How can adultery be an ongoing sin?


I've read a lot of information on marriage and remarriage. I see the stand is being taken that God does not honor divorce; hence, will not honor a second marriage unless for the woman it was because of adultery.

I would like to know your thoughts on the story of King David and his marriage to Bathsheba after they committed adultery, I don't think anyone would argue that David repented for his mistakes, and God honored their marriage by blessing them with King Solomon. In addition, Jesus told the woman at the well she was forgiven for her sins, and the woman caught in adultery. How can we say that adultery is an ongoing sin when clearly there are examples where King David, the woman caught in adultery, the woman at the well and Old Testament stories where God commanded divorce to the woman of other nations due to their pagan ways?

Also, God says when He forgives He throws you sin into the sea of forgetfulness and remembers it no more, we are free. Please explain how we justify King David's marriage and the forgiveness of adultery in the New Testament, and divorce decrees by God in the Old Testament.


You are mixing a lot of concepts and perhaps that is what is leading to your confusion. Adultery is having sex with someone while you are in a covenant relationship with another person. David committed adultery with Bathsheba. Both of them were married to other people. Yet David did not marry Bathsheba until after her husband was dead. "When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD" (II Samuel 11:26-27). God didn't like what David did because not only did David sin by committing adultery, he sought to hide it by having Uriah killed and then marrying his former wife. The marriage was not adulterous because of the death of Bathsheba's husband. "For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man" (Romans 7:2-3).

Notice in Romans 7:2-3 that while a woman's husband lives, and she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress. Unlike your claim, such a woman's sin is called ongoing. It continues until her husband dies. "She will be called" is in the future active indicative tense in Greek. It is an active state which she remains in even into the future. It isn't a one-time past event. Thus adultery can be an ongoing state.

You claim that David did not repent of his sins, but the Bible shows otherwise. "So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die"" (II Samuel 12:13).

In regards to the woman at the well: "Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly"" (John 4:16-18). The woman had been married five times. How those marriages ended is not stated. She was currently living with a man without even bothering to be married to him. Jesus never tells her she is forgiven, though you can infer that it was something that likely happened. But what you cannot infer is that when such forgiveness was given that it allowed her to remain in the sinful condition she was currently in -- having sex with a man to whom she wasn't married.

Regarding the woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus told her, "go and sin no more" (John 8:11). He forgave her past sins, but he did not give her permission to remain in sin or continue to sin in the future. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2).

Regarding the divorce of foreign wives, you are referring to what happened when the Israelites returned from captivity. "And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, "We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this. Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law"" (Ezra 10:2-3). The people had married people of the nations God specifically stated they could not have dealings with. "When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son" (Deuteronomy 7:1-3). The marriages were in violation of the law and thus had to come to an end. However, nothing in this account states whether these people married again. But let us assume that they could, though it is only an assumption and not proof. Even then, it could be argued that the marriages were not sanctioned by God in the first place, so they had not been bound by God, which left them free to have a marriage that was sanctioned by God.

None of your examples prove that a second marriage, after a divorce for reasons other than adultery, is allowed by God. Instead, there is an example of the opposite. "For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; for he had married her. For John had said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife"" (Mark 6:17-18). Here is a case of a second marriage that is clearly called wrong.

Though there is no verse that says that when God forgives, He casts the sins into a sea of forgetfulness, there is a verse that says, "Indeed it was for my own peace that I had great bitterness; but You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back" (Isaiah 38:17). Nothing in this verse implies that a person is forgiven while remaining in sin or while continuing in sin. God has always demanded repentance. ""But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord GOD, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live?"" (Ezekiel 18:21-23).


Maybe I was mistaken but I meant to say that David did repent of his sins. It's a very hard concept to grasp that God would honor David's marriage because her husband was dead after he had him killed, it would seem the moral of that story was David repented and his sins were forgiven. The exact scriptures that state remembering sins no more is Hebrews 8:12.

Last question, once you have been forgiven for sin, as in an adulteress or adulterer, after you have been forgiven, I guess you are saying that we still are not totally free?

So in your response based on David, it would be better to have the husband or wife killed and then marry for God to honor the marriage rather than follow the laws of the land and do a divorce decree?


Forgiveness means the debt is canceled. It doesn't change who a person is or his circumstances. A parent remains a parent after being forgiven. A married person remains a married person after being forgiven. A man in prison can be forgiven of his sins, but he still has his sentence to serve.

You miss the point that forgiveness is based on a man's repentance. "Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you" (Acts 8:22). You are attempting to claim that forgiveness can be gained without changing your life from sin -- contrary to Ezekiel 18:21-23.

David's sins were adultery, murder, and attempting to cover up his sins. His marriage to Bathsheba was not in itself sinful, but because of how he arranged the marriage, he was held guilty. Because of David's sins, he could have lost his life if he had not changed. Even though he repented and was forgiven, he still was severely punished: "'Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' "Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.'" So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die"" (II Samuel 12:10-14). Thus, your claim that God honored the marriage is false; God punished David for the marriage. Please notice that his forgiveness changed the terms of his punishment a bit, but it did not release him from facing the consequences of what he had done.

Your argument is a foolish one, and you know it. "And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"? --as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just" (Romans 3:8). Murder is wrong; and so is divorce. Since the government's power comes from God (Romans 13:1), a government cannot create laws that override God's. As the apostles told the government of their day, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

You have yet to show that God allows people to remarry when the divorce is for anything other than fornication. Jesus' words still stand: ""And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." His disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry." But He said to them, "All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it"" (Matthew 19:9-12).


David was punished but in the end, he was the greatest king that ever lived, and was blessed with king Solomon. In spite of murder and adultery.


Yes. It is a wonderful example that anyone can turn his life around. But your original question was about divorce and David was never involved in a divorce.

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