Wondering if divorce and remarriage are unforgivable sins? Many religious people truly believe and accept that it is an unforgivable sin to get divorced and remarried, but there are different opinions. Those who believe that it is forgivable believe so because God sacrificed his only son to die for all our sins in the Bible. That is why divorce and remarriage are often argued to be unforgivable through the eyes of God.
Sadly, in the United States, an estimated 41% of first marriages, 60% of second marriages, and 73% of third marriages end in divorce. Many people involved in these marriages are or consider themselves to be religious; therefore, the uncertainty of whether God will grant them his forgiveness, should they seek divorce and/or remarriage, remains unanswered. Many believe that divorce is a sin that is unforgivable; however, some disagree.
If you have mixed feelings about whether or not divorce and remarriage are unforgivable sins, this article is for you. To get answers on this topic, we dug a little deeper and found some truly interesting facts in the Scripture. Please continue reading if you want to unravel the truth to set your mind and heart at ease. Please note that these opinions do not mean that your individual faith or church will perform a second marriage nor that they will consider you “forgiven”; when in doubt, it is probably best to speak to your faith leader for clarification.
Related Reading: Is It Always Adultery to Remarry After Divorce?
Is Divorce & Remarriage Really an Unforgivable Sin?
Divorce is especially frowned upon and is believed to be a sin you cannot properly repent. Even if you ask for forgiveness against your sin, it doesn’t change that you are divorced, and therefore, it remains a sin. That is why many refer to divorce and remarriage as unforgivable sins. As taking your own life is another example of an unforgivable sin, this may seem especially harsh.
Divorce causes harm and scars as it rips families apart. It is devastating to the estranged husband and wife and their families and any children involved. It is easier said than done to work on a failing marriage, but no one is allowed to force their opinions into Scripture and change God’s Word.
However, if you have tried everything to reconcile with your spouse and they refuse, commit adultery, are abusive, and/or are determined to abandon you, your only option is divorce. There comes the point where you can strive, contrary to reality. God said so Himself, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever.” – (Gen. 6:3).
During his teachings on divorce and remarriage, Jesus explains to the Jews that even though divorce was legalized, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t sinning. When a man and a woman get married before the eyes of God, He expects them to be married to each other forever, until death.
There is, however, one justification for divorce; adultery. Although it is not mandatory to get a divorce after your spouse has committed adultery, it may be your only option. “But, like every sin except the one of rejecting the pardon that the Lord purchased for us with His blood, divorce is forgiven when we confess and ask for it.” – (1 John 1:9).
In many cases (particularly in the Catholic Faith) the wronged party would be eligible for an annulment, which is considered the dissolution of the marriage in the eyes of the church; as if it never happened at all and, therefore, not a sin.
God knows that we are flawed. God saw “that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5).
Why Should You Obey This Command Not to Divorce?
According to the Bible, there are three instances where Jesus says you should not get divorced and remarry;
- Firstly, Jesus said that you should not divorce, and in doing so, you are committing sin. “Have you not read ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:4-6).
- Secondly, getting divorced and remarried breaks the covenant that you and your spouse made before God “The LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant.” “But did He not make them one…? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore, take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. For the LORD God of Israel says that ‘He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,’ … Therefore, take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously” (Mal. 2:14-16).
- Finally, divorcing your spouse causes extreme pain and harm to them and everyone involved (especially if you have children together). In the Bible, God declares that marriage starts when two people are joined together to become “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24), and getting divorced means you are ripping apart a unity that God has created.
Divorce & Remarriage Is Not an Unforgivable Sin – Here’s Why!
Will God forgive us when we get divorced & remarried? You misunderstand God’s grace by believing that divorce is an unforgivable sin. The reason he offered his only son, Jesus, to die for all of our sins on the cross did not exclude divorce, remarriage, or any other sin.
His forgiveness is unconditional, and therefore, though the Bible declares that it is a terrible sin to get divorced, it is not unforgivable by the grace of God. His grace even covers divorce.
“As for your salvation it’s impossible for you to lose it. The Holy Spirit was sealed within you the moment you first believed as a deposit guaranteeing your inheritance” – (Ephes. 1:13-14). “At that time, you were given to Jesus and it’s God’s will that He would never lose you” – (John 6:39-40).
Various Scriptures have disproven the idea that divorce and remarriage are unforgivable sins. In case you are unaware, in Jeremiah 3:8, God gave Israel a certificate of divorce, which means God himself is divorced. God is divorced from Israel.
What Did Moses Say About Divorce?
There is evidence in the Scripture (Exodus 4:24-26) that Moses was also a divorcee. It is believed that his wife, Zipporah, was disgusted with the idea of circumcising their sons, and therefore, Moses divorced her. Then, Zipporah’s father attempted to reunite them after Moses led the people out of Egypt, Jethro. Unfortunately, his attempts failed, and Moses married an Ethiopian woman (Num 12:1).
In Matt 17: 1-4, two heavenly beings speak with Jesus, one of them is Moses. This proves that even though Moses divorced Zipporah and got remarried, God forgave him, and he went to Heaven.
The following commands were made by Moses regarding divorce and are not often discussed in the teachings;
Deuteronomy 24: Verse 1-4
Verse 1 “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she finds no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.”
Verse 2 – “And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.”
Verse 3 – “And if the latter husband hates her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and gives it in her hand, and sends her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;”
Verse 4 – “Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and you shall not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God gives thee for an inheritance.”
Continue Reading: I Filed for Divorce But Regret It Now
The answer to this question is based on your specific religion, perception of God, and a deeper understanding of his forgiving grace. The important thing you can do is forgive yourself, including those who harmed you during the divorce. We are only human, and being human means making mistakes and questionable decisions.
God knows all our flaws and will grant forgiveness to those who truly deserve it. If getting a divorce and marrying someone else is to protect yourself and others or to improve the quality of your children’s lives, God will have mercy on and forgive you. God’s love exists without terms and conditions; his love is unconditional and without reservation.