Remarriage: Is it a Sin?

Divorce and remarriage are rampant within modern society. Jesus said that anyone who divorces his wife makes her the victim of adultery (Matt 5:32). Jesus goes further saying that anyone who divorces and marries another woman commits adultery (Matt 19:9). Paul states that the sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9). Ultimately, Scripture outlines two plausible reasons for divorce: infidelity and desertion.

The Bible takes the issue of divorce seriously. Marriage is the first institution that God created (Gen 2:24). Jesus provides an exception for divorce in the case of infidelity. Jewish tradition believed that it was okay for the innocent party to remarry. Indeed, today, if one is a victim of adultery in their marriage, they may remarry. For any other circumstance, remarriage would be considered adultery if divorce occurred for a biblically illegitimate reason.

rings 2Paul echoes the teaching of Jesus and says that husbands and wives should always err towards reconciliation (1 Cor 7:15). Paul does draw the exception of desertion. Here, again, the innocent party would not be bound to the original marriage, rendering the innocent party free to remarry. Paul reinforces this view when he says that someone who was freed from his or her marriage does not sin (1 Cor 7:26).

Some argue that Moses commanded husbands to divorce their wives (Deut 24:1). This is not the case. Moses permitted divorce, but not to the extent that it was practiced within the Jewish community. Jesus clearly asserts that there are circumstances that legitimize divorce and permit remarriage, however, these circumstances are not light and transient.

A man and woman are allowed to divorce only for reasons of infidelity and desertion. In this case, the victim is allowed to remarry. In all other cases, one who remarries commits adultery.

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