The Apple Of God's Eye

March 18, 2009

Why Common-Law Marriages Are Unlawful In God's Eyes

Filed under: Bride Of Christ,Marriage — melchia @ 8:09 pm

The Bible clearly shows that the common law type of relationship is not right in God’s sight. Please notice some of the things the Bible says about marriage. God regards marriage as a holy union in which a man and a woman are joined together for life as “one flesh” by a sacred vow (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6). They are no longer separate and able to pursue independent activities and interests. Therefore, it is right to formalize the union of a man and a woman in marriage by a wedding ceremony.

After instructing the first man and woman, God Himself joined Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God’s ministers should follow this example. They should remind each couple of their responsibilities as taught in the Holy Scriptures before asking God to join them as husband and wife (see Ephesians 5:21-32 and I Peter 3:1-7, for example). Marriages performed by other legally authorized officials are also recognized by God.

Jesus performed His first public miracle at a formal wedding (John 2). By that wedding, a public statement or announcement was made, and all the community celebrated the couple’s coming together in an honorable way.

Jesus also spoke of a great, formal wedding to take place at His return when, symbolically, He will marry the Church (see Matthew 22:1-13, 25:1-10, and Revelation 19:7-9). Notice that this will not be a secret or a common-law type of arrangement! The Holy Scriptures thus clearly reveal that it is God’s will that a marriage be formalized by a legal ceremony to officially inform the community of the marriage.

State laws in respect to marriage are supported by Scripture. God tells us we are to obey the laws of the land when they do not conflict with His own (Rom. 13:1-7; Acts 5:29). In this way, the appearance and suspicion of evil are avoided (I Thess. 5:22). God also tells us we are to set a good example for others (Matt. 5:14-16).

A marriage ceremony serves to protect the rights of each mate and to minimize fornication, adultery, bigamy, and different evils in the society at large. When there has been no formal ceremony, it can be a temptation to treat a union casually. If we treat with contempt or flippancy that which God established for our good, we can be sure He is not pleased! Marriage is a very special occasion, and it is certainly right and fitting that it be celebrated with a formal ceremony.

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