Dear convicted remarried believer, now that the Holy Spirit through scripture convicts you that marriage is a one-flesh covenant that no man may break, what are you to do, and what are the consequences?… Understandably, you have been lead to believe by others that there were loopholes that provide an escape clause for the “innocent” spouse of divorce and that remarriage was an option. You know differently now, and you want to make things right.
You now know that scripture points to the permanence of marriage and that divorce is a meaningless hardhearted choice and nothing more. You now know that the one-flesh covenant vow of marriage is until death. You now know that remarriage after divorcing a living covenant spouse is adultery, and remains adultery until repentance. You also understand that anyone who “marries” a man or woman who is divorced from a living spouse commits adultery and remains adultery until repentance.
You also understand that ANY marriage ceremony, vow, or service performed with previously divorced people who have a living covenant spouse is NOT a marriage, but is adultery and remains adultery until repentance. Therefore, any sermon you heard where the pastor preached on marriage, divorce, and remarriage that included exception clauses and Pauline principles were not according to the word of God.
You understand that you not only acknowledged second and third marriages, you entered one yourself. You even encouraged men and women to divorce and remarry because you thought they had legitimate support from scripture. You recognize the error of your ways, you repented to God and you know that God understands that you need to make things right. Unfortunately, you know there is consequences to this repentance and these will most likely cause great distress in your future, yet you will be totally in God’s will and He will not forsake you or leave you. In fact, He will use you in ways that you never thought possible.
Here is what you need to do along with the consequences of such action….
- Preach the permanence of marriage. You must publicly state that you have erred in believing your divorce and remarriage broke your first covenant marriage. This includes repenting publicly of your error into believing that divorce ends a marriage. This includes explaining the magnitude of the one-flesh covenant and those who make this vow in the presence of God. You will rightly handle God‘s word by explaining that once a person vows in marriage, it is for life. No excuses, no exceptions, until death do they part. You will make it clear that you will not acknowledge anymore “remarriages” if one or both people divorced. You will make it clear that marriage is for life. Divorce is not an option, and remarriage is adultery.
Consequences- This not a popular teaching that many want to hear. Be certain that many will call you a legalistic Pharisee, a fundamentalist, a hater, and hardhearted. You may also experience the greatest backlash from your immediate family. This is because nearly every person in the western world knows of a family or friend who divorced and remarried. Once you convict the heart, a person will react according to their heart.
You will be persecuted for this stance and most certainly will lose many friends and family. Count the cost, as we are to rightly divide the word of God. Know that your rewards are not on this earth but are reserved in Heaven.
- You must exit your adulterous union by cutting all emotional, physical, and spiritual ties. If there are children involved, you must provide for their care just as separated parents of divorce provide for their children. The difference is that you are a repentant adulterer who lacks the bitterness of divorce because you stand on the truth of God’s word.
Consequences- Fortunately, in this case of remarriage adultery, and this case alone, most states will allow divorce for any reason. Unfortunately, the world looks at this as a divorce of marriage. Your partner may not agree with you on this. This can be very difficult because your decision is not a popular one. Your adulterous partner may believe that you are still married and this will cause difficult times.
In addition, this may affect the children. There may be division because the adulterous spouse may seek to save what they believe is a marriage. However, God knows this is a divorce from adultery. You will certainly receive backlash from many. However, you must use clear scripture and confirm to them that God’s word has convicted you on this. Also, explain to them that if they remain in this adulterous union, they will come under judgment. This has eternal consequences to them and should they reject this plea, there will not be eternal consequences to you.
Consider too that this will pose a financial strain. Divorce causes incredible amounts of collateral damage. One part of this damage is to a financial future. Remarriage divorce is no exception. Yet, this is where the church should step up to assist the families of remarriage divorce. Unfortunately, many who divorce in the church receive less than ample support. There is no question that the financial strain may be significant therefore you need to make sacrifices and change lifestyles to counter the situation.
Consider too that your adulterous divorce will not be without emotional pain. Many who married into adultery often believed God blessed these remarriages. You may have shared deep emotional, physical, and spiritual bonds. However, God’s word is clear that this remarriage was not to be…What needs to happen is dissolution of the remarriage bond that turns into a love bond of brother and sister for the sake of any children from this union. This may be a difficult and painful process, yet this remarriage should never have occurred to begin with. These feelings may be compared to experiencing a divorce all over again.
There also may be a need to heal bitterness from a divorce of a covenant marriage that God wanted restored. Entering into remarriage and then dissolving that remarriage creates more problems after repentance, but there is always a possibility of restoring the original covenant marriage, which was not an option in remarriage.
- You must tell your church family and your pastor that you are exiting the remarriage adultery.
Consequences- This may be the hardest of all to do because you may receive the most severe backlash because many in the professing church are in remarriages themselves. Know too that you will receive support from the least expected. As many that frown on your decision, many believe in the permanence of marriage, yet are afraid to voice their belief on the matter. Often this creates division that is necessary since many falsely believe that divorce and remarriage is acceptable. Stepping forward to expose the lie of divorce and remarriage may be the best thing that ever happened to your church.
1 Cor 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
- Any children you had with your adulterous partner must know that you have sinned against God. You will provide for them with the help of your adulterous partner, but it must be clear to them that you both are no longer husband and wife, yet you remain their parents.
Consequences- Again, this will be difficult if the other parent disagrees with the decision. However, this was not a marriage. Children need to know the truth so that they will grow into spouses and parents that live for the truth. We live in a culture that sees no wrong in teaching children to believe lies. Children deserve to know the truth before they enter adulthood. Telling them the truth will set the example to them for the remainder of their lives. They will grow believing that apart from the faith in Christ, marriage is the single most important decision in their lives. Even if your entire family stands against your decision, you are to obey God above all.
- You must tell your living first covenant spouse what you have done. If this first marriage ended in bitterness (which defines divorce) on your part, you need to repent of all sin in regards to this covenant marriage. You also need to make it perfectly clear that you will remain single until death, or the reconciliation of the first covenant marriage. Unfortunately, your first spouse may have remarried and is living in adultery. You need to tell them the truth that they too are in adultery and this impenitent adulterous union will face judgment unless dissolved.
Consequences- This may not be received well and it may take some time for the restoration of your marriage. Please understand that the restoration of the marriage may never happen. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts; we are to preach the truth and nothing more. That end of the consequence is in the Lord’s hands. The Holy Spirit convicts as the word of God penetrates into the heart of the individual. Hardheartedness is the utmost difficult to penetrate. Yet, we can pray and fast for the salvation of an individual, let alone the restoration of the marriage.
- Preach the Gospel, live the Gospel. This will include making it perfectly clear to those who repent of adulterous remarriage that ALL are forgiven and covered in the blood of Christ. If we fail to repent of adultery, there no longer remains grace to cover sin. The Gospel is for the sinner who comes to repentance. Jesus came to save the sinner, not the self-righteous. We must also consider the many children born in these many remarriages. A child will one day make a confession of faith, and if they see that their parents repented of adultery and remain parents, yet gave up their vows of remarriage, they will be witnesses to many for years to come.
Consequences- Preaching the Gospel and living it out in lives regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit will have incredible consequences. Consider that those men and women, who repent of adultery, yet remain a brother and sister in Christ to raise a child of adultery into a believing adult. Consider a child who experiences a father and mother who repented of adultery, and then the child experiences the love of Christ from a body of believers committed to the permanence of marriage as God intended. Compare this to a child who grows up see the bitterness and disdain of two parents separated by divorce and remarriage. Consider the power of the Gospel as in one generation, the idea of divorce and remarriage is no longer considered as the body of Christ stand firm on marriage without options to divorce, let alone enter into remarriage adultery.
Many will challenge you and ask why there is no forgiveness of the divorce and remarriage? The simple answer is that divorce does not end a marriage and that any remarriage is NOT a marriage, it is adultery. Some will say: “But God blesses our remarriage, look at all the godly works we are doing in Jesus name”…. Consider these verses…
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
If divorce is hardheartedness and remarriage is adultery, would these words apply to the person or persons who believed God blessed their remarriage? The gate is wide that leads to destruction and MANY who profess Christ have divorced or believed they were divorced to enter into remarriage. The church not only turns its back divorce and remarriage, it ignores fornication and cohabitation. This has nothing to say about the MANY of unsaved who also fornicate, commit adultery, cohabitate, divorce, and remarry.
In conclusion, these are the six most important actions of repentance that you need to do to restore the church to a permanence of marriage. This will not be easy, yet God’s word is clear that there are consequences for sin. It is clear that the last point is the overriding factor in the restoration of the permanence of marriage.
The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the center of the individual believer’s life. Marriage is a gift of God, and displays the relationship Christ has with His church. God’s will for marriage was that a man and woman could compliment each other to become holy in God’s eyes to fulfill His purpose on earth. This holy union was made by God’s grace to display God’s grace.
Today more than ever, we need married couples in Christ to be a shining example to the younger generations. We need these godly couples to mentor young couples for the sake of generations to come. We need to preach the permanence of marriage, and we need live the permanence of marriage no matter what the world will do. The permanence of marriage will show the world that the body of Christ will not bend on the redefinition of marriage. Yes, we have erred, we have failed, but we will show repentance and what repentance looks like for the sake of the Gospel.
Let us show the world that divorce and remarriage is wrong. Let us show the world that we will raise our children that apart from the Gospel, their decision to whom and why they marry is the more important decision in their life. We will show the world that we divorced from remarriage because it is adultery. We will show that we can raise children as single parents divorced our adulterous remarriages, but together in the power of the Holy Spirit as mature and dedicated parents who love the Lord.
I know that from this pain and consequences of breaking away there is a possibility of restoring the first one-flesh covenant. We must let God work in the lives of the prodigal spouse who witnesses their first covenant spouse that divorced them, repent of their remarriage. God wants to restore the original covenant marriages, and preaching the permanence of marriage, denouncing divorce, and dissolving remarriage will get the attention of many. Combine these actions with a one spouse preaching the permanence of marriage, then two,…several churches,… a well known family ministry, and a whole country that supports the permanence of marriage, …and the world will definitely be watching.
In Christ’s love,