In Luke 16:18 the Bible records Jesus saying, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Here is an intriguing passage uttered by the Son of God. Anyone interested in spiritual matters will want to explore the meaning of this statement. They will want to know what the verse means in order to avoid the immoral consequences of adultery.
The sin of adultery is horrible. It is a work of the flesh that keeps one from inheriting the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21). Adultery causes people to be eternally lost. Not long ago a denominational preacher told me that if I teach what Jesus said in Luke 16:18 I will be condemning a majority of the human race to hell. No. I don’t condemn anyone. That is the Lord’s business. I am simply telling people what the Master said.
I know divorce and remarriage is rampant. People do it all the time with no regard for the Lord’s will. But this should not keep one from teaching the truth on the subject. Murder and incest are rampant as well and many will be lost because of these sinful acts. Should we stop exposing these sins just because people keep committing these crimes? I hardly think so. The only way people will ever be brought to a state of repentance is to first recognize that they are living a sinful lifestyle.
Jesus says when a person divorces his or her spouse and remarries another person that they enter an adulterous union. And they who marry the divorcee commit adultery as well. This is the general rule. There is one exception to this rule (Matt. 19:9). But generally speaking when one seeks a divorce from their spouse they sin. They then compound that sin by marrying another mate of which they have no God-given right to do. This is the meaning of Luke 16:18 and how it applies to us today. We can either accept it by faith as God’s will or reject it out of unbelief. I encourage you to cultivate deep faith in God that leads to an obedient response to His word.
An interesting thing happened to me recently. After I wrote the above article for the local newspaper where I live I was approached by a San Augustine “pastor” who preaches for one of the denominations in town. He informed me that he had a question concerning my article. The gist of which went something like the following: “If it is true anytime anyone divorces and enters a second marriage they commit adultery then you’ve got a tremendous amount of people walking around that are in adultery. Divorce and remarriage is so rampant. I want to know, then, what do you tell these people concerning their salvation? What do you tell them to do about their adultery?”
Notice that, as is so often the case, the question posed does not pertain to the meaning of the passage but to the application. But, still, the answer is easy. You tell people to do the same thing you would tell them in regard to any sin whether it is thievery, incest, homosexuality, or adultery. It does not matter what the sin is the answer remains the same. You politely show people what God’s will is from the Bible and encourage them to repent, turn from their sin, extricate themselves from its bondage, and seek God’s forgiveness in harmony with His divine will. Stop committing the sin.
Get out of the adulterous union or you will die and go to the judgment having lived and died an adulterer. It is not a pretty picture. But sin is always messy. The difficulty comes about when people are stubborn and refuse to comply with God’s standard. They are sinfully selfish and want to continue to live as they so choose. This difficulty is compounded many times when children have been produced by the adulterous union. But the solution remains the same. You cannot continue to live a life of sin and still go to heaven when this life is over. God will graciously forgive but not apart from humble and loving compliance with His word.