In a true Biblical marriage (one that is God approved, and I don't mean by a covenant), no government or religious organization has any power or authority in the making of one or annulling one as well. It is exclusively determined and enacted by God and the Christian individual involved.
Note that I said "God and the "Christian individual." The reason I said it this way is because true marriage belongs only to God, a Christian man married to a woman, or a Christian woman married to a man and no other.
Biblical marriage is strictly a Christian institution and is hallowed. It is separate from all other marriages. It is a Godly union to the Christian male or female - exclusively. This is so, because it consists of two human beings becoming one flesh by a God induced and God-centered conjoining, based upon their new creation and being attached to Him.
The purpose of this holy conjoining is for God to be glorified in this world through the Christian man or woman He created and in the heavenly depiction that their marriage emits. Through the Christian's commitment (I will address this shortly) exercised in their physical marriage, according to the order and instruction commanded (not suggested) in Scripture, they exemplify their commitment and order in their marriage to Christ as a member of His body – the church.
To those who defile this conjoining, which will concur to both their spouse and to Christ in tandem, there are Scriptural declarations of judgment regarding the consequences for doing such a thing and continuing in it. Its defilement does not glorify God.
As should have been obvious, none of these things, which I have just mentioned pertain to the marriage of unbelievers. Why? Until one is born again, their body is dead. They carry on and dwell in the make-up of the old creation – the first Adam. The unbeliever has no connection to or impact on Christ, both in a good joining or in a fornicated one, as does the believer. They are not married to Christ. Fornication engaged in by the unbeliever does not affect or, rather, infect the body of Christ as does the Christian's fornication.
Neither can unbelievers receive God's blessings or benefits when appropriately married (sexual intimacy) – unless by chance they are appropriately married to a true Christian. For the unbelieving is sanctified by the believing spouse (1Corinthians 7:14, KJV).
This is so, because the Christian's body is not their own. It is connected to Christ; it is Christ's. It is critical therefore for the Christian to be prudent concerning the management of that body, including their sexually intimate connections, "...shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? God forbid..." (1 Corinthians 6:15&16); "be not unequally yoked with unbelievers..." (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Christ is pure and holy. Through redemption the Christian's body is made pure and holy. Therefore, the believer must not mismanage their body to defile it, but keep it in a pure and holy state, particularly their sexually intimate connections. Once washed and made holy, the believer does not connect their self to something unholy, "be not unequally yoked with unbelievers," or engage in the defiling mud of sin like they once did, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed..." (1 Corinthians 6:11).
For the Christian to defile their body is to defile the body of Christ, because they are attached to His body. All acts of sexual fornication (adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, polygamy) defile the body. These sexually intimate acts defile the created design assigned to the bodies of men and especially to the believer in Christ.
However, when a Christian is married legitimately (intimately joined to another sexually; acceptable to God), they glorify God in His creation and redemption. It is a male connecting (sexual intimacy) himself to his female helpmate, which God designed for him making them one, as Christ is one with His church. Done this way by Christians, marriage is sacred. Otherwise, it is fornication and defilement.
Once connections are made through this sexual intimacy, they are not easily disconnected. In fact, no conditions exist to disconnect a defiled connection and only three conditions are mentioned in Scripture that automatically disconnect a legitimate connection:
1. Death of one of the spouses.
2. A spouse committing fornication (see again how I defined fornication above) against the other. This automatic disconnect only applies to the innocent spouse that was violated. The violating spouse is now connected to more than one. If it be the man, he now has two bodies (wives). If it be the woman, she now has two heads (husbands; consider the Samaritan woman at the well). The violating spouse has done what Jesus declared His creation was not to do, "...What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:6). It's this putting asunder by the violating spouse that frees the innocent spouse from the connection. The fornicator will never be free to have a marriage again. Every sexual engagement will be fornicated. Forgiveness does not eliminate the unholy connection. Also, to divorce under our present system does not put a Biblical marriage asunder.
3.A newly converted sinner to Christ where their partner does not convert and departs, because they are not pleased to dwell with their converted spouse.
Now, let me point out this very important truth, to those of you who want to know more of the distinctions of Biblical marriage from secular marriage.
Everything you hear by the church concerning the Christian heterosexual marriage is about the "commitment" of the husband to the wife and wife to the husband. They proclaim that it is that commitment to each other that makes and sustains their marriage. Well, they are right to a point. However, this commitment to each other is nothing more than and only culminates from their commitment to the instructions and commands given to us by God's Word on what they are to be and how they are to conduct themselves within that marriage.
Therefore, to be committed to your spouse is really a commitment not so much to them, but to Christ - in obedience as a member of His body and the fulfillment of your calling in glorifying Him. Within the Christian marriage, commitment to each other is the product of commitment and obedience to Christ. Your love to each another starts with loving Christ and keeping His commandments.
When instruction in the New Testament is obeyed, it makes a wonderful and endearing marriage, because it is God ordained and blessed. This depicts the church's blessed and ordained marriage (not covenant) to Christ as being one with Him. Each believer is a member of His body, now. Not as a bride, but married to Him now.
For those who believe the church is the bride of Christ you contradict that belief by also saying that the church is the body of Christ. For no bride is a body to any man, only a married woman is the man's body. Since we are the body of Christ now, we are not the bride of Christ, but, rather, are married to Him. However, our marriage to Him is not as a husband to a wife, but rather joined to Him as his body.
Note: The earthly marriage in the flesh depicts our heavenly connection. Our connection to Christ does not depict the earthly marriage. As a Christian, God's redemption through His Spirit married me to Christ making us one body and spirit. Through sexual intimacy, I became married to my wife making us one flesh only. For more understanding on the bride of Christ, see my article "Marriage, Fornication, and the Bride of Christ."
My wife and I have to laugh when many of those in Christian media call their wives brides. This is an oxymoron. It's a game they play, I suppose, to make their wives feel special or to make us assume something. I don't know. However, a bride is not one with anyone until married. I will never call my wife my bride. She and I are one now, as Christ and I are one now. Think about it. As Christ is the head of the church (body), the husband is the head of his wife (body).
So, when you have a true Christian marriage and there is turmoil within it, what you see is not one or both spouses not being committed to the other, but, rather, one or both are not committed and obedient to Christ and His Word. This can happen either through ignorance or from a blatant disobedience to Biblical instruction.
Again this is where the Christian marriage is separate from all others. We know this, because the commands given to a husband and wife in Scripture are not given to unbelievers, but to a believing husband and a believing wife.
Let's observe 1Pet 3:1-7, which vividly confirms that commitment to each other in a Christian marriage is a subset of commitment and obedience to God's Word:
1. Verses one and two declare "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives. While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear."
Okay, do you see who the wife is really committed to? It is Christ. That she obey the Word, even though her husband is not obeying. Peter declares that her commitment to being subject to her Christian husband, exemplifying a holy conversation (lifestyle), and fear (to be found right before God) is to exist regardless of the husband's lack of commitment. She subjects herself to her husband, because she is commanded by God's Word and is committed to obedience as a member of the body of Christ.
How often, among true Christian marriages, will one or both spouses not be committed to Christ within their marriage? How many divorces and fornications occur because of this lack of obedience with the excuse being, "my spouse is not committed to me. "
The only act of disobedience by one of the spouse's that Christ does not expect the other spouse to tolerate is if fornication is committed. They, then, must put away the violator, because the marriage has been put asunder. The oneness of your marriage is destroyed and cannot be put back rightly. The fornicator not only polluted the oneness of their spousal connection (marriage), but also polluted their connection (marriage) to the body of Christ. This is the ultimate act of disobedience to Christ within the marriage. Only the violated spouse is capable of remarriage and that is by not being sexually intimate with their violating spouse after they know of the fornication.
Of course, as I have stated clearly before, a fornicated union is not marriage. Only those qualified to be connected (sexually intimate) with another are a legitimate marriage. It is foolish to presume that within a fornicated union being committed to Christ within such a union is valid. They are not your wife. They are not your husband.
And to all those so-called homosexual Christians - STOP deceiving yourselves. This instruction of commitment and obedience to Christ can never be obtained by you. It doesn't apply to two men or two women. This connection is pure fornication and never a marriage in the flesh, let alone a depiction of the marriage of Christ to His church.
If there are holy qualifications for a man and woman to be legitimately married and not in fornication, how could anyone even imagine that two of the same gender would be qualified. Homosexual intimacy is pure fornication and defilement of the body of Christ.
Just the fact that homosexual's have to invent a new definition for the word "gay" to deceptively portray themselves positively in contrast to all other words that have portrayed them negatively in history, i.e. "homosexual" or "sodomite" proves historically that it is an abnormal and sinful lifestyle and deed.
To all fornicators, hear this truth, turn from your sin, and save yourself from the wrath of God. If anyone wants to know the truth of Biblical marriage, I have freely offered plenty of instruction in my book "It's Good For A Man Not To Touch A Woman" and through my articles on this blog of what a Biblical marriage is and what one should do if they are found in violation of it. You have no excuse.
2. Verse seven says, "Likewise, ye husband's, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered."
The distinction of the believing husband as opposed to the unbelieving, as well as the position that both the husband and wife possess in Christ is clearly seen here. Of the former, they are both "heirs together of the grace of life," and of the latter, the husband will be adversely affected by his disobedience through hindered prayers.
Biblical marriage is a Christian institution exclusively. It is not to be compared to the marriage of unbelievers as being equal. The only benefit that unbelievers will receive if they adopt Biblical instruction within their appropriate secular union is that they will find their union a good one and society will be the better for it. It is far more advantageous, though, to have it in Christ, both now and eternally, "For bodily exercise profiteth little: but Godliness is profitable unto all things..." (1Timothy 4:8).
Christians, begin living your marriages according to God's Word! When you don't, you blaspheme His Word. It is your responsibility to show the world what true marriage is. Instruction and understanding concerning it was granted to you. If you will hear God's Word and what I teach here and in my book, your marriage and the understanding of it will be a blessing to you, Christ, and the world.
As long as the present day church continues to hold to its secular marital concepts, it will continue to fail and encourage sin. It's time for the church to get it right and stand upon true Biblical marital principles.