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Marriage is when a "man" and a "woman" consumate an agreement between themselves or an agreed arrangement by others, ie, their parents, to become Husband and Wife. "Then Isaac brought Rebekah into her mothers tent, and 'took her', 'in love', and she became his wife. Genesis 24:67. The consumation makes a man and a woman "one flesh", Gen.3:24, God's order from creation. This is why the sexual sin of fornication, (adulteries), is so abhorrent, the becoming of 'one flesh', and again and again and..., is rebellion against God's order from creation. P HbG.
A man and a woman are married when the come together to live together and become one - consummate the marriage. I have been living with my wife for 31 years and did not go to the state or a church in order to be "married". According to the scripture we are married, have become one flesh.
Marriage was instituted by God in the garden we see but we must be faithful to not rip a scripture out of its context and take one unique instance as the set standard for how everything should be. For instance no one would read the account of Abraham and how he sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac by waiting at a well and the first lady who gave his animals water was a sign that she was his wife and conclude that that is the way we are to find our wives. To go wait at a well and bring an animal and the first woman to give it a drink is our wives lol. No that would be foolish. So we have to be careful to use a unique situation as the set standard. We have to look at the entire flow of scripture not just isolate one text as proof text. If you read scripture in its entirety you will see that as time went on the people of God submitted to the cultural norms. You never again see a marriage like you do in Genesis. And you have to realize that was unique because there was no one else around you could even say they were the government. So we see as time went on God clearly gave the institution of marriage into the hand of the Israeli government during the time of Moses which was a Theocracy. Israel was a nation and they had specific laws that had to be followed such as dowry’s etc. In order for someone to be recognized as truly married. The covenant also if you read historically was not merely some words to each other but was a signed document and was legal under the theocracy. Now in the New testament we as Gods people are no longer a physical nation but spiritual and God has given government to guide society just as he did with Israel. Which is why marriage having been given to government for the guiding of it and protecting of the partners involved is given over to the government to guide and if they say we must sign a document then biblically we must do so. If there is no legal covenant then there is no covenant. And as I mentioned don’t just say "Adam and Eve" because that is not being faithful to the whole of scriptures. This is why even Mary and Joseph were legally married it says in Matthew, they were betrothed. If ceremonies and legalities were unnecessary what do we make of that. Please be careful on your conclusions with this to not mislead others to believe they are married when they are really not. May we not make excuses around Romans 13. The only time we disobey the government is if they command us to sin. Period.
A Christian marriage is to be between ONE man and ONE woman. (Gen 2:24 KJV) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Mat 19:5 ESV) and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife. (Gen 2:18 NRSV) Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner." The purposes of marriage are: 1. For the increase of the human race with legitimate children. (Gen 1:28 NIrV) God blessed them. He said to them, "Have children and increase your numbers. Fill the earth and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the waters and the birds of the air. Rule over every living creature that moves on the ground." 2. For the growth of the Church with godly offspring. (Mal 2:15 NIV) Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. 3. For the prevention of sexual immorality. (1Co 7:2 NRSV) But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. It is the duty of Christians to marry in the Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore to marry only those who profess the Christian faith. (1Co 7:39 GNB) A married woman is not free as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, then she is free to be married to any man she wishes, but only if he is a Christian. (2Co 6:14 NRSV) Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? Marriage ought not to be within the ranks of blood relationship or affinity forbidden in the Scriptures. (See Lev 18; 1Co 5:1-2 NIrV) 1 It is actually reported that there is sexual sin among you. I'm told that a man is living with his father's wife and is having sex with her. Even people who do not know God don't commit that sin. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn't you be filled with sadness instead? Shouldn't you have put the man who did that out of your church? (Source: Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 24)
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