Dear pastor, 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 you to expect? Understandably, you have been lead to believe and taught in seminary that there are certain loopholes that provide an escape clause for the “innocent” spouse of divorce. You know differently now, and you want to make things right.
You know now that scripture points to the permanence of marriage and that divorce is a meaningless hardhearted choice and nothing more. 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 and his or her spouse is still living 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 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 presided over these adulterous unions. 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….
1. Preach the permanence of marriage. You must publicly state that you have erred in your teaching on marriage, divorce, and remarriage. 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 perform anymore “remarriages” if one or both people divorced. You will make it clear that if you marry anyone, it is for life. Divorce is not an option, and remarriage is adultery.
Consequences- You will have to let your elders know of your convictions. This may result in a few heartfelt meetings to plead some who seek to demand an explanation. If one or two of your elders objects with this, it may lead to your dismissal, or it may lead to a revival. Unfortunately, if you preach this sermon today, be prepared for several “remarried” couples to demand an explanation. You will also get many questions, and you also may lose some couples who are either remarried, or they are divorced seeking to remarry. Regardless, the Holy Spirit convicts as we read the infallible words of God as these pertain to marriage, divorce, and remarriage and you will stand by this at all cost.
2. You must contact every couple that you “remarried” into adultery. You must tell them that their “remarriage” is not a marriage. You must tell them that they must dissolve this remarriage.
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. However, God knows this is a divorce from adultery. You will certainly receive backlash from many you contact. 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.
3. Once you have a core of people who repented of remarriage adultery, you will need to provide spiritual guidance to those who repent and seek to dissolve remarriages. There will be a real spiritual and financial need for couples who break from adultery. This is similar to the couple or single spouse who gets divorced. Yet, this is not a divorce from marriage; this is a divorce from remarriage adultery.
Consequences- This may become a full time ministry. Unfortunately, many who remarried that attended your church may leave. You are sure to lose a few of your members. However, you may experience a spiritual growth you never thought would ever happen. This ministry will become a big part of the growth of a body of Christ in your community for generations to come.
Consider that this ministry will dissolve from recovering from “remarriage” divorce, and emerge as a ministry for the permanence of marriage. This will also most likely emerge into a divorce prevention ministry that will preserve the permanence of marriage and provide a ministry for single spouse who wait on the return of a prodigal spouse. If this ministry succeeds, you could eliminate divorce and remarriage in one generation and set the example of the permanence of marriage for generations to come...
Consider too that these adulterous divorces will not be without pain. Many who married into adultery often believed God blessed these remarriages. Many of these couples share deep emotional 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 which in turn becomes 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 it should never have occurred to begin with. These feelings may be compared to experiencing a divorce all over again. Then there is the consideration of restoring a covenant marriage. There 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.
4. Preach the Gospel. This will include making it perfectly clear that ALL are forgiven and covered in the blood of Christ to those who repent of adulterous remarriage. 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. 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.
These are the four 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 pastor preaching the permanence of marriage, then two pastors,…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,
In conclusion, I know that this seems like an unlikely scenario, but it is my prayer that many will read theses posts with an open mind and a broken heart. Divorce and remarriage have caused more pain to individuals, children, families, friends, workplaces, and societies than people would ever realize. Divorce is always a selfish decision that often requires little in the way of humility and faith in God to restore a marriage. Often, divorce is a combination of two people who believed that their marriage should be according to their will and not God’s.
It is my prayer that many would consider God’s word as it pertains to the Gospel and the permanence of marriage. We all fall short, we all make mistakes, and we all need grace. We must trust in God’s plan to restore a marriage when the one who vowed to us in marriage also vowed to God in a marriage to us. Grace is relying on God’s plan to restore and our ability to forgive as He forgave us. I know that as I write this, there are many who patiently wait for the restoration of their marriage. They do not have the benefit of a pastor who preaches for the permanence of marriage. They trust God, they trust His definition of marriage, and they trust that God will restore the marriage. They also know that Jesus Christ will return one day to make all things new. If one person will stand for the permanence of marriage because they love God and they love what Jesus Christ did for them…then so should everyone who calls Jesus Christ, Lord.
In Christ’s love,