Is it clear from Scripture, as some affirm, that divorced persons can under no circumstances be remarried, till the death of one partner?
This is a question that is often being raised in these days, in which the sacredness of the marriage tie has fallen so low in the eyes of an ungodly world, that divorce is treated as a light thing of no account. We may be sure that God’s thoughts on the subject have not changed since He wrote by the prophet Malachi, “The Lord, the God of Israel, saith that He hateth putting away,” as He terms divorce or “dealing treacherously,” (Malachi 2:16). In reply to the Pharisees, our Lord explains that, if Moses suffered (a man) to write a bill of divorcement and put his wife away, it was a permission “for the hardness of their heart,” but not at all according to the original purpose of God, who made man and wife to be one and remain one, as long as life lasted. He concluded with the clear and determinate words: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:4-9).
Are there, then, no circumstances in which God Himself puts asunder what he has joined together? I believe there is one which our Lord points out clearly in Matthew 5:32, and again in Matthew 19:9, in both of which verses, while emphasising the sacredness of the marriage tie, and the sin of divorce, He does make an exception—”saving for the cause of fornication,” and “except it be for fornication.” When that cause arises and is clearly proved, divorce should take place, and when this is so, it is not man putting asunder what God hath joined, but God himself. If so, then the parties are henceforth as truly no longer married, as though they had never been united, or as though one was dead. The question of the remarriage of the guilty party is not under discussion. We have nothing to do with it, for one guilty in so gross a manner clearly must cease from the fellowship of the saints, and be put away into the outside place; but as for the offended party, I believe he or she is free before God to remarry, though only in the Lord.