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All About GOD - Growing Relationships with Jesus and Others

This subject was just brought up the other day on another site. A pastor said that he & his 'wife' have been together for 18 years but don't have the state legal form for that marriage. I thought it would make for a great discussion. I've questioned these exact things as well many times.

Do we really need a piece of paper to be married to the person we're with? Here are my beliefs and I'm not saying I'm completely accurate though I like to think of myself close to perfect most of the time and rarely wrong.

These are my beliefs and have derived over the years of living in the flesh, turning to Him & serving Him, growing in the Word as well as just plain 'ol life experiences. We as Christians are held to a higher accountability then the rest of the world. We've been called apart from them & chosen to be separate. We're to be holy as He is holy. There are things while we're still on this earth that we must abide in to live in this world. Again, this shows our love and devotion for Christ. It shows our obedience to Him. We are called to be examples, carriers of the promises of God & the revealers of Truth. When we look like the world, how can we be distinct and different? 

 If the Word isn’t direct about an issue, you must compare Scripture against Scripture to seek the truths of His Word because it never contradicts itself. So, let’s continue searching for what He desires of us in this area.

 So, let's just start in the beginning. Genesis is our first view of this union. God seen man couldn't live alone so He created woman from man's rib. He brought the woman to him - which is in my opinion they hooked up sexually. Adam says this is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. Here we have the first description of a true marriage. We become united by God & literally become one. I've heard of so many couples when one spouse dies, the other literally dies from a broken heart. They are missing half of their heart in my view & they die from despair. It goes on to say that a man should leave his parents - mother/father - to be joined with his wife & they become one. Adam & Eve were also naked - again my belief is they had sex and of course remained naked - and wasn't ashamed. So, let's just take this part. God did not give them any papers. He gave them each other to unite in sex & to become one in Him. 

 As age progressed, there were things that changed and needed changing due to the sins of people. Also, population began to expand and they needed order. In the Word, we never see where any papers were given to those married but we do see papers written for those wanting divorces. It was not enough for a man to just say, “We’re divorced” to his wife. The divorce had to be recognized legally and in writing as a document & had to go through the proper channels. So, surely something as important as a marriage covenant would also be in writing. For something to have to be written to cancel a commitment, wouldn’t it make sense for that commitment to also be written? If someone has to write a paper to divorce someone surely they are doing it against a written covenant of some kind or they wouldn’t need another written covenant to break it. Sounds like I’m going in circles but I hope I’m making a tad bit of sense.

 Let’s assume they didn’t have a written document. How would 2 people know they were joined together in God as a married couple? A piece of paper cannot prove that love. It can’t share that devotion you feel for one another. It can’t show that companionship, that devotion or that vow. It could pretty much be a great use for starting a good fire. Sure, families could draw them up ahead of time & have arranged marriages with dowries and such. Does that make them any more of a marriage since man instead of God prearranged it? Do sexual relations determine whether one is married or not? What if they couldn’t have sex for health reasons, are they any less married? When forced to wed, why is that a commitment to someone?

 When people were married in the Old Testament, we see them having the festivals & ceremonies & then he takes her into his tent. BAM!!! Sex sealed the deal. When Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah, Leban told him to fulfill his marital duties for a week, meaning sleep with her for a week. So, from that it seems that sex was what made them a couple & married.

 So, how can we truly know we are united in the eyes of God and are a couple, complete in Him together? Is it because we say it to Him. Lord, we commit our lives to you as a couple?

 Let me give you one of my experiences. After having Destiny out of wedlock & turning my life back to the Lord, I met an awesome Godly man. However, sex was our #1 temptation. We couldn’t be married because he was waiting on a divorce – 1 year. She ran around on him. I got into those Scriptures because I would feel so horrible about having sex outside of marriage. I took OT Scriptures of men taking their wives into the tents and it would appear that was all it took. I would pray “Lord you know this is the man I’m to be with. It’s already been approved in Your eyes. We are just waiting on the legalities of it all.” As true as that was, it still didn’t justify our sin. His Word was the same. Regardless of his ex’s mistakes, they were still married. I was committing fornication or adultery or whichever you want to label it. Though the Lord had accepted his divorce because of her sin, He had not accepted our sin outside of marriage. The Lord didn’t need that paper of divorce but He did need our obedience.

Romans 13:1-7 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. Again, we are to be examples. We’re to follow the governing authorities unless they are against Him and His Word. If the government requires certain procedures and paperwork to be completed before a marriage is recognized, then that’s what we should do.

One argument to this can be that marriage existed before government. However, people existed before the written Word. It doesn’t mean we don’t obey it.

So, are people married at the moment of sexual relations? No or the woman that was caught in adultery (?) that had 5 husbands & the one she was with wasn’t her husband would have had 6 husbands. Women wouldn’t be considered prostitutes but married a gazillion times.

If you haven’t gotten the written legal marriage license, I ask why not?

The signing of a piece of paper is not a matter of affixing one’s signature in ink to a meaningless document. The signing of a marriage certificate is an integral part of what the Bible calls a covenant. RC Sproul

Contracts are signed out of the necessity spawned by the presence of sin in our fallen nature. Because we have an enormous capacity to wound each other, sanctions have to be imposed by legal contracts. RC Sproul

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Might need a week to read this. hahaahahahahaha

Don't even.... you say this to me all the time.  This is a really good post tho, I was speed reading. lol

I'm looking forward to replies.  Although I will say that even those who lived before the written Word, they didn't exist before the Word did.  John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

hahahaha girl. Just read this. That's true about no one existed before the written Word but you know what I was trying to say. It wasn't down on paper for them to read. 

A question that we need to ask ourselves includes a word my friend likes to use (we believe he made it up, but it makes a point). Is the teaching being presented "omni-applicable"? (Omni-applicable: meaning does this teaching fit universally (i.e. U.S., Russia, China, places without electricity, places without formal education, etc). In other words, does it fit in every location everywhere.

Where one could argue that if a country/community has a law on the books that requires a license that a person ought to get a license. Several questions then arise for us to ponder:

1) What about those areas that don't require or even have a mechanism in place to give a license?

2) If a person from an area that does not offer a legal license moves to an area that does offer/require legal license are these two people any less married or unmarried until they do the legal thing in that area? 

The next thing I would ponder is the reality that there are several kinds of marriages or unions. There are legal marriages, but a legal marriage may or may not include God. You can get a license and get married in front of a notary. Homosexuals (yes, I am going there) may get a legal standing and receive a license, but does that legal license align with God's Word? If not, then does God really see it as a marriage (for in the article there is mention of sex seals the deal), so when homosexuals have sex is the deal sealed in God's eyes? 

Sex (and, yes I will go there for a minute too :-) consummates the marriage. Part of the definition for "Consummate" from the Webster Dictionary is "to bring or carry to the utmost point or degree." Sex does not seal the deal, but takes it to its highest point. Here is a thought, something I can liken this too if given a little liberty. I believe one is a child of God before they ever (if ever) say the sinners prayer. The prayer does not make them a child of God, but because they have responded already to God they are consummating (at best) that relationship by making a verbal commitment (give a little liberty here please). I too believe that sex follows the reality of the marriage, not seals it. And, of course, we know that various people engage in sex without any marriage commitment. Thus, sex is something that God has given to be enjoyed within the marriage and is not the causation of the marriage ... Lastly on the topic of sex, Genesis 2:24 does not say that Adam and Eve had sex to be married. The word is "cleaved" and does not mean sex, but can include sex. Do I believe that they had sex? Of course, but not to be married, but rather because they were married.

So, what is important? Is it the legal man made designed contract or a contract made before God that aligns with His Word?

Let me give an out-there illustration remembering the concept of omni-applicable. What if a man and a woman were stranded on a dessert Island? Would they be allowed to make a commitment to each other and before Father God, thus entering into a marriage contract that satisfies God's Word? I submit the answer is yes.

Let me attempt summarize:

1) Should a child of God get a legal document for marriage if one exists? Yes, but not because it fulfills a marriage issue in Scripture, but rather because it fulfills obeying the laws of the land command. Again, we know that not all the laws of the land align with God's Word ... i.e. the idea of homosexual marriage. You can license it, call it a marriage or union, but in the end of the day what matters is how does God view it.

2) For the child of God there is a contract for marriage, but need not be written. It is a contract (commitment) made to one another before Father God based on His Word.

3) We can get into a  lot of this-and-that spawning from this. For example in 1 Corinthians 7 we are told that if a believing spouse is married to an unbelieving spouse then the believing spouse must remain in the relationship (paraphrased and not going into abuse and other issues) if the unbelieving spouse wishes to remain. If the unbelieving spouse chooses to leave the believing spouse is free to let then go. We are responsible for our part of the contract. We cannot be responsible for the other person's actions, especially in regards to the marriage contract. What about marriage between two unbelieving people? Does God view that as a marriage? That is a fair question that I think Hebrews 11;6 responds to ... "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." What is a marriage to God if the two people do not believe in Him to begin with? Do we see any commands or teaching in Scripture regarding the marriage of two unbelievers and how God views it? 

4) This is my example and not presented to be viewed as the standard or norm: Anita and I were married by a judge when I was not walking with the Lord and she was not a child of God. I believe we had a civil union, but had left God out of the picture. Did our civil marriage really qualify as a marriage in God's eyes? Good question, See 3) above) ... I know that shortly after Anita found Jesus and I returned to Him we renewed our vows in a ceremony before Father God. This was not driven by legalism, but simply felt it was the right thing to do. I wanted God in our marriage and our marriage to be before Father God and not just a legal U.S. contract.

I close with a personal note: I always find it interesting when two people who do not proclaim Jesus and who do not attend church want to get married in a church ... why does one really want to get married in a church if you reject Jesus and the church? I realize it is a cultural norm, but still strikes me odd ....

Thank you for replying LT.

Here is something I read last night while writing my Bible Study on Jacob & Joseph. I found it really really interesting as well. 

I have been writing a Bible study on Jacodiscovered something new. 

The ketubah (lit., “written document”) is the Jewish marriage contract. Written in Aramaic, it sets forth in detail the financial obligations that a husband undertakes toward his wife as her inheritance should he die or as her alimony should he divorce her. If either of these events occurred, the woman would have money and resources of her own and not be made destitute without any financial support. Today, a standardized ketubahis read before the bridegroom and two witnesses and signed by them. The witnesses may not be relatives of the bride or groom. This is consistent with the general rule in Jewish jurisprudence that a witness must not be related to the parties involved, an extension to civil law from the biblical prohibition against a father being put to death on the testimony of his son (Deut. 24:16).

Just as the bridegroom is forbidden to cohabit with his bride after marriage unless he has written and delivered the ketubah to her, so the husband is forbidden to live with his wife for even one hour if she no longer has it in her possession. Therefore, if the ketubah is lost or destroyed, the husband is obliged to write a new one with the same terms as in the original. Thus, when the Jews were expelled from France in 1306 and robbed of all their possessions, Rashba ordered that his followers refrain from conjugal relations until every man gave his wife a replacement ketubah.

The Rabbis viewed the ketubah as an important deterrent to rash and irrational divorces by ensuring the financial integrity of the economically vulnerable woman. After the edict of Rabbenu Gershom requiring that the wife must consent to a divorce, the function of the ketubah became more psychological than legal. At a time when most marriages were arranged based on family background, class, and learning and involved prospective spouses and families who scarcely were acquainted with each other, the ketubah was a testimony to the honorable intentions and worthiness of the husband. Today, the ketubah represents the covenant of the couple’s marriage and their new household.

After the deceit & trickery of Laban in giving Jacob his oldest daughter Leah instead of Rachel, the ketubah had to be signed before the ceremony. Because of this little mix-up, Jewish tradition dictates that the marriage contract, or the Ketubah, be signed before the wedding - not afterward. Jewish men check out that bride before they go down the aisle. Christian tradition says that it is bad luck to see the bride before the weeding. But Jewish men insist on seeing her! This accomplishes two things. First, it protects the husband from this kind of deception, and secondly, it protects the wife’s rights during the marriage and in case she is divorced or widowed. It is forbidden for Jewish couples to live together without a it. If the Ketubah is lost, a new one must be written. It has become traditional, since at least the fourteenth century, to decorate the Ketubah as artwork and hang it in the home as a keepsake. As it says here, it is a tradition, not a requirement. Since this is only tradition, I'm guessing it's not a 'have to'. It does come down through the Chosen so it's an example but again, it's not in the Word that it has to be done. 

Interesting ...

I thought so as well

Good Word LT.  

"I close with a personal note: I always find it interesting when two people who do not proclaim Jesus and who do not attend church want to get married in a church ... why does one really want to get married in a church if you reject Jesus and the church? I realize it is a cultural norm, but still strikes me odd ...."

It is odd, but I do believe it is another way to assault the Church of Christ.  I believe that there are very specific ways in which those who want to dissolve the Church will choose to make a way to promote their various activities, but please remember the verse below.  The whole world is under the sway of the evil one.  

But then again, we are offered these words:

Ephesians 6:12- For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Watchman,

True. Ephesians 6:12 helps explain a lot in our world today as well when we look back over history. When we couple that truth with the reality that there are two basic kinds of people on earth (regenerate and unregenerate) we get a clearer picture regarding why the world seems to be such a mess ....

Lord Bless,

LT

I actually don't know if I can agree with the Bible verse about being subject to the governing authorities. The passage makes the generalization that governing authorities are always good and just. Maybe I'm leaning on my own understanding too much but I can't really agree with something blatantly incorrect. Maybe that's my weakness, maybe that's my strength. There are many instances where rules could be considered unjust. Or when entire governing authorities could be unjust such as Nazi Germany, Russia and really most of them throughout history. I have faith in God, but I know how easily men are corrupted, especially in this time.

I do however acknowledge that having order makes it easier to be righteous, harder to be sinful, and safer for everyone. That is the real interpretation I get out of the bible verse. That we must all be supportive of our governing authorities and not seek to cause chaos through disobedience. Not that we need to be obedient to each and every law regardless of whether we think it's just.

Well I'm going to fall back on what you mentioned "obey the laws of the land".  Which as has been pointed out....which land?  I think this is such a great topic to read after having just watched an old episode of "Full House" where 8th grader DJ is married to Sylvio when she agrees to walk around the table with him without realizing the Pompadorian customs of marriage, and without Sylvio realizing the American customs of restraining orders.  LOL

But one point I considered that I hadn't seen mentioned...

Since Jesus attended a wedding, we know wedding ceremonies took place then.  And if we're to fall back to baptism beliefs being the outward showing of our confession...what then can we call a marriage? 

So if we can, but won't, outwardly show our confession to the one we profess is our spouse, have we really accepted them as our spouse or just giving lip service?

so after reading this I have to ask this question. If a spouse cheats we don't need a divorce paper to be divorced ?  because of this....Though the Lord had accepted his divorce because of her sin,  The Lord didn’t need that paper of divorce . so confused about that? thanks for carlifying for me Tammy

:)

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