Sunday, September 30, 2012

Christian Marriage (6) State Recognition

The family existed before the state, so human governments did not establish marriage. God established marriage and gave it as a gift to the world. Since marriage is an institution established by him, it should be based on his word, not on government policy. God established marriage before the state existed, so he alone has authority to definite the way it should function.

Human governments do not have authority over marriage. They cannot change something that God has established, so Christians should not allow them to define marriage for them. God has already defined marriage and human governments cannot change God’s word. Christian marriage should be based on God’s word and not on legislation established by a human government. Christians do not the state to define marriage for them.

Only God can create a marriage. When two people commit to marriage, he makes them one. The state cannot marry people, because it does not have the ability to join people together and make them one.

In a world dominated by the state, we should not be surprised that people want their relationships “recognised” by the state. People who reject God usually choose to be slaves of another god, so we should not be surprised that secular people choose to be slaves of the state. If the people of the world want the secular state to bless their relationships, that is their business, but God’s standard is not changed.

From the point of the state, a covenant marriage will appear to be a de facto relationship. Since the state has no control over it covenant marriage, it would not recognise its existence. That would not matter much, as modern governments have plenty of laws for dealing with de facto relationships.

Some Christians may want their marriage recognised by the legal system. There is no reason why they could have a second marriage within the civil system. This is what happens in some European countries. Church and civil weddings are distinct events. On the other hand, some Christians may prefer to remain separate from the world system. If the state refused to acknowledge their marriage and treats them as if they were in a de facto relationship, they would take it as a badge of honour.

The people of the world may want the state to bless their relationships, but we do not need to join them. Christians have the blessing of God on their marriage, so they have no need for the recognition of the state. Recognition by the state is nothing compared to the blessing of God.

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