Question:

If a man marries a woman who was not supposed to remarry because she and her husband had committed adultery, can the man in the second marriage divorce her because of her continued adulteries during the second marriage and be able to marry again?


Answer:

When a person marries someone who has no right to remarry, that relationship is adulterous. "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery" (Luke 16:18). The very marriage is a sin. It should never had taken place and its continuance is wrong. Because of that, while the man was in sin by marrying the woman, he could repent of his sins, end the adulterous relationship, and have a proper marriage that God would accept. The woman gave up her rights to another marriage because of her sins. The fact that she continues to commit adultery is just further evidence that she has not repented of her sins.

And the man better learn a lesson from this. If you want a faithful wife, you don't marry an unfaithful woman.

When I married this ex, she tried to prove to me that she was a faithful woman; she was not.

My regard to some of the teaching you do on the web. Hopefully people can understand the church of Christ. I salute you for your teaching on divorce and remarriage.

Something else that I've been thinking about, concerning Matthew 19:9. I'm just trying to get some insight on this. In this verse Jesus says that the third party commits adultery. Is this the same adultery as fornicating (adultery) that a husband or wife does against their spouse? I don't think it is, but I'm not sure.

May God be with us.

When a person enters into a marriage, they take on a type of vow called a covenant (Malachi 2:14). You could think of it as a contract, but it is much stronger. Covenants are agreements that are typically in effect for a lifetime.

When person has sex with someone other than the person he or she married, the person is committing adultery. Fornication is actually a broader word, of which adultery is one type of fornication. Fornication covers a broad range of sexual sins. What Jesus said is that when a married person is involved in sexual sins, his or her spouse has the option of divorcing the fornicating spouse, and the innocent spouse is allowed to marry someone else. God won't hold the innocent party to the terms of his or her covenant. However, the guilty party is still bound by the covenant. He or she is not allowed to marry someone else. It doesn't matter if the marriage is to the person they were previously committing adultery or someone else. If he or she does marry again, then it is still considered adultery (after all sex takes place in marriage, but it is sex with someone the person is not in a covenant with because the person is still under his or her original covenant). "For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man" (Romans 7:2-3). This is also true if a couple is divorced for some other reason other than fornication. Just because they decided to end the marriage, it doesn't free them from the covenant that they made to each other.

The person who marries someone who had no right to a second marriage is also committing adultery. That person is having sex with someone who is under marriage covenant with someone else. The person's marriage is not legitimate since the spouse did not have the right to enter into another covenant.

Hopefully that didn't muddy the waters.