Living Together is Not the Same as Being Married

Following are excerpts from the study in Sexuality. To obtain the entire study, please email Rick at or call him at 812-319-4907 for more information.


Excerpt from Section Three:

Chapter Six: Is Marriage Defined by Culture?

No. Marriage before God has never been defined by culture, meaning to be defined by relating to the normal ideas, customs and social behavior of a society. Understanding that was one of the most fruitful things that happened in our group discussion. It likely had an equally encouraging affect on the apostle Paul as he wrote to the church at Ephesus. Following is how we tracked with Paul’s thinking in that letter.

A man nourishes and cherishes his wife because of the union she has with him — doing what is best for her, Ephesians 5:28-29a. Jesus nourishes and cherishes the Church because of the union she has with Him — doing what is best for her, Ephesians 5:28-30. It is because Christ Jesus has done this — leaving the provisions of His Father in heaven and cleaving to His bride — that a man leaves and cleaves to do the same with his wife, Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:31-32. (Truly, the god man Jesus is the leader and highest example of human faith, Hebrews 12:2.)

Paul could say this about marriage because he now understood from the first marriage (Adam and Eve) that it was designed to be a human echo of something to come: Christ and His marriage to the Church. Prior to Jesus coming to make the Father known (John 1:18), Paul and his fellow believing Jews had missed that understanding of marriage.


Once the group was tracking with the Spirit through Paul, realizing that marriage is to be an echo of the union between Christ and the Church, how to define a Biblical marriage before God became very clear. Only the union of Christ and the Church defines marriage for the believer living according to the Spirit. Marriage is not, nor will it ever be, defined by a culture.

The union of Jesus to His bride is monogamous (2 Corinthians 11:2), an inseparable relationship (Ephesians 5:31-32) and not same sex, Ephesians 5:25-27. The union of Christ and the Church is not subject to the definition of any cultural idea, custom or social behavior. Why? Because cultural norms apart from God are self-shining, and they work to kill faith in Jesus. That is what was happening in the Church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 3:1, 5:2), and the same is thriving in America’s churches today.

Considering the day in which we live, you may need to read this chapter again.


Chapter Seven: Does the Believer need a Marriage License to be Married?

Yes, unless the government does something to oppose God in requiring the believer to have a marriage license. If the government were to do things such as requiring married couples to rely on their parents to meet the majority of their physical and financial needs, or to be polygamous, or to include same sex partners or “try sex before getting married to ensure compatibility,” as I heard one believer say — the believer would not be required to have a license to be married before God. We can obtain this understanding from the examples found in Acts 4:13-20, 5:17-21, and 5:26-31.

As long as our government requires a marriage license to be legally married, and they do not violate God’s way in requiring it, then believers are to comply, Romans 13:1- 3. As for the US Government, there are two decisions that historically represent why a marriage license is required of US citizens: to discourage polygamy and to promote families. Those are two Biblically sound reasons to support the US government’s current requirement that everyone obtain a marriage license.