Assumption: Divorced Christians have a moral imperative to remain open to remarrying their former spouse regardless of circumstances of the divorce until that former spouse remarries since they are called to emulate God’s character of being the Great Reconciler (II Corinthians 5:18).
False. God is holy and jealous. He is the same in both the Old Testament and New Testament. In Jeremiah 3, God exposes just how abhorrent it would be for Him to receive Israel back into His arms after her repeated and willful adulteries. It was not lawful for a man to return to his remarried/widowed/divorced former spouse because it was abhorrent to a Jew to share a woman with another man according to the (Biblical) holiness code (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). So, God divorces Israel in light of her adulteries, and that generation (at least) was separated from Him. Similarly, we see in Romans 11 that not all of God’s original bride (Israel) will be accepted and chosen (e.g. “save some of them” vv14, not all, but “some.” Also, vv.17 “If some of the branches have been broken off” suggests permanent separation and death for some who are the original Bride of God!) If God allowed Israel (that generation, minimally) to perish choosing other gods/lovers over Him, then certainly this relational reality may be mirrored in human experience and marital relations as well. It is logically nonsensical to call such a choice ungodly since God made it.
Variation/Restatement of Assumption: All remarriages are prohibited to Christian divorcees unless they remarry their former spouse.
False. A faithful spouse released through the adulterous behavior of their former spouse is free to remarry without any moral stigma (according to both Old and New Testament teachings). If a Jewish spouse was caught in confirmed adultery, that spouse would be killed according to the Law (Deutoronomy 22:22). Hence, if one had a confirmed adulterous spouse, one would be a widow or widower under the Law. Applying this scenario to Paul’s teaching in I Corinthians 7:39 (“A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord” (NIV)), the faithful spouse is free to remarry another Christian. Hence, Scripture consistently teaches that the faithful spouse is free to marry or remain single. Their character is not under question either way according to Paul’s teaching about remarriage with widows (I Corinthians 7:39 and 7:36).
Addendum: It would be an odd reading of Scripture to ascribe less freedom and grace to a faithful spouse under the Covenant of Grace than under the Covenant of the Law. Many evangelical Christians would insist abstinence for the faithful spouse under the Covenant of Grace unless they remarried their former spouse (or that former spouse remarried first). However, this idea is not applied to a widow or widower–i.e.they would see no moral conflict in the case of a widow/widower remarrying. Therefore, the grace/mercy shown to the unfaithful spouse (granting him/her their lives) results in less freedom/mercy for the faithful spouse under the Covenant of Grace with this understanding. A morally and Biblically consistent approach to a brother or sister who has suffered the trauma of adultery and divorce by a former spouse is to treat them in the same way we would a brother or sister who lost a spouse to death.