Divorce and Remarriage
Some Common Questions
At this point we want to stop momentarily to answer some common problems that come up in the
discussion of divorce and remarriage. Some of these problems are objections that are raised and
some have to do with well known principles that are often overlooked.
A. It is argued by some people that in Matthew 19:9 "put away"( apoluo ) means total
dissolution of the marriage bond and that therefore the divorce for fornication
completely dissolves the marriage... meaning, to the advocates of the argument, that
the guilty fornicator is no longer bound to the "innocent party." Therefore, it is
argued, the guilty can remarry just like the innocent party because the
bond/relationship between the two has been totally dissolved.
B. ANSWERS TO THE ARGUMENT:
1. Thayer's root meaning of apoluo is "To loose from, sever by loosening."
2. However, as it relates to human relationships, "used of divorce, to dismiss
from the house, to repudiate."( Thayer, p. 66, #4 ).
3. Also used in Matthew 5:31-32. A man can apoluo his wife, and yet make her
commit adultery. If the bond is dissolved completely with the marriage, how
can she commit adultery?
A. This argument is advanced by many in an attempt to justify their remarriage. They
plead physical weakness and say that God would prefer them to "legalize" a
relationship than commit fornication.
B. ANSWERS TO THE ARGUMENT:
1. They ignore verse 8. Who is spoken to? Those who have never been
married. Those who are married and are contemplating divorce are addressed
in verses 10-11.
2. God certainly wouldn't tell the divorced not to marry ( vs. 10 ) after telling
them it was OK( vs. 9 ).
3. This is a twisting of the Scriptures to make them say something they obviously
do not mean ( 2 Pet. 3:16 ).
4. We have heard some say, "Some people can do without and some just cannot.
I am one of those who cannot." Of course this an attempt to justify a
marriage that has been questioned. If this does justify a questionable marriage
( one that involves adultery ), what would it justify if the one making the
statement couldn't convince someone to marry or even commit fornication
with him. What ever happened to self-control?
A. Quite frequently people will accept a principle without understanding fully its
implications. That is, they will not comprehend how the principle applies to the
problem solving and decision making in daily living. I firmly believe such is the case
with the principle of repentance. We understand baptism, but don't understand the
principle of that which precedes baptism...repentance. Also, we have failed to
learn that baptism does not cleanse any sins that have not been repented of.
The implications for divorce and remarriage should be obvious. A person who is
living in an unlawful marriage will claim that after baptism it is all right to continue,
because baptism cleansed them of their adulterous relationship's condemnation. This
is patently wrong and one who advances such an argument illustrates that they do
not understand God's teaching on repentance and its implications in daily living.
B. DEFINITION: metanoeo, "To change one's mind for the better, heartily to amend
with abhorrence one's past sins"( Thayer, p. 405 ). "In a religious sense, implying
sorrow for unbelief and sin, and turning from them unto God and the gospel"
( Robinson, p. 458 ).
C. WHAT IS INVOLVED IN REPENTANCE?
1. Repentance is a result of Godly sorrow( 2 Cor. 7:10 ).
2. A change of the mind:
a. affections( Rom. 12:9 ).
b. will( Rom. 6:11-13 ).
3. A change of action( Rom. 6:1-2; Col. 3:9-10; Luke 3:8 ).
4. Restitution where possible( Luke 19:8; Mark 6:18 ). ( Revelation 9:20-21;
2 Cor. 12:20-21 ).
5. One cannot continue doing what he is repenting of.
6. How can we have Godly sorrow for that which we refuse to quit? We want
to put away anything that would be contrary to God's expressed will.
D. QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
1. How is it possible for two people to continue living in an adulterous
marriage...and repent of it?
2. How can baptism cleanse us of such a relationship if we remain in it?
3. How can two people express Godly sorrow for an adulterous marriage and
still live in it?
4. How can they enter heaven if they refuse to repent?
5. Why can't we refuse to repent of any sin? If we steal money can we keep it
when we are baptized and go to heaven? Does not baptism cleanse all sin?
6. Where is the Scripture that teaches forgiveness without repentance?
A. WE CANNOT SOLVE THIS CONTROVERSY ON THE BASIS OF WHAT
SEEMS RIGHT TO US( Prov. 14:12 ).
B. WE MUST LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RELEVANT AND
1. It is tragic that a prison sentence results in loss of income for the family of the
convict, reproach upon the family name, and hardship on the children.
Though this data is important, it is not relevant to whether or not the convict
ought to go to jail for murder, theft, assault, etc.
2. Acts 19:27. What effect did the gospel have on these men and their
3. Today it is tragic that children suffer in divided homes, but this is not relevant
to whether two people can continue in an adulterous relationship. What if a
man had three wives? Why is it all right to break up the first home ( we are
encouraged to in some cases ) for dishonorable reasons, and not the second in
order to restore righteousness in our lives?
A. THE APOSTLES WERE TO TEACH THAT WHICH JESUS TAUGHT THEM
( John 14:26; Mat. 28:19-20 ).
B. IF THEY ARE NOT RELEVANT, THERE IS NO SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY
FOR DIVORCE, MUCH LESS DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE.
C. IN Mat. 19 JESUS GOES BACK TO THE BEGINNING ( vs. 4 and 8 ) AND
CITES GOD'S ORIGINAL INTENTION AND REGULATION OF MARRIAGE.
THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT GOD HAS EVER CHANGED HIS
MIND ON THIS SUBJECT, OR IF HE HAS, HE HAS NEGLECTED TO TELL US.