Question:

I was married to a man who would not make love, have sex, or be intimate with me. He said he preferred to masturbate and fantasize about my sister, neighbors, and the neighbor's mother. This greatly distressed me. He was also abusive, holding a gun up to my head threatening to kill me. He was emotionally, verbally, and physically abuse, followed by no intimacy, and also teaching our sons to not believe in God.

During all of this I prayed and asked God to please allow me to divorce this man. He absolutely refused to go to church, or seek help, and said that was how he would always be. If I didn't like it, I should get out. I divorced him,.

I prayed to God that if he would please send me a good man, that I would be a faithful humble servant to Him and my husband, and a good wife and mother. I met and married the other man that I believed was sent from God, I prayed and read my Bible, and gave money to charity. God blessed us with two sons and a wonderful family. My second husband was never married, and after many years has welcomed Christ as his personal Savior.

We often drive by a church and felt drawn to go there. It is called the Church of Christ. We love the church and the people, but were distressed to discover that because I was married before, that we are now considered to be in an adulterous marriage, and cannot be baptized into the church. The preacher said that unless my first husband commited fornication, I was not permitted to divorce and remarry. Is not threatening to kill, abusing, masturbating, fantasizing, preaching the anti-christ, witholding intimacy, etc. not considered fornication? I was a good wife, always submitting to him, and also taking good care of him for many years before I ended the marriage. If God has clearly blessed the second union, should the church not also bless the union? The preacher stated to my husband that he would need to divorce me before being baptized into the church. Doesn't it say "What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder?" Doesn't it say to not couple yourselves with non-believers? Is murder to be forgiven but not divorce? Doesn't it say if anyone calls on him, he is welcomed? Why does it say "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, so that whosoever shall believeth in him, shall not persish but have eternal life?" It doesn't say "except if you are divorced." It says whosoever shall believeth in him.

I'm confused. Please help.


Answer:

I suspect that you aren't confused; you just don't like the facts.

You made a very bad choice in your first husband. Most likely, if we sat down and talked for a while, it would come out that you had numerous hints that he wasn't a good man, but at the time you convinced yourself that it either did not matter or that you would fix things later. Sadly, that almost never happens. Because of his evil, you decided to end the marriage. You might say that it falls under the case of "But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace" (I Corinthians 7:15). You are the one who actually initiated the divorce, though he encouraged it.

Such an ending of a marriage doesn't not give you the right to remarry. "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife" (I Corinthians 7:11-12). The only situation that gives the right to remarry is when the marriage ends because of the spouse's fornication. "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9). Marriage is a serious matter. It is a lifelong obligation. "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). That God allows one exception to the covenant commitment that permits a second marriage, it does not mean you can throw anything and everything under that term and claim that your second marriage is legitimate.

Fornication is having sex outside the bounds of marriage. Unwedded sex, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, etc. would all be specific cases of fornication. All the things you listed are or can be sinful, but none of them are fornication. Sin in general is not the given reason for ending a marriage that allows for a remarriage. Only a specific class of sin is attached to the exception. Since you chose to end your marriage, God's rule is that you were to have remained unmarried, unless sometime in the future your former husband changed and you were able to reconcile with him. Then you could have remarried him.

Instead you chose to marry another man. Because you are still bound by the terms of your first marriage covenant, this second marriage is adulterous. It didn't become adulterous because the preacher pointed out the problem, it has always been adulterous.

It is sad that you want to say that your second marriage ought to be permanent, but you refuse to recognize that your first marriage was permanent. You can't apply laws when you want to, laws are always there. You chose to couple yourself with an unbeliever, in both the first and second marriage, and now you want the rule you've been ignoring to apply? That rule, however, isn't what you think it is.

The reason that the preacher refuses to baptize you and your husband is because you are currently involved in sin. "Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). You don't think you have been sinning and have no desire to change in order to stop sinning. It isn't the adultery in particular, the preacher would have gave the same answer to a couple who were having sex without being married, or the thief, or greedy, or any other person involved in sin with no inclination to stop.

God wants everyone saved from their sins; He isn't accepting everyone in their sins. All people are welcome into God's family because it is possible for every person to give up his or her sins. I'm sorry that your sins have put you and your husband into an awkward position. But preachers are only allowed to help people understand God's laws, we don't make the laws.