First, happy new year everyone. Second, I am no Bible scholar, this is simply my beliefs I see them. I would not be surprised if there's something in translation that I'm losing, but I have to call it as I see it.
Of late I have been privy to a situation that has occurred to one of the individuals that attends my church. In short terms he is going through a divorce with his wife who he has found to be unfaithful.
He had discussed his divorce and trials with my family and I, and he mentioned that others had suggested he should sell the house, with the assumption he would remarry would not want his new wife to feel as an intruder to his old life (I am paraphrasing). I did not say anything at the time, but in the back of my mind and later on with my mother the idea of remarrying seemed outside of good Christian doctrine.
According to the particular denomination we belong to there is a doctrine that I have never been in agreement with simply because there is lack of evidence for it in God’s word. This particular denomination believes, they claim in accordance to Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9, that a person can divorce and remarry without committing adultery if the spouse they are divorcing has been unfaithful.
I believe this view is erroneous specifically because Matthew 5:32 says, “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”
In my view this verse expressly allows for divorce in the presence of marital unfaithfulness, but is silent on remarriage.
The case is almost the same for 19:9, “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.”
In addition to that, Luke is silent on it all together as he quotes Jesus instructing in chapter 16 verse 18, “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”
With these passages in mind, we as Christians have more than enough reason to keep our marriages intact in order to display our faithfulness to God’s commandments. Beside these verses is the picture of Christ and his Church or his chosen people, Israel. No matter how many times the Church or Israel has been unfaithful, Christ has never left or found another chosen people; despite the physical unfaithfulness the spiritual bond is the same. Also, observe what results from divorce and remarriage, especially multiple remarriages: confusion, in some cases strife, and emotional harm to children; all things that are not of God.
Also, why would God make such an exception? How does this reflect His character? I do not believe it reflects His character because it is not in accordance with laws of the past. In addition to that, many of God’s precepts in the Old and New Testaments can be supported by historical or medical discoveries or by the witness of the Holy Spirit. In this case, if God supports divorce in the case of fornication and does not condone remarriage, He would be consistently in line with His previously laws that rule against fornication or “whoredom” in respect to the medical fact that multiple sex partners spreads disease (not to mention damage to emotional health as well). If one were having an active sexual relationship with his wife and another disease could spread, then in God’s infinite wisdom He would provide a way out of the marriage for the faithful spouse while simultaneously stopping halting the spread of disease by reducing the distributor to one. Note: This is all hypothetical as neither party could have a disease at all.
To be completely honest, I believe Christians have compromised and embraced doctrines such as these because of sex. I’m rather convinced that some Christians are terrified of prospect of not having sex again after divorce, and I quite frankly find that deplorable if that is the case. Christ is supposed to be our all in all; without the unfaithful spouse we should be able to see this as an opportunity to grow in our faith. Paul did suggest a state of singleness after all in I Corinthians. Please do not mistake my views of the sex to be negative, by the way, it is a good and helpful gift from God to married couples, but if that is what is driving a desire for remarriage, even marriage for that matter, I believe that person’s salvation should be reevaluated.
In conclusion, save for an unbelieving spouse leaving his or her believing spouse, and death of one spouse, I see no evidence supporting a doctrine of divorce and remarriage in the case of unfaithfulness. The scriptural support is not there. The example of Christ is not there. The consistency of God’s laws is not there. Quite simple I believe the idea of remarriage outside of a fleeing secular spouse or a dead spouse is an illusionary doctrine and should be done away with out of respect for God’s precepts.