If a person has been living a sinful life and unjustly divorced his/her spouse, will s/he be forgiven by God just by asking? Or does s/he have to make amends and fix the wrongs to show repentance?
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Jesus said in Matt 19:4-12 that divorce is only permissible in the case of adultery and whoever marries someone that is divorced for any reason other than adultery commits adultery. 1Cor7:10-11, the Bible says that neither husband nor wife should divorce the other. 1Cor7:27: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. This chapter is speaking to those who are called to do the Lord's work but coupled with the other verses we see that unscriptural divorce is a sin. Rom7:2: For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 1Cor7:39, Wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. The scriptures apply to both husband and wife. The Lord is no respecter of persons. Heb13:4, Let marriage be held in honor among all... There are only certain cases when a person can get remarried: 1. Death of a spouse 2. Adultery You see, God creates the marriage bond and joins male and female, and only God can dissolve a marriage. What God has joined together let no man put asunder. If a spouse leaves the marriage, does God still recognize the marriage? According to scripture He does! Are either free to remarry? According to scripture they are not! What state is someone in if they remarry for reasons other than adultery or death of a spouse? According to scripture the new marriage is an adulterous and sinful relationship. So the big question is, can a person just ask for forgiveness while in an adulterous marriage and be forgiven? Can a person not repent (turn away), continue to live a sinful state and be forgiven? The Bible clearly says that we are to walk in the light as He is in the Light. In Him is no darkness and if there is darkness in us then we are not walking in the light and therefore we are not in Him. Christians can't walk in darkness (choose to live in sin) and be in the light. This can't make sense no matter how how one looks at it. In God's eyes they are still married, therefore, a person living a sinful life, living in an adulteress relationship must repent, and ask for forgiveness. There are no scriptures that say a person can have an unscriptural divorce and unscriptural marriage and ask forgiveness and be good with The Lord. The Bible does not teach that we can go through life, do whatever we want to do and all we have to do is ask for forgiveness. Of course there are scriptures that instruct us to repent and ask for forgiveness but they don't supersede or conflict with other scriptures that have commands and instructions. Based upon the original response, why does a Christian have to repent or ask for forgiveness at all?
God forgives all sins. He does not ask you to make amends for sin. He asks you to ask him for forgiveness. It is simple for him, man makes it difficult.
I agree that a request for forgiveness should ideally be accompanied by changed behavior or efforts to correct or make amends for the effects of past behavior (insofar as possible) on the part of the person asking forgiveness. However, I would leave any judgment as to whether God will forgive the person to God's omniscient knowledge of the other person's heart. And, as far as Christians are concerned, Jesus said in Luke 17:4 that Christians must forgive a person who sins against them even seven times in just one day, but who each time comes to them and says, "I repent." To me, the repetitive nature of the sin would certainly raise a justified suspicion in the mind of the person against whom the sin was committed as to the sincerity of the sinner's repentance, but Jesus did not condition the command to the Christian to forgive the person on a judgment of whether the person was sincere, or on whether the person's request for forgiveness was accompanied by other visible signs of repentance. If Christians do not exercise such free forgiveness (in the same way that God has repeatedly forgiven them for Jesus' sake (Ephesians 4:32), and no matter how difficult it might be or seem to forgive, or how "deserved" the withholding of forgiveness might appear, from a human standpoint), they are in effect granting the other person control over their emotions and reactions, in addition to the adverse physical and psychological effects on themselves of accumulating, pent-up anger and resentment.
The whole arena of divorce is very emotive. It is beyond doubt that Jesus teaches that divorce is not what God intended for those whom He has joined together. However. Whilst its been pointed out that there are the cases of death and adultery which permit remarriage i feel it is fair to also say that the Pauline exception in 1 Corinthians 7 should also be included. I have heard the sometimes harsh and judgmental line which is laid down when a woman has abandoned her family to live with another man and her husband is left alone with a young family to care for. In cases such as these where there is no interest in rekindling the marriage from the departed spouse, i believe the Pauline exception is under consideration. To exclude the grace given in the scripure when a heart is broken through the betrayal is less helpful than showing the love of Jesus in line with the biblical teaching of Paul. Divorce is always accompanied by sin in some form and its a particularly brutal part of human misery to experience it. Christs blood washes our sins away, but we dont live as we want when we want expecting no consequences. I hope this helps understand the teaching.
I will limit my answer to the original question. The original question does not address the matter of remarriage at all, yet everyone else seems to have made that assumption and addressed what makes remarriage a "sin". There is a sizable faction of Christianity that believes any divorce is a sin; these people come from nearly every denomination, so we cannot call it a denominational teaching. There is no scriptural support for this view at all, and the only text I have ever seen used as a "proof" of this doctrine is Mal 2:16, which in the RSV says, 'God hates divorce.' Here, the translators are being somewhat loose with their definitions, but not so seriously that they significantly change the meaning of the text. God hating divorce does not make it a sin. When these people are countered with Jer 8:3 in which God says he wrote a bill of divorce for the house of Israel when they were sent into exile all kinds of excuses begin. Yet because of God's own testimony here about himself we have no choice but to recognize God as a divorcee. If we claim divorce is a sin we are calling God a sinner. If we claim that is not really what God means we are calling him a liar so we are calling him a sinner. You simply cannot get around that fact no matter how you argue this question. So, divorce is not a sin. Jerome intentionally mistranslated the Greek text here when he prepared the Latin Vulgate in the 4th Century so that it would conform with the wishes of the Pope. Cause and effect where reversed here; Jesus said that if a man sent his wife out without a bill of divorce and she remarried she committed adultery. Adultery was not listed as grounds, but as the result of not being given the proper documentation of divorce. Mt 19:8 says Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of our hearts. So we look to Moses for acceptable grounds. Dt 24:1-4 gives the basic divorce law. There are other laws which give further clarification, not all dealing specifically with divorce, and it is one of these that deals with the matter of abuse, which basically mandated divorce where there has been abusive injury. It appears a man could divorce his wife for almost any cause provided he could name some sin in her that he did not like. Quite naturally this was abused, but the way this law was written there would be little recourse or a wife if she were wronged in this manner. That still does not inherently make divorce a sin. Instead divorce was provided as a remedy for sin. Most marriages were with a bond woman, not a free woman. Biblical law deals very little with the marriage of a free woman. A bond woman was taken in as either a daughter or a wife, and the law said she was bound "for life" (Ex 21:7-11), yet with any bond person, abuse resulting in serious injury set them free. In other words, an abusive husband must grant a divorce (Ex 21:26, 27). When Jesus spoke of divorce and the other laws in Mt 5 he was not putting away any law as we are often taught; instead he was correcting our understanding of those laws and said none would pass. Divorce is not a sin; no forgiveness is necessary where there is no sin, no restitution is necessary where there is no sin.
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