may continue in the adulterous state having repented and being forgiven. This is the DISGRACE teaching of the grace of God. These Christians will die and be damned in their adulterous sinful state because they have a wrong concept, a perverted and human interpretation of God’s grace. There is no such thin as divorce or remarriage for Christians! This is a doctrine of the Devil that teaches otherwise. The idea that God’s forgiveness removes all disobedience committed against grace is to cancel grace. God forgiveness does not violate God’s grace! Grace in the Christian’s life teaches us “to deny ungodliness (adultery) and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age.” Grace is not a forgiver after the cross but a teacher.

    THE LAW OF GOD IS BASED UPON THE GOOD OF MAN – Divorce destroys the fibre of society and wreaks emotional havoc with parent and children. It is based on a lust that loses all sense of feeling for the good of others. It is a chance to better ones carnal life rather than obey the spiritual laws of God. Therefore to destroy a marriage that has been established would necessitate the destruction of happiness, the peace and tranquility of home and create another divorce.

    REPENT FROM ALL SIN AND BE FAITHFUL – We recommend that people coming to Christ repent of their adulterous marriage as soon as they become convicted of it, that they separate if they feel the Holy Spirit requires it of them and that they stand firmly in the church opposed to adulterous marriages especially among believers and be as vocal against adultery as the former addict is opposed to drugs!

    End ______________

    —————-Additions to the above—————-

    Restoration and restitution. It may be said that when people in a second marriage become Christians they must separate immediately and it they continue to share the bed together that they are “continuing in adultery” so long as they do so.

    1. Does God forgive the bad marriage? Or, does God forgive you for the adultery committed with the second partner. If He only forgives the adultery of the second marriage relationship and does not forgive the marriage then it would be true that repentant Christians should separate from the married partner because it is not their marriage but their sexual relationship that must be forsaken. But if God forgives the marriage as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, then they are to understand that they must never divorce and denounce divorce as evil and adulterous once they become a Christian, and from that point on they would not sin against God’s laws on divorce and remarriage – from that point on they would consider remarriage a sin unto death! Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17.

    Does the Bible teach that God forgives the marriage of the past? Well, if God forgives the marriage then the marriage you are in becomes the marriage you must remain in.

    THE WIFE OF THY YOUTH – Malachi 2:14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet {is} she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. Malachi 2:15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 2 Corinthians 7:17,20,24,27-28.

     

  • Divorce and Remarriage

    Part IV of IV

    An excellent Biblical exegesis on the doctrine of divorce and remarriage added as an appendage to our divorce study above written by an author whose name is being withheld who has since divorced and remarried after writing this paper. He gave his permission this before his divorce. May it serve to prove the point that many men (not all) change their doctrine to fit their circumstances and often do not actually live what they believe and know to the truth in the heart of their heart.

    BIBLICAL TEACHING ON DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE

    GENERAL OUTLINE OF PAPER (Contents)
    I. THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE (ITS PURPOSE)

    II. THE TEACHING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT (THE ARGUMENTS FOR DIVORCE AND THEIR REFUTATION)

    A. THE DIVINE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE- GENESIS

    B. THE MOSAIC LAW

    C. THE PROPHETS
    JEREMIAH
    HOSEA

    III. THE TEACHING OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (THE ARGUMENTS FOR DIVORCE AND THEIR REFUTATION)

    A. THE TEACHING OF JESUS- THE DIFFERENT VIEWS OF THE EXCEPTION CLAUSE OF MATTHEW

    B. THE TEACHING OF PAUL- THE DIFFERENT CASES OF 1 CORINTHIANS 7

    IV. DIVORCE AND THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY Leviticus 21:14

    BIBLICAL TEACHING ON DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE

    SYNOPSIS:

    The Bible teaches that marriage was designed by God to be permanent until death. Basically, my position is a “no divorce” position. Many suggest that divorce is allowable under certain circumstances, but, it is not God’s will for divorce to ever take place. WHY?

    1. The clear teaching of Genesis and Jesus- What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

    2. Paul supports this in 1 Corinthians 7, where in very strong and emphatic language he stresses this same principle – there should be no separation – around this he deals with certain circumstances.

    3. In the synoptic gospels the only hint may be in Matthew – the so-called exception clause. This is not found in Mark and Luke, only in Matthew which was written to the Jews; thus it must be understood in the contemporary and Biblical Jewish setting in which Jesus spoke.

    I. THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE

    A. GENERAL PRINCIPLES-

    The principles of marriage, though, have not changed, even though much has been written on it. All of those principles can be found in Genesis, where God instituted marriage.

    1. The entire marriage institution was entirely of God. Adam did not have a choice, neither did Eve. God did the choosing.

    2. That partnership is a male and female marriage (2:22).

    3. The partnership is just one to one. God made only one female for Adam. She was sufficient to fill his needs.

    4. Woman was made from the man–She is not inferior to him, but she is the same. (Like a beautiful grained walnut board cut into two pieces). It is important to care for “our self”.

    5. God made Adam first. God gave the responsibilities of the Garden to Adam, not the woman.

    6. God made the woman as a helpmeet for the man.

    B. PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE – WHAT IS MARRIAGE?

    1. Marriage was not necessarily designed to propagate the human race.

    a. It is one of the duties God has ordained in marriage, but marriage is not mating.

    b. It is a sub-purpose of marriage not a major purpose.

    2. Marriage is not to be equated with sexual relations.

    a. In the union of marriage there is and it is implied that there is sexual union as an obligation and as pleasure.

    b. Marriage is different from, and bigger than sexual union.

    c. Marriage and fornication is not the same.

    d. Concubines were not wives.

    3. “I now pronounce you man and wife.” – Is the preacher telling the truth when he says this?

    C. WHAT THEN IS MARRIAGE ALL ABOUT?

    1. Genesis 2:18- It is not good for man to be alone. “I will make a (helper) (for man) who approximates him.”

    2. The Bible speaks of marriage as the covenant of companionship. It solves the problem of loneliness.

    3. Malachi 2:14 – The Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth to whom you have been faithless, although she is your companion and your wife by covenant.

    4. A marriage is consummated when a man and woman exchange vows before God and each other, and they enter into a covenant relationship.

    5. Definitions:

    a. Companion – one with whom you are intimately united in thoughts, goals, plans, efforts (and in marriage, in bodies).

    b. Help- helper (cooperating effort).

    c. Meet – corresponding to or approximating at every point. One-to-one correspondence – for every quality in man, there is a corresponding quality of the woman that is very similar in nature.

    d. Cleave- strong glue

    6. Four times in the Bible, Genesis 2:24: Therefore a man shall 1) leave his father and mother, 2) shall cleave unto his wife and 3) they shall be one flesh.

    7. This is the purpose of marriage – this is why God gave a woman to Adam.

    D. WHAT MAKES A MARRIAGE?

    1. Consent of the partners and parents (leaving).

    2. Public avowal (cleaving)

    3. Physical consummation – one flesh (there can be one flesh, but no marriage)

    E. PRINCIPLE: THE PERMANENCE OF MARRIAGE – Marriage is permanent.

    1. Marriage is synonymous to two things put together with glue, not tape. (implies permanence)

    2. The marriage creates one flesh.

    3. In its establishment, there was no provision for its ending except death.

    II. THE MOSAIC LAW

    A. DEUTERONOMY 24:1-4 is a long conditional statement. The condition is in verses 1-3 and the conclusion in verse 4.

    B. DEUTERONOMY 24:1-4 (called the O.T. provision for divorce by John Murray and others)

    VERSE 1-3: When (or IF) a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her… and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house… and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, and if the latter husband turns against her hand and sends her out of his house….

    VERSE 4: THEN her husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.

    C. WHAT IS THE LAW HERE?

    1. Is this a law for divorce, demanding divorce or even allowing divorce?

    2. No, it is not permission for divorce or remarriage, but only a prohibition that if someone divorce, remarries, and divorce again– they cannot remarry No.1.

    3. Why did God give us this law? There are several proposals.

    a. This restriction guarded against divorce becoming a legal form of adultery. The prohibition against remarrying the same woman undoubtedly acts as a moderating influence on divorce.

    b. A law of reality and health- this law would reduce venereal disease and other sexual related diseases which are caused by indiscriminate sexual relation. Israel had no venereal problems as other nations.

    D. CONCLUSION

    1. The Mosaic Law nowhere provided for divorce– it only said what to do if it happened under certain circumstances.

    2. This passage only recognizes that divorce was being practiced but does not prescribe it.

    E. ANOTHER PASSAGE IN THE MOSAIC LAW that shows clearly Moses’ feelings about divorce is Deuteronomy 22:13-29, where two cases of possible divorce are given.

    1. The first instance is where the husband “turned against” his wife and sought to justify divorce by accusing her of premarital unchastity.

    The verdict was clear: “And she shall remain his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days.”

    2. In another instance, a man had intercourse with an unbetrothed virgin.

    The verdict again is clear: The man was required to marry the girl and never divorce her.

    3. Conclusion:

    Some say divorce is alright because Moses allowed it; he didn’t allow it, he only tolerated it and tried to protect the defenseless woman and tried to discourage it by making certain prohibitions.

    III. THE EZRA SITUATION

    A. EZRA 9-10:
    This passage of scripture records a unique situation in which divorce occurred and was in fact demanded when backslidden Jews married Gentile idolaters.

    B. Such marriages violated the prohibition recorded in Deuteronomy 7:1-4, which forbade intermarriage with pagan people on religious ground so that Israel’s covenant relation with Yahweh might remain intact.

    C. FOR EZRA, THE REMEDY WAS APPARENT: He looked on them as unreal marriages which ought to be nullified. They were no better than ordinary illicit connections.

    Wenham says, “In Ezra’s eyes this was not a question of breaking up legitimate marriages, but nullifying those which were contrary to the law. It was forbidden for them to marry the people of the land– for these cases of unlawful unions, death could be punishment.

    But Ezra demanded only divorce.

    D. This situation only has application in the Old Testament religious system. “It was God’s ceremonial laws that were broken and Ezra attempted to restore them. The moral law was not addressed here and it does not have application to the Christian church. It does not give a Christian the right to divorce a non-Christian. Paul addresses that problem in I Corinthians 7 in light of the higher laws of Christianity.

    Ezra’s commands serve the following purpose:

    1. Preservation of the Jewish people as a separate distinct nation.

    2. Intermarriage led to idolatry. This divorce had only religious significance.

    3. Notice also, there was no mention of remarriage as a possibility. The divorced Jews remained single.

    IV. WAS GOD A DIVORCEE?

    A. Some say that since God used the term “divorce” to describe His relationship with faithless Israel, it is His sanction of divorce in our failing relationships. Consider the following scriptures.

    1. Jeremiah 3:8 For all the adulteries which faithless Israel had committed, I sent her away and gave her a divorce bill.

    2. Isaiah 50:1 Thus saith the Lord, “Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have divorced?”

    B. Can we say then that if God Himself became involved in divorce proceedings with Israel, then it is surely wrong to condemn any and all divorce out of hand?

    C. No, for the following reasons.
    1. This is figurative language. It has a meaning different than what it actually seems.

    For example, if God was a divorcee, He also was a polygamist, since He married both Israel and Judah. Does God approve of this. NO, He only uses this custom to illustrate a point.

    a. Isaiah 50:1 is a rhetorical question presupposing a negative reply.

    b. Jeremiah 3:8 is an allegory — a story in which the happenings have another meaning so to be morally instructive.

    2. Poetical and metaphorical language should be looked at in their context in determining their meaning. They should not be applied to other situations literally.

    3. God uses the customs of the day to help us understand what He wants us to know, but it does not mean He sanctions those customs.

    For example, Jesus called Himself the Bread of Life, but that does not mean that He recommends bread for our diet. It was culturally important in that day, and thus of real significance to His listeners.

    4. The story of Hosea follows suit.

    It is far from clear exegetically that Hosea divorced Gomar (some scholars list ten reasons why he was not divorced), so at best this would be a very insecure foundation to build a case for legitimate divorce upon.

    V. THE OLD TESTAMENT TEACHING SUMMARIZED

    A. Marriage should be purposeful.

    B. Marriage was to be pure (from incest and heathen entanglements).

    C. Marriage should be permanent.

    D. Divorce (man instituted) was practiced, but not prescribed.

    E. Remarriage of divorcees was legislated.

    VI. THE TEACHING OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

    Many say that the New Testament permits divorce only in two instances. These two passages will be examined to see if divorce is actually God’s will and permissible.

    A. Matthew 5:32, 19:9- The given reason for divorce is because of fornication (Greek word).

    B. I Corinthians 7:15- The given reason for divorce is because of the desertion by an unbelieving partner in a spiritually mixed marriage. He or she is not bound (Greek word).

    C. These passages contain difficult problems, primarily:
    1. The meaning of (Greek word) in Matthew 5

    2. The meaning of (Greek word) in I Cor. 7

    VII. THE TEACHING OF CHRIST

    To determine what Christ meant in Matthew 19:9, we must understand what He meant by fornication (Greek word). What is (Greek word)?

    A. There are a couple of thoughts that must be noted in considering this word.

    1. Paul makes no mention of this exception. In Mark and Luke, it does not appear. Thus it does not seem to have been a commonly understood exception to divorce. It seems to have meaning primarily for the Jews who were the readers of Matthew’s Gospel.

    2. The reaction of the disciples to the Lord’s teaching was, “Who then should get married?”

    For the Lord reiterates the indissolubility of marriage so clearly that they suggested it might be wiser not to marry at all.

    But, the Lord replied that celibacy was not a better course of action and suitable only for a few.

    B. THE INTERPRETATIONS OF THE EXCEPTION CLAUSE

    1. The meaning of (Greek word).

    a. (Greek word)- comes from (Greek word), which means “to sell”, to offer one’s body for a price.

    b. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, it has a wide range of applications. It can refer today to unlawful sexual intercourse; prostitutes, unchastity, fornication, adultery.

    c. It can also refer to sexual aberrations.

    2. What then is the precise meaning here for “except for fornication”? As seen above, (Greek word) does not have only for its meaning our English word “fornication”, but can refer to any sexual immorality.

    a. Some take it to mean adultery or unlawful sexual intercourse. (Rampant prostitutional type activity).

    (1) To decide if (Greek word) can mean adultery, we must first ask, “What is adultery?” When has adultery been committed? Jesus said that a “look” could constitute adultery. If a “look” then could be considered adultery, then it could also be considered as a grounds for divorce and open the doors to many possible divorces. Thus, something else must have been meant here.

    (2) It contradicts Mark 10, Luke 16, which give no exception. The Roman readers would know nothing of this exception.

    (3) It also violates what Jesus just said–What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

    (4) It contradicts the teaching of Paul which give no ground for divorce.

    (5) The word (Greek word) is not “adultery”. The word (Greek word) means adultery. The fact that he did not use this term seems to say that the exception clause refers to something other than adultery.

    b. Unfaithfulness during the betrothal period.

    (1) This meaning is supported by the Jewish context of Matthew.

    (2) Joseph and Mary are used as an example of this idea.

    (3) However, Jesus was talking of a marriage and not just a betrothal.

    c. Marriage within the prohibited relationship of Leviticus 18.

    (1) This position is advocated by W.K. Lowther Clark, Charles Ryrie, F.R. Bruce, and others.

    (2) According to Leviticus 18:

    (a) Marriage was prohibited to heathen (Gentiles).

    (b) Marriage was prohibited to a near relative.

    (c) Marriage was prohibited to man with man or woman with woman.

    (d) Marriage was prohibited between man and beast.

    (3) In Acts 15:19,20; the Gentiles were asked to abstain from polluters of idols, from fornication, from things strangled, from blood (Later Paul teaches that all food was okay and teaches differently in I Corinthians 7).

    (a) These things were things that the Gentile Christians could do but would be offensive to the Jewish Christian culture. It would be hard to accept the marriage of Jewish young people to Gentiles.

    (b) In 15:20, this list is out of order, but in 15:29, it is rearranged in the order they occur in Leviticus 17,18.

    (4) (Greek word) could refer to one of the above prohibitions. God’s plan for divorce does not include divorce except in the cases of what the Jews would understand as illegal marriages (perhaps foremost in mind here would be incest).

    (5) Later on, in I Corinthians 7, Paul discusses what should be done if a believer marries an unbeliever.

    (6) In the Old Testament, divorce was performed only by Ezra, as if sanctioned by God.

    D. Thus Jesus is not giving rampant permission for divorce. What God has put together–man and woman, no man is to separate. However, there are some marriages– man to man or father to daughter–that God has not put together. These should be separated and true marriage sought for.

    VIII. THE TEACHING OF PAUL I COR. 7

    A. Teachings to the Married

    1. Case 1- Two believers

    If two believers become incompatible, Paul teaches that they should not divorce nor even separate from each other. But if perhaps one of the mates do separate (against Paul’s teaching), then Paul admonishes that person to not marry again and work at being reconciled to his or her previous mate.

    2. Case 2- A believer and an unbeliever

    a. Paul tells the believer that he or she is not to leave their mate just because they are an unbeliever.

    b. However, if the unbeliever divorces or leaves the believer, the believer is not to stop it and should not feel guilty either. God wants us to have peace.

    B. Teachings to the “Divorcee”

    1. Some teach that 7:15 gives the believing divorcee permission to remarry someone else. However, it is the writer’s opinion that this is not the case.

    a. There is no clear indication of remarriage here at all. On the contrary everywhere else Paul’s desire was for reconciliation and permanence in marriage. (7:2, 7:10, 7:11, 7:27, 7:29, 7:39)

    b. The word for bondage is (Greek word) This is the perfect tense of (Greek word) The verse itself does not say anything about remarriage. Thus the tense could have nothing to say about it. (Greek word) is the common word used to refer to spiritual bonds, whether to righteousness or unrighteousness. The verse is teaching that the believer does not have to go with the unbeliever and be enslaved to their way of life. God wants the believer to have peace, that is, to not be confused or anxious because of what has happened.

    c. (Greek word) is the common word used to refer to marriage bonds.

    d. In verse 10 the command “Let her not depart” is in the aorist tense. This is a strong command saying the one should not consider separation even once.

    The command “remain” is in the linear tense stresses they should always remain together. The preposition (Greek word) in the verse calls for a complete reconciliation, point by point.

    e. Remarriage to someone else shows a lack of faith in Christ and an unwillingness to obey the royal command.

    2. Some teach that 7:27, 28 gives a divorcee permission to remarry someone else. Again this is not the case.

    a. The word “loosed” is the perfect tense of (Greek word), the common word used for marriage bonds. This person is not married. He or she is not bound to a wife. To read any more into it is to make assumptions. To say that this person is not married because of divorce is reading into the passage more meaning than it was intended to have. I believe Paul is speaking as most would have understood him from and there are those who have not.

    b. The “thou” of verse 28 refers to the “man” of verse 26. Then Paul mentions “a virgin” also in verse 28 to include the woman with the man in Paul’s advice to those who have not married (v.25 virgins).

    3. There is one case here that Paul doesn’t address– that of two unbelievers.

    If two unbelievers divorce and later one gets saved and the other unbeliever marries again, what is the status of the new believer? May he marry again reckoning that God has forgiven him of his past sins and given him a new life? I don’t know. Maybe he or she could remarry but could not serve in the ministry as a deacon, etc.

    C. Teachings to widows.

    1. A person is bound by law to their mate and only their mate. If the mate dies, only then can that person marry someone else. Paul’s advice though is to remain single.

    2. However in I Timothy 5:11,14 Paul urges young widows to marry and raise a family so they are not a financial burden to the church.

    D. Summary

    These words of admonition in I Cor. 7 were written by Paul who inferred that he was single. He may have also known what it meant to have been married and then find himself single. His advice to divorcees is very difficult to accept for many single people. This writer is married and could not possibly understand the feelings of a sincere believer who may have suffered a divorce. It does seem to me though that Paul’s advice is to remain single and by God’s law a remarriage to any other besides the original partner is not right. Some things, however, have to be worked out in the heart of the individual believer. God’s mercy and grace are unsearchable. His love is the greatest.

    X. DIVORCE AND THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY

    A. Old Testament Precedent- Lev.21:7

    1. A higher standard of holiness (avoiding anything evil or unclean) was required of God’s priests than of the people.

    2. Priests could not marry widows or divorced women.

    B. New Testament Requirements of Ministers

    1. Minister is to be the husband of one wife.

    a. Overseers (I Timothy 3:2)
    b. Deacons (I Timothy 3:12)
    c. Elders (Titus 1:6)

    2. The “husband of one wife” has been interpreted many ways.

    a. It could be restricting the ministry only to married men. Unmarried men would be excluded from the ministry.

    b. It could be an exclusion of polygamists. However, polygamy was not practiced by the Greeks or Romans. Thus, if the phrase is interpreted this was, it seems unnecessary. Also, Paul already forbade this in I Corinthians 7:2.

    c. It could be an exclusion of diarist; those who have married lost their wife by divorce or death, and have married again. Thus, it may promote that the ministry is for those who have had only one wife in their life-time. This is supported by one of the meanings of _______ (husband) and _________ (wife). These can also be translated respectively, man and woman. The word __________ (one) is also first in this phrase, placing emphasis upon it. Thus, some read into the phrase the idea of an exclusive “one woman man”. There could never be another woman for this man.

    d. Others believe that the phrase means that the husband can only have one wife at (Greek) time. There are two groups within this interpretation.

    (1) There are those who use this interpretation to say that upon divorce that woman is no longer your wife and you are free to marry again. You cannot have two wives at one time.

    (2) Others say the verse gives permission and requires a man who lost his wife by death to remarry again if he wants to remain in the ministry. They believe that death which comes by God breaks the marriage vow. Man did not break it.

    e. It seems that the phrase “husband of one wife”, means more than just a qualification of having one wife at a time. For the most part, everyone was already doing this because polygamy was not a common practice by the Jews, Greeks, or Romans. However, divorce was a problem. Thus it seems the phrase is telling us that divorce does not make the woman no longer one’s wife. As long as she lives, she is a wife to that man. Man cannot break up what God has put together. To marry another woman would mean that the man would have two living wives. To be divorced and not remarry is difficult to do and thus it would seem that this is partially what the phrase may mean.

    f. Our theology usually fits our practice.

    Bibliography

    Suggested reading on the subject of DIVORCED CHRISTIANS: (Some of these books are out of print. If you find them sleeping somewhere, be sure to pick them up. If you find two of them, call (417) 845-6266 and I’ll buy it from you and pay the postage.

    The Right And Wrong In Divorce And Remarriage.
    by William Evans, D.D., Ph.D., Litt.D.
    Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

    Divorce And Remarriage In The Early Church.
    An interesting research into the history of divorce and remarriage in the Ante-Nicene church
    by Pat Edwin Herrell.
    Printed by R. B. Sweet Company, Inc. Austin, TX 78751.

    Does Divorce Dissolve Marriage?
    This is a word study in the original languages and the etymology of the words used in every text containing the divorce doctrine.
    by Milton T. Wells
    Printed by Garnet W. Thrush, Chambersburg, PA. 1957

    Former evangelist Jimmy Swaggert said “God made grace to be used, so use it! If you remarry you need only ask Christ to forgive and grace forgives the guilt of the sin of adultery. If that sounds like I am saying a person can be married as many times as they wish and still be saved then that is what I am saying.”

    More than one holiness pastor who at one time taught the Biblical doctrine of divorce and remarriage allow their children onto the platform in front of the church to play instruments and minister in song.

    their darlings mess up their lives with adultery then they change their doctrine to accommodate the lifestyle of their children. A man who will change his doctrine for his kids is a spiritual wimp! Matthew 19:9 and it’s grammar; Bible schools and pastors taking a “hands off policy on the doctrine of adultery and fornication. Those who have been given the authority to preserve the creed of the apostles and the teaching of Christ have become derelict to their calling to represent God to the people. When a man forgets that and begins representing the people to God he has played the traitor to his Lord!

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