Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Myths of Marriage Permanence: Unrepentant Adulterers Go To Hell?

Matthew 19:16 -26 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

This story is often used to make an assumption that rich people will go to Hell. That is not the context of the story. The context of the story is that a young rich man had to choose between giving all his possessions away to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. His heart was for his earthly possessions and not in eternal life. Sure, he was a righteous man who obeyed the Ten Commandments and the spirit of the law, yet his true love was his earthly possessions and not in glorifying God by accepting the gift of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is so significant with these passages is their significance to understanding the idea that a person will not inherit the kingdom if they cling to earthy possessions. In this man’s case, he was clinging to his great wealth. The truth is that a rich man will not inherit the kingdom unless his riches are from heaven. There are many “rich” people today who do not want to give up what pleases their hearts. 

What is also significant to these passages is that they follow key scriptures on what the Lord Jesus Christ had to say about marriage.(Matthew 19:1-12) It was the Lord’s disciples who said, “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.” (Matthew 19:10) The Lord’s disciples had a clear understanding that divorcing and remarrying another was adultery and not a marriage in the Lord. If we compare what the Lord had to say to the rich young man to what He says about adultery remarriage, we can understand that the common denominator is the person’s willingness to cling to earthly possessions and not eternal life.

A person who divorces and remarries makes others believe that marriage is not God’s design. If we compare this to the rich young ruler, it is as if joining flesh to another has precedence over remaining in flesh with the one who God has joined in heaven. Asking a person to leave their adulterous marriage to remain faithful to God and the vow they made to their covenant spouse is akin to walking away sorrowful clinging to their earthy possessions. What is the difference of earthy possessions and earthly adultery?   

I will be honest and say that I did struggle with understanding the idea that a “remarried” person will not inherit the kingdom. But I have weighed all views and come to the conclusion that marriage definition has always been the common denominator in understanding why it is adultery to divorce and remarry another. It is a heart issue that does not consider God’s role in a marriage. I believe that those who divorce and remarry have made God to be other than who He said He is and that giving all into His hands is not a desirable idea. Instead of trusting God, a person that divorces and remarries is not unlike the rich young ruler.

Scripture always backs the idea that adultery is more than just a wayward spouse having an affair in their marriage. (Mt 5:32,19:9; Mk 10:11,12; Romans 7:2,3; Heb 13:4) Adultery remarriage is an affront to the very definition of marriage, and divorce (a condition of hardheartedness) is the precursor to understanding the true desires of the heart for those who remarry another. Remarriage is always a true indication of the heart, and the moment you tell a person that they are in adultery is the moment that their true heart comes to the surface.

I understand the significance of telling a person that they are in adultery remarriage. Once you make the statement that the remarriage is adulterous, you expose what they already believe about God. 

You will be told that it is not your place to judge. 


Believers are to judge others who claim to be believers. (1 Cor 5) Exposing the truth of their adultery is not only exposing the lies of remarriage, it convicts a person to come to repent of their sin of adultery. The whole idea of warning a person is so that they will inherit the kingdom of God. Loving a person is boldly telling them that they are living in a sin that leads to Hell. 

You will be told that the grace of God covers their sin. 


Repentance is recognizing the sin because of God’s grace, not remaining in sin to cheapen God’s grace. The very idea of saying that grace covers your sin only exposes your sin is more important than remaining obedient to God’s word. Imagine if the rich young ruler said, “I have kept all the commandments except adultery”. Imagine if a kidnapper repents of their sin of kidnapping, but keeps the child. 

They will say their covenant spouse is already remarried. 


If you are not “remarried”, neither is your spouse. In fact, both you, and the people you “remarried” will not inherit the kingdom of God.

God would not want me to get back with a spouse that abuses me. 


Comparing covenant marriage with believing that God would want you to remain in an abusive environment is never taking into account the abusive spouses can repent. What you do to show your faithfulness in God has more to do with witnessing Christ’s love to a sinful spouse. This is not saying that safety for self and children is not a priority, it is saying that God’s hand in restoring a marriage may be dependent on the obedience of one spouse’s vow to the marriage.

You we be told that they were not saved when they first married, and that God never recognized the marriage. (This is where the idea of annulments came to be…)


God has revealed himself to His creation. Marriage is one of the single most representations of God’s creation, and to deny this fact is to deny the very word of God. Saying that marriage is not God’s plan is like saying that God never made himself know to His creation. (Romans 1:18-20) 

As you can see, the excuses to divorce and remarry really does show one’s view of God. I have always believed that a couple marries without ever considering God’s role in the marriage. This is largely due to a person not understand God ‘s will for the individual. If we do not have an understanding of the transforming power of the Gospel, we can never truly love as God does.
 It is one thing to come to salvation in Christ and marry according to His design. It is another thing to come to salvation in Christ and realize that you are living in adultery. If you were saved by the Gospel, you will understand the significance of marriage. A person that repents of an adulterous marriage is witnessing to the fact that marriage is God’s design and that adultery is a sin. They know the significance of a vow and the significance of one-flesh covenant. 

In conclusion, I have considered the thought that just as we are to forgive those who sin against us, we are to forgive those who remain in their adulterous remarriages. But what I have come to understand is that if I forgive a person who defiantly remains in adultery remarriage, I would have to disregard the very idea and definition of marriage. I would also validate that adultery is a sin that does not require repentance. I cannot do this. Scripture points exclusively to marriage permanence and is loaded with the means to remain in covenant, keeping vows, dealing with sin, trusting God in the worst of conditions, and extending mercy and grace as God has for us.

My prayer is that the Holy Spirit would convict you of telling the truth of marriage. This is true of both those in adultery remarriage, and those who are single, and those in covenant marriages. If you think that speaking the truth about marriage is left to a certain few, then you too will be held accountable. I know many who believe the truth about marriage, divorce and remarriage, but they remain silent so as not to upset the apple cart. If your friends or family are in adulterous remarriages and you choose to ignore this, you too will be held accountable for their sin. There is still time to make things right, and God is faithful, merciful and full of grace for those who repent. 

I have seen the faithfulness of Christ in my own life. I have stumbled and I have fallen, but it was Him who remained patient with me. It was Lord Jesus Christ who makes His bride spotless. What does His grace say for our willingness to remain obedient to Him? We should be in constant praise for what Christ has done for us. Hallelujah! That is why I believe that no one has the power to defend marriage if they do not understand the Gospel, and how marriage is a representation of God’s love for us. If marriage is not a representation of Christ’s love for His church, then the church has no business believing a divorce can end a marriage, and that joining into a new covenant vow while your spouse is still alive is nothing less than adultery; an affront to the Creator of marriage. 

1 Cor 6:9-10 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, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Cor 6:11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
 In Christ's love,


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