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  1. Does adultery of the heart as described by Jesus in Matthew 5:28 constitute the same form of "sexual immorality" given as an exception for divorce being permissible in Matthew 19:9?

  2. In John 8:3-11 Jesus declines to condemn a woman caught in the act of adultery and commands her to leave her life of sin. If she fully repents of her previous act(s) of adultery, would the exception for divorce given by Jesus in Matthew 19:9 still apply?

  3. Assuming the answer to No. 2 above is No, at what point does the marriage covenant become re-established?

I have what I believe to be the answer to this but I want to vett my answer

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closed as off-topic by David, Flimzy, Narnian, James T, Dan Mar 29 '14 at 19:26

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "General philosophical or sociological questions are off-topic unless clearly asking for a doctrinal answer. See: On-topic and constructive examples." – David, Narnian, Dan
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Are you asking for a Biblically-based answer, or an answer based on the doctrine of a particular church/denomination? – Steven Doggart Mar 18 '14 at 20:16
Biblically based – John Mar 18 '14 at 20:21
I'm not aware of anyone who would say that looking for porn is grounds for a divorce. 'Sexual immorality' is usually taken to refer to sex. But maybe someone else will someone who does think porn is grounds for divorce... – curiousdannii Mar 18 '14 at 21:04
Sounds like the wife has scapegoat to use at any time. That sounds ugly. I think this questions has been answered before anyways. – WelcomeNewUsers Mar 18 '14 at 21:34
Too be honest, I'm not too keen on reopening this even if you'd like to argue it's not pastoral advice (the trappings lean that way though despite the insistence). Asking for a biblical basis wrapped up in this much legalism is at best odd. Please remember that the Bible is not a legal document, and as such does not detail all of the possible situations one might encounter. It can provide governing principals, and addresses something specifically, but you're not going to find a direct answer to your question. – wax eagle Mar 19 '14 at 19:30

As to porn being a basis for divorce, I can only suspect someone might use this verse:

Matthew 5:28

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

And in combination with Jesus' one exception for the prohibition on divorce: "saving for the cause of fornication" (Matt 5:32), they erroneously conclude that "lookething" is the same as fornicating in this exception.

This is very convenient interpretation because it gives an instant basis for divorce. I would venture to guess that 0% of married men could survive this criteria beyond a week and a half of their marriage vows. Because it wouldn't be just porn. If he looks at a woman fully clothed--with any desire at all--he's done. It's a downright goofy interpretation that leads to goofy conclusions.

I would think that most folks reading Jesus words in context here would conclude that Jesus' is stressing the importance of marriages staying together. Does it make sense for Him to turn around and give such a blanket license for divorce in the same chapter? No. This interpretation is therefore, ridiculous.

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But in the very next paragraph Jesus tells people not to divorce! – curiousdannii Mar 19 '14 at 2:59
Exactly! So it would be goofy to think looking at other women satisfies Jesus one exception. – The Preacher Mar 19 '14 at 3:01

Your Question #1: Does adultery of the heart as described by Jesus in Matthew 5:28 constitute the same form of "sexual immorality" given as an exception for divorce being permissible in Matthew 19:9?

No, but they're "kissin' cousins"! The thought is father to the deed. If you find yourself repeatedly fantasizing about "having an affair" with that woman at your job with whom you seem to have a mutual chemistry, don't be surprised if you find yourself in bed with her someday.

Is actually committing adultery with one's body worse than committing adultery in one's mind? Of course. Just as it is "less bad" to think about smacking someone than it is to haul off and actually smack him! Some sins are worse than others, and to say they're all the same is nonsense. Now yes, one sin, be it in thought or deed, be it big or small, will keep us out of heaven, unless Jesus interposes His precious blood. That's the legal aspect, if you will, of sin being followed by death, unless Jesus steps in and bestows His forgiveness on us.

Is committing adultery in one's heart, then, grounds for divorce? Possibly. It depends. If the adultery takes the form of an addiction to pornography, such that bills are not getting paid because bill-paying money is being wasted on smut, then possibly yes. However, if the husband is willing to get help with his addiction and does in fact get the help and make strides in eliminating it from his life, then in my opinion his wife might also have "grounds" to give him another chance, forgive him, and move on from there.

If, on the other hand, she is simply not willing to forgive him, or she simply can't find it in her heart to forgive him, then I would recommend they both get counselling, both together and separately. A wife who goes full steam ahead with a divorce without even giving her husband a chance to confess, repent of and forsake his sin, is likely either not a Christian, or a very carnal one, and may be looking for an excuse to get out of the marriage. She's evidently forgotten the part of her marriage vow that says, "for better or for worse."

The same goes for a husband whose wife has cheated on him. Divorce need not be automatic, if there is a willingness to forgive and to be forgiven. If there's no willingness, then perhaps the effects of the sin have spilled over into the family (such that the husband has molested a son or daughter or has committed some other heinous sin), and divorce seems to be, in the opinion of a godly counselor or two, the only way out, OR, the sinned-against spouse is too carnal to forgive (or the sinning spouse is not willing to repent).

Your Question #2: In John 8:3-11 Jesus declines to condem a woman caught in the act of adultery and commands her to leave her life of sin. If she fully repents of her previous act(s) of adultery, would the exception for divorce given by Jesus in Matthew 19:9 still apply?

That depends on whether or not her husband wants to forgive her. If he doesn't, then according to Jesus he is allowed to divorce her. BUT, again, he is not required to do so. If the adulteress is genuinely repentant (and John 8 does not indicate one way or the other as to whether she was repentant, though it would appear that Jesus, being able to "read" people and know their thoughts and motivations, knew that she was repentant), there is still the possibility of forgiveness and restoration of the relationship.

Your Question #3: Assuming the answer to No. 2 above is No, at what point does the marriage covenant become re-established?

The marriage covenant is renewed, as you put it, when the spouses agree to a verbal contract which stipulates that the husband will forsake his cheating ways, and the wife will forgive his past infidelity, but only with the understanding that if the husband commits adultery one more time, there will be a divorce. Here, Jesus' words about forgiving seventy times seventy would not apply, in my opinion. Marriage is too sacred a thing to allow for seventy times seven infidelities.

Now, a second, third, or fourth adultery does not necessarily require or necessitate a divorce, but I think even Jesus would say after the second adultery, "Enough is enough. Your husband is neither able nor willing to repent of this sin, so seek a divorce if that is what you think God wants you to do, and you have a Holy-Spirit inspired peace about it."

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a sin is a sin, there is no greater sin than a another. There is no grade in holiness, there is Holy and unholy. Still, there is one offense that will not be forgiven, it's knowingly insulting the Holy-Spirit of God. Except that one, there is no comparison in sins.

Jesus in Mathew 5:28, and also Mark 10:17-27, Jesus is emphasizing the fact that none can be saved or declare worthy of God's presence (where is God's presence, there is Heaven, it's just like Air Force One and Marine One) by his following of the commandments or its actions. Jesus didn't come to add to Moses work by adding a bunch a new sophisticated laws, so please, don't take the new testimony as the laws by which you should decide a divorce or what is sin. Don't fall in the same trap as the pharisians John 5:39.

Mark 10:17-27

17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is[a] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him,[b] “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

For the question of divorce, i think we should forgive each other (between christians) as God forgives us everyday (through our christianity, remember the prayer Jesus taught the disciples, forgive us our offenses as we forgive those who offend us (precisely between christians)), i think if the offense can be forgiven by us, so there is no real reason to divorce, but still, God want us happy, if the offense cannot be forgiven without divorcing let it be (as Amos 3:3)

3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

once more what God wants is our happiness and if divorce gives that, then divorce. Be bless.

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What? the wife committed adultery due to husband addiction to pornography? The wife committed a greater sin as there is no 3rd party involve in her husband's pornography.

In this case, both of them can file an annulment specially the husband ,and both of them must stay single in respect to Matthew 5:32

It is also up to them if they want to forgive each other and continue their relationship. This is much better.

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Why do you say the wife committed a greater sin?? – curiousdannii Mar 19 '14 at 6:13
Both of them had sinned with each other, but in my humble opinion the wife committed a greater sin in the eyes of God and people. Her husband had just watched a porn and did not committed sex with the porn actress. No sexual intercourse happened. No emotional FEELINGS involve. In revenge his wife got an affair. With emotional attachment involved ,and possibly have sex with that guy. According to 1 Corinthians 6:18 ~ Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. Is masturbation worse than fornication? – LayoutPH Mar 19 '14 at 6:56
Oh yeah, I forgot the second half of the question :/ – curiousdannii Mar 19 '14 at 7:06

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