Are divorced people eligible to remarry?

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God elevated the marriage relationship to a high plane when, at the beginning of the human race, He laid down the strict standards that govern marriage (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6).

Jesus said an individual has permission to divorce the mate that commits fornication (Matthew 19:9). So, divorce for that innocent marriage partner is allowed. On the other hand, any person who divorces their scriptural spouse for any reason, other than fornication, does sin.

In this divorced condition (i.e., having divorced for reason other than fornication), the individual has placed himself in a situation that comes under additional scriptural restrictions. Paul gave these restrictions in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 where he taught that scripturally married couples ought not to divorce. However, should their marriage break up unscripturally, both are to remain unmarried. Some feel this verse does not refer to a technical divorce but merely to a separation. Either way, their breakup (whether by separation or divorce) is contrary to God’s will, and neither of the two can marry someone else.

Therefore, according to the scriptures, there are three categories of divorced individuals that are ineligible to remarry:

(1) the person who committed fornication and was divorced for that act by his or her spouse (Matthew 19:9).

(2) the person who was unscripturally divorced (i.e., put away for some reason other than fornication) by a spouse (Matthew 19:9).

(3) the person who was deserted by an unbelieving spouse (1 Corinthians 7:12-15).

In these three instances, the divorced person is ineligible to remarry.

So, a person who is eligible in God’s sight to remarry (while the former mate is still living—Romans 7:3) is the person who divorced his/her original mate for that mate’s sexual unfaithfulness.

People need to conform to God’s marriage rules in order for marriage to be a true blessing.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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