Scriptures on marriage, as well as any subject matter, must be studied together, so that all statements and commands are put in context with the way God designed it. Civil laws on marriage must also be satisfied—a marriage license must be obtained and an approved marriage ceremony performed. So, let us study the Scriptures to see what God wants marriage to be:

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Gen 2:24).

"‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,' and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matt. 19:4-6; see also, Mk. 10:5-9).

"...whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery" (Matt. 5:32; 19:9; Mk. 10:11-12; Lk. 16:18).

"But He said to them, ‘All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it'" (Matt 19:11-12).

"It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time... so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control" (1 Cor 7:1-5).

"Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Heb 13:4).

"For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man" (Rom 7:2-3).

"Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two,' He says, ‘shall become one flesh'" (1 Cor 6:16).

From these scriptures, we learn God's design for marriage—one man and one woman joined together as "one flesh"—the two touch, kiss and "render affection due" one another—they are not to "deprive one another" sexually, so they are not tempted to commit adultery with someone else.

Marriage is the very closest earthly union—the two are like "one flesh," and God prohibits anyone else from being sexually involved with either mate. But, some people, such as eunuchs, can not fulfill this design, as Jesus stated in Matthew 19—"All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given." But this exception does not set aside God's design for marriage, any more so than the contingent "precept" He gave Moses—to issue certificates of divorce to the Jews because of the "hardness of their hearts" (Matt 19:8; Mark 10:5; Deut. 24:1-4). And, the Pharisees "tested" Jesus about that "precept" of Deuteronomy 24, but Jesus emphatically told them, "it was not so from the beginning of the creation." God's design was and is the same as it was for the first man and woman joined by Him in the garden of Eden—they were as "one flesh" and meant to be so as long as both lived.

As Jesus reiterated in Matthew 19, everything about God's marriage laws have remained the same from the very beginning of mankind—one man and one woman joined together in a spiritual, mental and physical union for as long as they both shall live. It is NOT a union that is lawful for two women or two men in a homoseual relationship. And it is NOT a union that a divorced man or woman can be in with another, unless the innocent mate divorced the guilty mate for "sexual immorality." Otherwise, they are like a man joined to a harlot in fornication. All sexual experiences outside of marriage is sin—the "bed" is defiled!

We must let God's design of marriage be unadulterated—a lifetime commitment—as the Scriptures command! "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate!"

by Hugh Walton

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