A lot of folks are not bashful about stating their viewpoints about marriage. Strong emotions often come to the surface when people discuss marriage. It is important to recognize, however, that whether or not a relationship meets with God’s approval cannot be decided by emotional appeals. Yes, relationships involve feelings and emotional attachments, but God’s word is the standard of authority on marriage matters, not human emotions or feelings.
In this article, when we speak of a marriage being approved by the Lord, we are not talking about conduct within the marriage, that is, we are not discussing whether or not a husband and wife are treating one another well. Rather, we are talking about the right of those people to be married in God’s sight.
Any effort to lower God’s standard for marriage, rather than be a blessing to mankind, is instead a curse. No one receives genuine benefit in this life or in the life to come by disregarding or denying what God says about marriage in the Bible.
“God wants all of us to be happy, so He does not care anything about whom we choose to marry.” John the Baptizer told Herod that it was not lawful for him to be married to Herodias (Mark 6:17,18). Conclusion: not all matters/relationships which make humans happy please the Lord.
“Their marriage is not officially registered with the government because she is only ten years old, but they are still husband and wife.” If there is a legal requirement that a person must be a certain age in order to be married, such a civil law must be obeyed in order for a relationship to be a legitimate marriage: “submit . . . to every ordinance of man” (1 Peter 2:13).
“Okay, if a marriage meets the legal requirements, then God approves of it.” Not every legal action is accepted by Jehovah. Prostitution is legal in some places, but such sexual relations between humans is fornication, which God condemns. As king, Solomon was the highest human voice of authority in the nation of Israel. Yet, the Bible says he sinned when he entered into marriages that did not meet God’s approval (Nehemiah 13:25,26). His legal marriages were not divinely-approved.
“If two people of the same gender want to be married to one another, I think because God is love, He would accept their relationship.” Why not consult God’s law to get His perspective?! First, God-ordained marriage is for “male and female,” those who come from “father and mother,” and is a scenario described as “a man . . . joined to his wife” (Matthew 19:4,5). Second, the Bible’s teaching is that same-gender sexual relations is wrong (Romans 1:26,27).
“If a person has simultaneous marriages with several people, such an arrangement meets with God’s approval.” Polygamy was practiced by some of God’s children under the Old Testament system, but such never was God’s plan for marriage. The picture we see in Ephesians 5:22-33 — the marriage relationship paralleled to the relationship between the Christ and the church, shows that God’s plan is for one man to be married to one woman, just as Jesus is the single Head of His one bride, the church.
“As long as a wedding takes place in a church and the marriage is ordained by church officials, then surely the Lord would approve it, too.” Whether or not a “marriage” is accepted by God has nothing to do with the location in which a wedding ceremony takes place. Neither is there a requirement from God that a wedding be a religious ceremony in order to meet His approval. Those are man-made ideas, not biblical ones.
“Even if the union between two people does not technically harmonize with what the Bible says, I think a merciful God would overlook their mistake.” God is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4), but that does not negate the fact that He says adulterers will not inherit the kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9,10). God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), so He will not go back on His word.
Jesus said, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:11,12). Simply put, if a person ditches/divorces his/her spouse and enters into another “marriage,” that second relationship is adultery and both of the parties in that new union are adulterers. No civil court and religious teacher can overturn or veto the words of the Master! Yes, Jesus does allow for a divorce and subsequent remarriage in the case of one’s spouse committing fornication, but that is the sole exception, not the rule (Matthew 19:9).
Three categories of humans have the right to marry. Those who have never married (1 Corinthians 7:28), those whose spouse has died (Romans 7:2,3), and one who divorces his spouse due to the spouse’s fornication (Matthew 19:9). So, before one marries, he needs to ask: (1) In God’s sight, do I have the right to marry and (2) in God’s sight, does the person whom I want to marry have the right to marry? If either answer is “No,” do not go through with it!
No, baptism does not change an adulterous union into a relationship that God approves. Repentance demands that people cease and/or exit all sinful activities and relationships, including “marriages” that do not harmonize with the Godhead’s teaching.
— Roger D. Campbell