The law of Marriage:
“So then, she will be called an adulteress if she marries another man while her husband lives. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she would not be an adulteress if she marries another man (Romans 7:3).”
Paul teaches that just as Jesus’ death freed believers from their obligation to the Law, the passing of a spouse frees the remaining partner from their marriage vows. The norm, and the expected, of marriage, is that the couple is bound together until one of them dies:
“Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they will become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).”
*If your spouse dies, a Christian is free to marry within the household of faith.
The exception clause:
“But I (Jesus) say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery. And whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
Jesus doesn’t say the innocent partner must divorce the unfaithful, but He allows this exception; the wronged partner may choose to forgive. Adultery functions like the partner’s death for someone who wants to use this exception. It releases them from the vows of marriage.
Those never previously married and the widow
I say to the unmarried and widows that it is good for them if they live even as I am (unmarried). But if they cannot restrain themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Corinthians 7:8-9).”
Though these instructions don’t directly address the divorcee, this principle for remarriage still applies to those divorced and released from their obligation before God. It’s easier for single Christians to dedicate themselves to serving the Lord. Then they don’t have the distraction–the necessary responsibility–to please their partner.
But, if the sexual distraction is greater, if that makes it more challenging to serve the Lord, Paul says it’d be better to marry than burn with passion. Paul acknowledges that, though it’s possible for him, not everyone can live without marrying, and if they try, it could lead to sin. In fact, he says his ability to serve God without marrying is because God gifted him with that ability (1 Corinthians 7:7).
“The unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. I say this for your own benefit…that you may serve the Lord without distraction (1 Corinthians 7:34-35).”
Can I Remarry After Divorce?
The Christian’s overriding determination is whether marrying will allow them to best serve the Lord.
“The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives. But if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will, but only in the Lord. But in my judgment she is happier if she so remains as she is. And I think that I have the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 7:39-40).”
*A divorced person who is otherwise free of their marriage vows must use wisdom to decide whether to marry based on how that person can best serve the Lord.
Christians divorcing Christians:
“Now to the married I command, not I, but the Lord, do not let the wife depart from her husband. But if she departs, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And do not let the husband divorce his wife (1 Corinthians 7:10-11).”
*A believer cannot remarry if they divorce a Christian.
Paul’s command for Christians married to non-Christians:
1). The believer should not seek a divorce:
“If any (believer) has an unbelieving (spouse) who consents to live with (them), the (believing spouse) should not (seek a) divorce (1Corinthians 7:12-13).”
a). The believer sanctifies the unbelieving spouse (1 Corinthians 7:14a).
b). The believer sanctifies the children (1 Corinthians 7:14b).
The sanctification is because the unbeliever and the children will have a believer influencing them.
2). If the unbeliever departs, let them depart (1 Corinthians 7:15).
a). God has called us to peace (1 Corinthians 7:15)
b). For how do you know…whether you will save your (spouse) (1 Corinthians 7:16)?
*Paul does not directly address whether the believer is free (from the law of marriage) to remarry in this situation.
What about unbelievers?
*Unbelievers are morally responsible before God for how they live their lives.
Summary: Can I Remarry After Divorce?
- If your spouse dies, a Christian is free to marry within the household of faith.
- If your reason for divorce meets the exception clause; the Bible doesn’t address this situation.
- A divorced person who otherwise is free of their marriage vows must use wisdom to decide whether to marry based on how that person can best serve the Lord.
- A divorced person who is otherwise free of their marriage vows must use wisdom to decide whether to marry based on how they can best serve the Lord.
- The Bible forbids remarrying if you divorce a Christian.
- If the unbeliever leaves the relationship, it’s unclear if you’re allowed to remarry.