It is popular for those who reject the NT prohibition of remarriage to claim that ‘divorce or remarriage are not unforgivable sins’. So even if it is wrong, a person can ask for forgiveness and God will wipe the slate clean.
They usually point to the woman caught in the act of adultery as an example of God’s forgiveness. First, there is no question that divorce, remarriage and adultery can all be forgiven by God.
Second, forgiveness according to the Bible, is always dependent on repentance. It is this second point that those who say unlawful ‘remarriage is forgivable’ fail to understand. A clear distinction must be made between ‘normal adultery’ (a married man sleeping with a woman other than his wife) and ‘remarriage adultery’ committed by those who remarry. A man who is unfaithful to his wife but who subsequently repents will demonstrate his repentance in two ways:
- He will confess his sins to God and seek forgiveness.
- He will cease the adulterous relationship.
If the unfaithful husband only confesses his sin but refuses to cease the adulterous relationship then he has not repented in any Biblical sense. True repentance requires a turning away from sin, not a continuing in it. However, what does a person who is committing adultery in an unlawful marriage do?
- He will confess his sin to God of entering an unlawful marriage and seek forgiveness.
- But he refuses to cease the adulterous relationship.
This is the reason adultery within remarriage is so dangerous. Christians have been taught that they can repent without having to change. In essence what they are saying is this: “I am sorry God for entering this marriage which you forbid however I refuse to end it – but I still want your forgiveness.” Suppose the person committing ‘normal’ adultery did that: “I am sorry God for committing adultery with my secretary however I refuse to end this unlawful relationship – but I still want your forgiveness.” In both instances the individuals are wilfully continuing in adulterous relationships. The Bible teaches that ‘no adulterer will enter the kingdom of heaven.” NOTE: The above assumes that sexual relations within an unlawful remarriage continue to be adulterous. This point will be argued in detail in another post. But this verse states as much:
Rom 7:3 NKJV 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.