The situation of only being divorced and married to a divorced woman was discussed above in Matt. 5:32.
32 But I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for the guilt of adultery, causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5:32).
I have encountered teachings that after divorce FOR the fault of adultery one may marry another.
But notice that Scripture does not address the question of whether one who has been divorced for the sin of adultery can marry another at all.
Scripture deals with the other two questions:
- Divorce apart from (not for) the guilt(s) of adultery (adultery);
- marrying another.
And these are two different issues.
For divorce, yes, there is a difference whether or not there is guilt of adultery(s). And we have considered this question above on Matthew 5:32.
And for marrying another, there is no difference whether there is guilt of adultery or not. Such guilt concerns only the first issue.
There is no consideration of marrying another not for or apart from the guilt of adultery, only of divorce not for (apart from) the guilt of adultery. There is no reason to confuse the two issues, divorce and marriage, as if the condition of guilt of adultery (adultery) applied to both issues.
It says, “(1) he shall not divorce his wife for adultery and (2) he shall marry another,” not “(1) he shall divorce his wife and (2) he shall not marry another for adultery.
Writing about her divorced husband and the fact that she is to remain celibate rather than marry only confirms these conclusions.
Marrying after divorcing another in either case leads to the same result: the sin of adultery, as evidenced by the place in Scripture that speaks of divorcing not for adultery followed by marrying another:
9 But I tell you, whoever divorces his wife not for adultery and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. (Matt.19:9),
18 Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman with her husband commits adultery. (Luk.16:18),
11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her;
12 And if a wife divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery. (Mark 10:11,12)
We must, therefore, be careful not to confuse situations of divorce alone, as discussed in this section, and divorce with remarriage. These are different situations. You can’t mix them up.
Clearly, divorce for the guilt of adultery (fornication) does not give one the right to marry another. This is what the Word of God tells us in the gospel:
18 Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and anyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery. (Luke 16:18).
As discussed above, just the divorcer, without the guilt of adultery, gives his wife an excuse to commit adultery. But he who divorces for whatever reason and marries another is committing adultery.
Thus, one may divorce for the fault of adultery, but one may not marry another and marry a divorced woman.