Question 1: If one divorces and remarries without scriptural authority (that is, for the cause of fornication), can that person continue in fellowship with the church because he attends services regularly or has more money than most others?
Answer: No. The person you describe is committing adultery, and the one he is living with is committing adultery (Matthew 19:9). No matter how often (or how long) one may attend services, no matter how much money one may have (or how much one may give), that person is living in sin, and will continue to do so until he repents. This involves being sorry for the sin committed, getting out of the ungodly relationship, confessing the sin before God and the brethren, and praying for forgiveness (Acts 8:22). The one who caused the divorce needs to return to his or her first mate, if the first mate is willing to forgive. If not, this person can no longer scripturally remarry, but must remain single! If the person refuses to repent, after every attempt is made to win his should again, it is commanded by God that fellowship of the brethren be withdrawn so the guilty one’s soul might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (1Corinthian 5).
Question 2: If a Christian man divorces his wife and impregnates a second woman, should the church stop him from doing church duties?
Answer: If a Christian man divorced his wife for any other cause than fornication, he has sinned. He has also sinned, having committed fornication, when he impregnated the second woman. This man needs to respond as shown in the answer to the first question. If he refuses to respond scripturally, he also needs to be disciplined; that is, fellowship needs to be taken from him. Until he responds according to God’s Word, he should not be involved in any way with the church. To permit such would be to bring even greater shame to the church and to the Lord who died for him (Hebrew 10:26-29).
Question 3: If a Christian man divorces his wife and impregnates a second woman, can he continue with the second woman in order to keep her and the child from suffering?
Answer: No. The man would continue to be an adulterer. Paul says in Galatians 5:19-21, that those who “do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” It appears that the idea of ‘keeping the woman from suffering’ is just an attempt to make sin beautiful. If this man is truly concerned about the woman, he will sever (cut off) the relationship with her, lest she (and he) live an eternity suffering in Hell. Because this one cannot scripturally continue with the woman, however, does not mean the sinner has no responsibility to the child he fathered. Indeed, he does. In 1Timothy 5:8, we learn that one who does not provide for his own, “hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
Question 4: If the situation described in Question 3 is not solved after a long time, and if the divorced man continues with the impregnated woman, but also wants to continue worshipping, should the local church just forget it?
Answer: No. If the local church “just forgets about it,” they would, therefore, be sinning (being in danger of judgment), because they would be violating God’s Word, which commands that it not be forgotten, but rather be dealt with (1Corinthian 5). Remember always: 1Corinthian 5 is not merely a suggestion. It is a commandment to which all must be obedient! It is a way given of God by which souls can be saved.
Question 5: Can a married couple who live together, but have no marriage certificate of any sort, separate, remarry each other, confess sin publicly, and be accepted by the local church?
Answer: If a man and a woman are not scripturally and legally married, they are not living in a God-ordained marriage, but are in a sinful relationship. They, indeed, need to sever this sinful relationship, repent of their wickedness, and pray to God, if perhaps the thoughts of their hearts may be forgiven (Acts 8:22). At this point, they should be accepted as brother and sister in Christ, since they will have done what God commands. If each is scripturally and legally free to marry, and do so, then they should be accepted as husband and wife.
Question 6: Some argue that, since a person can confess, be baptized, and receive a baptismal certificate (which shows that one is married to Christ), they can, likewise, confess sexual sin publicly and receive a marriage certificate that will sanctify their relationship. Is this true?
Answer: No. This is not true. The comparison in the question is neither accurate nor complete. A baptismal certificate is nothing but a piece of paper that witnesses to the fact of one’s baptism. A marriage certificate is nothing but a piece of paper that witnesses to the fact of a marriage between two people. The baptismal certificate does not sanctify the sinner, nor does the marriage certificate sanctify the marriage. Before one is married to Christ at baptism, he must first repent of his sins. This means he must give those sins up; he must get out of them; he must leave them behind. This includes sexual sin. A marriage certificate cannot be granted with the approval of God, or His church, to any persons who continue in adulterous marriages. Simply confessing the sexual sin does not sanctify it. Just as surely, a certificate does not sanctify it. The only way for a Christian to get rid of sin is to repent (in sorrow, turn away from it) and pray to God (Acts 8:22). A thousand admissions of sin, a thousand certificates, would do nothing to set aside an unscriptural marriage.
In considering the many issues of marriage, divorce, and remarriage plaguing the church today, it is well to remember that God has ordained there be one husband and one wife for life. That marriage can only be terminated by death (Romans 7:1-3); or, in the case of fornication, the innocent party (the one who has remained pure and not contributed in any way to his mate’s sin) may with the approval of God divorce and remarry another. However, the innocent party may choose to be forgiving (upon the mate’s repentance) and continue in the marriage with God’s approval.
What God hath joined together, man cannot scripturally put asunder (Matthew 19:6). Though man may try to dissolve marriages for reasons other than death or fornication, though man may announce that a divorce for other reasons is granted, though husband and wife may agree to divorce for other reasons, the marriage remains intact before God. Man can never scripturally separate that which God has joined together.
Man cannot scripturally join together what God does not join together. Any joining together of a man and woman that God has not done is adulterous, sinful relationship. When churches look the other way and refuse to deal with these relationships according to the will of God, they become partakers of their evil deeds (2John 9).