What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
– Matthew 10:27-28
With permission, we’re sharing an “inbox” inquiry received on our Facebook community page, Unilateral Divorce is Unconstitutional:
“Quick overview. Covenant wife divorced me early nineties. Stood approx. 4 years until Cov. wife became engaged. Starting dating..fell into sin..ended up marrying woman I impregnated 1 week before cov. wife was remarried. Tough second marriage. 3 year separation where I stood for the non covenant marriage and she did come home with another mans child. Fast foward 15 years and she left again. This time as reading the bible and studying the blinders came off. Now back to standing for covenant marriage altho cov wife seems to have had a very blessed marriage. Sometimes I think if I had married one week after I would have had a good marriage and hers would have been bad. The struggle I have is with how my covenant wife has seem to have been so blessed. Reading your blog there was an article where you had come to grips with remarriage being a hell or heaven matter. What was the information the settled the matter in your heart? You see so many people in remarriages that love God…works demonstrate their faith, etc. that it’s hard to believe that an eternity in hell awaits them. Your thoughts are appreciated.”
Thanks for your question, Page Fan. You raise many issues in your question, and the response can get lengthy in a hurry. Since it’s a question many have, I’d like to give you a quick answer about the events that solidified the heaven-or-hell heart knowledge for “standerinfamilycourt”, and give you a couple of resources to digest on your own. Then, with your permission, and keeping your identity confidential, what I’d like to do is bring a fuller response to everyone through a blog post by the end of February. May I ?
The first thing to understand is what Jesus was telling us in Matt.19:6 and 8. Humanists, from Moses to the Pharisees, to Martin Luther to Pope Francis, have always rebelled against God’s order, which was established at creation, by trying to make the question of divorce and remarriage about allowances and “permissions”.
Jesus came along and said, “no, it’s strictly about metaphysics — to which there are no exceptions.” This is what He’s saying in Matt. 19:6: only God’s hand can form the lifelong one-flesh entity of holy matrimony. He does it instantaneously and supernaturally, creating an entirely new entity, “they are never again two (according to the verb tense He actually used, translated into Greek) but one flesh.” God then becomes the other party with that new entity to an unconditional covenant. All of this occurs BEFORE physical consummation if the couple was chaste before taking vows.
Where they weren’t chaste, but there is no living, estranged spouse, it occurs before they are back up the aisle and out the door.
This is the foundation that makes all non-widowed “remarriage” adultery, and is why Jesus repeated on three separate occasions that EVERYONE who “marries” a divorced woman enters into an ongoing state of adultery. If it was adulterous for another man to “marry” YOUR covenant wife, it is equally adulterous for your one-flesh to claim to the world that she is “married” to that man, regardless of how “blessed” it might look from the outside.
I assure you, she knows that “hen soma” (satan’s glittery but pale counterfeit discussed in 1 Cor. 6:16) is a hollow substitute for “sarx mia” – the supernatural, God-joined genuine article. Jesus was not just saying in Matt.19:6 and 8 (SIFC: notice the verb tense again in “it was not [EVER] this way”) that divorce was immoral — He was saying that man’s paper claims of “dissolution” were IMPOSSIBLE. Only death severs the one-flesh entity, and only death removes God from the unconditional covenant He has made with that inseverable one-flesh entity. To the divorced and remarried priest He addresses through the prophet Malachi (chapter 2), He says….” the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she IS (not “was”) your companion and your wife by covenant.”
I have always known from my earliest days as a believer that non-widowed remarriage was fake and adulterous, and this came by revelation of God’s direct word and the Holy Spirit’s counsel to me personally. I stood strong against the rapidly-apostasizing church four decades ago based on that. But even in those days, I only knew a fraction of what I was eventually to learn. So here are the events that clarified things for me:
The first thing was that the pastor of my own church decided a few years ago to take many weeks to teach the entire congregation on Sundays how to use the principles of sound hermeneutics in bible study to detect and avoid error / “spin”. He was so serious about it that he did this right from the pulpit in the main service. He wasn’t teaching on marriage, just general principles. I then read a 1957 book called “Does Divorce Dissolve Marriage?” written around the same kind of rigorous hermeneutic framework as I had just learned in church, written by a bible college president who died in 1975.
The second thing was the range of accomplished bible scholars I met shortly afterward. Soon I met displaced pastors whose covenant wives had divorced them, but they had obeyed the Lord and remained celibate, some of them for 30 years who never had a church again after that, expressly because they refused to “remarry”. These guys (and in one case an accomplished lady bible scholar who had repented of an adulterous “remarriage” with another woman’s “divorced” husband), taught me how to use free online deep bible study tools to get back to the original Greek and Hebrew texts, which then exposed all of the places where liberal bible translation committees had distorted our English-language bibles over the past 100 years or so to make divorce and remarriage seem acceptable. I then found out there were a handful of happily married pastors, in quite a mix of denominations, with congregations who agreed with these “divorced” pastors and preached the truth boldly from their own pulpits — all of the truth. Being able to see the differences in Greek word usage that the liberal commentators don’t tell people about, helped me deeply understand the nature of both one-flesh and God’s unconditional covenants, as well as His character in how He treats His holy symbols.
Once I had this hermeneutics and online tools methodology under my belt, I happened to be accepted as a FB friend by a prominent professor (former Catholic) in a mainline Protestant seminary who had become an early friend of our FB page, and who had once rebutted Dr. David Instone-Brewer’s erroneous and liberal book from 2001. Dr. G allowed me to post marriage indissolubility comments on his wall, which is a gathering-place for Christian leaders and students, but he became uncomfortable and PM’d me one evening when I posted evidence that it’s a heaven-or-hell issue, just as remaining in a sodomous relationship is for gays who claim to be believers.
Dr. G: ” [SIFC}, I think you are beginning to dominate the discussion on my divorce post overly much. I think people understand your point. Some of it is helpful but careful for overkill.”
SIFC: “Good evening, Dr. G. Sorry I’ve offended. I’m in the middle of finishing a blog, so will give it a rest, and I do appreciate the touch-base. I do have a question, if it’s something you’ve addressed before. In your mind, is there any difference between “not inheriting the kingdom of God” and going to hell? This is a serious question and would love to have your input some time. Thanks.”
Dr. G: “Not inheriting the kingdom of God means exclusion from eternal life.”
SIFC: “So I guess your response would be “no difference”?”
Bottom line, he readily admitted that they mean the same thing, and has continued to allow me to post the same kinds of comments ever since. (The other possibility might have been for him to cite “loss of rewards”, as some of the Calvinists do with regard to the born-again who disobey the Lord in this area, but he didn’t do so.)
By that late evening incident in 2015, I knew that it wasn’t wrong to link 1 Cor.6:9-10 with Luke 16:18, since after all, Jesus Himself did so in verses 19-31 of Luke 16. Notice He also does so in Matthew 5:27-32, keeping in mind that when those words came out of His mouth, there was no bible committee to sanitize it by adding “helpful headings” and “suggested divisions”. (Dr. G still claims there is adultery and “adultery-lite” depending on whether or not there’s man’s paper involved, but this learned seminarian has never been able to point to any scripture that supports this, except for the (irrelevant) story of the woman shacking up with a non-husband, to whom John’s account doesn’t tell us Jesus told her she had to “come out of” – but neither does John’s account tell us that He told her to hie herself off to the rabbi and “marry” the dude, post-haste.)
Dr. G is similar to John Piper and Voddie Baucham, good men who all agree that “remarriage” is adultery before it actually happens, but who all object, without scriptural basis, to the idea that repenting of this ongoing sin is done the same way as repenting of any other ongoing state of sin.
The third thing that happened is that I was exposed to all of the writings of the early church leaders, from the Apostles – people who had been in the house with Jesus after His confrontation with the Pharisees about remarriage being adultery, where He spoke of becoming a “eunuch” for the sake of inheriting the kingdom of God – to the ones that lived some 300 or 400 years later. They were unanimous about it as well. Even if some of them did consider man’s “divorce” real in terms of a separation, they all knew it didn’t dissolve anything until somebody died, so they all unanimously forbid remarriage while an estranged spouse was still alive.
One of them, Ignatius, who was the bishop of Antioch (died when executed by the Romans in a den of lions) said this around 100 A.D. :
“Do not be in error, my brethren. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If then, those who do this as respects the flesh have suffered death, how much more shall this be the case with anyone who corrupts by wicked doctrine the faith of God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified? Such a one becoming defiled in this way shall go away into everlasting fire, and so shall everyone that harkens unto him.”
This audio link with important church history details is by Rev. Stephen Wilcox – whom I also highly recommend to you as a contact. Stephen runs the Spirit of Hosea Fellowship. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhhGSHJAef4
We have to understand that remarriage adultery doesn’t just break the commandment against adultery. It also breaks the 1st commandment against idolatry (finding God-substitutes / self-worship), and the 8th, 9th and 10th commandments (stealing, bearing false witness, and coveting that which belongs to another).
If we die in the ongoing sin of remarriage adultery we die in all of those other sins as well, and we know from Rev. 21:8 that unrepentant liars and covetous idolators are cast into the lake of fire. Ditto for living in an ongoing state of unforgiveness which Jesus repeatedly stated will send people to hell if they die in that state (see Matt. 18:23-35). Adulterous remarriage constitutes permanent unforgiveness, taking our own revenge, as well as idolatry, covetousness, theft and sexual immorality.
If we stand for our covenant marriage, our motivation has to be right — we have to dread the idea of our God-joined one-flesh being cast into the lake of fire so much that we are determined to go the distance in what will seem like endless deprivation. We have to dread the idea that our children and grandchildren are likely to emulate our example of something that could send them to hell, unless they have the chance to observe us drawing a durable moral line in the sand. Above all, we can’t presume to give the Ruler of All Heaven and Earth a selfish time limit before we go and jeopardize yet another person’s soul by purporting to “marry” them when we are already joined for life in holy matrimony by GOD.
There’s much I can say about the appearance that your wife is “blessed” while “married” to somebody Jesus repeatedly called an adulterer. To gain some perspective, I suggest you read all of Luke, chapter 16, and think deeply about everything Jesus was saying in that rich chapter and how it all ties together. The part about unrighteous mammon (following the world system), about John the Baptist who was beheaded for warning a pair of remarriage adulterers to repent or face hell and what Jesus thought about that, and finally the story of the rich man and Lazarus, thinking about how that relates to your exclusive one-flesh and the counterfeit she is “married” to.
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. – Matthew 5:44-45
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. – Galatians 6:7-8
( SIFC: When we sow peas, we don’t reap corn. We usually reap much later than we sow, and normally, we reap much more than we sow. When the covenant wife “divorces” her husband, she takes herself out of the God-ordained covering-and-authority structure that includes her God-joined husband with God over him, which is also planting a “seed”, of sorts. That act [unrepented], too, is a “work” that is demonstrating her “faith”, is it not? God’s mercy toward her may be because she was never taught any better, but we cannot say.)
And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” – Luke 16:12-15
In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. – Luke 16:23-25
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14
Truly, I say to you, “they have their reward in full.” – Matthew 6: 2, 5, and 16
Finally, Page Fan, do remember that God joins and honors valid mixed and pagan marriages as indissoluble, equally as He does “Christian” marriages. However, if anyone in this scenario is unsaved, not born again, remarriage adultery won’t be the primary reason they wind up in hell. Nobody can afford to put the cart before the horse. I hope you will recognize these women in your life, and all the children, as souls first who need Jesus more than anything else.
Blessings, Page Fan, and I hope this helps.
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