If a previously married person in a current un-scriptural marriage repents, what happens to their marriage?

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The Bible does not encourage divorce or re-marriage. The only exception is if there is adultery. What is adultery? Having a sexual relationship with someone who is not your spouse, this can be extended to fornication (Matthew 19:9).

If a someone, who knows the Bible principles concerning marriage, divorces their spouse for a reason other than adultery, it is a sin for them to re-marry. If they remarry, they need to repent by leaving their unlawful partner. An example of this is King Herod. He took his brothers wife, Herodias, as his own. This was denounced by the prophet John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-5). Repentance to Herod meant that he should end his marriage because it was simply “not lawful for [Herod] to have her” (Mark 6:18).

If a spouse gets converted and the other is not, it is encouraged that they continue to be married. However, if the unconverted spouse does not want to remain married yet there is no adultery, the Bible states that they may separate but not remarry anyone else (1 Corinthians 7:10-11).

Now, in the case of a couple who get converted together, and these Bible principles are completely new to them, then, their past is in their past. “And the times of this ignorance God overlooked; but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Here, Paul characterizes and partially excuses the whole pre-Christian period as being based on lack of knowledge, especially knowledge of the divine. So, it basically boils down to whether a person knows the truth or not.

God is gracious and understanding and assures repentant sinners that He will help them as they mend their ways and will grant them the grace and power they need to live aright (Philippians 2:13). When the divine commands are faithfully followed, the Lord makes Himself responsible for the success of the work of repentance and provides strength to fulfill every duty and power to resist all temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


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