"Congratulations!" was the order of the day. An individual had moved in with her lover. No
marriage, either common law or otherwise. No pretext at being husband and wife. Yet,
"Congratulations!" was the word coming from everyone's mouth, except mine.
Perhaps it is considered old-fashioned; perhaps it is considered prudish; it may even seem
strange; but, it is not right to live together without the benefit of marriage. It is not a reason to
congratulate someone: it is a reason to be ashamed of their actions, and disapprove of their
living arrangements. To live together without the benefit of marriage is wrong.
Living together without the benefit of marriage is bad for society. The foundation of society is
the family. Living together is no family. There is no commitment. There is no solidarity of
foundation for society.
What of the children? You respond that there is contraception in our day and age. Look at the
birth rate out of marriage. Up to one out of every three births is outside of wedlock. Do you know
anyone who has become pregnant while utilizing birth control? I know of those who have
become pregnant utilizing almost every form of birth control known to man, including
vasectomies that did not take. The children born of such a union begin life with one, and
possibly two strikes, against them. The chances of them growing up without either a mother or
a father are more than nine times the normal.
Some have stated that if couples lived together before they were married they could see if they
are compatible, and the divorce rate will go down. However, what makes marriages last? Is it
sexual compatibility? A man and a woman are sexually compatible. The determining factor in
marriages lasting is a moral conviction of the lifetime commitment of marriage. Without that
moral conviction, there will always be found an excuse (although they may call it a reason) to
end the marriage. Those who live together before marriage lack the morals that will make a
marriage last. That is why the statistics show that those who live together before they are
married have a much higher rate of divorce.
Also, why would those who live together ever get married? "Why buy the cow, if you already get
the milk free?" What compunction is there for the unmarried couple who cohabitate to become
married? If marriage is seen as nothing more than a piece of paper, if marriage is so
denograded that they would reduce it to playing house, if there is no recognition of the
immorality of fornication, why would they get married? Many places there is no social stigma
associated with living together. The laws of the land allow for palimony and inheritance claims
by "live-ins." If there is no moral reason, if there is no social reason, if there is no financial
reason, if there is no legal reason, why would they ever get married?
Perhaps the saddest report on living together without the benefit of marriage is the acceptance
of the arrangement by many religionists. Preachers are heard to say, "If they plan on getting
married there is nothing wrong with it;" "We need to change with the times;" "It may not be the
best situation, but that is modern society." Those individuals who should be at the forefront of
the fight against immorality have surrendered to the enemy. It is not uncommon to see the
president of the choir, a deacon or a deaconess, a Sunday school teacher, or other individual
in some churches living together with someone without the benefit of marriage. Whatever
happened to sin?
Regardless of the situation of modern society, regardless of the position of modern
religionists, sin is still sin. "Marriage is honorable m all, and the marriage bed undefiled; but
whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." (The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews, chapter
13, verse 4). Fornication and adultery are still listed among the works of the flesh, which "they
which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (The Epistle of Paul to the
Galatians, chapter 5, verses 18-21; see also The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians,
chapter 6, verses 9 to 11).
The correct response to those living together without the benefit of marriage (both a legal and a
scriptural marriage) is found in The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 5, as the
apostle addresses the problem of one living with someone without benefit of marriage at
Corinth in the first century.
"It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality
as is not even named among the Gentiles - that a man has his father's wife! And you are puffed
up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from
among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged, as
though I were present, concerning him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord
Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be
saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little
leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new
lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
Therefore let us keep the feast not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and
wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
"I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly
did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or
extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have
written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is a fornicator, or
covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner - not even to eat with such
a person. For what have I to do with judging them also who are outside? Do you not judge
those who are inside? But hose who are outside God judges. Therefore, 'put away from
yourselves that wicked person'." (The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 5, verses
1 thru 13).
The brother, or believer, who is living with someone without benefit of marriage should be
withdrawn from. There should be no company kept with that individual, not even as much as
eating with them. This is for the purpose of shaming them into correcting their behavior, and
repenting. It is a censure of their behavior so that others do not follow their bad example, as
well as an attempt to reclaim the sinner for righteousness. They should know better than to
behave in such a fashion. They should know that fornication and adultery are sin. They should
know that they have a responsibility to themselves, to the church, to Christ, and to God to
eschew such behavior. There is no excuse for them acting in such a manner; therefore, they
are fit subjects of punishment. It is not a matter of ignorance with them; it is a matter of
However, the same is not true of those in the world. Those who have not heard the message of
salvation in Jesus Christ, those who have not become believers in the Son of God, those who
have not obeyed from the heart the gospel, are ignorant (although possibly willfully ignorant).
They dp not know that their actions are wrong. They do not know fornication and adultery are
sin. They have no relation to the church, to Christ and to God. They are without hope. They are
lost. They need to be taught. They need to be instructed. They need to hear the message of
salvation in Jesus Christ. Therefore, the same restrictions are not placed upon having
company with unbelievers, or in eating with them. Where there is no knowledge of wrong, there
will be no shame. Withdrawing from the infidel would serve no purpose. However, this is a far
cry from condoning and approving of their behavior. The instruction and teaching done will
include reproof and rebuke for sin. That may cause the infidel to withdraw from the saint. In
fact, it commonly does.
The reaction of the Christian to those who live in sin differs depending upon who it is: whether
they are a brother in Christ, or whether they are an infidel. However, the reaction to the sin
remains the same: rejection and a call for correction. "Congratulations!" are in order when one
does what is right; not when someone does something wrong. "Congratulations!" are in order
when someone quits living in sin, when they cease to live together without the benefit of
marriage, not when they begin to do so. That is true of either the saint or the sinner, the
believer or the unbeliever, the Christian or the infidel.
"Blessed is he who condemns not himself in that which he approves" (The Epistle of Paul to
the Romans, chapter 14, verse 14).