June is often thought of as a time for weddings. It is a beautiful time of year, with winter behind us and the flowers blossoming and the plants blooming. In the springtime, it is often said that April showers bring May flowers and May flowers bring June brides.
Marriage and families have always been a part of the life of man. God himself has instituted marriage as a holy estate between man and woman. In the work of creation, God created mankind as male and female and blessed them and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth. He further instructed: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Genesis 2)
However, in recent years, the sanctity of marriage and the traditions of old have begun to erode. We can see these changing values all around us in life. What is happening? The fear of God and reverence to his word seem to be disappearing, and people may think that God is so tolerant that he will overlook all manner of ungodliness and sin.
God's word becomes relative and no longer authoritative. People choose to accept only part of God's word and reject that part that does not fit their particular lifestyle. However, the scriptures teach that there will be a day when all people must appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive their reward, according to whether they have done good or evil.
Presently, a new phenomena has risen in which individuals are seeking same-sex unions and even same-sex "marriages." The courts of law are trying to deal with the legal aspects of such relationships. God's word nevertheless clearly brings out that the estate of marriage is between a man and a woman. Jesus Christ teaches, "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female" (Matthew 19:4). One of the functions of marriage is that the two who are joined together could also be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the Earth. God himself has commanded it to be thus. This traditional family unit has been the backbone of society throughout time.
Marriage is also intended to be a lifetime commitment, or "until death do you part," as stated in church marriage vows. When the Pharisee's of Jesus' time asked him if it was lawful for a man to put away his wife, Jesus said: "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:6).
Jesus' disciples later asked him about this same matter and Jesus told them: "Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery." (Mark 10:11-12).
In Martin Luther's writings, he states that according to the law of Moses, an adulterer must be stoned (Lev. 20:10). However, Jesus did not consent to the stoning of an adulterer (John 8:3-11), but unto the penitent woman was granted forgiveness and she was told to go and sin no more.
In modern day society, there are dissolutions, annulments, divorces, etc. All of these fall in the same category, in that they go against God's will and intentions. Jesus told the Pharisees that Moses issued a writ of divorcement because of the hardness of their hearts.
This hardness of hearts is an example of unbelief. The letter to the Hebrews explains that because of the hardness of their hearts, many carcasses fell in the wilderness and they could not enter into his rest because of their unbelief (Hebrews 3:15-19).
Today, those who have separated are still commanded by God's law as Paul explains in I Corinthians 7:39: "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will. ..."
In this world of changing values and lifestyles, it is refreshing to hear or read about couples who are celebrating 50 years, or longer, of married life together. Many have been able to experience the joys of life with children and grandchildren as well.
This has been God's will regarding the estate of marriage from the very beginning. It is good to hold fast to these teachings of old, even as Apostle Paul exhorted in his time: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle" (II Thessalonians 2:15).
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