When Civil Unions Equal Shacking Up

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If the historic US Supreme Court decision of 2015, has taught us anything, it is that the biblical laws governing marriage apply only to those unions divinely validated as a marriage. Biblically validated marriages are between a man and a woman brought together by God. All civil unions, therefore, are not validated by God.

On the records of Heaven, civil unions not validated by God do not exist as marriages. They are not registered in Heaven as marriages. Therefore, only civil laws can rightly govern civil unions. The laws of God that govern marriages can only be applied to unions deemed marriages by God.

Can you imagine God requiring partners in same-sex civil unions to so remain, until death or until one of them has committed what the Bible calls adultery? In the sight of God, such an act is only seizing yet another sexual partner. According to Scripture, the first and the second acts are both sin in the sight of a holy God. Like all those marriages in Ezra 10 and Nehemiah 13, which were not bound by Heaven, there is no biblical law against immediate dissolution of such civil unions that fail divine validation. But there is something else that took me totally by surprise.

Weddings, as we know them—particularly the exchange of vows and rings before clergy—has its beginnings in Catholicism about 110 AD. Undoubtedly, because of Catholicism’s pervasive influence, the exchange of vows before clergy or an officer of the court is now the civil law in nearly all of American states and beyond, which once allowed common law marriages.

Does that mean that any two single adults can come together and set up house in the name of God? No. But shacking up, as it is commonly called, may not be what we think it is. If we are Bible believers, then we must agree that shacking up refers to any union without divine appointment (documented or not).

Does that mean that if a documented civil union between a man and woman was obviously not God’s doing, they must immediately dissolve it? No. King David and Bathsheba’s union obviously was not God’s doing in the way that they became husband and wife. Nevertheless, after submitting to suffering the consequences of the evil done, they deeply repented and found reconciliation with God, newness of life, so much so that through their union, albeit generations into the future, the Messiah was born.

Still, what a huge risk that is.

“The servants of God today encounter difficulties very similar to those against which Nehemiah contended. Human nature is still the same. And Satan is as active, earnest, and persevering now as at any period in the past. Nay, rather, the word of God declares that his power and enmity increase as we near the close of time. The greatest danger of God’s ancient people arose from their inclination to disregard his direct requirements and to follow, instead, their own desires [such as David and Bathsheba]. Such is the sin and danger of his people at the present time. The indolence, backsliding, and degeneracy in our churches may be traced, in a great degree, to the lax sentiments which have been coming in as a result of conformity to the world. The Sabbath is not as sacredly regarded as it should be. Improper marriages, with their train of evils, have dragged down some of the useful men to apostasy and ruin.

“Before contracting marriage, every wise person will consider the matter in all its bearings: ‘Will the relation I am about to form lead heavenward, or toward perdition? Will it bring in sacred and devotional influences, or the corrupting influence of the world?’

“In the existing state of religious declension, there is crying need of earnest, faithful Nehemiahs and Ezras,—men who will not shun to call sin by its right name, and who will not shrink from vindicating the honor of God. Those upon whom God has laid the burden of his work are not to hold their peace, and cover prevailing evils with a cloak of false charity.

“Men of courage and energy are needed to expose fashionable sins. Iniquity must not be palliated and excused. Those who lead the church to follow the customs and practises of the world, are not to be lauded and exalted. No regard for family or position will hinder the faithful servants of Christ from guarding the interests of his people. God is no respecter of persons.” SW July 12, 1904, par. 1 – par. 4

We may not fully understand it. We may not be able to fully explain it. But if we are wise, we will accept it. For God’s ways and thoughts are higher than man’s ways and thoughts.

“For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:8, 9 KJVSD).

He knows the end from the beginning. We do well just to trust and obey His will for our lives.

One thing is certain. When God speaks, that thing is settled. (Read Psalm 119:89 KJVSD). He needs no further stamp of approval. And there is no higher court.

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