Of Sex and Marriage
A person/couple should pray to God and ask him by his Spirit to reveal to that person/couple as to what God means by such words/concepts as marriage, fornication, and divorce and how such words/concepts apply to that person’s/couple’s particular situation as every situation may be different. A couple should pray and look to God to lead and guide them into a proper marriage relationship according to their particular family needs and desires.
The below is intended to provide some insight for consideration by the person/couple. It is the responsibility of each person/couple to determine which part, if any, applies to him/her/them. One should be mindful of the biblical principle that though a thing may be lawful it may not be expedient/beneficial (1 Cor 6:12).
It is clear that biblical marriage necessarily involves the mutual lifetime commitment to permanency as husband and wife; this is one thing God makes clear that applies to both the man and woman. Other characteristics of marriage do not necessarily apply to both man and woman in a marital situation due to such things as roles differences. Also, the Bible in scriptures such as Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7 speaks of conditions where permanency is broken, both righteously and unrighteously.
The Bible does not define any one method for establishing a marriage. Indeed Deuteronomy 21:10-14 and the account of Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 3:1-18 and Ruth 4:5-13) provide two different methods of establishing a marriage.
It is intuitively obvious that marriage existed before the advent of a government issued marriage license.
Furthermore, there was a time when governments, e.g., USA, would not issue marriage licenses to interracial couples. Now some governments, e.g., USA, issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. Therefore, Christians certainly must not rely on governments to define what constitutes a valid biblical/Christian marriage. Yet, there are clear legal advantages to obtaining a marriage license in most cases. This includes facilitating access to legal benefits and protection and distribution of assets/properties gained during the relationship; yet if one considers replaceability of assets/properties then such protection/distribution may not be a concern. Moreover, one’s Christian testimony may be enhanced by the presence of a marriage license in the absence of a compelling reason not to obtain one.
Even States have different rules regarding marriage. For example Arkansas does not recognize marriage without a marriage license. Yet, Texas does have a provision for an informal marriage without a marriage license. But note that this Texas informal marriage provision requires the couple to live together as husband and wife not in the sense of boyfriend and girlfriend not committed to permanency as husband and wife.
Thus, any time lived together as boyfriend and girlfriend not committed to permanency as husband and wife does not count as part of any marriage time, biblically or otherwise.
The Bible clearly does not speak against a male and female living together non-romantically without planned or unplanned sexual relations. However, due to fleshly temptations it is dangerous for unrelated males and females to so live together as one or both of them may intentionally or carelessly parade their sexuality and/or sexual assets before the other’s eyes or otherwise suggest/entice the other to eventually engage in sexual activity. Of course, this could also happen when one is simply visiting someone of the opposite sex. The scriptural principle that all things are lawful but not all things are expedient applies. So unrelated persons of the opposite sex should be extremely prayerful and careful about such living arrangements even though they are not scripturally prohibited. It can be done but is difficult to do especially for the non-elderly.
Be ever mindful the scripture does speak against a male and female having sexual relations outside the marital context.
Several New Testament verses dis-favor sex between persons who are not married to each other, for example 1 Cor 6:12-14, 15-18, 19-20 and 1 Cor 7:1-2.
Genesis 38, Leviticus 21:9, and many verses in Deuteronomy chapter 22 provide much guidance concerning sexual immorality to include fornication.
Deuteronomy 22 clearly favors sex between persons who are married to each other. Deuteronomy 22:28-29 says if a man has sex with a virgin woman who is not his wife and who does not belong to another man “she shall be his wife” for life. Of course, since one would not expect a prostitute to be a virgin, this principle in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 would not apply in prostitution situations but rather in situations where a man meets a woman and becomes romantically interested in her.
Also, note that this verse in Deuteronomy 22:29 speaks of consensual/convinced (Hebrew word taphas, Strong’s #H8610) sex; this is in contrast to forced/rape (Hebrew word chazaq, Strong’s #H2388) sex that occurs in Deuteronomy 22:25 which the Bible clearly condemns. Deuteronomy 22:21 and related verses show that harlotry/whoredom is not restricted to sex for money. Therefore, despite the claims of some, fornication is not restricted to sex for money or temple prostitution idolatry.
Sexual romance between people of the same sex is biblically evil regardless of the name given to such romantic encounters. Legalization does not remove its wickedness; therefore, it should not be legalized. God’s love for all sinners does not remove the wickedness of same sex romance.
Grace gives us opportunity to heed the words of Jesus when he says repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17).
For more information on same sex marriage see Same Sex Romantic Partnership
To God be the Glory!
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