Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is one that our world, but more importantly those in the church, need to hear.
So Whats Wrong with Living Together?: A Biblical Response to Cohabitation by Jeffrey S. Miller
So … what is wrong with living together? Everyone is doing it! Sadly, even couples who consider themselves Christians.
Is a marriage license just a piece of paper and marriage something people created? What if we’re really committed to each other or are planning to get married eventually?
In 37 easily readable pages, Jeffrey Miller presents the loving biblical answer to those questions and many more. And he does so without being judgmental or condemning.
In chapter 2 he says:
The Bible does not explicitly say “Living together is a sin.” Despite a popular misconception, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, containing endless lists of everything God says is okay and everything God says is not okay. Though we do see passages of clear “do’s and don’ts” (like the Ten Commandments in Exodus chapter 20), the Bible often gives principles concerning our conduct.
He goes on:
Throughout the Bible, God gives clear principles on His design and intentions for sexuality and marriage. We could list all the things God is against when it comes to sexual relationships, such as homosexuality, bestiality, polygamy, etc. (and in fact the Bible does mention God’s feelings toward such things).
But, as the author points out, we love loopholes.
And when we come to the Bible, we have a tendency to do the same. Have you ever said (or thought):
“I know what the Bible says, but technically …”
“The Bible may say that, but what that really means is …”
“I know ________ is wrong, but the Bible doesn’t say anything about _________.”
When Satan tempted Eve in the Garden, he started by questioning God’s Word. Nothing much has changed.
… in God’s infinite wisdom, He did something better (and easier) for us. Instead of giving us list after list of what He doesn’t want for us concerning sexuality and marriage, God instead gives us His blueprint for how he intended sexuality and marriage to be in the first place.
Mr. Miller goes on to explain God’s plan for marriage beginning in Genesis 2 and how He intends for it to be an “exclusive, inseparable relationship between the man and the woman.” He goes on:
We must also notice that God didn’t create one man, take twelve of his ribs to make twelve women, telling Adam, “Hey, try them out, sow your oats, see which one you like, or maybe you’ll decide on more than one.” Nor did God create twelve men for Eve to “play the field” until she decided which man would make her the happiest. God made one man–for one woman–for one lifetime. At creation, God deliberately set this pattern for marriage commitment with the very first couple.
The author then goes on to talk about Jesus’ teaching on marriage, beginning with his condemnation of the Pharisees and their low view of marriage (Matt. 19.3-9) and then walking us through His encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well (Jn. 4.5-26).
… Jesus was reaching out to her and offering her the better way, the first thing He pointed out to her was the fact that her life was caught up in one bad relationship after another, husband after husband, and the man she was currently living with was not her husband.
… we discover in the Bible that Jesus Christ Himself actually encountered someone who was living in that situation. And … He didn’t affirm it as a good alternative to marriage.
Jesus is proclaiming that people are missing God’s plan (and blessing) for marriage when they don’t view divorce, relationships, and cohabitation as God Himself does.
In chapter 5 the author addresses the common responses to criticism of living together:
“But we love each other…”
“We will end up getting married eventually anyways …”
“We are committed to each other …”
“We are married in God’s eyes, why does it matter if we have the license? It’s just a piece of paper! And why do we have to have a ceremony?”
“We have to do it for financial reasons …”
“Everybody is doing it these days …”
“You wouldn’t buy a care without test driving it, would you? Isn’t living together before you get married like test driving a car? You know, try it out, make sure it works …”
Finally, Mr. Miller gives the reader what he calls “the great news”:
God is not about having all these hoops for us to jump through, just to see if He can get us to conform to some arbitrary list He came up with.
As I write this, my son Owen is almost 2 … Often, Owen will be running around trying to eat some “non-edible” as I am trying to give him real, good food. I try to take the junk from him (and figure out where he got it in the first place) and replace it with something better for him. In most cases, he will cry and carry on as I try to make the swap! He obviously is too young to reason, but in my mind, I am saying, “Why would you try so hard to hold on to garbage when I want to give you something better?”
If we are honest, many times we (as adults) try to hold onto something that just isn’t good for us while God in heaven is saying, “Give THAT up for what I have for you! I have something for you that is so much better, and you insist on holding on to something that will hurt you! Drop it so I can replace it.” This is true with cohabitation. God, who knows what is better for us more than we do, has given us his wonderful plan for marriage and sexuality. As you hold on to cohabitation, God wants you to “drop” that in exchange for something better. Like my son, you can’t have both.
If you know someone who is living together or thinking about it, why not buy them a copy of this little book. You could save them from a great deal of hurt and suffering.
And if you’re reading this and you are living with someone with whom you’re not married, I pray you’ll open your heart to biblical truth. I don’t say that as someone who was raised in church and always did everything right. If you read my testimony, you’ll see that I wasted too many years of my life trying to do things my own way and waking up in a pigsty like the prodigal son (Lk. 15.11-32).
After two divorces and living with someone, I surrendered my life to Christ and decided to do things His way. That was almost 34 years ago and I can tell you, personally, God has something so much better!
Quotes taken from:
Miller, Jeffrey S. So What’s Wrong with Living Together? Focus Publishing.
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Some of the Previously Featured Books:
Last week’s resource was The MacArthur Daily Bible by John MacArthur.
Some of the Others:
The God Empowered Wife: How Strong Women Can Help Their Husbands Become Godly Leaders by K.B. (Karen) Haught. Read it here.
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