IS REMARRIAGE ADULTERY? Marriage Idolatry & Theological Narcissistic Abuse Part 1 (1 Cor 7:27-28)


Hello and welcome to another one of my
Nagging Thoughts. This week I’m going to address the topic, “Is Remarriage Adultery?”
But before I dive into that, I want to take a brief moment to ask you to please
like, subscribe, share and above all, please do comment. I think it is
extremely edifying for us to be able to hear the types of arguments that we are
making in order to justify our theological conclusions. That being said,
let’s dive right in. I’m actually going to break this topic up. I’m going to
begin by making a positive case that remarriage, in fact, is not adultery in
this video. I will begin to deconstruct the arguments that one flesh “remarriage is
adultery” theological subscribers argue beginning in the next episode. So I will
address verses like Matthew chapter 5 verse 32 and Matthew chapter 19 verse 8
in detail to expose what this tradition imposes and denies in Scripture in order
to get to their theological conclusions. I will provide links to any of the Greek
that I reference so that you never have to take my word for anything which 1
John, chapter 4, verse 1 commands believers to do with what anyone says
about the Word of God. We are never to take it on anyone’s authority, but we
have a moral obligation to test it against the Scriptures for ourselves. So
I invite that and I am open to correction if you can argue from the
Scriptures to show me where I am wrong. That being said, let’s dive in. 1st
Corinthians, chapter 7, verses 27 and 28 in the New English Translation says this,
“the one bound to a wife should not seek a divorce. The one released from a wife
should not seek marriage. But IF YOU MARRY, YOU HAVE NOT SINNED and if a
virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face difficult
circumstances and I am trying to spare you such problems.” Now verse 28 clearly
says that if you marry, YOU HAVE NOT SINNED and not
only are there no qualifiers to restrict this concept to a first marriage, the
very next part of this very same verse specifically addresses the case of those
considering a first marriage to make an explicit distinction between these two
groups that are being addressed in these verses. Therefore, those who do not sin by
getting married are all those who have been released from marriage AND those
who have never been married (which is why they are categorically referred to as
virgins). Now verse 27 identifies the first group as those being released from
marriage. This is the Greek word luó, also the word lusis which I’ll get into
in a minute. But this means unbound or released. It is not the Greek word chéra
that means widow. So the vocabulary choice here intentionally did not
restrict those who have been released from marriage to widows even though
doing so would have been a very nice literary parallel to the use of the term
virgin in this passage. Luó was used explicitly to include all those who have
been released from marriage which includes both widows and divorce people.
A quick glance at an interlinear Bible that shows the original Greek with
English parallels (which I will put a link to in the description), you’re gonna
see that the Greek for verse 27 here is structured more like this, “Have you been
bound to a wife? Seek not to be LOOSED. Have you been LOOSED from a wife? Seek
not a wife.” Now the first Greek word rendered as
loosed in the interlinear is the word lusis that means released or loosening.
But the root of this word is luó which is the Greek word that is behind the
second English appearance of the word loosed in this passage.
Now while both lusis and luó carry the connotation of dissolution, luó appears
to have a more forceful range of connotations including
breaking or destroying. In fact, luó is the very same word that Jesus used in
John, chapter 2, verse 19 when He said DESTROY this temple and in three days I
will raise it up again. Luó is also the same word that is used in Revelation,
chapter 5, verse 2 that’s rendered in English to say who is worthy to open the
scroll and BREAK its seals? Given all that, it should be crystal clear that the
group that is being referred to as having been released from marriage who
does not sin if they marry in 1st Corinthians, chapter 7, verses 27 and 28
are people that were previously married and their marriage has been broken
destroyed so that they are released or let loose from the binding aspect of it.
As I said, I will deal with the one flesher’s verses including the one that
that says “what God has joined together, let no man separate.” I will deal with
that, but right now I’m making a positive case that remarriage is not adultery.
So let’s press on. The principle that those released from marriage do not sin
if they marry is also corroborated by the testimony of Jesus in Matthew,
chapter 19, verse 11 when He addressed the concept of lifelong celibacy that
turns people into functional eunuchs. And this is what Jesus said there, “Not
everyone can accept this statement except those to whom it has been given.”
This idea that lifelong celibacy is something that not everyone has even
been given a capacity from their Creator to practice is echoed in 1st Corinthians
chapter 7 verse 7. I’ll let you look that up. But if you need stronger words that
remarriage after a legal divorce is not adultery, take a look at 1 Timothy,
chapter 4, verses 1 through 5 that contain warnings against false teachers.
Verse 3 specifically says that they will prohibit marriage, verse 1 identifies
such things as the teachings of demons and verse 2 says that these false
teachers have fallen for such teachings because their consciences have been
seared by hypocrisy. So it should be clear from this passage that Bible
believing Christians should flee teachings that prohibit marriage as the
teachings of demons. Now, before I develop this idea from
1 Timothy, chapter 4, verses 1 through 5 any further, I want to point out that
just because a person is a hypocrite, that does not mean that they are
automatically a false teacher. For example, in the lyrics of an old-school
Beastie Boys song, the lyrics say this, “Your pop caught you smoking and he said
no way! That hypocrite smokes two packs a day.” We know that smoking kills. So this
illustrates the point that just because a person recognizes that something is
wrong to the point that they are motivated to tell others not to do it,
that does not mean that knowledge of that truth will guard a sinner from
being a slave to that very same sin. So the morality of something being preached
is not contingent on whether or not it is being practiced by the one preaching
it. In other words, not all hypocrites are false teachers. However 1 Timothy,
chapter 4, verses one through five says that all false teachers are
hypocrites because they have seared their consciences. Now because of that
hypocrisy, it is something to look for when examining truth claims
particularly about God’s word. When I engage in discussion with the “remarriage
is adultery” folks online, I have found this 1 Timothy, chapter 4, verses
one through five principle to be especially true. Marriage legalism
advocates are most often hypocrites who bar others from remarriage even though
they personally have already been remarried. This is the the most common
group that I encounter when I deal with folks from this theological camp. They
preach a life of asceticism which is essentially a
works-righteousness through suffering ideology or what I would term as a
marriage legalism that is packaged as a one flesh law of grace (even though their
lives have already proven that it is simply too heavy of a burden for even
them to carry). Now in so doing, they have verifiably seared their consciences
from being able to acknowledge that they have turned grace into law just as the
Galatians did and were admonished for in Galatians, chapter 3. So I urge all my one
flesh a “remarriage is adultery” friends to please reread Galatians, chapter three
and search your hearts to see if it applies to your marriage theology. Now a
less common type of marriage legalism hypocrite that I have encountered online
are those who have not remarried, but are not divorced because of their own choice
but because his or her first spouse divorced him or her because of their own
hardheartedness. So their own hardheartedness was made
plain through egregious acts such as serial adultery and/or abuse that in
some cases even involves substantial physical abuse (which is often the only
kind of abuse taken seriously by self-deceived
marriage idolaters). But rather than voluntarily confessing and repenting of
their sins to be made new a new creature in Christ who is free to remarry again
(provided that the new marriage is received with thanksgiving and
sanctified by God’s word and prayer as the scripture says), they generally do one
of two other things. First this variety of abusive one fleshers minimize or even
deny their own hardheartedness that either caused their first marriage to
end in divorce or be set on a course for divorce so that they can shift blame to
the other spouse who wants to escape their abuse. Alternatively once caught,
(which is a completely different dynamic having your conscience pricked to where
you voluntarily confess) but the folks that are caught in hardhearted behavior,
now these abusive one fleshers typically expect to circumvent a
Galatians, chapter 6, verse 7 reaping of what they have sowed in marriage simply
by offering a full confession in order to get other one flesher’s
support for them to either avoid divorce or be entitled to a reconciliation. Now
because avoiding consequences and shame is the motive, even a full confession is
not accompanied by full repentance. But in both cases, either in a partial
confession that denies the hardheartedness
or in a full confession that admits it, that both are absent of repentance, these
marriage idolaters are grasping at a supposed theoretical moral right to a
lifelong possession of the spouses that are escaping or have already escaped the
grip of their hardheartedness. This desire of both varieties of this
theological subgroup are desiring redemption not in Christ, but in marriage
and not just in marriage, but in the very marriage that rejected them because of
their hardheartedness. That is evidence that such a person has not had any
genuine change of heart whatsoever. Leslie Vernick says it well when she
says that abuse is not a marriage problem, it is a personal problem. So for
anyone who is currently married to or is considering reconciliation with an
abusive spouse who has had a pattern of hardheartedness, please be warned that
repentance of a pattern of abuse is not something that should ever be taken at
the mere word of an abuser. Remember 1 John, chapter 4, verse 2
tells us that hypocrites sear their own conscience with lies. Repentance is not
confession or words, it’s an action that can be observed. 2 Corinthians,
chapter 5, verse 17 testifies that Christ that (excuse me) that in Christ, we are
made new and the old has passed away and Matthew, chapter 7, verses 20 through 21
further articulates this by saying that we will know genuine believers by their
fruit. So please meditate on that and remember that fruit is never something
that is taken on faith. It also is not produced from a branch from the same
tree of abuse. Nonetheless, it still takes a long time to develop past bitterness
into sweetness to where it is actually ready to be tasted.
Therefore if someone such as a supposed Christian abuser or batterer has
genuinely changed, he or she should not be seeking to redeem him or herself
either through marriage or in the exercise of moral authority that exalts
him or her over others as some kind of marital martyr (which is precisely what
this one flesh doctrine does. If you don’t get reconciled, you live the rest
of your life as a sexual martyr for Christ independent of your…Gods gifting
towards people to grant them the capacity to live in such a manner). That
type of thinking is a branch off the old tree. A radically changed abuser should
be seeking Romans, chapter 12, verse 2 individual counseling that transforms
and renews the way that he or she thinks to such a degree that he or she
delights in quietly offering generous Numbers, chapter 5, verses 6 & 7
amends for his or her wrongdoing without expecting anything in return.
That would be planting a new tree that produces fruit with viable seeds to reap
an exponentially larger harvest of fruit than just one tree is even capable
of producing. So to be clear, a changed person who is authentically renewed does
not expect reconciliation or any validation, honor or exaltation from
anyone because of their supposed transformation. A genuinely repentant
person will be able to sustain verifiable fruits of repentance for many
seasons to such a degree that he or she should be delighted to be married to
helping others who have…or who are still hardhearted in order to help them be
delivered and recover from the exact same evils that once dominated their own
thoughts and behavior. Now on the flip side, addressing the hardhearted, one of
the most disturbing aspects of a seared conscience I’ve encountered in talking
with one fleshers is how they distort God’s grace into an entitlement program
for the hardhearted. Grace ceases to be grace if anyone thinks that they are
entitled to even a shred of it. A self-serving refusal to acknowledge the
nature of grace is something that burns a conscience into such thick scar tissue
that all sensitivity to The Truth can be lost. Now to be clear, when I say The
Truth, I am referring to Jesus from John, chapter 14, verse 6 and not any specific
details in anyone’s particular marriage. A grace entitlement mindset subjects
self-serving hypocrites to a convenient partial works based economy before God
by converting a partial or a full confession into an actual work that
earns or deserves grace. Now Isaiah, chapter 64, verse 6 makes it clear that
when we tried to present our righteous acts before God, we appear to be dressed
in used menstrual cloths before our perfect and holy God. There is no life in
menstrual blood that has been soaked up by something disposable outside of the
body. It is human waste and it is therefore repulsive. Likewise there is
no spiritual life in the blood of Christ that has been soaked up by our
disposable righteous acts outside of God’s grace. This turns the atoning blood
of Christ into an utterly offensive and repulsive waste on humanity. So let’s be
careful to acknowledge that while Matthew, chapter 18, verses 23 through 25
commands all of us to sincerely forgive each other from the
heart, we cannot conflate forgiveness with
grace. To reiterate, if grace can be expected or morally demanded (especially
for one flesh adherents but not for legally divorced folks who remarry) then
we trample the blood of Christ underfoot in favor of works of the law even if the
article of that law that you think you’re an expert in is something that
you call the law of grace. So let’s get into the eisegesis that this theological
camp commits on the word of God and what they’re actually denying that is clearly
articulated in the original text in the Greek starting next week. I look forward
very much to getting into that with you next week and I welcome your challenges,
your comments and your questions. In the meantime, have a great week and God
bless!

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Comments

  1. 1 Corinthians 7:1-7 is explicitly speaking of those who have never married and widows, not the divorced, as summarized by verses 8-9, which says, "8I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." This is also proven by Paul as he begins to address the married starting with verse 10, and continuing through verse 16. Paul does not address those who are married, or divorced anymore in this chapter after verse 16.

  2. I Timothy 4 – That's a new one for this issue. Oh, ok, it is concerning the deceiving spirits, doctrines of demons, and forbidding to marry. Jesus reassured us that marriage is God's heart for us in Matt 19:4-5. But that didn't stop Him from stating there are marriages that are acts of disobedience in Matt 19:9. Just an additional thought, though. I Timothy 5 goes into the honor given to widows, and that they shouldn't be "taken into the number" unless they were married to one man.

  3. It's not narcissism to obey God. just because you want to take an easy path and send people to hell doesn't mean the rest of us will go. This is just another example of easy believism and easy Grace that's come into the church in the last days.

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