Eddie Whitten


Jesus said, “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery (Matthew 19:9). Divorce, not involving fornication as its cause, is causing considerable consternation.  The contention is that a man, say, divorces his wife, not for fornication in civil court.  Neither of them is eligible at this point to be remarried. Later, the man marries and cohabits with another woman.  This new doctrine says; this adultery frees the wife to be remarried.  The argument is that God’s law cannot be overturned by civil law.  The civil law has granted a divorce which God does not approve therefore it is not relevant to the situation if the husband later commits adultery.  The theory is that the civil divorce has no bearing on the case at all.

Let us consider some of the ramifications of such a belief.  Civil law is approved of God (Romans 13).  It is true that civil law cannot override God’s law in any case.  God’s law prohibits murder (and all other crimes).  However, men violate God’s law, and those who are guilty will pay for their crimes in the end unless they repent.  God has stipulated that men cannot divorce except for one reason, fornication.  Men divorce for other reasons.  In doing so, they have violated God’s law, and if either of the parties remarry; they commit adultery and will pay for their crime unless they repent.  God’s law has not been overridden by civil law.

The argument is made that, after a divorce not for fornication, when husband or wife commits adultery the other is free to be remarried.  That, brethren, is what is called “The Waiting Game.”  How can it be otherwise?  “Just wait until Joe marries Sue, thus committing adultery; then Mary is free to be remarried!”  Please consider: Jesus said the man in this situation commits adultery:  AND whosoever marries her who is put away commits adultery.”  If, as it is said, the man’s remarriage frees the wife (makes her eligible) to be remarried, it would be impossible for the one marrying her to be guilty of adultery, too!  The argument is also made that motive is involved, i.e., if the wife pleaded with her husband not to divorce her (not for fornication) that when he remarries, thus committing adultery, she is free to be remarried.  First, that cannot be found in Scripture.  Second, what if (and that is what is also said, “what if’) the offended wife, cannot wait for her husband to commit adultery, and SHE commits adultery, that would also, by that definition, free the husband to be remarried who had no intention of continuing the marriage! (This new system is also known as “mental divorce.”)

Fornication must be the cause of the divorce for the innocent party to be eligible for remarriage.  Any marriage arising from subsequent adultery cannot be anything other than a waiting game!  God condemns such an arrangement.