Q. I hear preachers and teachers say that God may forgive divorced people and bless their second marriage if they do “certain” things but I can’t find this in the Bible. I know you have to repent and then get out of the sin. If you do not have to get out of the sin then why should homosexuals, liars, thieves, idolaters and murders stop their acts of sin if they confess and repent? I believe you have to remove yourself from the sin in order for it to be true repentance. I can steal and then ask God to forgive me but if I still continue in the sin how have I repented?
The Bible says that a man who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery and that no adulterer will enter into heaven. I can’t understand how He can forgive the sin of a second marriage when they continue in their adultery and then allow these people into heaven.
A. There are two problems with your view. One is that to repent means to change your mind, not your behavior. To ask forgiveness for for our sins we first have to believe we’ve sinned. That means we have to change our mind about our behavior and admit that we’re sinners before God can save us. But in Matt.18:21-22 we’re told that we should forgive others up to 70 X 7 times for sinning against us. Would God do any differently when we sin against Him? If we had to stop sinning in order to be saved, none of us would be saved because we’re all still sinners. You may think that divorce is the worst of all sins, but to God all sins are equally bad. That’s why the basis of our salvation is our belief, not our behavior (John 3:16).
The other is that when Jesus went to the cross He took with Him all the sins of our life, even the ones we haven’t committed yet (Col. 2:13-14). Then when we accepted His death as payment in full for those sins, He sealed His Holy Spirit in us to guarantee our inheritance (Ephes. 1:13-14). That means even the sin of divorce can be forgiven and even a divorced person can still go to heaven. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21) because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebr. 10:14)