Generally speaking, if your divorce occurred prior to your conversion, then that divorce is just a part of your past sinful life which in Christ is done away with, and it is irrelevant now. So far as your liberty to marry another believer is concerned, the wise pastor will not even consider your previous marriage and divorce. Any divorce, or ten of them, which took place when one was lost in sin is a dead issue, being part of the life of sin which is now repented of and washed away by the blood of Christ, never to be remembered against you again. Paul wrote (KJV), “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away. Behold, ALL THINGS are become new.” When you were baptized with the Spirit into Christ, every part of your old life of sin was purged from your record by the precious blood of Christ.
Some will teach you that in Christ, all things are become new except your marital history. However, those people’s unwillingness to forgive a new convert’s previous marriage(s) is not a reflection of God’s mind. When a sinner comes to Jesus, he is given a new life – including a new past! Failures of the past are gone, completely and forever. Therefore, a sinner who had been washed from sin by the blood of Christ is free and is worthy to marry in the kingdom of God if he so desires.
This is why, even if you married and divorced a dozen times before being converted to Christ, you do not actually belong in the category of “divorced”, for you are indeed a “new creature”, with no error of the past on your record to obstruct your pursuit of a quiet and peaceable life in Christ – and with no marriage or divorce on your record in heaven!
It is tragic for some that certain men in authority among the saints think as they do about marriage and divorce. Consider the following scenario, which is representative of the way some ministers deal with the marital histories of new converts:
Some ministers would cheerfully allow a person to marry who lived a life of fornication before coming to Christ – if that person, while a sinner, had not married any of his fornication partners. On the other hand, a person who, while a sinner, had resisted fornication, and then married and divorced, would be forbidden to remarry. Do you see what an unjust judgment this is? The unbridled lust of one sinner is rewarded, while the other sinner’s effort to do right by marrying is punished.
This is not the way of the Lord.
In the early 1980’s, near my hometown there lived a happy young couple with four children who were convicted of their sins and converted as members of an “Apostolic” congregation. Not long after they were both born again, the pastor learned that she had been married previously while still a sinner. He informed them that they were living in adultery because she had a living husband and that they must separate. The young man, wanting to please God, moved onto a farm where he worked as a laborer, but it was a very difficult arrangement for everyone involved, parents and children.
The couple continued to attend the Apostolic church services which were also attending by a young man named John who had recently read a copy of this book. Upon learning the truth about marriage and divorce in the Kingdom of God, John went to visit Nate and told him that him and Latasha (not their real names) were not required to separate. Surprisingly, Nate argued against what John told him thinking that he was defending the faith of Christ. Seeing that he could not help Nate, John dropped the subject.
Latasha had to depend on public welfare, and Nate moved to New Jersey where he had relatives and where he hoped to find a job that would
enable him to take better care of his family. While in New Jersey, Nate began attending meetings with another Pentecostal group. There he was taught that he and Latasha were not required to separate. Then Nate realized that Brother John had told him the truth, and not long afterwards, he returned to North Carolina to reunite with Latasha and the whole family then moved back to New Jersey to a happily married life.
Nate and Latasha’s story, thankfully, had a happy ending. But that is not often the case.
Inspired By John David Clark, Sr.
Thank you for visiting our blog today. We pray something has been said to enlighten your walk with Jesus. May God continue to bless and keep you always in His love. God bless you!
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