Divorce and Remarriage

"The Exception Clause" 
or Matthew's Exception Clause

“except it be for fornication”  (Matthew 5:32 & 19:9)


all bible references are based on the King James Version
if you are reading from other versions - you could be mislead to wrong conclusions

this tract is 
dedicated to Howard and Edith


Acknowledgement to James R. Graham, Jr. for his work on this topic 

Revised by Dale H. Sabin, Copyright: 1990, expanded 2003, 2007


Before we turn to the Master’s words let us remind ourselves of one thing.  We are interested in what the Holy Scriptures actually teach, NOT the consensus of opinion held by any group however popular it or they may be.  Let us lay aside our personal biased opinions for a moment to consider what is written here.  Let us privately be fair and honest with ourselves before God considering the words and context from the Holy Scriptures.

Even a casual reading of the two longer passages in Matthew 19 and Mark 10 will show that the Messiah was setting forth the Heavenly Mind with respect to the institution of Holy Matrimony in ONE FLESH.

1)      From the beginning there were only two, one man and one woman, initially created in ONE FLESH by God HIMSELF. God still only joins man and one woman into ONE FLESH for life.

2)      The marriage relationship was to supersede parental relationship, The man being commanded to “LEAVE” His father and His MOTHER, (to form a new family structure),

3)      And shall “CLEAVE” unto his wife (bond, remain, covenant with forming the new family structure)

4)      And they twain shall become  “ONE FLESH”.  This fact is twice repeated.  They are no longer counted as TWO but as ONE FLESH.  (Matthew 19:5 & 6)   (They have entered and consummated covenant unity until death.)

The Savior could not have been more specific in setting forth the indissoluble nature of ONE FLESH (Holy Matrimony) “after the two have become ONE.”  No exception is allowed in the thunderous declaration, “What God (YHWH) hath joined together let not man (includes governments and churches of and by men) put asunder!”  

Being convinced from these words of the Messiah, we are reluctant to suppose that HE would later introduce an exception that could dissolve, break, or divide ONE into twain again.  For the Saviour clearly stated, “then they are no more twain”  Mark 10:8 and Matthew 19:6.  To separate this indissoluble, unbreakable, undividable ONENESS created by God requires nothing less than the actual physical death of one spouse's flesh.  Otherwise  the Savior would contradict HIMSELF, being the word of God, as it was from the beginning and the New Testament. (Romans 7:2-3 & 1 Corinthians 7:39)

Marriage is the high example of CHRIST and HIS CHURCH, permanent “until death do us part” not the example of divorce and remarriage, as some would have us to believe.  

to whom this tract is dedicated

She had been shown this truth first by the Spirit of God, personally, through reading the scriptures and then by various ministers over a period of years.  Yet the husband of her adulterous union in his desire to keep (another man’s ONE FLESH wife) and the liberal church ministers refusal to see that her initial ONE FLESH marriage was indissoluble before God, caused this woman to commit suicide over this issue by failing to agree with the word of God after several years.  Because the liberal church ministers twisted the word of God encouraging her to remain with her adulterous husband instead of repenting and leaving him.  She had left once but they convinced her to return to her adulterous union. Going against God’s standards of marriage until death; will end in death, even in the 2nd death, if we refuse to REPENT and walk in the light now. This subject can not be taken lightly.  It is a matter of life and death both now and at the judgment day when each one is resurrected to be judged by Almighty God, who is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY.  We too easily forget how HOLY God is and how absolute the final judgment shall be.

Divorce and remarriage has always been a hot EMOTIONAL topic

And DIVORCE and REMARRIAGE shall be a HOT topic in the future as well. So drastic were our Saviour’s words and so profoundly did HE straighten the abuses conjectured by the doctors of the law, that they immediately took issue with HIM and demanded of HIM.

Moses made certain concessions and permitted divorce after marriage. To which, HE replied, “MOSES because of the HARDNESS OF YOUR HEARTS suffered you to put away your wives, BUT FROM THE BEGINNING IT WAS NOT SO.”  (Matthew 19:8)


What was, "NOT SO"?  Divorce ending ONE FLESH marriage.  MORALLY divorced never ended ONE FLESH, only physical death does.  1Cor.7:39 and Romans 7:2-3

Under the law, the hearts of men were ignorant, unforgiving, and hard. "BUT from the beginning it was not so" It was not so in the Garden of Eden and it is not so now when all men every where are commanded to repent.  (Acts17:30)  This is the age of Grace and Truth, (John 1:14&17) to live as we should by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and not as licensed sinners.

The Spirit of Adultery


The great battleground (Matthew 19:9) is where many have twisted and perverted the scriptures to provide an excuse for the "Lust of the Flesh" and "Lust of the Eyes" to be followed by divorce and remarriage.  Christendom in the USA has a divorce rate about the same as the nation at large.  Some even report the divorce rate among so-called Christians is greater than the unchurched partly because some of the  unchurched don't even bother to be married any longer just shacking up here and then there. This writer admits with shame that he was formerly double minded, seeking the comfort of the flesh of his friends and relatives, swayed by, emotions, false love,  and presumptuous words of supposed authorities. But now let us rely on the spirit of truth and the words of eternal life instead of being conformed to this world by the lust of the flesh and lust of the eyes.  Many self-deceived people are following the erroneous doctrines of religious leaders teaching, the commandments of men, laying aside the commandments of God and making them of none effect.

Sexual desire is a Lust of the Flesh.  God has made a holy provision for it's satisfaction. With King David's adultery it was allegorized as HUNGER for food.  Desire. We don't steal other people's food, just because we get hungry and desire their food.  God makes provision for us to be filled righteously. The FLESH is supposed to be under CONTROL of the SPIRIT.  If we let our FLESH control our sexual hunger, we will be controlled by a Spirit of Whoredom or Adultery (like King David did once) depending upon whether we are single or married in ONE FLESH.

But it all starts in the eyes, especially for a man. It can also start with a touch, especially for a woman.  (1Cor.7:1) Hence pornography as well as looking upon another woman with lust in his heart is adultery for a married man. (Matthew 5:28)  If not brought under the control of the Spirit of God, it will in time lead to the physical act of adultery, even to divorce and remarriage to another.

Divorce damages family members more than we know.  Divorce also weakens society, financially, socially, by impact and example long term even to multiple generations.  More and further than we imagine.  Children are destroyed just as their home was by divorce and they are three times more likely to divorce themselves being from a divorced home. Divorce and/or remarriage is not just a private sin, but a public on going sinful lifestyle ruining many families over a lifetime.  Like a disease, it infects others especially other weak marriages besides for direct damage to all the family members involved. Like an atomic bomb mushrooming into a multi-generational curse even to the 3rd and 4th generation. (Exodus 34:7 & Numbers14:18)

Christendom has lost it's historically high standards of marriage and family following the state (government) with "grounds for divorce."  I hate to admit but most churches allow the government to determine what marriage is and which marriages are valid or ended.  Many churches have allowed government to become the god of marriage.  They have made the error of putting government above the LIVING God.  Let us carefully study these two lone verses of almost identical phraseology (Matthew 5:32 & 19:9), from which such "grounds" were allegedly derived and to re-establish "the truth" in our nation and preserve families and heritage.

First, we must be willing to follow the Master, instead of sinful government and men tickling our ears to twist the word of God. We must rely on the Spirit of Truth within us to agree with the Holy Scriptures; other counsel can only lead us astray.  We must remember that the majority is usually wrong when it comes to things of HOLINESS and RIGHTEOUSNESS.  We must not quench the Spirit, but keep our minds open to know the truth from the scripture alone as taught by the Holy Spirit which will lead us into all truth with HOLINESS and RIGHTEOUSNESS.

"And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery, and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."  (Matthew 19:9)  If the verse is read at first omitting the exception phrase, "except it be for fornication", it will be seen that divorce and remarriage are forbidden in the strongest terms.  There are NO exception phrases in Luke 16:18 or Mark 10:2-12 leaving divorce strictly forbidden for any cause.  What a volume of sin and wickedness has brought destruction to lives through the miss application of Matthew's little exception phrase !


We note that the exception rests with the word, "fornication." While the word, "adultery" occurs twice later in the same verse.  Since two different words are used in the same verse, we are forced to conclude that there is a definite distinction in the use and definitions of "fornication" and "adultery".  For if "fornication" always includes "adultery", then Galatians 5:19 would have no need for the additional word, "adultery" immediately followed by the word, "fornication".  If the word," fornication " always includes the definition and meaning of "adultery".  Then the writer of Galatians didn't know that.!!!  Don't you think that the writer of Galatians would know a lot more about the definitions of the words being used than the divorce condoning theologians 2,000 years later?  Absolutely, especially if you believe the scriptures are ordained by God (Psalm 119:89) and actually authored by the Holy Spirit (2Tim.3:16) instead of the men that were physically used to do the writing. But both words are required for complete explanation here, therefore there is a difference of meaning in the words, "fornication and adultery."

Galatians 5:19 is biblical proof that there can be and most definitely is a difference in definition and meaning between "fornication" and "adultery", especially when they appear in the same verse and context. However the English language has changed in the last few hundred years and the definition of "fornication" has been wrongly dumbed-down and equated to "adultery" by many writers and even bible translators forwarding this error. Here we seek to dispel and correct that.  The only motive to do otherwise is to condone divorce with the thought or purpose to also condone remarriage to another after divorce.

Unfortunately during the past 100 years when divorce has been growing into a giant snowman at increasing rates many theological condoners have worked at equating "fornication" as "adultery".  Yet in some reputable English dictionaries, including Black's Law Dictionary, "fornication" still lists the original meaning as: "illegitimate sex relation on the part of  an  unmarried  person",   while "adultery" means "illegitimate sex relation on the part of   the married person."

Please note, "on the part of "  refers  only to one party of the situation and their definition of sin.  "From their perspective."  One old dictionary had a definition of:  "double adultery", which means both parties in the illegitimate sex relation were already married to someone else.  Hence each party was committing adultery against their own marriage and against the other parties marriage as well.  Therefore it was termed, double adultery.   

Then of course, if both parties were never married before, and they have relations without being married; it could be called "double fornication".  Fornication or just plain whoredom which is to be repented of.  They may be shacking-up together in cohabitation as a husband and wife would live together, but maintaining that they each are still single (not married).  Hence God has not joined them into ONE FLESH because their will and desire is to remain single.  And commit the sin of fornication instead of becoming committed until death do us part under God. Samson and Delilah also Judah and Tamar are examples of consenting adult fornication though they were not cohabiting with each other in the same abode.  Yet cohabitation and sexual relations alone do not constitute ONE FLESH or common law marriage.  The couple must admit to being married, the understanding of taking each other in marriage before government and society and/or before God in "until death do us part". 

Greek words

Besides for the English being changed many Greek lexicon/reference books/bible dictionaries in English have also been changed to suit the hard hearted preachers and laity they serve.  But alas, careful study of the GREEK words, "porneia" translated fornication and "moicheia" translated adultery will show the same thing as the original English definitions.

Porneia / "fornication" still lists the original meaning as: "illegitimate sex relation  on the part of   an unmarried person", while moicheia / "adultery" means "illegitimate sex relation  on the part of  the married person."

"Porneia", from which our word "pornography" comes from, is the word "fornication" when used alone can widen out  to mean: general un-chastity of a person.  However, when in the SAME VERSE (Matthew 5:32 & 19:9) the Messiah used it in contrast to "moicheia" / adultery, meaning the unchastity of a married person.  So we are forced to conclude that "fornication"/ porneia is used here in it's specific sense of Premarital immorality, of the unmarried person.  Matthew being the gospel to the Jews required the Messiah to answer the Mosaic Divorce Law of which he was questioned about.  But westerners forget that the Jews also had the practice of BETROTHAL which while "legally" was marriage it was prior to fulfilling Gen.2:24 ONE FLESH (which is Gentile marriage) because they do not practice BETROTHAL.

Either the Mosaic Divorce Law was going to stand or the Messiah was going to have to better explain ONE FLESH to the Jews in the gospel of Matthew.  We shall look at this difference again later.

When both the man AND the woman are married for the first time, God joins them into ONE FLESH.   (Genesis 2:24)  IF they divorce, they are still married (in ONE FLESH) in the eyes and judgment of God, committing adultery against this yet established union does not cause it to cease to exist.  No more than sinning against your parent removes them from being your parent. The ONE FLESH (Gen.2:24) relationship once fully established by God becomes permanent until death do us part.  Marriage in ONE FLESH is not ended by a husband lusting after another woman in his heart, committing spiritual adultery, so to speak.  Nor does a singular act of physical adultery (the America definition for the word adultery).  Adultery does NOT end the ONE FLESH joined by God.  Nor does fulfilling the biblical definition of adultery (by committing divorce and remarriage to another) while the ex-spouse is still physically alive.  None of these acts, actions or states of living in sin dissolve, break, or end ONE FLESH (Holy Matrimony) in the sight of God.

Husband and Wife

Someone might be puzzled about the above reference to the SPECIFIC SENSE of the definition of fornication being premarital sex or immorality prior to being married IN ONE FLESH. A simple illustration will aid us in understanding this issue.  

The word, "man" has both a specific and a general use or meaning:  

Specifically it means "a male" of the human race. (1Cor.7:1, Eph.5:31)  

In general "man" means "any human being regardless of gender". (Matthew 4:4, Romans3:4&28, 1Cor.2:9)  

We are speaking of the SAME Greek word, "anthropos" in both of the above examples. If the word, "man" is used in contrast to "woman" or "wife" in the same verse (or context), then we are sure that "man" is used in its specific sense  defined as "male" and not in the general sense meaning "any human being".  Such is the case when the word, fornication, is used in the same verse with adultery.  The SPECIFIC definitions are intended instead of the GENERAL.

Also a word of caution.  In making definitions and doctrine pertaining to divorce and remarriage avoid putting undo emphasis upon the words, "husband" or "wife" as proof of ONE FLESH (Holy Matrimony).  Because in Romans 7:2&3 a husband could be a ONE FLESH husband in Holy Matrimony or he could be an adulterer being married (meaning just cohabiting) with the ex-spouse of another man, because it's defined is "adulterous".  

Likewise marriage, marry, married, marrieth, etc only means in the general sense cohabiting as husband and wife (when it's the sin of adultery - Luke16:18) or the specific sense of ONE FLESH as marriage is used in Hebrews 13:4.  So context determines the definition of marriage, marry, married, marrieth, etc.  

However ONE FLESH is always specific (as defined in Genesis 2:24) but yet different from ONE BODY (1Cor.6:16),  both in Greek and English.

Then in Romans 7:3 we have the Greek word, "aner"  Strongs #435 which is used both for "husband" twice and "man" twice in this verse in the KJV.  The context determines the meaning and this is why no one should make a doctrine of divorce, marriage, or remarriage based upon the English definition of "husband" because it is the same word in Greek as "man".  CONTEXT determines the English word chosen and not the other way around.  Otherwise to determine marriage relationship based upon the word, "husband or wife" is to mis-interpret saying, the tail wags the dog, instead of the dog wagging it's tail.

As with the word, man; the Greek word, "gune" Strongs #1135 stands both for wife and woman determined by the meaning of the context.  Knowing these Greek words all require the context to determine their correct English meaning will help you avoid foolish and wrong conclusions about the subject of marriage, divorce, and remarriage... and the difference between the specific meaning of  ONE FLESH and the general sense of marriage indicating "cohabiting together" AS a husband and wife or man and woman would do.

Scripture never makes adultery 
grounds for divorce from a ONE FLESH 
first marriage for both man and wife

Now that we understand the difference between the specific and general uses of different words.  We understand that when "porneia" and "moicheia" are used in the SAME VERSE they denote a contrast and no amount of sophistication can make them mean the same thing.  Here, fornication simply does not mean adultery unless words have lost their meaning and the Messiah was unable to express HIMSELF clearly in such an important statement.  If HE had intended to make adultery a ground for divorce, HE could very easily have said so.  When HE said "adultery" (moichiea), HE clearly meant "Adultery" (moichiea).  But HE used  "fornication" (porneia) as the only exception which pertains to the Jewish BETROTHAL period of marriage in Judaism PRIOR to the couple becoming ONE FLESH in the first marriage for both man and woman. 

So why the Big Misunderstanding today?

The scriptures were wrote to the Hebrews in their culture not in American 21st century English. So the BIG misunderstanding of this passage by many honest hearts lies in the cultural differences between the Eastern and Western customs and terminology.  When an American reads the words, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, ..." the American naturally supposes that "fornication" is some act which a married "wife" could be guilty of.

Betrothal = Legal Marriage
not just an engagement

A "wife" we learned above could just as well be translated "woman" being the same word in the original scriptures.  Yet in America (Western culture) we only consider a "woman" a "wife" after she has entered the marriage relationship.  She is never thought of as a young woman who is merely "betrothed", by a written contract to-marry in the future sometime but presently considered legally a "wife" even during this contracted engagement of up to one year. The Jews considered the bride and groom as husband and wife legally even before their fathers gave them permission to set up their own housekeeping and physically consummate the written betrothal agreement into ONE FLESH (Holy Matrimony) with the sexual union completing Genesis 2:24. 

This is the biblical context and understanding of marriage.  Messiah's explanation of marriage and divorce in the book of Matthew is different because it is addressing the Jewish understanding of marriage. That was the Jewish fashion of taking a Hebrew wife.  She was his "legal" wife at betrothal even if they would not physically consummate the marriage into ONE FLESH for up to a year later.  Betrothal is a very serious relationship, legally binding as marriage itself, to the Jews.  So that even before the marriage is consummated the woman is called a wife.  And under the law, she was dealt with as a wife instead of as a single young virgin if sexual mischief occurred. (Deut.22:13-29) Hence Mary is Joseph's "betrothed wife" (espoused Luke 2:5 & Matthew 1:18) because they had not yet come together.  The church is currently espoused (or Betrothed 2Cor.11:2) to Christ, until our consummation at resurrection when we shall be like HIM and enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Having looked at the "Legal Marriage" prior to entering into ONE FLESH according to scripture.  We realize that this world functions governmentally on a "legal" basis.  You must judge if God or government is supreme in marriage and definition of marriage and the origin of ONE FLESH.  Government is only concerned with the "Legal State of Marriage" not the MORAL state of marriage.  Sodomite marriage licenses have proven that point.  God is only concerned with the "Moral State of Marriage" which in biblical terms also satisfies the Legal state of marriage.  

But what happens when the Legal Marriage is not a Moral Marriage in the sight of Almighty God as shown forth in Luke 16:18?  You might be legally married according to earthly governments.  But at the same time you might be judged by Almighty God as committing ADULTERY or FORNICATION depending upon the circumstances.  NO, this is not a situational ethics operation like the condoning of divorce is.  But instead the circumstances of a couple's marriage does determine whether it is in agreement with the holy standards of Genesis 2:24 ordained by God:  1) whether God then joins them into ONE FLESH "morally holy" according to Hebrews 13:4 or  2) whether they be whoremongers and adulterers whom God will judge.

Yes, human bodies do have innate "freewill" powers of procreation given by God and therefore a child conceived in sin does not define ONE FLESH morality in marriage before Almighty God.  As the bible speaks of bastards such as the child born to Bathsheba's adultery with King David and also Tamar and Judah's son to list two.

ONE FLESH = Moral Marriage

HOLY MATRIMONY Genesis 2:24 is God's design for pure marriage which HE calls; ONE FLESH.  Christ raised the bar of understanding by stating: "what therefore God hath joined together" (Matthew 19:6 & Mark 10:9) is holy and MORAL MARRIAGE before God.  Notice God is first and it is God that is the controlling third party in HOLY MATRIMONY.

This also demonstrates that the legality of marriage via contract, government or paper work is different from the morality of marriage (i.e. ONE FLESH) being the fulfillment of Genesis2:24.  By the author and founder of ONE FLESH marriage, Almighty God.  God is the third party in "what therefore God hath joined together" in HOLY MATRIMONY into ONE FLESH, we also call marriage.  Hebrews 13:4  Government on the other hand for those applying for permission to "legally marry" before the state, make the government the third party in their "LEGAL MARRIAGE" is separate from the holiness of God and Gen.2:24 (if the parties being married are not single morally in the sight of Almighty God before entering such a governmental marriage).

Hence we do acknowledge that government can end the "legality" of marriage by giving a divorce and a first married man can live separate from his first married wife then as "LEGALLY" single.  But "MORALLY" God still views them as ONE FLESH, until the physical death of one party.  1Cor.7:39  & Romans 7:2-3  As "THE LAW" of God in Genesis2:24 is before, superior and will be the final judge of ONE FLESH (morality).  Genesis2:24 is God's LAW of ONE FLESH marriage, or "the law" of the husband (spoken of in Romans7).  Governments and their courts of law are based upon the tradition of men and their thinking and their conveniences;  NOT God's MORALITY of judgment by the word of God (which is HOLY).   

Mary and Joseph

 Americans enjoy this special betrothal state from the church altar to the wedding bed if they are still virgins, when they get married.  But the Jewish betrothal period lasted a period of time usually up to one year.   "Mary was espoused (betrothed) to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."  (Matthew 1:18)  So Joseph was her husband "legally" during their betrothal period and since he thought she had been unfaithful to him.  He was going to divorce her or (put her away). This is seen in Matthew 1:19 "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily." (privately) In Matthew 1:20 Gabriel counsels Joseph, "fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." Joseph then decided NOT to put Mary away during their betrothal period.  But instead to go ahead with full marriage to Mary. So next we see them going to Bethlehem to be taxed together and CHRIST was born.

The Jews wanted to know how Christ would interpret Moses' divorce law.  Christ narrowed it down to this Jewish exception we have here in the book of Matthew, (the Gospel to the Jews). Today in America, if a Groom and Bride NEVER physically consummate the marriage they are given an annulment. Basically dissolving the Betrothal state of "legally binding" man and woman as husband and wife in ceremony because they failed to physically consummate the marriage.  NO sexual union, NO marriage, Genesis 2:24 has not been fulfilled without a sexual union into ONE FLESH.  While this was almost unheard of.  There was a real chance for loss of purity during the Jewish Betrothal period of up to one year.  This time coming close to nine months was also to insure the girl was a faithful wife and not a harlot. The use of the term "wife" for a "betrothed virgin" is also seen in. (Deut.22:23-24)

At this time Mary was still a "betrothed wife" not a "ONE FLESH wife" of Joseph. This situation the Saviour referenced in Matthew 19:9 as a just cause (fornication) for terminating a BETROTHAL CONTRACT which hadn't been consummated.  It is note worthy that Joseph planned to PUT AWAY (divorce) Mary.  This implies a legal process after which both parties would be free to lawfully marry someone else.  Betrothal is not merely an oral engagement like Americans use.  Americans just tell the other person, "it's off."  No legal process needed, no need to cease being husband or wife legally as in the Jewish understanding of Betrothal.

So we see that Western engagement to marry is completely different from Eastern BETROTHAL. Betrothal being the legality portion of marriage.  Though the moral or complete taking of the wife has not yet been consummated into ONE FLESH by sexual intercourse, when God hath joined together, all eligible couples unto death.  Remember God will not JOIN into your SIN or be a party to your SIN in divorce and remarriage to another.  Therefore sinful marriages are NOT joined by God into the ONE FLESH defined in Genesis 2:24.

Until death do us part

Until death do us part or is it until divorced do us part?  

The word, "divorced" and "put away," in Matthew 5:32 & 19:9 is the same verb used where the Greek "apoluo" is translated "divorced" in the KJV.  Christ is stating this can be done for fornication during the Jewish betrothal period prior to sexual consummation into ONE FLESH. This is what Joseph was planning to do to Mary.  Divorce or putting away is what happens to the legal contract of betrothal but there is no law or statement in the Bible to separate the "ONE FLESH" of a married wife from her husband but by the physical death of the spouse's FLESH.  (1 Corinthians 7:39 and Romans 7:1-3)  Consider this New Testament doctrine was lived out by many of the Old Testament Saints starting with Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca and many others.

Also we must remember that Holy Matrimony is two becoming ONE FLESH, what therefore God hath joined together.  Whereas Betrothal is only legally binding two by a conditional legal contract to become ONE FLESH sometime in the future.

Joseph upon hearing the angel become convinced that Mary had NOT committed fornication with another man.  Still the stigma of illegitimate birth pursued the Saviour all through HIS life.  This is seen in the wicked taunt that HIS adversaries hurled at HIM in later years.  "We be not born of fornication..."  (John 8:41)  This clarifies for us that birth by an "unwed mother" is invariably assumed to be caused by "fornication" (porneia) instead of "adultery" (moicheia). However Mary's pregnancy and birth of the son of God our Saviour was not sin but a fulfillment of prophesy before Mary and Joseph ever come together. (Matthew 1:25)

According to the Old Testament if someone else took a betrothed wife of another, that would be considered adultery, and they would be stoned.  But it would still be fornication for the betrothed husband to take his betrothed wife prior to being given leave by their parents.  Such is what the Pharisees were accusing the Messiah of: being "born of fornication." (John 8:41)


Every honest heart will follow us in concluding that the exception phrases "saving for the cause of fornication" and "except it be for fornication", in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 respectively, allows for the termination of a betrothal contract if the woman is found guilty of immorality BEFORE the marriage is consummated.  Once consummated, Holy Matrimony is indissoluble because the two have become ONE FLESH divisible only by the physical death of one spouse's FLESH.  (Note:  See Genesis 29 pertaining to Jacob and Leah quickly becoming ONE FLESH and that under false pretenses.)  Buyer beware and checking the goods you receive are important issues in commerce that Jacob (the deceiver) failed to observe.  But Leah turned out to be the most Godly, fertile and Best wife of them all.  So Jacob was buried with Leah but none of the others.  God's choice is many times not our choice.

Under the Law

It's amazing in America how many couples have premarital sex before they get married for the first time. Any man which had premarital sex with his wife is NEVER allowed to put her away, under the law of Moses.  Deut.22:29  Yet these same people seem to rely upon the Moses' divorce law to justify their divorce.  Note:  The Law of God does not allow us to just pick out what we want.  It all counts and if you seek to be justified by the Law of Moses, remember you only have to break one point and then you are guilty of all. (James 2:10)  Do you still seek to be justified under the O.T. Law of Moses?  Or the New Testament of grace and truth?

This is a New Testament doctrine
A doctrine of Christ

As Gentiles the rest of the Gospels speak to us about marriage and divorce. It is deeply significant that Mark's Gospel written primarily to the Romans sets forth the marriage bond as completely unbreakable without any exception.  (Mark 10:2-12)  Likewise, the Gospel of Luke, written to the Greeks, is crystal clear on the subject with only one verse (16:18) that clearly affirms divorce for any reason and remarriage to another is defined as adultery;  according to the prince of peace our savior.  Now you have read the explanation of the Gospel of Matthew written primarily to the Jews.  Clarifying the Old Testament Law as properly understood and acted on by Hosea and King David and taught by the Saviour.  Likewise the book of Matthew contains IN CONTEXT the only complete story of Joseph and Mary that claries the words, definitions, circumstances, and will of God for us under the New Covenant, being a part thereof.

Hosea's wife committed adultery against him time and time again.  He brought her back again and again in 1Cor.13 love and forgiveness.  True Christian LOVE and / or True Christian forgiveness will not divorce and marriage another.  True Christian love and forgiveness will restore the original ONE FLESH marriage at all costs, when ever possible, otherwise wait so long as it can be done.  When not possible, then love and forgiveness waits until it's possibly or that ex-spouse dies.

Hence King David murdered Bathsheba's husband so he could marry her and he reaped the whirlwind in his family thereafter as a result of his adultery, lying and murder.  Adultery never pays, it produces more sins.  David also got his first wife Michal back even though she had been married to another man. ( 2 Samuel 3:14-15)  The bringing in of the Ark to Jerusalem didn't happen until 7 years after he gets her back.  So those that say he never knew her again based upon what happened seven years later, are mistaken.

Ezra explains about where the children go of adulterous or wrong sinful marriages.  Lastly, God ends good marriages everyday when a husband or wife dies of a auto wreck, heart attack, or plane crash.  If ultimately God is in control of our life and when we die, then God still ends all first marriages.  Legally staying in a wrong sinful marriage that the Saviour labels as "adultery" is deadly to the soul according to Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; ADULTERY, fornication, ... and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do (or practice - NKJV) such things shall NOT INHERIT the kingdom of God.".  

Adultery is a salvation issue my friend. As Christ said, "Go, and sin no more." It's not just a passing pleasure, but selling your soul for a temporary and occasional feeling.  Does eternity mean so little to you?  Just like most true Christians believe that a Sodomite would have to forsake a lifestyle of Sodomy to be truly saved...  So the Adulterer and Adulterous will have to forsake (legally end) their (adultery) adulterous state licensed unions (divorce and remarriage) and bring forth fruits met for repentance.

Sexual Sin is the ONLY sin against your body.  And God has clearly said,  "Every sin that a man doeth is without the body, but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body."  1 Corinthians 6:18 & 19 "What?  know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"

1Cor.3:17  "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.  18  Let no man deceived himself."

This is real serious business.  If you have a lust problem, divorce and remarriage problem, marriage problem, we better get real serious with God, because these are eternal life issues according to the word of God.

Galatians5:19-21  and  1 Cor.6:9-11



Click here for more topics


Or continue your study of divorce and remarriage:


Divorce Stats

Divorce Exception Clause  (This article) where you now are

Divorce is not the unpardonable sin

The Question of Divorce and Remarriage

Divorce and Remarriage according to Some Mennonites

Which Jots and Tittles of The Law shall not fail?

5 Reasons Why Christians Should Not Obtain a State Marriage License


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