Know Your Bible

VOL. 7                                          March 2, 2008                                           NO. 6

Matrimonial Amnesty

    There are three God-ordained institutions in the world: marriage (Matt. 19:3-9), the church (Eph. 1:22,23; Matt. 16:18) and civil government (Rom. 13). Of course, the Lord has much to say about each of these institutions. In the case of marriage, it should be a permanent arrangement between one man and one woman (Matt. 19:6). In the case of civil government, officials are said to be "God's ministers" to discourage evil and encourage good. And the church regulates its membership by accepting or rejecting the members based on their faithfulness and overall conduct (Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5).

    Yes, there is the principle of separation of church and state, which would have us as citizens not to make laws based solely on religion, however, the Bible's influence on our culture is ever-so-evident -- we eschew harems among our Muslim friends, and over a hundred years ago insisted that the Mormons give up polygamy before entrance into the requirements of the laws of the state. On the other hand, a lack of Bible teaching is evident in America's acceptance of "living together" without marriage, which is fornication. Marriage is still a legal matter in the eyes of the law of the land, but over time culture has weakened the institution, and it can get worse! And no doubt will. The laws of the civil government are to be obeyed as long as they do not call upon one to disobey the law of God.

    My friends in the world are wondering what it matters, and what business is it of mine? Well, they might want to go to heaven when they die, and God says that adulterers and fornicators can't go to heaven. (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Further, churches are not supposed to accept these practicing sinners into their fellowship (1 Cor. 5), just like non-citizens and criminals should not be allowed to mingle freely in American society outside the stated laws of the land. If laws are not enforced they are of no value to those who make them and those who depend upon them to protect lawful citizens.

    I thought I'd better make this allegory before America's marriage laws and/or citizenship laws are altered to the point that neither marriage nor citizenship are worth the paper they are written on. Americans are "up in arms" about folks coming into our country unlawfully and partaking of its benefits, and even given benefits that the law-abiding citizens do not get, while at the same time our own countrymen and law makers do not carry out the laws of the land on the matter of what constitutes marriage, or what the Bible says about the institution of marriage.

    So, Americans say that immigrants should either cross the borders of our country legally, or stay out. Likewise, God is saying either marry for the blessings that come with marriage or live by yourself (1 Cor. 7:1-5).

    To take the allegory further, there are some people who should never be allowed to be Americans, because they are simply by nature non-candidates. Such people as make up Al Qaeda, Taliban, Communists, or anyone else that is not willing to live by our constitution but who desire to destroy our freedoms and way of life. Bible students will remember that John the Baptist was beheaded for preaching the requirements of God in the matter of marriage. He told Herod that Herodius could not Scripturally be his wife because, "it is not lawful for you to have your brother Philip's wife" (Matt. 14:4). He was not mixing religion and politics, he was simply telling the truth as it is found in the Word of God concerning marriage. Just because civil laws allow a thing does not mean that God accepts such. So, if we desire to go to heaven after this life is over we must obey God and not men.

    Jesus laid down the law on these matters, including the sin of divorce. "What God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matt. 9:3-9). Some people have fouled up their lives to the point that they simply are no candidates to marry anyone. I have told young people that they should marry in such a way as to evoke their parents' approval -- they're going to need their help along the way. How insecure is the couple who cannot see from the Bible that God approves of their marriage?

    We're looking at God's Word on this matter -- the laws of the land may be different from Bible teaching, but it is sufficient for this article's purposes to simply show that marriage rules must be respected by civilized people. And extreme case in point is this business of men marrying men and women marrying women (Rom. 1, 1 Cor. 6:9-11), A proposal actually being considered, and in some states allowed, by otherwise intelligent people.

    Perhaps America's shaky footing on amnesty for illegals comes from the same root as their shaky footing on marriage specifically, a disregard for law and right. We don't like to say "No" to anyone anymore, but God is not afraid to say "No!" (Rev. 20:11-15).

    Further, citizens in America are expected to be responsible in many ways. They are expected to work, provide for themselves and their children, pay taxes, and to contribute positively to society. If a man or woman doesn't like Bible teaching on these matters, then he/she should consider the courts' and the legislatures' rulings on "dead-beat dads" and similar social responsibilities that are generally recognized.

    The Bible teaches that marriage demands responsibility. The man in particular is expected to provide for his own family (1 Tim. 5:8). The woman is expected to submit to her husband, teach the children, and manage the household (Titus 2; 1 Tim. 5).

    Now, if my worldly friends complain that such Bible teaching is "giving up all the progress of the last thirty five years," things like women's rights, sexual freedom, and abortion, they should be reminded of where they are and where they're headed. Americans have been reduced to murdering their own offspring before they see the light of day, spending billions of dollars on sexually transmitted diseases, and turning drug abuse into a household word, leaving families in pain and trouble. Politicians consider themselves brave to state that children need fathers in their households. But yet they allow the government to take care of these dysfunctional families thereby encouraging more and more of the same.

    The disregard for human life will only get worse if our neighbors don't show some respect for what the God of heaven has said. A week doesn't go by without news of a shooting in a school, a shopping mall, or an unhappy home. The greatest cause of death among pregnant women is murder by the father of the unborn child, a fact which shines a suspicious light on who is pushing hardest for abortions, and the implications. Many young people are escaping the bitterness of the world via drugs and alcohol, sometimes permanently damaging their brains. Thanks to NBC's Dateline for exposing outrageous proliferation of on-line predators. "Kiddy-porn" is rampant, along with regular porn. Just how liberated would you like for America to be? How much of the national budget would you like to spend on prisons?

    Rather than run from the discipline and promise of the Bible, men and women should be embracing its lessons and God-ordained traditions. Judge Judith Sheindlin, far from a Bible-toting Christian, often asks couples who are "live-ins" why they haven't married. When they respond that they don't want to make the commitment, she challenges them by pointing out the commitment required to raise babies! Making babies is easy, but raising them is a life-long job. Marrying and fulfilling one's matrimonial duties pay big dividends in this life and pleases God of heaven (Heb. 13:4).

    God says that those who don't provide for their own are "worse than infidels!" (1 Tim. 5:8). And when God addresses a subject, He isn't just talking about poverty, mental health, education, and domestic tranquility. He is talking about the here-after, the destiny of eternal souls.

    So, the next time you hear folks talking about illegal immigrants, you might consider how responsible our friends and neighbors are concerning the institution of marriage -- whether they simply waltz in and waltz out without any "border patrol." Consider also whether they think they can slip into heaven without God's approval. For one to think that he can ridicule and belittle God's institutions with impunity is foolishness. "Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Gal. 6:7).

--- Adapted from an article by George Hutto

in Tidings, Vol. 23, No. 2, Feb. 2008

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