It is no secret if you read the Book of Revelation that Heaven is home to much gold. This gold is pure, like everything else in Heaven. Traditionally, wedding bands have been made primarily of gold. These wedding bands have also traditionally been round, and the ring is a great reminder of the unending nature of a marriage. We see this in Heaven, where gold is pure and Heaven is unending (eternal). That’s how God would love to see our marriages…pure and unending. One of the most important elements to having a home filled with Heavenly blessings is to have a marriage that mimics Heaven in its purity and unending devotion to one’s spouse. Just do a simple study on the Church as the Bride of Christ, and see Christ’s pure and unending devotion to us.
It’s expected by God that a couple be totally committed to one another in marriage. Though they may have tough times where the marriage requires a lot of hard work, they must persevere. If they experience the ups and downs of material wealth and financial ease all the way to poverty and struggling to make ends meet, they must remain committed. When being one in marriage means you have to move across the country to follow your spouse’s new job, all the while leaving family and friends behind, you must stay committed. Marriages are to be unending, brought about through total commitment.
Many believe some of these marriage vows we take today came from the Old Testament, when Ruth totally committed herself to her mother-in-law after the death of Ruth’s husband. “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I WILL GO: And where thou lodgest, I WILL LODGE: thy people shall be MY PEOPLE, and thy God MY GOD” (Ruth 1:16). Ruth faced an uncertain future but totally committed herself.
So why did God establish marriage? For one thing, it combats loneliness, as God stated in Genesis 2:18 that it wasn’t good for the man to be alone. Marriage will add an extra element of joy to our lives that unmarried people won’t be able to experience, especially when a couple strives to live up to godly principles (Ephesians 5:21-28). Matthew 18:15-16 explains that it’s possible to be reconciled once again to each other if one or both have been hurt or offended in the marriage. God gives incentives for husbands to love and treat their wives properly, which will add to the enjoyment of the marriage for both, by promising to answer the husband’s prayers (1st Peter3:7). But according to 1st Corinthians 7:5, Satan wants to destroy marriages.
In the Bible there are many verses stating that marriage is to be until “death to you part” (Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Matthew 5:31-32; Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:5-9; Romans 7:2-3; 1st Corinthians 7:9). Today, people confuse emotions with actual biblical love and will base the future success of their marriages on the absence or presence of these feelings that wax and wane throughout the many different circumstances that a couple may experience. Love is the decision that is made to remain committed regardless of wealth, ease, and the myriad of other things that could derail a marriage. Working through these issues with your spouse, and staying together is in direct obedience to God, and that alone will bring blessings from Him that will help get the two of you through.
Now, divorce is allowable in one case, which I’ll not delve into here, but if you seek divorce under any other circumstance, it is in direct disobedience to God and you will forfeit blessings. Malachi 2:13-16 gives warning that divorce brings about bitter consequences. In her commentary on Malachi, Joyce Baldwin writes, “He (God) sees divorce to be like covering one’s garment with violence, a figurative expression for all kinds of gross injustice which, like the blood of a murdered victim, leave their mark for all to see.” There is carnage left behind after a divorce…it’s unavoidable.
Today, astonishingly enough, women seek divorce twice as often as men. Divorce rates among first marriages are over 50 percent while the divorce rate for second marriages is 67 percent. There is increased depression brought about by the loss of the marriage and the companionship that people experience while in a committed relationship. Divorce is expensive to get and these families experience a lower financial status than married couples and that translates into the sad statistic that 60 percent of divorced moms and their children live below the poverty line. One reason this is such a factor is because 90 percent of moms get custody and the average divorced mom raises an average of four children on $12,000 post-tax income for the year. Sixty-five percent of these moms do not receive any child support. Not only are there money issues hurting divorced spouses, but the quality of time they spend with their children is severely decreased because of the financial burdens forcing single parents to work longer hours…and this lack of quality time takes its toll on children.
According to most recent statistics, 50 percent of children today are children of divorced parents. Please don’t buy into the lie that children are resilient and will pull through this. Boys tend to act out their anger over their feelings of the parents’ divorce. They will become aggressive to vent their frustration and try to ease their hurt over the situation. Girls are more likely to internalize everything and develop somatic symptoms. They’ll have poorer nutrition. They’ll have a decrease in extracurricular and social activities. Girls and boys of divorced parents will have poorer outcomes in school and have less educational options open to them (private school, college, etc). Not to mention the emotional toll on both boys and girls, as evidenced by increased feelings of depression, denial, abandonment, anger, blame, guilt, and delayed or accelerated levels of maturity. They’re also at an increased risk of substance abuse, higher rate of school drop out, and higher likelihood of crime. Children of divorced parents are at a higher risk to experience divorce in their own marriages later in life. Overall, children of divorce have been know to experience an earlier than normal death.
Does that sound like a touch of Heaven in the home or a touch of hell in the home? The latter is the correct answer. Now you see why in the book of Malachi it’s described by the commentator as divorce leaving behind all sorts of gross injustices. Divorce is certainly not a victimless act. It was abused in the Old Testament, and that’s why God “allowed” a written decree to protect spouses from each other, but as Jesus said in Matthew 19:8, it was not supposed to be that way from the beginning (when God made Eve for Adam). So, God does not want couples divorced, but if we insist on getting divorced, and ending what should not be ended, it’s because our hearts are hardened to our spouses and hardened toward God and what He would have for His children.
But that’s just the half of it. There’s the whole purity issue. Marriage was instituted in the Garden of Eden, as we have already established. But that was in the time BEFORE the fall into sin. So marriage was instituted in holiness and that is the way God intends for us to enter into marriage. That includes keeping yourselves pure from any sexual activity until after marriage. But certainly, once married, the marriage is to remain pure and holy before God and others, as described in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
In 1st Corinthians 6:18, God asks us to flee fornication the way Joseph did when Potiphar’s wife made advances toward him. We are not to dive head first into fornication and adultery the way David did with Bathsheba. If you read God’s Word in 1st Thessalonians 4:3-8, you’ll find that God expects His children to live purer lives than those who don’t know God and who live unbridled lives. We can only do that if we are willing to crucify the flesh (Colossians 3:5). Once we crucify the flesh, we must put on Christ and adopt His godly characteristics (Romans 13:14). Using your body in the right context is pleasing to God (1st Corinthians 6:13) and living a pure life will bring blessings from God (Psalm 18:24). However, defiling the marriage bed through fornication and adultery will forfeit Heavenly rewards (Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5), and you can mark it down that disobedience to God in this matter will yield the forfeiture of earthly blessings upon our homes, and open our homes up to God’s judgment.
There is so much to teach on the consequences of sexual immorality. The bulk of it can be found by carefully studying the Strange Woman of Proverbs five, six, and seven. But there are many others, and I’ll touch on some of the more general consequences. Three areas I want to warn you of the consequences of sexual immorality are the consequences related to your relationship with God, then your relationship with your spouse and family, and finally, consequences involving others.
First of all, Christ redeemed us unto holiness, and when we commit sexual sin against our spouse, it grieves Him. Not only because He redeemed us, but also because He is our supreme example of a groom waiting faithfully for His Bride. According to the Scriptures, Christ is a friend that is tighter with us than a brother could ever be, and we disappoint Him when we sin. Once the sin gets out, it will surely become known that the offending person was a Christian, and that will do nothing positive for the cause of Christ, not to mention the forfeiture of earthly and heavenly blessings and rewards. Imagine having to face Christ in the rapture as you got caught up in the middle of the shameful act (as I heard a preacher challenge us with that thought). Finally, by sinning this way, you open yourself up to many possible forms of chastisement from God…so pray for His mercy.
Imagine how your actions will affect your spouse and your relationship with them. Immeasurable hurt. They won’t trust you for a long while (if ever again) and you may just lose their respect as well. If your offended spouse is unable to forgive, they may just throw you out and contemplate ending the marriage. If you have children, imagine the piercing of your heart when you lose their respect, and imagine what that may do to them, inside their own hearts. You could easily lose your credibility and influence in your family, and if you’re the husband, you may lose the position as spiritual leader in your home.
As far as others are concerned, your sinful actions will truly affect someone else. Imagine the damage you can do to someone whom you have taught and discipled. Imagine the hurt and disappointment others will feel who looked up to you as an example or mentor. It’s entirely possible that our actions can weaken their faith. Past times of witnessing will be nullified and your testimony for the Lord will take a big hit. People may even be hindered from getting saved because of their disappointment in you. If you have a ministry, it will surely be hindered and may even be lost completely.
There are so many other consequences, such as unwanted pregnancies, death from a jealous spouse, sexually transmitted diseases, memories that will take a long time to go away, and guilt that also will take a long time to go away. Certainly people who commit adultery are deserving of all they get, but it doesn’t have to be the end of you spiritually, or your family as a whole. God will forgive a truly contrite and repentant heart. God will also work in the heart of the offended person to be able to forgive the one that committed the adultery. Once forgiveness is obtained from God, and forgiveness is granted from the one you have hurt, then restoration can take place…lessons can be learned…and obedience can once again yield blessings.