The Christian and Divorce, now there is a touchy subject. But before I even start this study I’d like to say that I understand this is a very delicate subject and that many who are reading this have already been divorced or are contemplating it. Please bear with me here because there is always hope if you are in one of those situations.


Next, I am not here to condemn anyone who has already been divorced, because some do have proper grounds. But this subject has been twisted and ignored by main stream Christianity so that most Christians do not truly understand what the proper grounds for divorce really are.

Christian Divorce and the grounds for it are not the same as that of a non Christian. We have very strict guidelines to go by before we can make such a serious decision.

In this study we will go over those the guidelines but I will not pull any punches, I intend to lay it out as the Bible describes it.

As in all these studies and the theme for this website the TRUTH is what we are after.  So what I want to do here is lay down the facts about divorce for those who want the truth without having their ears tickled. Please have an open mind and heart, because there is much to say on this subject, so please read it through.  I think you’ll be surprised about what’s not being said.

My objective here is threefold.

1) To educate those who are contemplating divorce to see if they have proper grounds so that they can make a sound decision.

2) To help those who have already been divorced see if they had scriptural grounds to get divorced.

3) To help find solutions for those who have been divorced but did not have scriptural grounds, and what can be done to make things right.

It’s unfortunate today that in this day and age so many Christians are getting divorced and remarried without the proper grounds to do so. As Christians we are bound by rules of engagement and disengagement. We just can not do whatever we please as if we are part of this worldly system, at least not without facing the consequences for those actions.


God originally intended for us to remain with our spouses until they passed away. In fact even some animals mate for life, and surely we can be more faithful then the animals. However, there are certain circumstances where divorce is allowed but those circumstances are very few. In fact there are only two. In this study we will go over both of them.

Many Christians today have not even done the research to see if they have grounds for divorce or not. That’s partially because it has been accepted so readily by the majority of Christians today. And even pastors are getting divorced and remarried without proper grounds to do so.

Another reason is because it is such an emotional thing that some just want out and are not willing to listen to sound doctrine, or obey the gospel even if they did know. Many are under the false impression that our happiness is what’s most important when in reality it is God’s happiness. After all He created us for HIS pleasure. But He never promises us some happy go lucky life, in fact He tells us just the opposite. He said In the world ye shall have tribulation:” (John 16:33).

Don’t get me wrong, He does want us to be happy, but not if it means disobeying His commands to do so. His happiness comes first, and being obedient to Him makes Him happy because it shows our loyalty to Him first. Remember; “Seek ye first the kingdom of God”.  Matt. 6:33

Also, in the previous verse it says in me ye might have peace.” But take note that He said in “ME”, not in our spouses. There may not always be peace in our marriages, the road is sometimes rocky but enduring those times will make us stronger and happier.

As Christians, we need to know for certain what our grounds for divorce are before we take that plunge because the consequences are very costly. The cost of broken families and broken lives and even the cost of a broken relationship with God. My heart goes out to all those who have suffered such losses. But don’t be a statistic, learn the facts about what the Bible really says on divorce.


Now lets get right in to it. I’d like to start with what most people THINK is the most obvious grounds for divorce. Can you guess what it is? If you can’t guess it I’ll tell you; it is Adultery or cheating on your spouse. This is perceived as the most obvious grounds for divorce.

But I’m here to tell you that this is NOT grounds for divorce and it never has been! You heard me right!   Adultery is NOT grounds for divorce and the Bible never says anywhere that it is!

Please hear me out!  

What the Bible tells us is that FORNICATION is grounds for divorce NOT ADULTERY!  And there is a big difference!!!

Although both words reference sexual relations, they are very much different, and if Jesus meant “adultery” in the passage below, He would have said “adultery”. He knows the difference and He intentionally used the word “fornication”.  So why did He use the word fornication instead of adultery?

Now if you want the TRUTH, then it is extremely important to start with the true Word of God. For the English speaking world it is The Authorized King James version of the Bible.

This is important here because some corrupted bibles have already changed this word for their own purposes. To see why I only use the King James, see my study on “Which Bible”.

Next, understand that the Bible uses the phrase “put away” to describe divorce.

Examples; “He may not put her away all the days of his life”, or “Ye shall not put away your wives”, or “she was put away from her husband”. All these are examples of how the Bible describes a divorce.

Although the actual word divorce is used as well, more often than not the Bible will use this phrase “put away” to describe divorce.

Matt. 19:9

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

There is a big difference between Adultery and Fornication. They are absolutely NOT the same! Yes I know that they are sometimes used interchangeable, but when Jesus uses one instead of the other, He has a good reason.  Jesus did not make a mistake with His wording, He NEVER does!

And in Matt. 19:9  Jesus Himself specifically uses the word “fornication”. Now we know for certain He meant something other than adultery because He uses both words in the very same passage.

Think about it, why would He use two different words to describe the same thing in the same passage, if the same thing was what He meant? He obviously meant to separate the meanings because He used two totally different words. Here are the two words below.

If you were to look up these two Greek words in this very same passage in a Strongs Concordance you will find they are in fact different words. Here they are;

Fornication———-   Strong’s 4202 —–“porneia”

Adultery ————–   Strong’s 3429 —–“moichao”

And Jesus said “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication,” (Strong’s 4202). He did not use the common word for adultery here which is (Strong’s 3429).

So Jesus specifically chose to use this word “fornication” to distinguish it from the word “adultery”, showing He was definitely NOT talking about adultery.

Matt. 19:9

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication (4202), and shall marry another, committeth adultery (3429): and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery (3429).

They are definitely different words with different meanings.

So what is the difference between fornication and adultery? The main difference is that fornication is between two “unmarried” people. In other words, Both must be single individuals. If either one of them are married then it is no longer fornication, then they both commit the worst sin of adultery.  And yes, some sin is worse than others but that is a different subject.

In today’s society fornication is commonly used to refer to any kind of sexual relations even adultery, but in the Bible fornication and adultery are used differently to distinguish one from the other. After all, why would there even be two different words for the same thing if they meant the same thing? And Jesus used both words.

Another way to prove that they are different is where Paul is listing some of the works of the flesh and mentions both fornication and adultery. If they were one and the same he would only have to list one of them. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,” Gal. 5:19.

So the words and their meanings are different and Jesus said “except it be for fornication,” may a man put away his wife (divorce). But NOT adultery which is a different word and if someone cheats on their spouse it is “adultery“, not fornication.

Therefore, the Bible NEVER says we may divorce if our spouse has cheated on us by committing adultery.

Besides all that, if adultery were grounds for divorce then that would fly right in the face of Christs other law about forgiving 70 x 7.  Matt. 18:21-22.

We are supposed to forgive, but divorce is saying “I don’t forgive you”.


Although Peter is speaking generically about forgiving anyone, he specifically asks about how many times we should forgive our brothers.  But should we not forgive our husbands or wives even more!  Of course we should! So teaching that we may divorce on account of adultery is contrary to Christ’s own teachings about forgiveness.

So what is Jesus saying then? How can a person commit the sin of fornication if they are already married? Because If they are already married then it would be adultery, right?

Doesn’t seem to make any sense. And this is why so many people think He meant adultery, because fornication doesn’t make sense if they are already married.

Oh but it does!   Jesus did in fact mean fornication, however a little understanding of the Old Testament is important. Let me explain.

Remember, the Jews were very religious and a Jewish man not only expected, but was entitled to have a virgin for his wife. If that man were a priest or Levite he was actually commanded by God to take a virgin to wife. See these verses;


Leviticus 21:7

They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God.

Leviticus 21:13-14

13  And he shall take a wife in her virginity.  14  A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.


                       HERE IT IS

But after they got married and they came together for the first time, if she was found not to be a virgin because of her fornication before they were married, then he had grounds to divorce her. THIS is what Jesus was talking about in Matt. 19:9.

In other words, if she deceived him about her virginity; made him think she was a virgin when she had previously committed fornication, then he had the right to divorce her if he wanted. Because their union was based on her lie which would prevent him from fulfilling his vows to God.

These are the only grounds that Jesus Himself gave for divorce in Matt. 19:9.  However the Apostle Paul gives one more grounds for divorce and we will get to that later, but there is still much to say on this first.

So you see, Jesus did in fact mean to use the word “fornication” here because He was referencing and explaining the current law. It is the word Adultery that wouldn’t make sense. He also didn’t change this law but rather he defined and reinforced it. So it does make perfect sense once you understand the Jewish law on the subject.

If you still have doubts about this interpretation, all you have to do is remember why Joseph was going to divorce Mary.

It was for this very reason!  Remember when Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant (by the Holy Spirit). He was going to divorce her. He was going to exercise his right to divorce her because he thought that she had fornicated with another man before they were married.

Read the story again below:

Matt. 1:18

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Matt. 1:19

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.   (to divorce her)

Matt. 1:20

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 

So these were the very grounds that Joseph was going to use to divorce Mary, on the grounds of her suspected fornication before they were married. But not adultery which could only occur after they were married.

Here is more proof and a little insight about what the law says about divorce, and the consequences of accusing a virgin of being a fornicator.

Deut. 22:13-19

13  If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,  14  And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: (virgin)  15  Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:  16  And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;  17  And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.  18  And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;  19  And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away (divorce her) all his days.

So the law was clear that a man could divorce his wife if she turned out not to be a virgin which means she would be guilty of fornication, but not adultery after they were married. Adultery was never grounds for divorce.

But you may ask why is it ok not to forgive for fornication, but we need to forgive our spouse if they commit adultery?

Simply because the marriage was based on deception. He would never have married her if he knew she wasn’t a virgin. He did not get what he was promised so he is not obligated to remain with her or fulfill his vows.

This may not be the best example but think of it this way; If you paid for a new Mercedes-Benz and had it delivered to you but instead they delivered a used Caravan, would you be obligated to accept it?  Of course not! Neither would that man be obligated to keep that wife if she were not a virgin. Their marriage is supposed to be holy and should be based on honesty, but if he was tricked or deceived, then he would not be obligated and God would allow him to divorce her.

But one last thing about divorcing on account of fornication. This law was originally given to the Jews who expected to have a virgin for a wife. These days most of us (Gentiles) don’t expect or demand a virgin for marriage, so this particular reason for divorce doesn’t even apply to most of us.


More importantly, if we married our spouse knowing they had committed fornication before, or found out after marriage but didn’t divorce them, then we are bound to them.


We CAN NOT hold this over our spouse to use at a later date if things don’t work out. If we continued to live and have relations with that spouse that is proof of acceptance and the marriage is binding until death do us part.

So not exercising your rights at the time of discovery is an acceptance of the marriage along with all it’s shortcomings including fornication.

Now we go to I Corinthians chapter 7 where the Apostle Paul gives a good bit more on the subject of divorce.

First I would like to point out that he makes it clear that a wife is NOT to leave her husband, but if she does, she must remain unmarried. And this also applies to the husband.


I Cor. 7: 10-11

10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

This should be clear what the Apostle Paul is saying. Without the proper grounds, divorce is not an option, unless they are willing to remain single the rest of their lives. They can however return to their spouse.


The answer is simple really, because God doesn’t recognize their divorce. And if He doesn’t recognize their divorce, He is not going to recognize an illegitimate marriage to someone else either. Remember that it is God who truly joins two together in marriage not man, as this next verse shows.


Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

So God is not going to join two people together that He Himself had already joined to someone else! That would be like God fighting against Himself but God is not that way. This makes a second marriage illegitimate without God’s approval and the proper grounds for divorce. So even if they go through the motions of remarrying, it means nothing to God because He had no part in it and more importantly their new relation He sees as adultery!

Listen, the worse part is not the divorce itself, but the remarrying to someone else. If someone were to remarry without proper grounds, then every time they had sexual relations they would be committing adultery. And I’m not talking about a single sin, but a perpetual state of sin without end. And as we all should know that adulterers will NOT inherit the kingdom of God.

Remember what Jesus said about marrying someone who is divorced without proper grounds.

Matt. 19:9

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

By staying with that second spouse they would be committing adultery every time they had sexual relations. The sin does not diminish with time no matter how long they stayed with their second spouse because the marriage is still illegitimate! They would be living in a perpetual state of sin.

We know that the sin goes on forever because the Bible tells us it will in the scriptures below.  You see, God doesn’t recognize the divorce in the first place, and nothing in the Bible tells us that He eventually will. The Bible clearly tells us that they are bound to each other as long as the other still lives, which is an indefinite period of time as this next scripture shows us.

Rom. 7:2

For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

Rom. 7:3

So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

So until the other spouse passes away, they are still bound to each other no matter how many times they marry someone else. God only recognizes the first marriage because it was for life as even their vows clearly state “Till death do us part“. This of course applies to a husband or a wife as  I Cor. 7: 10-11  shows us.


One may say that God has forgiven them of divorcing their spouse. This is true! God can and will forgive a divorce, but that does not mean He accepts or recognizes a new marriage. A divorce is one thing but a new marriage is something Entirely different! If I move in with my girlfriend and then ask forgiveness, I can be forgiven but that doesn’t mean I can continue to live with her. It does not give me permission to live in sin.

Likewise, God can forgive the divorce, but He will never allow them to remarry unless they had proper grounds to divorce in the first place! That creates a major problem for those that have already been remarried and we will cover that later on.


Now lets move on to another reason that the Apostle Paul gives for divorce keeping in mind that so far the only reason Jesus gave is because of fornication (Not Adultery). Also keep in mind that what the Apostles wrote in scripture is just as binding to us as Christians.

The Apostle Paul says that If a brother has a wife that is not a believer (Christian), but she wants to stay with him, that he should not divorce her. And likewise if a woman has a husband that is not a believer (Christian), but he wants to stay with her she should not divorce him.

I Cor. 7:12

But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

I Cor. 7:13

And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

But if the unbeliever (Non Christian) leaves, then a brother or sister (Christian) is not under bondage. And if they are not under bondage, then they are obviously free to remarry.

I Cor. 7:15

But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. 

Although now we have the issue of who is really a Christian (believer) and who is not. And this is critical because if we get it wrong we could still find ourselves living in adultery and giving up our chance to enter the Kingdom of God.


Was the person we are considering divorcing ever a Christian? Or have they simply back slid-den?  Because if they are back slidden, then they are still Christians and may just need to repent. We are not allowed to divorce our spouses just because they are in a back slidden state! This is not grounds for divorce either!

Or one might say that they have turned from Christ completely and have denied or rejected Him. The problem here is that we never really know what this persons relation with Christ is, and unless we have become their judge, we will never know their real standing in Christ. So this is just too risky. And let’s not forget that even the Apostle Peter denied Christ not once, but 3 times and never lost his salvation and later repented.

The only safe way to divorce this person based on I Cor. 7:15 is if they were NEVER a Christian. Any other option would be completely unacceptable and extremely too risky. And I for one am not going to risk my eternal destiny, my life everlasting, my forever home and family or my position in Christ to chance. Neither will I chance it all just to be with someone for a short while in this life no matter how happy they made me. Nothing in this World is worth giving all that up!

But if our spouse was never a Christian and they leave us, then according to the Apostle Paul we are not under bondage and can let them go. And these are the only grounds that Paul gives us.

So between Christ and the Apostle Paul we only have two grounds for divorcing our spouse, any other reason is un-scriptural and remarrying someone else would cause us to live in adultery. This is a big problem for many people but something must be done because we can not live in state of sin and still hope to enter the Kingdom of God. So what are the options?


First of all let me say that I don’t expect anyone to abandon their families! Even the Bible tells us that if we do not provide for our families we are worse than infidels.

1 Tim. 5:8

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. 

However, we don’t have to live under the same roof to be able to provide for our families. Sure that would make life harder, but it’s possible. There may have to be a lot of adjusting of our lives like giving up a few luxuries and having less money to spend on ourselves and family but isn’t Christ and the Kingdom of God worth it? Because if they are not, then the Bible tells us that we are not worthy of Him. See this next verse.

Matt. 10:37

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Matt. 10:38

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Matt. 19:29

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

So if we put anything before Christ, including our own families, than we are not worthy of Christ or all that He has to offer us. But that doesn’t mean we have to abandon our families either, we can still support them in many ways. We could live in the same town or even right next door. We can see and visit the kids and have friendly relationships with our previous partners and still be in compliance with Gods laws.

Of course having sexual relations with our previous partners or friends is out of the question, but just being a friend and helping each other out is not a violation. But we have to do the right thing! And doing the right thing means following Gods laws first. Our happiness does NOT come before God.



So although the choice is not an easy one, the solution is rather simple. We just can not live in sin by having sexual relations with someone who is not our true spouse. Some will say; Well what if we just live together but don’t have any sex? Sounds like a reasonable solution but this will never work for a few reasons.

First of all it is a TERRIBLE witness to others and ESPECIALLY the kids if there are any. Do we want to cause others including our own kids to fall because of our sins? The kids are always watching and they learn from their parents. In most cases they will do the same things their parents did. Would we want our kids to live in sin and miss the Kingdom of God because of our own sins and weaknesses? Of course not! Instead we need to be a good example. But we should never be a stumbling stone to our own kids, our neighbors or to anyone else!

The other thing is that living under the same roof is just too tempting. Why would we put ourselves in that kind of temptation? Especially after we’ve been with that person before.  It is way too easy to fall back into our previous lifestyle and continue to do those things we did before.   And remember what the Apostle Paul said about continuing to sin after we learn the truth;

Heb. 10:26

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

This does not mean to imply that we will never sin again, only that once we learn the truth we can not continue to live in those sins we once lived in. We must put them away and follow Christ in truth and righteousness! I mean, do we want to enter the Kingdom of God or not? Some choices are hard to make but God knows whats best for us and He makes the rules, so we just need to be obedient children.

So there is a way to be in compliance with Gods laws concerning divorce and still enter the Kingdom of God and be happy although it might not be easy. But we have to make good choices; we have to make the RIGHT choices.

The Bible makes it clear what the acceptable grounds for divorce are. But many Christians today do not follow the Bible’s instructions because our pastors are not teaching on this subject at all. Most pastors avoid this subject all together and it’s a shame because the people need to know the truth so they can make the right decisions.


Many are going to lose their chance to enter the Holy City Jerusalem because of this one thing! Now I didn’t say they would go to hell, but they would be stuck outside the Holy City (The Kingdom of God). This is another subject that has been completely twisted in modern Christianity about entering the Kingdom of God and about those outside the Holy City.

There will be people that live outside the Kingdom of God but that is not the same as being in hell. Hell is another REAL place but different. Those that are left outside the City will not be part of that group. See my study on (The Kingdom of God) for all the details.

But what if we find ourselves in an abusive relationship?

I know that there are many situations where a spouse is physically and or mentally abused by their husband or wife. This is a difficult situation and I don’t expect anyone to have to endure such things especially if your life, or your kids lives are in danger. My recommendation would be to seek safety first and as soon as possible.

But can we divorce in these situations? Well technically these are not grounds for divorce, but we have the right to protect our lives and our children. So if we have to leave our spouse for our own safety or the safety of our kids, than do it! God will not condemn us for protecting our lives. The only real downside is that we would not be free to remarry and we would have to remain single for the rest of our lives.

So those in abusive relationships would have to decide first of all if anyone was in danger. If they are, then they should get out as soon as possible! If they are not in physical danger than they would need to decide if the abuse was extreme enough to want to leave their spouse and enter a life of singleness the rest of their lives.

Again, these are hard choices so we need to choose carefully.

Now one more scenario. I hesitate to write about this one because I have to admit it seems a little shady and I am not 100% confident about it. In all fairness tho I think I may need to point this out because the Bible says not to handle the Word of God deceitfully (2 Cor. 4:2) and not laying all the cards on the table may be doing just that. So here goes.

I’d like to talk about all those couples who were NOT Christians before they got divorced and possibly remarried all before they ever became a Christian.  That is, neither the husband or wife were ever Christians when they got divorced.

However if either one were a Christian, then all the above guidelines apply.

So then if neither the husband or the wife were ever Christians when they got divorced, would the same rules apply since they were unaware of them or before they ever made a commitment to follow Christ? This is the question, but the answer may not be so easy.

The argument is that tho they may not have been officially Christians they may have known of Christ and believed in Him (at least here in the United States) since the ceremony is usually a Christian event here.

Although this doesn’t apply to everyone since marriages are done in all religions and even atheists get married.

But they may have known of Christ and acknowledged Him so would that count? Would they be bound by the laws of Christianity even tho they never made a commitment to follow Christ?   I’d like to think not, and here is why.

True Christianity is a commitment to Christ starting at baptism. See my study on Baptism.

And I am talking about true baptism, not the baptism of babies which is not true baptism at all but a dedication by the parents. I am talking about a personal commitment by the individual themselves to get baptized and the decision to follow Christ.

If they have not done this then technically they have not become Christians. Believing in Christ alone does not make a person a Christian, and neither does accepting Him into our hearts. But these are steps towards becoming a Christian and the final step being baptism.

So if they have not officially become a Christian after baptism, how can the laws of Christ apply?

The Bible was NOT written to the unbeliever! It was written to the Jews and Christian (believers) so they would know how to serve the God they had made a commitment to follow. It was written by and to the Jews and Christians. Although there are instructions for the unbeliever as well so that they can come to Christ, but the instructions were written TO the Christians so they could instruct the unbelievers.

So the laws we find in the Bible were written for those who were following the laws both the Old Testament and the New Testament Laws. The unbelievers were not under these laws until they came to God and then the laws applied. So how can an unbeliever be bound by our laws?

Think about it. Were the gentile nations required by God to make sacrifices? No! the laws were given to the Jews who were following God. They were the ones who were required to do the things of the law. Of course those gentile nations were not saved either, but that’s not the point.

The point is they were not required to follow those laws because they were not under those laws. But the same applies to Christianity. The non believers are not under the laws of the believer.

But here is the part that seems most important to me. We find it in the next verse below and it’s about how a person gets a new chance to start there life over. To have the past wiped away and get a fresh start. lets read it.

2 Cor. 5:17

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 

But first of all let me make it clear that, to be in Christ is a direct reference to baptism! The Bible tells us that we are baptized into Christ. Gal. 3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no other way to get into Christ.

Again, see my study on Baptism, if you haven’t already.

But 2 Cor. 5:17 seems to be telling me that once a person becomes a Christian (after baptism), their slate is wiped clean and they get a new life to start over not looking back at the past. But can this cover a previous divorce?

This is the part that I am not 100% sure of because although it covers every previous sin, does it cover our previous commitments as well since the commitments themselves were not made in sin? In other words, once we come to Christ and get baptized would the laws of marriage and divorce become retroactive for a previous marriage?

But let me make this perfectly clear that coming to Christ and getting baptized does NOT erase a CURRENT marriage! I’m really only talking about a previous divorce.

In other words if one of the unbelievers becomes a Christian while they are in an unfavorable marriage, can coming to Christ and getting baptized free them from that unfavorable marriage?  Absolutely not!

Even tho we get a new start in life and all things have become new according to 2 Cor. 5:17 ? Our current commitments do not become void because they were not made in sin and it is the sins that we are now free from. So getting married before they were saved was not a sin.  Just ask yourself, Is it a sin for unbelievers to get married?  Of course not!

So instead or erasing the marriage, becoming a Christian consummates the marriage! But again I am talking about a couple that are still married when one of the unbelievers becomes a Christian.

After one of the unbelievers becomes a Christian while their spouse is not, then they find themselves under the guidelines we’ve already discussed where we have a believer and an unbeliever. And in that situation, only the unbeliever can leave the believer as the Apostle Paul has already shown us. Again, this means that only the unbeliever can leave the Christian releasing the Christian from their vows.

So getting baptized into Christ will NOT erase a current marriage or make it void because the marriage was not a sin in the first place. But the new Christian sanctifies the unbelieving spouse making their marriage legitimate.   For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy  2 Cor.7:14.

So what if they were already divorced before they ever got saved (baptized), would the rules about divorce be retroactive? This is what I am not 100% certain about. and I am sorry if I have put any doubts in your own minds but I am being completely honest with you.

So everyone must decide for themselves if this applies to a previous divorce before they came to Christ or not.  Personally I think that if they were already divorced before either of them were ever Christians, that once they are baptized they are set free from the previous divorce. But I am not 100% sure.

But I felt it was only right to make you aware of this Bible verse and how it might apply to a previous divorce.  I guess that this is kind of like my disclaimer. But there it is, I’ve laid all my cards on the table. It’s up to you to decide if  2 Cor. 5:17  applies to a previous divorce or not.  However it does NOT, apply to a currently active marriage, unless of course there was a previous divorce as well.

If there was a previous divorce, then you would have to decide if   2 Cor. 5:17 applies as discussed above. Otherwise if an unbeliever comes to Christ, their current marriage becomes sanctified.

But listen, if there is any doubt in your mind then don’t remarry!  Remember it is not the divorce that is so bad, it is the remarriage to someone else that is the real problem.

It is always better to be safe then to gamble with your chance to enter the Holy City (The Kingdom of God). If I were in this situation and was not sure, I would not want to take the chance of being wrong. I would not want to give up the best of what the Lord had to offer me. It is soooo much better to be single then to give up all that. Don’t you think?

I realize that there are probably other situations that I have not covered and I will try to add them as the Lord reveals them to me and puts them on my heart. But feel free to leave a comment or question below if you would like me to try and cover something.

Now I would like to mention something else about those who are bound in marriage to an unbeliever. This just came to me a little while ago and I think the Lord wants me to make something very clear here.

As you know, an unbeliever can keep us bound to them in marriage if they desire to stay with us. But if the Christian tries to talk them into leaving them just so they can be free according the Apostle Paul’s guidelines, this is deceptive and dishonest and will not qualify. If this person has to convince the unbeliever to leave against their natural will and desire to stay with them, then they are being forced out.

So in reality this Christian would be forcing the unbeliever out of their marriage. And so that Christian is the one who is actually leaving the unbeliever! Just the opposite of what the Apostle Paul allows. This kind of Christian would be finding themselves in an un-scriptural divorce and could never remarry without living a life of adultery.

Likewise, if the Christian tried to get their unbelieving spouse to leave them by being mean, hateful, difficult, or unpleasant in any way in order to make them want out of their marriage, this too is dishonest and would not qualify. This too is a force out because the spouse did not truly want to leave. This kind of Christian too would find themselves in an un-scriptural divorce and in a life of adultery if they were to remarry.

Please don’t find yourselves in one of these two situations I mentioned above. As Christians we are to be honest and faithful to our spouses as well as kind and sincere. And only in those situations can we be free if the unbeliever still wants to leave us.

But manipulating the marriage in any way in order to get our spouse to leave us is unacceptable and would never qualify under the Apostle Paul’s guidelines.



Here are the main points;

Divorce was never in Gods plans for us. Instead He intended us to remain faithful and forgiving to our spouses forever, just as Christ forgave us and is faithful to us. Remember we are to forgive 70 x 7.

The only grounds that Jesus Himself gave for divorce was for fornication that occurred before they were ever married, but not afterwards. Jesus never gave grounds for divorce on account of adultery. It is important to know that fornication and adultery are absolutely not the same.

The Apostle Paul added another reason for divorce which was only if the unbelieving (Non Christian) left the Christian. He says that we (the Christians) are not bound in those cases.

These are the only two grounds for divorce that are given in the scriptures.

But please make sure you are reading the True Word of God from the True Bible the Authorized King James Version because their are many corruptions out there that are trying to change this teaching by removing the word “Fornication”, so that people can’t tell the difference.

Now if a Christian gets divorced for any other reason then the ones listed in the scriptures above, they would be doing it contrary to the laws that God has given us. If they were to also remarry, they would be living in adultery, in a perpetual state of sin and would be forfeiting their chance to enter the Kingdom of God which is The New Jerusalem.

As Christians, if we are found to be in an un-scriptural marriage we must make the right choice and get out of it if we want to enter the Kingdom of God.

We can do this by simply moving out. We do NOT have to abandon our families but can still support them from where ever we move to.

The decision is a tough one no doubt but one that must be made if we are to do the right thing because the consequences are severe if we remain in an un-scriptural marriage.

So we need to make the right choice.    And make no mistake, No choice is a choice in itself!

THESE ARE THE THINGS THE BIBLE TELLS US. Men may tell us otherwise because they like the option of getting a divorce if they like.  If things are not perfect or if they didn’t turn out the way they thought they would. They like the option of getting out.

And the world may have those options because the world does not know God or follow Him, but as Christians we have no such options!!  The Christian and Divorce described in the Bible is different then a non Christian Divorce and we must remember this.

We are to be separate from this world, because we are different. We do not follow the laws of men we follow the Laws of God! But if we follow the laws of men, we will find our part among the unbelievers.

Do what is right! Follow the Laws of God, only He knows what is right for us and will reward us accordingly.

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