Surviving a Christian divorce is painful and difficult — but what about getting remarried? What does Jesus say about divorced Christians remarrying? Imagine asking Jesus Christ, “Can I as a divorced Christian get remarried?”
I take that back. Don’t imagine asking Jesus if divorced Christians are free to remarry. Instead, clear 30 minutes from your schedule, and sit down with Jesus. Take a deep breath. Take out your Bible, find the passages that speak to divorce and God’s law (you won’t find anything related to “Christians, divorce, and remarriage” because Christians didn’t exist when Jesus, Paul, and Moses talked about divorce).
Before you read my reasons divorced Christians are free to remarry, talk to Jesus. Invite the Holy Spirit to fill your heart, mind, soul and spirit. Ask for counsel, wisdom and insight. Thank our Holy Father for His presence, love, faith, and grace. What a privilege and a blessing, to be able to come to Him with every big and little question we have!
Ask Jesus your questions about divorced Christians and remarriage. Tell Him your story, your reasons for believing God is opposed to divorce and remarriage. Tell Jesus that you’re confused, anxious, maybe even angry, lonely, or depressed. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and clarity. Lean into God the Father, into His love and mercy.
If you’re not used to talking to Jesus about things like divorce and remarriage, read How Do I Communicate With the Holy Spirit? This is the perfect time to practice talking to God, listening for the Holy Spirit’s nudges and whispers, and hearing directly from Jesus.
3 Reasons Divorced Christians Are Free to Remarry
A reader’s question inspired me to write this article. She didn’t ask it on my article Strength and Encouragement for Christians Dealing With Divorce because she’s been divorced for a long time. I suspect she’s been lonely for even longer.
“I’ve been divorced for 25 years, and am recently retired,” she says on my About Laurie page. “My life is blessed in so many ways, but I do get lonely. You are a believer in Jesus, and I would like to know how you feel about people getting married again, even though the Scriptures are against it. I know of the three reasons the Bible allows for divorce. Adultery, when a nonbeliever leaves the marriage of a believer, and the death of a spouse. So many people need a companion to endure the hardships of life, but Jesus doesn’t give any mercy for remarriage in other situations. Please give me your feedback.”
1. The Bible was written to specific people in a specific time
Two thousand years ago, Jesus — and Paul, later in the New Testament — was talking to the Pharisees about Moses’ Jewish laws for divorce. Moses lived more than four thousand years ago in a place and culture that is very, very different than ours today. Moses also told the Jews not to eat non-kosher maggots, wear clothes of cotton and linen woven together, or borrow money with interest. Moses also said a priest was not to marry a divorced woman.
When you’re applying the Bible to your life, make sure you understand the context of the words. Jesus was not talking to Christians about divorce and remarriage. He was speaking to specific people. at a specific time, in a specific place. The Bible is not a rulebook for daily life today — it’s so much more! Scripture is the living words of God, the history of His love for His chosen people, and the story of Jesus Christ’s love, faithfulness and mystery.
2. Not every word in the Bible applies to you and your life
There is a huge difference between interpreting Jesus’ words about divorce and applying Jesus’ words about divorce to your plans for remarriage. Interpreting the Bible means studying it in its historical and cultural context, understanding the background and setting, glimpsing the personalities, people, and situation. Applying the Bible to your life means discerning whether Jesus’ words are meant for you today. He said a lot of things to a lot of different people; not every words applies to you or your life today.
On a related note, it’s important to understand why Jesus and Moses spoke against divorce. Divorce is heartbreaking, painful, and against God’s plan for His chosen people. Jesus doesn’t want His followers to get divorced because it’s a broken covenant. Divorce is a sign of disruption, disconnection, and destruction. Leaving a Christian marriage is never easy no matter what the circumstances…but sometimes divorce is the only option. Getting divorced — even from a Christian husband or wife — is sometimes the only way to stop sin, injustice, abuse, and unholy matrimony.
3. Remarriage is a new covenant, a sign of life, love and joy!
I have a hard time believing Jesus would frown upon a new covenant of love. On the contrary, I believe Jesus would see joy, hope, promise, love and unity in a remarriage! Divorced Christians or not — regardless of how, why, who, what, when or where the divorce happened — I believe Jesus would turn water into wine at a remarriage.
Speaking of turning water into wine…what if the marriage that Jesus and His mother Mary attended was actually a remarriage? Imagine Jesus turning jugs of water into wine for a divorced couple who were remarrying. How scandalous, inconceivable, outrageous! Because Jesus would never do anything even remotely scandalous, like talking to women alone at wells or breaking bread with tax collecting Pharisees or healing on the Sabbath.
Jesus, What Do You Say About Christians, Divorce, and Remarriage?
I don’t know if divorced Christians are “allowed” to remarry, or if God really does want them to be single for the rest of their earthly lives. But I do know that God talks to us, that He wants us to be happy and healthy, and that He is the Creator of new covenants! Listen for the echoes of Jesus in your own life. Why do you believe what you do about Christian divorce and remarriage? When was the last time you read what the Bible says about divorce and remarriage in context? What do Biblical interpreters and commentators say about those words in Scripture? Do the work! Don’t just blindly, immediately believe what anyone says. Get into the Bible, research the background of the passage, and listen to what God is telling you.
Sit down with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. “Jesus, what do you say about divorced Christians getting remarried?” is a good place to start. Then, get more specific and personal. “Jesus, I’m lonely. I’m divorced. I’m a Christian. I want to serve and obey You. What are You telling me about getting remarried? Who are you bringing into my life, where are You leading me?”
Talk to Jesus. Listen for the echoes of the Holy Spirit in your heart, mind, soul and spirit. Lean into God’s presence. Give Him time and space to respond. Maybe you’ll be surprised by His love, joy, peace, freedom! Also, talk to a wise, mature Christian about the Bible, divorce, and remarriage. While you’re talking, listen for the Holy Spirit’s nudges and promptings. What is the Spirit telling you? Listen.
What have I missed? What do you think, believe, agree or disagree with? Your comments — big or little! — are welcome below.
With echoes of Jesus,
P.S. If you feel discouraged and lonely, read 3 Ways to Stay Hopeful When You’re Starting Over.