Special Note: This article is included in Jim’s book “An Attitude of Thankfulness” along with 19 other articles and is available for purchase in Paperback and eBook formats at this link: Jim’s Books
In August 2012 my wife and I will have been married for forty-nine years. ALL of the years have been God blessed. We met at a church sponsored summer youth camp in the north Georgia mountains when I was a rising senior in high school. I was immediately struck with her personal beauty, her purity, her character, and perhaps most importantly, her Christian behavior. She was different than the other girls that I had dated. I wanted to ask her out but the timing just wasn’t right. Truthfully, she didn’t care much for me in the beginning. I later learned that some of her girlfriends had told her that I had the reputation of dating a lot of girls then dropping them. In other words, I wouldn’t be a good match for her … period.
Months later I asked her to come to one of my basketball games. To my delight, she came. I was thrilled. Over time I won her over and she was my date at my Senior Prom. By that time I knew that I wanted to partner with her for a lifetime. In my eyes she would be a perfect mate. We dated no one else after we began dating. A little over two years later and after my Sophomore year in college we were married. Ultimately I completed college and graduate school with her strong help.
I know that God put us together. There has never been a doubt in my mind. God blessed us with a wonderful son. We raised him in a Christian home. God led him to marry a wonderful Christian young woman and they too have raised their children in a Christian home. His daughter recently completed college and married a fine Christian young man and we fully expect them to live a successful Christian life led by the Lord. Our grandson just graduated from high school with honors. He is bound for college and is dating a fine Christian young lady. We fully expect him to lead a successful Christian life as well.
God has blessed us in so many ways spiritually and physically. I could not imagine sharing my life with anyone else. God put us together. He knew what was best for us. There are dozens of scripture passages that speak to the sanctity of marriage. Let’s examine my favorites for the purpose of this article.
Scripture: (All English Standard Version – ESV – unless otherwise noted)
(1) Genesis 2:18 – Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
(2) Genesis 2:24 – Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
(3) Matthew 19:4-6 – He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
1 Corinthians 7:39 – A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
(4) Proverbs 18:22 – He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.
(5) Hebrews 13:4 – Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
(6) Exodus 20:14 – You shall not commit adultery.
(7) Luke 16:18 – Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
(8) 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 – Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
(9) Mark 10:2-7 – And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
(10) Matthew 5:31-32 – “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.”
Webster defines “sanctity” as follows: 1 – holiness of life and character; godliness. 2 – the quality or state of being holy or sacred; inviolability (refers to being secure from violation or profanation.) Thus the phrase “sanctity of marriage” refers to marriage as being sacred, holy, secure from violation, and of God.
I don’t believe that my selected verses need that much discussion for the purpose of this article. These words are not only time-honored and such sensible advice, they are direct communications from God Almighty himself recorded in His Holy Word. Those that believe in Jehovah God and do their best to follow His commands understand that ALL of the Bible is true, inerrant (without error), and is THE GUIDE for our how we as His children are to conduct our lives and our marriage.
So here’s a brief synopsis of the selected verses. Marriage was ordained by God (1, 2) to be between a man and a woman. Marriage is designed by God to be permanent (3). Those who are married find God’s favor (4). Marriage is to be honorable and God judges sexual immorality and adultery in a marriage (5, 6, 7). The husband and wife are to yield authority over their bodies to each other (8). God does not expect or want a married couple to divorce (9), but allows it when adultery is present (10).
Unfortunately the wonderful and blessed marriage my wife and I have experienced is not that experienced by today’s average American male/female couple. The majority (52% according to recent government statistics) of today’s male/female “couples” are not married. They just “live” together as though they were married, at least for a season, and sometimes then get married. Often times when things aren’t going well enough to suit one of the partners, they just leave … only to start another relationship where the partners live together. Many argue this is a way to avoid divorce and that it gives the couple time to learn about each other BEFORE they make a permanent marriage commitment. Life is full of excuses for why people don’t follow God’s commands.
Sadly, co-habitation has been “sold” to the American public as an acceptable alternative to traditional marriage. It has been plastered on our TV screens and the subject of countless Hollywood productions. Even many Christians have been deceived by all of the hype and they too participate in this lifestyle. This is a very dangerous practice and goes directly against what God has taught us through His Word, the Bible. The Bible is clear: co-habitation without marriage is sin and sin has earthly consequences. (See my recent article: Sin’s Earthly Consequences)
A Gallup poll conducted just prior to Christmas in 2009 found that 78% of Americans identified themselves as “Christian.” I find it strange that 52% of male/female couples in the United States are living together, unmarried. Coincidentally, 52% of Americans now favor “same-sex marriage.” Such marriages are in direct violation of God’s Word, no matter how much you try to argue otherwise. By the way, having to refer to a “couple” as “male/female” in and of itself bothers me.
So, man has once again overstepped his authority and placed himself above God. The Jews did this many times and always suffered the consequences. I am reminded of when Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving The Ten Commandments and the people took things into their own hands. When Moses descended from the mountain he found the people had fashioned a golden calf so they could worship this god like others were doing in Egypt and other countries. Such disobedience caused their emerging nation tremendous pain and agony as they wandered in the desert for forty years before finally entering the promised land.
Later in the history of God’s people, one king after another in Israel and Judah did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord. Instead they adopted the ungodly and immoral practices of their neighboring countries and worshiped other gods such as Baal, Ashtoreth and Molech. They even participated in perverted sexual orgies as part of their pagan worship. Does this sound familiar? It does to me. Israel and Judah ultimately paid a staggering price for their sin. They suffered the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of their mighty men (soldiers) and citizens resulting in the complete collapse of their nation. They lost their homeland. They lost their way of life. They lost touch with Almighty God. And as a result, they spent generation after generation in captivity in a foreign and cruel land.
Let me take a short side-trip here to provide some insight into a related topic and America’s current political and spiritual situation. Acceptance of the gay lifestyle by Americans is now in the majority. Perhaps this is the REAL reason that President Obama recently came out with his full-fledged support for same-sex marriage. President Obama has actually voiced three differing stances on this issue over the past four years and will likely change again after the election. Each change of heart the President has voiced has coincided with that which was politically expedient at the time. His positions are in direct opposition to what the Bible teaches. I can only presume that the President has placed his beliefs above those of Almighty God. Why? So he can garner enough votes to get re-elected. That’s why! One has to conclude that the President’s recent choice to support same-sex marriage is strictly for political reasons. Why else would he go against the Christian “majority,” the 78%, at this point in time? His advisers have assured him that he will receive more votes by taking this position. I’m rather sure his advisers are right unless Christians, including the 78% who claim to be Christians, stand up for what God expects of them.
Take a look at excerpts from an article that recently appeared in the New York Times … yes, the liberal New York Times. Click on this link: Gay Marriage Rally It is no secret that I am an ultra-conservative by national news media standards. I am a Bible believing Baptist that lives in a southern state. What our President is advocating, same-sex marriage, is an abomination according to the scripture (Leviticus 18:22 – “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.”) No one, especially a Christian … and including President Obama … can alter God’s viewpoint nor choose to ignore it. There is just no other Godly way homosexuality and same-sex marriage can be viewed. It is a sin and not to be practiced. Our leadership, our nation and future generations will suffer immeasurably and pay the consequences for our nations potential agreement with such an unGodly position. America is in a downward, satanic moral spiral. We are sick and need healing.
Interestingly, since the announcement of support by the President, the NAACP has also come out in support of same-sex marriage. I’m not at all surprised by that move. However, I am agonizingly surprised that many minority pastors are also falling in line and supporting the NAACP and President Obama’s position as a civil rights issue. Come on! I don’t see how any pastor of a Christian church can realistically ignore the Bible’s teachings about marriage. How can so many pastors rationalize this position and compromise their pulpit by supporting a practice that is absolutely condemned by the Bible. I will have to leave the ultimate decision to you. But for me, it is all about supporting President Obama… their preferred political candidate. No matter what is right in the sight of God and no matter what the Bible says. How sad! I suppose I could be branded as a racist because I have “negatively” mentioned the NAACP. So be it! I know my heart.
I expect to receive some negative feedback on this article. I usually do when I write on controversial subjects with the Bible as my guide. That’s okay with me. You see, I am on the Lord’s side. I believe in the Lord’s Word. Love, morality, truth, sin and justice are all defined by God … not man. Marriage is holy. Marriage is of God. Marriage is between a man and a woman, not a man and a man, and not a woman and a woman. I believe wholly in the Sanctity of Marriage! For more reading on a similar topic see the following: On the Sanctity of Life and Abortion