Based on the following, I believe you are free to marry again after a legal divorce.
Let’s look a little deeper at two verses that bring up the concerns and see what we find out. We’ll start with Matthew 19:8-9.
In this Scripture Jesus answers a direct question cited in Matthew 19:3. Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?
Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.’”
Jesus was saying that God designed marriage to be a lifetime union. Moses allowed for divorce because people sometimes have hard hearts and fall short of God’s perfect plan. As suggested by the question in verse 3, many men were divorcing their wives for trivial reasons not in keeping with the law, this often left women on the streets. Jesus was saying that for a man to dismiss his wife in a frivolous way that is not in keeping with the law is the same as committing adultery.
The NIV Study Bible says this about the phrase”commits adultery”
This speaks only of the man who divorces his wife unlawfully. In such a case, his remarriage is adulterous. Jesus’s motivation is to re-establish the permanency of marriage.” (NIV Study Bible, notes. P. 1617. Published 2007)
Now let’s consider Romans 7:3:
So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries.
This passage is actually not about whether a person can remarry. If you look at it in context you’ll realize that it is an illustration. Paul is talking about new life in Christ as opposed to the law.
Verses 4-6 go on to make the point that now we serve God by living in the Spirit rather than by trying to obey the letter of the law as was done in the Old Testament. Notice that divorce is never mentioned here as part of the equation.
By the way, a commentary on Biblegateway.com, Grounds for Divorce in God’s Law, states,
…a valid divorce by definition included the right to remarry, as is attested by ancient divorce contracts.”
My Personal Testimony
A personal relationship with Christ is powerful. God saw me through the heartbreak of divorce. He loved me and nurtured me through the pain. In his grace he guided me to a new life.
There is no doubt in my mind that God led me to my second husband. He has blessed our life together in amazing ways. We have now been married for almost 29 years.
God’s hand in our second marriage is evident. His presence confirms to me that marriage after divorce is not a sin. In fact, every day I still feel God is smiling on our marriage.
Three Words of Caution
- Never take divorce lightly. Divorce should not occur for trivial reasons. Marriage takes work and commitment. Even if your marriage eventually collapses you will feel better knowing you gave it your best effort.
- Don’t race to marry again. Be sure you take time to heal before jumping into a new relationship. Taking old wounds into a new relationship sets you up for failure.
- Make your priority seeking God rather than seeking a new mate. Only God can truly make you whole.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
If You Need Encouragement and Guidance for Coping with Divorce…
A self-study version of the Peace after Divorce Workshop will be available online coming soon. It will include videos, a workbook and a private Facebook group. Be the first to know the start date for this study. (Sometime in spring 2018.)
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