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Is remarriage an ‘abomination’ to God?

The thought that a ‘Christian’ remarriage is abominable to God is very difficult to accept even by some of those who are opposed to remarriage.  But if remarriage really is akin to adultery then using the term ‘abomination’ would be justified.

Luke 16.1-13 is the parable of the wise steward.  It is a meant as a challenge to the Pharisees regarding their covetous attitudes.  It concludes with the statement:

Luk 16:13 NKJV  “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Luke then continues the narrative:

Luk 16:14-15 NKJV  Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.  15  And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

What was Jesus calling ‘an abomination’?  Up until today I had always assumed that Jesus was referring to the love of money.  Certainly it is ‘the root of all evil’ and so is rightly thought of as an abomination.  But Jesus does not say in verse 15 that “the motivation of man” is an abomination.  He says “what is highly esteemed by men” is an abomination.

What was highly esteemed by the Pharisees?  It was money.  Is money an abomination to God?  Certainly not.  There is no intrinsic evil in money as is evidenced by God’s giving of substantial wealth to many of his OT servants.

This raises the question then: if money, which is highly esteemed by men, is not in itself an abomination, what else could Jesus be referring to?

The answer is, I think, given in the following three verses.  Jesus continues what seems to be the same thought in verses 16 and 17 by drawing our attention to the Law and the Prophets.  But there was certainly no OT law stating that owning (or even pursuing) great wealth was an abomination.  This further confirms the notion that the ‘abomination’ is not a reference to money.  Indeed wealth was promised to Israel as a blessing of God (De 8.18).

Jesus continues with verse 18:

Luk 16:18 NKJV  “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.

Now it is quite reasonable that a remarried man would ‘highly esteem’ his second marriage.  He loves his wife who was married to him by a priest in a formal and beautiful ceremony in apparent accord with God’s laws.  This is the case today.  The unlawful remarriages of Christians are “highly esteemed” by minister and parishioner alike.

But Jesus sees it very differently.  He says that such a marriage is not to be highly esteemed but is in fact a cover for ‘adultery’.  And if it is adultery, then certainly this would be an abomination to God.

So it seems to me that the ‘abomination’ of verse 15 is more likely referring to remarriage.  Remarriages are often highly esteemed by men and women alike.  Yet according to Jesus they are simply adultery which is abominable in God’s eyes.

If this understanding of the passage is true, then it helps us further understand how we should respond to the present situation of remarriage.  God sees them as an abomination even though the church, generally speaking, esteems them highly.  Yet, if they truly are an abomination, then there is only one course of action that can be recommended – separation.

Mal 2:16-17 NKJV  “For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.”  17  You have wearied the LORD with your words; “Yet you say, “In what way have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil Is good in the sight of the LORD, And He delights in them,” Or, “Where is the God of justice?”


  1. katie

    Perfect! So when Jesus said it was an abomination to return to the former husband He didn’t really mean it? And when Jesus came to testify (give testimony as a witness) to the truth He was actually creating a new set of rules, which means He perjured Himself?

    • agrogers

      A very belated reply to this Katie. The law regarding returning to your original spouse in De 24 was, as far as I can tell, a temporary law. Jesus did seem to undo it when He said in reference to divorce that ‘from the beginning it was not so’. He then goes on to relate His view which was so extreme that the disciples responded by saying that ‘It is better not to marry!’.

      And I don’t really see it as a new set of rules. I see it as returning to the original rules. Jesus did it for murder (ie don’t hate). He did it for adultery (ie don’t lust). And He does it for remarriage.

      Some think that this is way too restrictive, but I don’t. So I am forbidden to remarry. But I still have the eternal bridegroom, the King of King’s and the joy of man’s desire living in me. Surely that’s enough…

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