Ryan Johnson, Lead Pastor

You Asked For It

Divorce, Remarriage, and The Judgment Seat of Christ
August 24, 2014

Bad News!!!  There was a glitch with the computer on Sunday evening and the audio and video from this last session of You Asked For It was corrupted.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  Below are the notes from that question with additions included from questions asked during the session (hover your mouse over the Scripture references and they will pop up).


Divorce and Remarriage

  • Why this question?
    • Statistics
      • 41 percent of first marriages end in divorce, 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce, 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce.
      • In America, there is one divorce approximately every 36 seconds. That’s nearly 2,400 divorces per day, 16,800 divorces per week and 876,000 divorces a year.  In China, there are more than 5,000/day.
      • Baptists in America have the highest divorce rate (29%) of any religious denomination in America.
    • Recovery
      • Divorced couples need grace from the church.
      • They are asking, “Is there life and purpose beyond this?”
      • Is God finished with me?
  • Does God allow divorce?
    • Divorce was not part of man’s original design.  God instituted marriage as an introduction to the nature of covenants. The marriage covenant is more than a contract.  It connects the souls of two or more individuals and includes commitments, obligations, and privileges that benefit both parties, but demands sacrifice by both parties as well.
    • For an extensive study on Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage by Bro. Mike Whitt, click here.
    • Matthew 19:1-6
    • Biblically, a covenant can broken (for marriages, this is called a divorce) when one of the parties involved in the covenant breaks the stipulations of that covenant.  However, because of the serious nature of the covenant, revoking the covenant apart from extensive attempts at reconciliation is not advised.  In a marriage relationship, a divorce is permitted when the one who has broken the covenant persists in their sin and refuses to change throughout attempts at reconciliation.
    • One thing is certain, divorce should not be something that we rush into.
  • Does divorce disqualify me for ministry?
    • There is grace to be found.  This can only be answered on a case-by-case basis.
    • 1 Timothy 3:2, 12 and the “husband of one wife” >>  In the past, arguments have been made that any kind of divorce disqualifies a pastor or deacon from serving in one of those roles again.  Is this what 1 Timothy 3 teaches?
      • It is very important in interpreting Scripture to pay attention to the context.  Context is key.  So, we must ask, “What is the context into which Paul was speaking?”
      • The Roman culture was known for religious prostitution and sexual immorality.  In 1 Timothy 3, the literal translation of Paul’s words would be that the pastor or deacon in question is a “one woman man.”  This means that he is not engaged in relationships with any other woman besides his wife.
      • Does this exclude men who have been divorced?  Some people may make this argument.  Many well-known pastors and commentators would teach this (click here for examples).  However, I do not interpret this passage to mean that.  In my opinion (Ryan Johnson), I do not believe that generally, divorce disqualifies a man from serving in these positions.  Nevertheless, there are certain cases in which the circumstances surrounding a minister or deacon’s past divorce that may disqualify him from leadership.  In those cases, one must evaluate the instance instead of just applying the principle broadly.
  • When is remarriage allowed?
    • Matthew 19:7-9
    • 1 Corinthians 7:10-11
    • Question asked during session: How would you encourage someone who is uncertain about whether or not their divorce was biblical?  Additionally, if someone has gotten remarried after an unbiblical divorce, what should they do?
      • If you are a person who has, for whatever reason, experienced divorce in your past you may, after reading this answer, wonder how God views you in light of your divorce and what His Word says.  If this is your position, you need to understand that your standing before God is not determined based on a divorce, but on whether or not you have trusted Christ.  If you have trusted Christ and are living in a relationship with Him, your past does not dictate your present or your future.  The enemy will try to discourage you based on past decisions, however, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
      • If you have been divorced and are currently unmarried, did you seek reconciliation or did you rush into divorce?  Have things changed in your former spouse?  Pray that God would heal that relationship with the Gospel so that reconciliation could occur.
      • Have you been divorced and are remarried to another person?  Was your first divorce unbiblical?  Let me be clear, God would not call you to correct a prior mistake by making another one.  It would not be biblical to divorce your current spouse to seek reconciliation with your former spouse.  Trust in God’s grace, forgiveness, and freedom that you now have in Christ.
  • How can we make a difference?
    • Share the truth about what marriage is >> Marriage is God’s provision for us and an essential part of our lives.  It is a covenant relationship of biblical love and mutual submission that are meant to illustrate Christ’s love for the church.  Marriage is the foundation of all civil society!  It is the first institution given by God to humanity.  It is of extreme importance. (Mike’s Study)
    • Cultivate happy marriages >> If your parents are happily married, your risk of divorce decreases by 14 percent.


What is going to happen at the Judgment Seat of Christ?

  • Will believers experience judgment?
    • Matthew 25:31-40 >> the “sheep” (believers) are at the Final Judgment
    • 2 Corinthians 5:10 >> believers will stand before the judgment seat of Christ
  • What is the nature of Christ’s judgment of us?
    • 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 >> the judgment will be on the basis of how we have built
    • Matthew 25:14-30 >> did we use our talents, gifts and resources for God’s glory?
    • James 3:1 >> those who have a calling to speak the truth will be judged more strictly
  • I thought our sins were cast as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12)?
      • In Jesus, God remembers our sin no more >> Jeremiah 31:34
      • There is no condemnation for believers >> Romans 8:1
    • Do not fear >> 1 John 4:17 | By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.


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