a

Studies │ Remarriage after Divorce

1 Corinthians 7:10 provides more information for the Hard-Hearted Spouse who files for divorce. Remember, please, that the person who files for divorce is the Hard-Hearted Spouse (with no exceptions), and the other spouse is the Innocent Spouse. I do not mean that the Innocent Spouse has done nothing wrong, but by filing for divorce, the Hard-Hearted Spouse has broken God’s commandment not to divorce, as we observed above in our study of Matthew 19. So, what about the Hard-hearted Spouse who wants to remarry? What does God say about that option? Well, in 1 Corinthians 7:10, we see that the woman who leaves (leaves=divorces as described above) her husband must remain unmarried. Again, no exceptions are given here. If a hard-hearted woman insists upon divorce, then Paul orders her to remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. Consider the woman who simply dislikes her husband and has grown tired of him. If she knew that God commanded her not to divorce her husband, then she would not be as eager to divorce him. Furthermore, if she also knew that God commanded her to remain single after divorce (at least until her husband dies–Romans 7:1-2, pages 1766-1767), or else be reconciled, then she would not be eager to divorce him. I never suggest creating doctrine from our experience, but I do believe in applying doctrine gleaned from Scripture alone to our experience. Likewise, if your spouse has been unfaithful sexually to you, you still will be the Hard-Hearted Spouse if you file for divorce. Furthermore, you would have to remain single for the rest of your life, or else be reconciled to your husband. As we move forward in this study, we also need to review God’s teaching about marriages between believers and unbelievers. They provide more divine insight into divorce and remarriage. God loves us and wants us to know all about happy lives in marriage.


Part Five

The Unbelieving Spouse


The Lord Jesus not only created marriage, but He also intended for every believer to enjoy marriage, unless He had given that believer the gift of sexual self-control. In some cases, however, Jesus recognized that believers had married before their conversion and so had an unbelieving spouses. In other cases, a believer married an unbeliever. In both cases, the believer is now married to an unbeliever. If an unbeliever wants to divorce the believer, then what should the believer do? Do the same rules of marriage outlined above apply to an unbeliever? We will see how God applies the same basic commands to a believer married to an unbeliever and notice special provisions for believing spouses married to unbelievers.

  

1 Corinthians 7:12, Page 1789

“But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.”

In 1 Corinthians 7:12, page 1789, Paul began to address the issue of a believer married to an unbeliever. First, Paul commanded believers to remain with their unbelieving spouses. This command fits perfectly with the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels not to divorce for any reason. 1The Greek term for “divorce” (“ἀφιέτω”) is the same root term Paul used for “divorce” in the previous verse. Notice that the unbelieving spouse, in this case the wife, consents to live with her believing husband. 2The Greek term for “consents” (“συνευδοκεῖ”) literally means same good thoughts, or agrees. So, just because you were saved while already married to an unbeliever, you should not seek a divorce just because your spouse is an unbeliever. 3This passage stands in contrast to 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, page 1810, where Paul urges a believer to remain separate from an unbeliever, and to “COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE.” There, Paul commanded believers to avoid all bonds with unbelievers, especially to avoid being romantically involved with them. In 1 Corinthians 7:13, page 1789, Paul applied the same teaching to a woman married to an unbelieving husband, again showing that the marriage commands do not make distinctions between males and females, but God applied them without regard to gender. 4Do not misunderstand. God prohibits marriage between two males and likewise between two females. God always intended for one male to marry one female.

1 Corinthians 7:14, Page 1789

“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.”

In Corinthians 7:14, page 1789, Paul next revealed the theology behind God’s plan for a believer to remain married to an unbelieving spouse who wants to remain married to the believing spouse. First, the believing spouse has a sanctifying influence upon the unbeliever. 5The Greek word for “sanctifying” (“ἡγίασται”–note the perfect passive indicative) means here that the believing wife has a continuing influence upon the unbeliever. Many wives, by their continual, faithful testimony, have seen their unfaithful husbands come to know the saving power of faith in Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection (1 Peter 3:1-6, page 1896). Paul nowhere taught that salvation can be imputed from one spouse to another, or from parent to child. Each person must receive the gift of eternal life by faith alone. The believing spouse will have daily opportunities to bring God’s light of salvation to the unbelieving spouse. Second, the believing mother or believing father will provide sanctifying guidance to the children of the marriage. In essence, they will be washed in the gracious love and teaching of the believing spouse. Compare Deuteronomy 6:4-9, page 297. Furthermore, the believing spouse will have far less daily contact with the children after a divorce imposing a rotating residential responsibility (rotating overnight visits with each spouse) for the children. The believing spouse will be spending time away from the children, and so the believing spouse may have less time to be a sanctifying influence upon the children. 6Some commentators wrongly suppose that the children are automatically saved by the influence of the believing spouse. Some commentators even teach that the believing parent can remove or limit the effects of original sin their children, but nothing in any of these verses speak of original sin. Scripture never contradicts itself, because God wrote Scripture, and God cannot contradict Himself, because He always tells the truth (John 17:17, page 1690; Titus 1:2, page 1865). Scripture universally provides that salvation comes by faith alone, and it must be your own faith (Romans 10:9-10, page 1772), and not the faith of others. So, in this verse, we have the sanctifying influence of the believing parent shining God’s light of salvation upon the children, and also training them daily in the ways of the Lord Jesus Christ.

References │ Page Numbers Below Footnotes   [ + ]

1. The Greek term for “divorce” (“ἀφιέτω”) is the same root term Paul used for “divorce” in the previous verse.
2. The Greek term for “consents” (“συνευδοκεῖ”) literally means same good thoughts, or agrees.
3. This passage stands in contrast to 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, page 1810, where Paul urges a believer to remain separate from an unbeliever, and to “COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE.” There, Paul commanded believers to avoid all bonds with unbelievers, especially to avoid being romantically involved with them.
4. Do not misunderstand. God prohibits marriage between two males and likewise between two females. God always intended for one male to marry one female.
5. The Greek word for “sanctifying” (“ἡγίασται”–note the perfect passive indicative) means here that the believing wife has a continuing influence upon the unbeliever. Many wives, by their continual, faithful testimony, have seen their unfaithful husbands come to know the saving power of faith in Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection (1 Peter 3:1-6, page 1896). Paul nowhere taught that salvation can be imputed from one spouse to another, or from parent to child. Each person must receive the gift of eternal life by faith alone.
6. Some commentators wrongly suppose that the children are automatically saved by the influence of the believing spouse. Some commentators even teach that the believing parent can remove or limit the effects of original sin their children, but nothing in any of these verses speak of original sin. Scripture never contradicts itself, because God wrote Scripture, and God cannot contradict Himself, because He always tells the truth (John 17:17, page 1690; Titus 1:2, page 1865). Scripture universally provides that salvation comes by faith alone, and it must be your own faith (Romans 10:9-10, page 1772), and not the faith of others. So, in this verse, we have the sanctifying influence of the believing parent shining God’s light of salvation upon the children, and also training them daily in the ways of the Lord Jesus Christ.