If someone is in an adulterous marriage, what happens if his original spouse dies?


I've got a scenario concerning divorce and remarriage for you: Jack and Jill are scripturally married. Jack commits adultery, and Jill puts him away for adultery. Both of them remarry, but Jill dies before Jack does. Question: Is Jack's marriage no longer adulterous according to Romans 7:2-3, and would this equally apply if the original scenario were divorce for a cause other than fornication? Thanks in advance for your reply.


"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).

You cite the verse that answers your question, so I'm a bit confused as to where you are trying to go with this question.

The wording of Romans 7:2-3 is broader than just divorce for fornication or even divorce for some other reason. It would cover situations of bigamy as well.

In the Scriptures words like covenant, law, testimony, etc. are considered to be synonyms. When a couple enters a marriage covenant, the terms of that covenant are for the life of both parties. If one dies before the other, the other is released from the terms of the covenant. Jesus gave one additional exception in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 which states that marital unfaithfulness (specifically fornication) can free the innocent party from the terms of the covenant. The guilty party, by implication in those verses, is not released from the covenant he or she has made.

If a person marries someone else while in a marriage covenant, they are guilty of adultery. Paul states they remain in adultery while married to another person. However, he notes that if their original spouse dies, they are freed from their covenant and are no longer in adultery even though they had married someone else.

The fact that the former adulterer's marriage is no longer adulterous is only a part of the solution. A thief who has stopped stealing still has the debt of his sin. A former adulterer still has the problem of unforgiven sin. In order to receive forgiveness of his sins, he would have to follow God's requirements, among which is repentance. He would have to denounce his former life of adultery. You or I may not be able to determine if he is sincere, but God will know come Judgment Day.

Thanks for the quick response. I agree with your conclusions. I was looking at some bulletins from another church of Christ online from a preacher whom I have a lot of respect for, and he made a distinction between the two scenarios. He said that the one put away for adultery could never remarry. Given the principle stated in Romans 7:2-3, I honestly don't understand how he could have come to that conclusion. I just wanted some reaffirmation of the correct interpretation, since I am still learning in this area.