Bible Question:

I am a polygamist, what should I do? I commit polygamy when I was a non-Christian. I married once, then because of income problems I travelled abroad. There I meet a girl and we got into relationship. My wife also got into a relationship with another guy and they had a child. My wife does not know that I married this new girlfriend without divorcing her. That is, I am now married to two women. Now, I am a Christian and a church leader. I have two children by my second wife. I knew that what I did was a sin, but now I do not know where to stand as a Christian. Please give me advice.

Bible Answer:

After the creation of Adam and Eve, God declared in Genesis 2:23-24 that a man and woman are to leave father and mother and become one flesh. God’s command clearly reveals that He intended for marriage to be between one man and one woman. Jesus reinforced this truth when He taught that if a man looks upon another woman and lusts after her, he commits adultery (Matt. 5: 27-28). In order to avoid this sin, a man could not have a desire to marry another woman in addition to his current wife. This truth is echoed in one of the key qualifications for an elder in 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6. The qualification is that an elder is to be a one-woman-man or the husband of one woman. That is, he is to be devoted to one woman. Since the elders of the church are to be examples for the entire congregation of godliness (Heb. 13:7), this qualification communicates a high standard to the entire congregation.

If you desire to please God, you will respond with obedience. Your first act of obedience should be repentance over your sin of adultery and polygamy. You committed adultery when you married your second wife (Matt. 5:27-28; 19:9). In Psalm 51:2-3 King David pleaded with God to forgive him.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight . . .

King David prayed this prayer after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba. David says he sinned against God. You have offended God Almighty.

Second, tell your wives that you have committed adultery. Tell them to whom you are married, why and how it happened. Then ask for their forgiveness. It is possible that both wives will want to divorce you. It is also possible that both wives might want to remain married. You should take this issue to God before telling them. Ask God to direct what you say and how they respond.

Third, if both wives want to continue being married to you, then you have to divorce one of them. You are in violation of God’s laws and possibly the laws of your nation.

Fourth, tell your pastor of your sin. You should resign as a leader of the church. I would recommend waiting five to seven years before you consider being a leader in a church again. You need time to demonstrate that you are truly a godly man devoted to one woman. I would recommend that you resign as a church leader after step two. Seek the counsel of your pastor before step three.

Conclusion:

Finally, when we confess our sins to God, 1 John 1:9 says that “He is faithful and just to forgive our sins.” Notice that He says He is faithful. That is, He will forgive if you are serious. He is also just. It would be wrong for God to not forgive. That is great news. He forgives even our intentional sins, assuming that you are serious about making things correct. In everything that you do, honor God.

Reference Links:

Peace With God
God's Original Design For Marriage
Marital Paradise Lost
The Privileges of a Wife
The Privileges of a Husband
What biblical evidence is there for God allowing polygamy?
Does God approve of polygamy?
All About Vows
Is polygamy supported by 1 Corinthians 7:2?