Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 15 No. 10 October 2013
Page 8

What Constitutes Marriage?

Ian McPherson

Marriage was ordained in the Garden of Eden by God (Genesis 2:23-25). It provides man with suitable companionship (Genesis 2:18) and a secure environment for raising children (Genesis 1:26-28, Psalm 127:3-5; 128; Malachi 2:14-15). The attack by Satan on the home today is relentless and has caused much confusion. Many do not even know whether or not they are actually married. Let us therefore go back to Bible basics to define what constitutes marriage.

Marriage Is an Institution of God.

“Wherefore they are no more twain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6). No man or government has authority to join people in marriage or grant a divorce without God’s approval.

Marriage Is Regulated by the Law of God.

“The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:39). “The law” here is God’s law. An example of an unlawful marriage is that of King Herod to Herodias. Even though they were married and divorced according to the law of the land (Mark 6:17), John the Baptist still told Herod that “It is not lawful for thee to have her” (Matthew 14:4). Herod was still accountable to God’s law of marriage. Christians and non-Christians alike, therefore, are accountable to God in their marriage.

Christ stated that fornication is the only ground for divorce and remarriage. “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and whoso marrieth her who is put away doth commit adultery” (Matthew 19:9). (See also Matthew 5:32, Romans 7:2-3.)

Marriage Is Undefiled and Honourable.

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). To be valid, marriage must be honourable in all (before both God and man). All societies require some form of legal marriage ceremony that is publicly witnessed and accepted. If a marriage has not complied with the legal requirements of the land, it is not honorable for man. De facto relationships do not constitute marriage.

The motor car is a great blessing to man if driven responsibly. Imagine, however, what carnage would result on our roads if all men were free to drive cars without a license. In the same way, sex, if confined to the marriage bed, is honorable and undefiled, and should be practiced freely and romantically. (See also 1 Corinthians 7:3-5; Song of Solomon 4:8-16). Fornication and adultery, however, have devastating fruits; broken homes, parentless children, crushed spirits, suicide, loneliness, disease, and murder are just a few of the consequences.

Marriage Is Formed by Covenant.

It is not formed by the first sexual union. “Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant” (Malachi 2:14). (See also Proverbs 2:17-18.) Marriage is actually a three-way covenant. The man, the woman and God must all agree. Also, the couple becomes husband and wife at the ceremony, not in the honeymoon bed. Sex does not form the marriage, but it is a blessing within the marriage.

Marriage Is between Man and Woman.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Many governments today are actually legalizing homosexual marriages. Same-sex unions are described in the Bible as vile, unnatural and sinful, and therefore, they can never form any part of a valid marriage (Romans 1:26-27).

Let us close with an admonition from the Proverbs to married people. “Let thy foundation be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger”(Proverbs 5:18-20)?


Jay Jones

When a person grows old, the one thing that makes him the happiest is to know and see his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends and loved ones walking in harmony with God’s will. Having their priorities in the right prospective is:

When people reach the last years of their lives and reflect back, I doubt if recounting how much they accumulated in material things would be of any importance. They could ask this question, “What have I done in my lifetime for the cause of Christ?”

[Editor’s Note: At the close of one’s life one wonders, “What’s next for me?" and "Have I prepared adequately for the commencement of eternity.” ~ Louis Rushmore

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