Thursday, October 29, 2009

How is Marriage defined?

I don't mean how does the government define marriage, but how does scripture define marriage. I have been in a battle of late that has left me with many questions on how and what God views as a marriage relationship. I am asking this question here and may post it on my Facebook because I am wanting to get alot of feedback, and since I haven't blogged in a while, I'm not sure many people come by anymore (just you little ole' faithful ones, whom I adore!)

This morning I began my Bible study in Matthew 5. I stopped at Matthew 5:23-25, because this is the section where Christ is talking about divorce. I have been writing down scripture that pertains to marriage, so after I read that passage I went back to Malachi. In Malachi God is talking about "the wife of your youth". Here is the scripture, taken from the Amplified Bible:

Yet you ask, Why does He reject it? Because the Lord was witness [to the covenant made at your marriage] between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously and to whom you were faithless. Yet she is your companion and the wife of your covenant [made by your marriage vows].

And did not God make [you and your wife] one [flesh]? Did not One make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why [did God make you two] one? Because He sought a godly offspring [from your union]. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth.

Notice the word "covenant". In marriage God is a witness to a covenant you are making to each other. He is there (at some type of ceremony, right) as a witness, and when God witnesses or is part of a covenant it is lasting.

So my question is (leaving the state you live in out of it), what in God's eyes is he a witness too? What is taking place that God would say "I am a witness"? Can two people in their hearts without representation covenant with God to be man and wife, or does more need to take place?

O.K. ladies and gentlemen (if men still read this blog), what say ye? If you have anyone that doesn't come to my blog that can give insight, please pass this on!!!

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Mari said...

Wow - this is a thought provoking question. I'm not good at putting my thoughts into words so you'll have to excuse my rambling! I don't think people can just decide to covenant between themselves and say they are married in God's eyes. I think there are legal venues that need to be followed. God told us to give to Caesar what is Caesar's and I think that applies to legal rules and laws also, unless we are being told to do something that is against God's laws. Second - If you are truly wanting to be married in the sight of God, why would you not want to stand up and do it in front of others also. And, I think there needs to be some accountability which is given by having it witnessed.
Now - I know I had more, but after typing this I can't think of more, so I may be back! Hope you can make sense of this.

April said...

I'm definitely not a scholar of the scriptures, but I'll tell you what I think I know :)

The Bible is full of examples of how to properly take an oath or pledge (not just in marriage). Witnesses were almost always a requirement to a binding agreement. Boaz made sure he had witnesses when he declared his intentions for Ruth (long story short).

The marriage ceremony is important in that it is a public declaration, a pledge to one another and an oath before God. The state of marriage is so intrinsic to our faith, that the Lord uses marriage to paint us a picture of His relationship with the church, going so far as to refer to us (the church) as His bride.

My question would be, if two people love God and love each other, why would they not wish to obey His word? Obedience in this matter would be such a small price to pay, otherwise we end up as it was in the book of Judges when "everyone did what was right in their own eyes".

Connie said...

There are really some good thoughts expressed (above). I too, wonder why if they are in love with eachother and love the Lord, why then would they not want to be married publicly. One thing that happens, I believe, is sometimes two people have children from another marriage and sometimes that causes problems in the second marriage. So they decide to just live together but not to marry. Also sometimes, certain funds are cut off if they marry so they choose to live together rather than marriage. BUT If they can't come to some agreement with their children etc., then they should just continue to date (not live together) or stop seeing eachother all together. It is always so cut and dryed but God does not change. That we can be assured of.
(I hope you got my response from your facebook item.

e-Mom said...

Hi Kim,

Thanks for inviting me to comment... I read your post coming home from vacation, and I didn't have time to speak up.

Living together (assuming there is sexual intercourse) is sin. Pure and simple. Where there is no public/verbal covenant of marriage, Scripture calls it "fornication." (Adultery is sexual relations with someone other than one's spouse).

Remember, the very first miracle Jesus performed (water to wine) was at a wedding ceremony in Cana. Also, as believers, we are called "the Bride of Christ." We are promised a "wedding feast" to celebrate our union with Jesus after He returns. Needless to say, wedding ceremonies (with all the festivities) are vitally important to God!

In the case of this couple, I would under NO circumstances allow them to minister in your church--until they are married. The reason is that they are not setting the correct example for those under their spiritual care. They must live out the Scriptures, as well as teach them. This couple has allowed the world's ways to influence their thinking.

Remember, ultimately God intends for children to spring from sexual relations. Before birth control (The Pill) this was obvious to society, and far fewer people lived together without being married.

Marriage was designed by God to provide security and provision for the mother and her offspring--which are supposed follow naturally from a couple's sexual relations.

Think about this: Intercourse is actually a "blood covenant," because usually the first time a young bride unites with her husband, blood is shed. As with all blood covenants, God takes sexual union very, very seriously!

I could go on and on... there are huge differences between living together and being married (it's like renting vs. buying). If you want some resources, I can give you the links to a couple of articles online. (Dr. Willard Harley and CBMW)

Bless you in your ministry. Let His Spirit lead and guide you into all Truth!


P.S. Faith responded to your comment with some thoughts on this topic over at Chrysalis. Come take a peek! :~D

All My Blessings said...

I'm so glad I stopped by today. This is a subject that's being weighing on me for a long time. I have a book of God's Promises that I refer to almost daily and it leads to many verses in the Bible concerning marriage and you name it, it's there. Thank you for a great post. Kae