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Divorce, Remarriage and the Law of Love

• Greg Boyd

Jesus teaches that “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” What this meant in the first century helps us understand what it means for us today.

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Today’s sermon unfolded through the development of 5 points which are important background for arriving at the conclusion. The conclusion is the primary understanding of how to read Luke 16:18 in today’s world where roughly half of all marriages end in divorce.

Greg started out with three texts:

Luke 16:16-17
“The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and the people are forcing their way into it [or being urged into it]. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of the pen to drop out of the law.”
Here we see that the law will not be undermined. So, whatever the new law is, it must fulfill, not negate the old law.

Romans 13:10
“…love is the fulfillment of the Law.”
Here we see that the new law is love, and that it fulfills the old Law.

Luke 16:18
“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

This is the difficult text that we’ll be exploring today. Consider the development of the following bits of background information:

  1. God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). Divorce is always a breaking of a covenant, or recognition that the covenant has been broken already. It always pains God to see us suffer in broken relationships.
  2. Sex creates a “one flesh” reality that is never supposed to be broken (Matt. 19:5-6; I Cor. 6:16). The act of intercourse is intended to be the consummation of the marriage covenant. This is intended to be between two and only two people.

Conclusions:

  • Because God is loving and gracious, he accommodates the ideals to our fallen situation. God truly honors and blesses remarriages.
  • People who are now single because of divorce are not shut out from the possibility of remarriage. God may call you to be single—a preferable calling—but you are not fated to be single.
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Topics: Controversial Issues, Covenant, Divorce


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 16:16-18

    “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and people are forcing their way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.

    “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

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11 thoughts on “Divorce, Remarriage and the Law of Love

    Nancy Brown says: Saturday January 15, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Best teaching on divorce I’ve found anywhere.

    Reply
    Peg Forester says: Wednesday January 19, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Blessings,

    God has Blessed me by leading me to your Church’s Website and to the particular above Sermon on Divorce, Remarriages, and The Law of Love due to the following:

    I came across your Church’s Website as I was looking for other Christians online in hopes to find others I could ‘Interact’ with via the Internet, due to the fact that I am disabled which sometimes limits me to going to ‘Church, Fellowships, etc., and also due to the fact I have been struggling with lonelyness, shame, guilt, and more..since I recently became Divorce after a 25 year marriage. I have been a Christian for over 12 years, and through seeking a personal relationship with Our Lord, I have came to learn more and more each and every day, when it comes to God’s Word, Will, Love, Compassion, Forgiveness and all the Wonderful Gifts He gives to His children. But,….When it came to the time where my marriage was Dissolved, I felt that I had lost all of His Wonderful Gifts, through the ’emotions’ I listed above, because I ‘believed’ ( and have been told by other ‘Christians’ )…that I had done the ‘Unforgivable’, by becoming Divorce with knowing that ‘God Hates Divorce’, Yet at the same time, I knew that I still had the strong desire to have a personal relationship with Him, but I became to ‘Think/Believe’ that I was no longer ‘worthy’ of continuing my walk with Him , which left me feeling very empty and lost. THEN…. God Blessed me by leading me to your Church’s Website and to the above Sermon on Divorce, Remarriages, and The Law of Love!

    I want to Thank You for sharing this message, for it has given me New Hope, to continue to seek God’s Will through His Word and continuing to seek Him FIRST in all things.

    God Bless You

    Peg Forester ( Wisconsin )

    Reply
    Melanie says: Friday June 10, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Awesome message! Hoping you come back to The Meeting House in Canada really soon!!!

    Reply
    trevor says: Thursday March 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    i read and listen to greg b, primarily because he rejects the traditions of men, refuses to be hemmed in by the ‘historic doctrines of the church’, and looses God from the boxed-in status we relegated him to.
    as always, check him to Scripture..
    but know this too: he speaks to honour God and present the God of Love to the world
    thank you Lord
    God bless Greg B

    Reply
    corinth says: Friday March 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    The law of love lookout for others

    Reply
    corinth says: Friday March 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    I wish someone would look at the shadow of the massage law as it pertains to law vs faith

    Reply
    Felix says: Monday June 15, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Hallo,
    what kind of teaching,heresy is this.You say,the man causes the woman to commit adultery.he is guilty,she is innocent.have you not read that all adulterers will enter into the lake of fire and burn foreever.did it say excluding women.were did you read that divorced have the right to remarry when their first spouse is still alive.

    why do you say i think,is it what you think that is what matters or what the bible says? what do you mean by,MAKE THE BEST YOU CAN OUT OF 2ND OR 3RD MARRIAGE?

    are you sendung more people to hell.are you afraid of telling your congregation the truth and afraid of loosing members.

    for your information,there is no exception clause. it is marriage for life. if you divorce,then remain single.if your first spouse dies,you can remarry. what is so difficult to unterstand here.do you want to risk going to hell yourself.

    the Problem is not the difficulty with the scripture,but rather with your flesh,selfishness and greed. have your congregation ever ask God to help and sustain them as singles. is it too hard for him?if all adulterous marriages are acceptible,then please kindly point out those adulterers that are going to hell,where are they and do they even exixt according to your doctrine.

    be very careful. dont be too sure of yourself,and make the word of God of no effect. rather than helping people you are looking for ways to please them.

    finally,the word repent means to turn away from that wicked sin,leave that adulterous relationship and remain as you are.

    Reply
    Ginger says: Saturday August 15, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Thank you!

    Reply
    LB says: Tuesday March 22, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Anyone who says a “second marriage” is NOT ADULTERY is calling God a liar!

    Jesus said: “My sheep hear My voice.” John 10:27

    This is what His voice said:

    “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” –Jesus Christ

    ADULTERY: Having sex with someone who is NOT your spouse.

    Jesus said: Anyone who marries a divorced person is having sex with someone who is NOT their spouse.

    “Thou shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

    “The man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys his own soul.” Proverbs 6:32

    “Adulterers…will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9

    “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Hebrews 13:4

    “A husband must not divorce his wife.” 1 Corinthians 7:11

    “The Lord God All-Powerful of Israel hates anyone who is cruel enough to divorce his wife.” Malachi 2:16

    “The Lord was witness to the covenant made at your marriage.” Malachi 2:14

    “For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.” Romans 14:10

    “A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives.” 1 Corinthians 7:39

    The bond of marriage ends with death. Romans 7:2-3

    Jesus calls remarriage after a divorce ADULTERY because…DEATH frees you–NOT divorce!

    “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:39

    “For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.” Romans 7:2-3

    Divorce does NOT make you single again.

    When a state court gives you final divorce papers that say:

    THEY DISSLOVED YOUR MARRIAGE

    Don’t believe it…God says something different.

    Jesus said, if you touch another person (remarry) AFTER you get those final divorce papers you are committing adultery.

    My husband divorced me.

    I believe what God says.

    “A wife is married to her husband as long as he lives.” 1 Corinthians 7:39

    Signed,

    A Divorced Woman (The man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery)

    TRUE LOVE WARNS!

    Must Hear Sermon–Divorce in the Church:

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1090612628

    Reply
    Slayer says: Monday June 13, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    This was a refreshing and reviving study. It worked a great miracle of healing in my heart. I am divorced and I lived in brutal pain as I thought I was doomed to remain single for the rest of my life even though I greatly desired to remarry and serve God along side a godly woman. Thanks!

    I remember first feeling doomed when I listened to a guy named Mike Gorrie who told an interviewer he was going to hell for having remarried… I fell for his lies and it caused me years of torment. Thank God for real PhD’s like Dr. Boyd. (here is the vid that tore me to shreds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URA04_UQITo)

    Reply
    Daniel says: Wednesday June 20, 2018 at 11:33 am

    If u look in the greek there are two different words for “divorce” and “sent away”. Is it possible that Jesus was saying that whoever sends a woman away without giving her a cert. of divorce is commiting adultery?

    Reply

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