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In multiple passages in the Bible, God used imagery of Himself as a faithful husband to the nation of Israel, and of the people of Israel as an adulterous wife, to portray the way in which the Israelites, despite God's repeated examples of love and care for them, forsook God and actively worshiped and served the gods and idols of other nations, which even involved such abhorrent practices as child sacrifice. This emphasizes how seriously God regards such sin, and the pain that it inflicts. God created the institution of marriage to last as long as both parties live, and granted a provision for divorce in the Law given to Israel through Moses only as a concession to the hardness and sinfulness of the human heart (Matthew 19:3-12). At the same time, the Bible reminds us that we all deserve nothing but eternal separation from God because of our sin, and we are therefore not to try to make examples of those guilty (or thought to be guilty) even of grievous sin (as illustrated by Joseph in Matthew 1:19, and by Jesus in John 8:2-11), or to exact personal revenge upon them (Romans 12:19), but to leave their judgment to God, and to God's appointed authorities (Romans 13:1). I can feel and deeply sympathize with the pain that the woman's first husband must have experienced (and still be experiencing) under the conditions described. However, without excusing the behavior of the wife in any way, I would also advise the first husband not to be consumed by bitterness and anger, or to allow those emotions to drive him away from God, but to use this experience to day by day bring himself closer to God, and both to rely on Him for comfort and healing (Matthew 5:4), and (as difficult or even impossible as it may seem to be at any given time) to look for ways in which God may use even the consequences of such a tragic event for his eventual good (Romans 8:28).
I think our natural inclination is to rush in here and condemn this woman for her ungodly behaviour. But this was a situation that Jesus was confronted with at one time and although he was pressed to condemn this woman, he did not. Instead, as he stood before the baying mob ready with rocks in their hands he said, Let those who are without sin, cast the first stone. It does us all well to remember that none of us are any better than this woman. We have all sinned and gone our own way. And we all depend on the mercy of God. It's not our job to cast stones at others. Regards Philip
My experience is that this woman can have the blessing of Jesus to repent and receive forgiveness for her original adultery and the adultery caused by remarriage. Jesus forgave the woman who committed adultery and was going to be stoned, but then He said "go and sin no more". So if she disobeyed and committed adultery again, her forgiveness would not still be in effect. It is the same as if she had murdered someone that forgiveness and repentance to hate the sin that Jesus died for gives a new, obedient heart that doesn't murder again. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 says that is what you WERE. So an adulteress should get out of this "illegal" remarriage to show love and obedience to Jesus' good commands. God does not approve of a remarriage. So many people are getting a "divorce" from the "illegal" marriage in the eyes of the state to be pure in the eyes of Jesus as Savior and Lord. The woman at the well had been married 5 times and was living with a man not her husband. There are real life stories of this exact scenario where repentance leads to action that gets out to quit the adultery. There are miracles of restoration and answers to prayer of people being healed and their original marriages being healed. This brings great glory to God and joy and fruit of the Spirit that eternal life is received as the adulteress doesn't go to heaven as Revelation 21:8, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Revelation 22:14-15 and many places say. Also it really is loving others that the man who marries the divorced woman is also made an adulterer (Matthew 5:32). I have a friend who married a widower as a divorced woman and almost immediately got convicted by the Holy Spirit that she had made him an adulterer. They were divorced within 6 months but this is not the kind of divorce God hates (Malachi 2) since she was not eligible to be married since her first husband was still alive.(Romans 7:1-3, 1 Corinthians 7:39). As the old poem goes- Repentance is to leave the sins we loved before, and show that we in earnest grieve, by doing so no more. Don't grieve the Holy Spirit by presuming on His grace when He desires true repentance that lives a chaste life unless you can pray and be reconciled to your husband of your youth.
Her unfaithful act constitutes adultery, as you mention. God hates divorce, so sin has been compounded upon sin and hurt upon hurt. This affects all parties and many surrounding the parties, in many ways. The man in the adulterous relationship is committing adultery, as well. The marriage of the two new partners constitutes adultery for both. This type of situation is very sad as so many are hurt and sinful. Paul says that after this new marriage, if the old partners were to reconcile and remarry, it is a perversion that is to be avoided since the new relationship has been established. If the original husband remarries, then he also commits adultery and causes the new wife to also do so. The exception clause in Matthew is not found anywhere else in Scripture. The exception clause in Matthew is not found in the oldest manuscripts, and may have been added after the Scripture was written. If this is indeed an addition to Scripture, then it must be considered invalid, and was not inspired. The only clear method of breaking the one flesh relationship established by marriage is through death of a partner. All other methods are at best unclear. We are to interpret the unclear in light of what we know to be clear. But always keep utmost in your mind that the overwhelming message of the New Testament is that of available grace to the repentant sinner. So, knowing the Biblical principles of this issue never gives us a license to judge or condemn, even in our own minds. Legalism is never condoned in the Bible. We are to extend the grace to others that Christ has offered to us. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Be careful that you do not fall for the temptation to judge or condemn others. This entire situation causes all parties to be in desperate need of a Savior. That is the good news of the New Testament. We have such a Savior that has accepted the blame for our sin and died to redeem us so that our sin can be forgiven in a repentant sinner. Knowing the Biblical issues in this type of situation is no license to ignore grace. It is a reason to extend more grace than we normally would, as such a huge transgression has occurred. This is a great opportunity to practice extending grace to those we know have sinned and need that from us. Take advantage of the opportunities that have arisen and be a blessing to all involved. After all, that is our job here on earth, to bless others with our attitudes and actions. The biggest blessing we can be is to present the Gospel to those that are not already saved. What an opportunity you have to do so much good in such a bad situation. Take advantage of that. Act like Christ as much as possible.
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