This article was written by an
Jim E. Waldron
On the sixth day of creation God made man and woman, not like beasts, but spirit beings in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27), for God is Spirit (John 4:24). He clothed these new spirit creatures with flesh (Genesis 2:7). Centuries later Jesus asked the Pharisees, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female and said for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh?” He then affirmed, “They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6). The latter was the law of Jesus based on the original law. Our Maker not only created man and woman, but He “created” marriage for them.
It is therefore appropriate that we understand God’s rules for marriage. This needs to be done in order to know what God sanctions as marriage. The Holy Spirit declared, “marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). In simple words, marriage is approved of God (cf. Gen. 2:24), and the bed of marriage is right, pure and holy among all people on this planet. Singles who simply live together are committing sexual immorality (fornication). An individual who goes away from his or her own spouse to the bed of another is also committing sexual immorality (adultery). Since God affirms that marriage among all is honorable we need to know what His rules are for a marriage to take place.
The Spirit by Malachi stated three simple requirements, which are necessary for a marriage to be acceptable to God any place on this globe. The occasion was God’s refusal to accept the worship of certain Jews (Mal. 2:13). Thus they asked the prophet, “for what reason” (does God not accept our worship)? The three requirements are found in the prophet’s answer, “Because (I) the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet is she your companion and your wife by (2) covenant. But did (3) He not make them one...?” (Mal. 2:14-15).
From this text we learn first that the Holy Spirit wants men to know God is witness to marriage. God witnesses the fact that the two are coming together for marriage, not for fornication or adultery. The second requirement is that a covenant be made. In the United States we get a license at the courthouse then have a preacher, an officer of the court or similar person perform the ceremony. In an African village a man may give 3 cows to the father-in-law and the two jump over a broom, but in both cases they covenant to marry. In India marriages are most often arranged by parents, an agreement is drawn up, a feast is held and the bride and groom sign the covenant. The third requirement is that God makes the two one. Witnessing that the two have the right to marry as a man has the right to take the wife of his youth (See Proverbs 5:18), God makes them one (See Ephesians 5:31-32). When God has made the two one, they then have the privilege of the bed of marriage.