Friday, February 6, 2015

Marriage: Fornication and Adultery

"You shall not commit adultery." Ex. 20:14
This command is clear and understandable. However, there seems to be a disconnect among people with regard to precisely what adultery entails. Most people, when they hear the term, automatically think about marital infidelity. But is this the only adultery made known in the Scriptures? No, it is not, as we are about to see.

Most Christians, when regarding the issue of marriage, divorce, and re-marriage, ignore what all the passages say as a whole and focus only on the two found in Matthew, latching onto the phrase "except for fornication" at the cost of the rest of the context. Let's break Matthew 19 down into a conversational script format so that we can understand the context clearly:
Pharisees: "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?"

Jesus: "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no man is allowed to separate."

Pharisees: "Then why did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND HER AWAY?"

Jesus: "Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way."
When we read it this way, there is no mistake as to the flow of the conversation and precisely what is being said. Moses was merely regulating what they were already doing because of the hardness of their hearts in order to preserve purity. If the supposed "exception clause" is as most Christians understand it to be, then why does it appear only in the book of Matthew and not in any of the other books? For more on this, please read a previous blog entry of mine entitled Divorcing Divorce. It is important that Christians understand the correct teaching on this important issue and that they live it out practically with the help of the Holy Spirit. More on this conversation in the section The Issue of Re-marriage.

In the New Testament, all parties involved in a divorce situation are guilty of adultery, as we shall soon see. We shall begin this examination by looking at the four persons involved:
  • Husband of "A"
  • Wife of "A"
  • Man "B" (whether single or divorced)
  • Woman "B" (whether single or divorced)
Because the issue Jesus is discussing is divorce, adultery, and re-marriage, we will identify the final combination of these persons:
  1. Husband of "A" marries Woman "B"
  2. Wife of "A" marries Man "B"
  3. Man "B" marries Wife of "A"
  4. Woman "B" marries Husband of "A"
Let's look at each passage in turn to determine precisely what Jesus is saying about these people. For the time being, we shall leave the "exception clause" out and deal with it later.
"Everyone who divorces his wife...makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." Matt. 5:32
According to this passage:
  1. Husband of "A" marries Woman "B"
  2. Wife of "A" marries Man "B" ------------ Guilty of adultery
  3. Man "B" marries Wife of "A" ------------ Guilty of adultery
  4. Woman "B" marries Husband of "A"
"Whoever divorces his wife...and marries another woman commits adultery." Matt. 19:9
"Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery." Luke 16:18
According to these passages, including the one we have already looked at:
  1. Husband of "A" marries Woman "B" --- Guilty of adultery
  2. Wife of "A" marries Man "B" ------------ Guilty of adultery
  3. Man "B" marries Wife of "A" ------------ Guilty of adultery
  4. Woman "B" marries Husband of "A"
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery." Mark 10:11-12
According to this passage, including the ones we have already looked at:
  1. Husband of "A" marries Woman "B" --- Guilty of adultery
  2. Wife of "A" marries Man "B" ------------ Guilty of adultery
  3. Man "B" marries Wife of "A" ------------ Guilty of adultery
  4. Woman "B" marries Husband of "A" --- Guilty of adultery
As you can see, according to the Bible, re-marriage after divorce is committing adultery. In fact, the Greek word translated "commits" and "committing" is in the middle voice, which is present tense continuous, meaning a constant state of adultery. Whether a marriage partner is active or passive in divorce proceedings is irrelevant. The reason why the passive partner is guilty of adultery is because they are forced to commit adultery when they re-marry. This act renders them actively unfaithful to their first spouse upon re-marriage.

There is a difference between fornication (porneia [πορνεια]) and adultery (moicheia [μοιχεια]). Unfortunately, many false teachers lie and claim Jesus provided an "exception clause" for divorce with regard to adultery (marital infidelity). If this were so, why then does Jesus use the word porneia in this "exception clause" while every other reference to adultery He uses the word moicheia? Because of this glaring problem, these false teachers lie further and claim that the word porneia includes adultery. If this were so, why are there so many passages that use both words side-by-side (Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21; Gal. 5:19; 1 Cor. 6:9; Heb. 13:4)? If adultery were included in the word porneia, it would be redundant to add the word moicheia. So let's get our terms accurate:

Adultery = Illicit sexual acts committed by married persons. (Post-marital)
Fornication = Illicit sexual acts committed by unmarried persons. (Pre-marital)

It is imperative to know that the Bible does not combine all sexually immoral behaviours, such as homosexuality, bestiality, pedophilia, prostitution, harlotry, etc., into the word "fornication." This is a false claim by many Bible teachers. Look up the 7 occurrences of porneuo, the 10 occurrences of pornos, and the 25 occurrences of porneia in the Bible and let the Bible define the meaning of these words. Therefore:

Adultery is only applicable to married persons.
Fornication is only applicable to unmarried or single persons.

In the Bible, divorce was allowed only if it was found that the spouse had not been a virgin when they married, as they should have been and ought to be. Now, some people might look at that and devise a scheme (demonstrating just how wicked they truly are and revealing that they likely are not Christian to begin with) wherein, after # years of marriage, they will attempt to divorce their spouse because of this very fact. However, if you knew your spouse was not a virgin when you married him/her, yet you chose to marry them anyway, accepting their past indiscretions, you are without excuse and the divorce card is off the table. Let's see what the Old Testament has to say with regard to fornication:
"If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then turns against her, and charges her with shameful deeds and publicly defames her, and says, 'I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not find her a virgin,'" Deut. 22:13-14
Here we see the development of a "he said/she said" situation.
"then the girl's father and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of the girl's virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. And the girl's father shall say to the elders, 'I gave my daughter to this man for a wife, but he turned against her; and behold, he has charged her with shameful deeds, saying, "I did not find your daughter a virgin." But this is the evidence of my daughter's virginity.' And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him," Deut. 22:15-18
After having married his wife, and realizing that perhaps he made a mistake, this man accuses her of not having been a virgin after consummating their marriage. He desires to rid himself of her. Now it must be proven that she was a virgin when she married. If the husband's accusations are proven to be false, he might be wondering if he cannot simply divorce her anyway.
"and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl's father, because he publicly defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days." Deut. 22:19
The answer is a strong denial. He cannot divorce her all the days of his life. Malachi 2:14 provides a stronger case should a man divorce his wife without just cause: "Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant."
"But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin, then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel, by playing the harlot in her father's house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you." Deut. 22:20-21
If she is found to have not been a virgin, this leads us into our next section...

What we have just read in Deuteronomy 22:20-21 is applicable to Mary and Joseph's situation. Even though they were not married, they were referred to as husband and wife. When Joseph found out she was pregnant, he had thought that she was guilty of fornication and thus he was going to divorce her. In light of the Deuteronomy passage and the "exception clause" Jesus gives, had Joseph divorced Mary he would have been just in so doing. That is precisely what Jesus is informing us.
"If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." Lev. 20:10
With this verse and Deuteronomy 22:20-21, once the adulterer had been stoned to death their spouse was free to re-marry. We can see further evidence of death being the only dissolution of the marriage union in the New Testament as well.
"So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man." Rom. 7:3
"A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord." 1 Cor. 7:39
In the New Testament, because capital punishment by stoning no longer exists, thanks to grace and mercy, we see a different scenario. Paul explains this when he gives his exposition on the subject.
"To the married I give instructions (not I, but the Lord)," 1 Cor. 7:10a
 Paul makes it clear that what he is about to say comes directly from God and are not his words.
"the wife should not divorce her husband (but if she does, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife." 1 Cor. 7:10b-11
The only dissolution of the marriage bond given in Scripture is that of death. The Bible never says that divorce is allowed on the grounds of marital infidelity. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church, a picture of the Gospel, a picture of forgiveness and reconciliation. The Bible says, “‘For I hate divorce,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel” (Mal. 2:16). Are we to understand that Jesus, Who is God, Who hates divorce, turned around and provided a cause for divorce? When the Christian commits spiritual adultery against Christ Jesus, should He divorce us for doing so and not offer us forgiveness and reconciliation once we repent of our sins? How can Christians expect to teach the world a better way when they corrupt what marriage represents?

Here is something to think about: Why do we no longer stone adulterers and adulteresses? The answer is simple: Because they would not be able to repent. If you pay attention to everything Jesus has said and taught throughout the entire New Testament, He is essentially saying this: "You have heard it said, THE ADULTERER AND ADULTERESS SHALL SURELY BE PUT TO DEATH. But I say to you, forgive him/her and reconcile with him/her just as your heavenly Father has done for you in the case of your sins against Him."

When we began this examination, in the section The Conversation, we said that we would return to the conversation later. With regard to Matthew 19:10-12, there are two lines of thoughts: (1) This passage has to do with marriage, in light of everything Jesus had just said, and (2) This passage has to do with re-marriage, in light of everything Jesus had just said. In the first case, the disciples are commenting on the fact that if the marital relationship is not ideal and divorce is prohibited, then "it is better not to marry," to which the comments about eunuchs have to do with those who are able to remain celibate without ever marrying. In the second case, the disciples are commenting on the fact that if re-marriage constitutes adultery, then "it is better not to marry," to which the comments about eunuchs have to do with those who are able to refrain from re-marrying. Since this passage follows on the heels of what was said in verse 9, we will assume that it is speaking with regard to divorce and re-marriage (although I am prone to believe it is with regard to the former, as I will discuss shortly). Immediately after everything Jesus had stated in response to the Pharisees, here is what follows:
"The disciples said to Him, "If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry."" Matt. 19:10
The disciples understood exactly what Jesus had been saying, which is why they say, "It is better not to marry." They reason that if a man obtains the desired divorce, it is better that he not re-marry so that he will not be found guilty of adultery. Jesus does not disagree with their solution, but points out the problem with it:
"But He said to them, "Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it."" Matt. 19:11-12
Jesus uses the word "eunuch" to make a point of permanence, adding finiteness to His former statement, indicating that there will be no further discussion on the subject of re-marriage. Let's look at the three examples Jesus provides:
  1. "...born that way from their mother's womb": In this case, the person has never had a desire to be married since birth. Their first marriage was likely done primarily to satisfy family members and friends and, given the choice initially, they never would have married in the first place. We occasionally see this happen today.
  2. "...made eunuchs by men": In this case, intervention takes place to prevent adultery from occurring. This is the most common scenario in our culture, but it depends on whether the divorcée obeys and submits themselves to the idea or not. Some will accept it, others will not, which is what Jesus stated. You might also consider the Catholic church where celibacy is imposed upon priests and nuns.
  3. "...who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven": In this case, some people will not re-marry because they desire to commit their lives entirely to the ministry, overriding their natural tendencies and desire for a second mate.
Just as today, the disciples realized that many, if not most, divorced people will not adhere to any of the three cases above. They will generally have the desire to re-marry. Remember, every single one of Jesus' statements were difficult to accept. They revealed just how narrow a road it truly is and how only those who do the will of the Father Who is in heaven will receive eternal life and inherit the kingdom of God. Even amongst professing Christians who believe they have received salvation, as we witness from Matthew 7:21-23.

As I said above, I am more prone to believe that Matthew 19:10-12 has to do with marriage, in light of everything Jesus had previously said. The disciples are commenting on the fact that if the marital relationship is not ideal and divorce is prohibited, then "it is better not to marry," to which the comments about eunuchs have to do with those who are able to remain celibate without ever marrying. I will provide Matthew Poole's commentary and Matthew Henry's commentary in answer to these verses:
"The disciples said to Him, "If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry."" Matt. 19:10
"This is a very strange saying, and discovers to us both the imperfect state of Christ's disciples, and also the tyranny of a sinful practice grown up into a custom. The Jews had assumed a liberty of turning their wives out of doors upon every light and trivial offence or dislike; the disciples think, if this licentiousness may not be allowed it is not good to marry. So a holy institution of God, ordained for the propagation of mankind, for the restraint of extravagant lust, and for the solace and comfort of man's life, should be despised, rather than those unquiet lusts and corruptions mortified, the mortification of which would have made those irregular separations both needless and undesirable. Surely they should rather have said, If the case of a man be so with his wife, then both husbands and wives had need to learn to deny themselves, to comply each with another, to silence their brutish and boisterous passions, that, being the same flesh, they might also have one and the same spirit, and not be like a diseased piece of flesh, where humours so quarrel that one piece need be cut off to preserve the other. But the best of men have their infirmities; and, as the Hebrews said, Spiritus Dei non semper tangit corda prophetarum, The Spirit of God was not always upon the hearts of the prophets; so it is as true, Spiritus Dei non semper et ubique tangit corda fidelium, All that the saints say is not gospel. Their flesh hath its turn to speak, as well as the Spirit in them. A sinful liberty conceded, indulged, or connived at, by the laws, or by the rulers of a church or place where we live, for a long time, is not easily restrained, and even good men may for a time be carried away with the error of it, so as they cannot discern it, be convinced of it, or be brought clear of it to a conformity to the will of God." —Matthew Poole

"Here is a suggestion of the disciples against this law of Christ (v. 10); If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is better not to marry. It seems, the disciples themselves were loth to give up the liberty of divorces, thinking it a good expedient for preserving comfort in the married state; and therefore, like sullen children, if they have not what they would have, they will throw away what they have. If they may not be allowed to put away their wives when they please, they will have no wives at all; though, from the beginning, when no divorce was allowed, God said, It is not good for man to be alone, and blessed them, pronounced them blessed who were thus strictly joined together; yet, unless they may have a liberty of divorce, they think it good for a man not to marry. Note, 1. Corrupt nature is impatient of restraint, and would fain break Christ's bonds in sunder, and have a liberty for its own lusts. 2. It is a foolish, peevish thing for men to abandon the comforts of this life, because of the crosses that are commonly woven in with them, as if we must needs go out of the world, because we have not every thing to our mind in the world; or must enter into no useful calling or condition because it is made our duty to abide in it. No, whatever our condition is, we must bring out minds to it, be thankful for its comforts, submissive to its crosses, and, as God has done, set the one over against the other, and make the best of that which is, Eccl. 7:14. If the yoke of marriage may not be thrown off at pleasure, it does not follow that therefore we must not come under it; but therefore, when we do come under it, we must resolve to comport with it, by love, and meekness, and patience, which will make divorce the most unnecessary undesirable thing that can be." —Matthew Henry
"But He said to them, "Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it."" Matt. 19:11-12
"Our Saviour, knowing the sinful custom and practice of the Jewish nation now for many years, and giving some allowance for that, and his disciples' infirmities; so he doth not answer them severely, as what they said might deserve, but reproves them gently. What he saith amounts to thus much: You do not consider what you say. All men, without sinning against God, cannot abstain from marriage. An ability to live chastely without the use of marriage is a peculiar gift of God, and your saying hath no place in persons to whom God hath not given that gift, for it is better to marry than to burn. There are some whom God by nature hath made unfit for marriage. There are others whom men (wickedly) make unfit for it, that they may gratify their own jealousy. (Thus several courtiers were made eunuchs, and so betrusted with the care of princes' wives and concubines.) And there are some who have made themselves eunuchs, not castrating themselves, (that is wickedness,) but abstaining from marriage, and yet living chastely, (having mortified their lusts, and brought under their body,) that they might be less encumbered with the cares of the world, and be more free for the work of the ministry, or be able more to give up themselves to a holy life and spiritual conversation. But God, who by his ordinance of marriage designed to people and continue the world, hath given to persons different tempers and constitutions; so as possibly the most of men and women cannot without making use of marriage govern their lusts. As to these, marriage is not a matter of choice and deliberation, and they may and ought to use it as an appointment of God, for the ends for which he hath instituted it. If there be any who can receive this saying, who can without marriage bridle his lust, and so live in a solute and single state as not to sin against God by any extravagancy of lusts, and impure desires and affections, and desire, and shall do so, that he may be more spiritual, and serve God with less distraction, and be a more fit instrument to promote the kingdom of God in the world, let him do it." —Matthew Poole

"Christ's answer to this suggestion (v. 11, 12), in which,
1. He allows it good for some not to marry; He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. Christ allowed what the disciples said, It is good not to marry; not as an objection against the prohibition of divorce, as they intended it, but as giving them a rule (perhaps no less unpleasing to them), that they who have the gift of continence, and are not under any necessity of marrying, do best if they continue single (1 Cor. 7:1); for they that are unmarried have opportunity, if they have but a heart, to care more for the things of the Lord, how they may please the Lord (1 Cor. 7:32-34), being less encumbered with the cares of this life, and having a greater vacancy of thought and time to mind better things. The increase of grave is better than the increase of the family, and fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ is to be preferred before any other fellowship.
2. He disallows it, as utterly mischievous, to forbid marriage, because all men cannot receive this saying; indeed few can, and therefore the crosses of the married state must be borne, rather than that men should run themselves into temptation, to avoid them; better marry than burn.
Christ speaks here of a twofold unaptness to marriage.
(1.) That which is a calamity by the providence of God; such as those labour under who are born eunuchs, or made so by men, who, being incapable of answering one great end of marriage, ought not to marry. But to that calamity let them oppose the opportunity that there is in the single state of serving God better, to balance it.
(2.) That which is a virtue by the grace of God; such is theirs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. This is meant of an unaptness for marriage, not in body (which some, through mistake of this scripture, have foolishly and wickedly brought upon themselves), but in mind. Those have thus made themselves eunuchs who have attained a holy indifference to all the delights of the married state, have a fixed resolution, in the strength of God's grace, wholly to abstain from them; and by fasting, and other instances of mortification, have subdued all desires toward them. These are they that can receive this saying; and yet these are not to bind themselves by a vow that they will never marry, only that, in the mind they are now in, they purpose not to marry.
Now, [1.] This affection to the single state must be given of God; for none can receive it, save they to whom it is given. Note, Continence is a special gift of God to some, and not to others; and when a man, in the single state, finds by experience that he has this gift, he may determine with himself, and (as the apostle speaks, 1 Cor. 7:37), stand steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but having power over his own will, that he will keep himself so. But men, in this case, must take heed lest they boast of a false gift, Prov. 25:14.
[2.] This single state must be chosen for the kingdom of heaven's sake; in those who resolve never to marry, only that they may save charges, or may gratify a morose selfish humour, or have a greater liberty to serve other lusts and pleasures, it is so far from being a virtue, that it is an ill-natured vice; but when it is for religion's sake, not as in itself a meritorious act (which papists make it), but only as a means to keep our minds more entire for, and more intent upon, the services of religion, and that, having no families to provide for, we may do the more works of charity, then it is approved and accepted of God. Note, That condition is best for us, and to be chosen and stuck to accordingly, which is best for our souls, and tends most to the preparing of us for, and the preserving of us to, the kingdom of heaven." —Matthew Henry

We have just learned that, apart from the death of a spouse, anyone involved in a second marriage is guilty of being in a constant state of adultery. Does the Bible have anything further to say about this? It sure does. Observe:
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Cor. 6:9-10
"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Gal. 5:19-21
"Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge." Heb. 13:4
As we can see, adulterers are forbidden from entering the kingdom of God. How then can a professing Christian guilty of adultery due to re-marriage ensure they will inherit eternal life and enter the kingdom of God? They need to repent of their sin, which means they must leave the unsanctioned second union. This union is not a marriage in the eyes of God, and He will not honour it in the least. The Bible does not say things just for the sake of saying them. It actually means them. Do not presume on the forgiveness of God, or presume on your salvation when you are living in willful, deliberate, habitual sin. The Apostle John says in 1 John 3:
"No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil." 1 John 3:6-8
The Greek word for "practices" indicates a willful, deliberate, habitual state of sinning. John is saying, "Do not deceive yourselves. If you continue to live in sin, you are not saved." This is obvious because:
"No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother." 1 John 3:9-10
 John continues with this sobering declaration:
"We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him." 1 John 5:18
Statements like this are made consistently throughout the entire New Testament. Unfortunately, most Christians have been lied to and fed a false gospel that has convinced them, in contradiction to what we can plainly read from Scripture, that God will love them no matter what and forgive them even while living in willful, deliberate, habitual sin. The Apostle Paul informs us that this is simply not the case:
"For if you are living according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." Romans 8:13-14
The Apostle John informs us that:
"By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments." 1 John 2:3
 Jesus had made similar statements earlier:
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." John 14:15
"He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him." John 14:21
"Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.'" John 14:23-24
We vow to love each other, by determination—not by mere emotion, "Until death do us part." The Bible addresses the seriousness of vows:
"When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay." Eccl. 5:4-5
The truth of everything we have just discussed can be witnessed from two examples in Scripture.
  1. Bathsheba is never referred to as David’s wife, but always as Uriah’s wife (Matt. 1:6). Had Uriah died naturally and then David married her, she would have been called David's wife. But such was not the case.
  2. When Herodias divorced her husband Phillip and married Herod, John the baptizer referred to her as “Phillip's wife” (Matt. 14:3-4; Luke 3:19). In God's eyes, you are still the husband/wife of your divorced spouse because He never annulled that marriage.
A person can only re-marry if their spouse has died. If a person re-marries after a divorce has taken place, they are guilty of committing adultery and being in a constant state of adultery for as long as they remain in their second union. A person in this state will not enter heaven. They must first repent by leaving this second union, confess their sin to God, and obey Jesus' commandments. A divorced person has one of three options:
  1. Remain single for the rest of your life,
  2. Reconcile with your spouse, or
  3. Wait until your spouse dies before you can legitimately re-marry. (In this case, for those wicked enough to contemplate it, murder does not free you to re-marry. It would be similar to David's case with Bathsheba, except instead of killing someone else's spouse, you kill your own. They are still your spouse and you are to remain single for the rest of your life.)