Can you get married without a marriage license?

Pastor Chris,

 

Can a man and a women be married in the eyes of god without a marriage license?

 

~ Tracy

 

ANSWER

 

Tracy,

 

Yes, if you live on a deserted island!

 

The Bible exhorts Christians to be subject to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7). Jesus said, “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Luke 20:25). The government requires a marriage license for a man and a woman to be wed. If a man and a woman choose to live together the government still gets involved by declaring that they are married by common law even though they did not have a ceremony or a certificate. You cannot escape the government or God on this issue. “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1, NIV).

 

I believe that a marriage ceremony and a license are good things. They are public matters. Jesus Himself attended a wedding, thus endorsing the marriage ceremony. A marriage ceremony complete with a license shows respect for God, for government, and for society. Christian marriage seeks the blessing of all three on their union. Why would a couple not desire this?

 

Frankly, a license for marriage helps to maintain an orderly society. When people do whatever they think is right in their own eyes bad things happen (Judges 17:6; Isaiah 5:21). Our culture has a hard time with commitment. A marriage ceremony and a marriage license elevate the importance of commitment to the family. Without stable families led by a man and wife that are committed to each other, society crumbles.

 

For a more detailed examination of your question see Seven Reasons Why God Created Marriage by James Ford, Jr. and Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in a Postmodern Society by Glenn T. Stanton.

 

~ Pastor Chris

Why do I feel a deep connection with someone if homosexuality is unnatural?

Pastor Chris, 

I would like to know if homosexuality is unnatural, why do I feel such a deep connection to someone of the same sex. Recently this guy came up to me and he wanted to get to know me and I said yes. We went out 2 times. It was great. After that I prayed to God to end this¬†relationship¬†because being gay does not fit with the life I have been leading and I don’t want to lose it or the people I’m close to. Miraculously he just stopped communicating with me. Now I feel emptiness, loneliness, and I am emotionally confused. I think about him all the time. I’m crying as I write this. I guess my question is, I just don’t understand how homosexuality is unnatural or a sin when my heart says different. My heart is hurting because I wish I could make a life with this man without being ridiculed and losing everyone I love.

~ Robert

 

ANSWER

 

Robert,

 

Please read this answer all the way through.

 

The Bible is clear about homosexuality. Yes, it is sinful. Romans 1:18-32 leaves no room for doubt. This passage in Romans speaks to the totality of corruption that sin brings as is refers to sins of the heart (v.24-25); sins of the body (v.26-27); and, sins of the mind (v.28-32).

 

Sin is an abomination, an affront to a holy God. There are many forms of it, homosexuality being one of them.

 

Consider what God said to Cain before he went out and murdered his brother Abel, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you but you must master it” (Genesis 4:6-7).

 

Anger can lead us into sin. That is what happened to Cain. He allowed himself to dwell on his anger over the fact that God did not look with favor on his offering. He was also angry because God did look with favor on Abel’s offering.

 

Watch out when you are angry. In your case it will be a temptation to be angry with God because He said that humans are not to involve themselves in homosexuality. If you allow yourself to be consumed with anger you will be easy prey for the devil who will increase the temptation to rebel against God.

 

Disappointment can lead you to anger. When we get disappointed with God we can easily get angry with Him. Our disappointment with God has to do with our misunderstanding of God and His ways. This will in turn lead us to not trust Him. Failing to trust God is a dead end.

 

It is much better to trust God and take His laws to heart. Happiness and joy come from submitting yourself to God’s Son, Jesus. Consider these verses:

 

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25, NIV).

 

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18, NIV).

 

“A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless” (Proverbs 14:16, NIV).

 

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV)

 

We have choices in life. Sin is a choice.

 

Temptation is not a sin. It is when we give in to temptation that we sin.

 

Your first and primary relationship is with the Lord. “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'” (Isaiah 55:6-9, NIV). Human relationships are important, but not as important as your relationship with your Creator.

 

By-the-way, it is normal to have feelings of grief when a friend leaves. Whether that friend moves away or simply discontinues the friendship, grief is involved. It is a loss. Do not confuse feelings of grief with sexuality. I have male friends that I laugh with and speak deeply with at a heart level. This is normal. It is a good thing to have trusted friends of the same gender. Just remember, friendship – yes. Sexual activity – no. Your heart can lie to you. Sexual activity of any kind outside of marriage is forbidden by God. He wired us up and knows how we function best.