Judge of All Creation, Ladies and gentleman of the jury, it is my privilege to represent the accused in this earthly court of public opinion. We have gathered for the trial of Cohabitation v. God's Divine Plan of Marriage.
The institution of marriage has been legally charged, placed in custody and held without bond to be brought to a speedy trial here today. The charges against this God-given institution range from not being a sufficient forum for two single individuals to become one, united in mind, body and spirit, to the indictment that no matter what the marital partners do, Holy Matrimony will eventually disintegrate into divorce with infidelity, fighting, verbal and physical abuse as par for the course! We the defense, plan to show that Millennials have set the stage for the biggest coup of the century. Satan clearly has many of our young adults believing that cohabitation, better known in older circles as "shacking up," is a better choice than marriage. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reports: "Cohabitation, once rare, is now the norm." The researchers found that more than half (54 percent) of all first marriages between 1990 and 1994 began with unmarried cohabitation. They estimate that a majority of young men and women of marriageable age today will spend some time in a cohabiting relationship.
However in defense of marriage, we propose to show that God's Divine plan of joining man and woman together as one is a more desired option than cohabiting when you consider the outcomes. Please weigh a portion of an article on Marriage by Sheri Stritof, Marriage Expert & Author, who is quoted as reporting the following: "...Cohabiting relationships are less stable than marriages, and that instability is increasing."
Just consider the cohabitation facts: Living together is more stressful than being married.
Just over 50% of first cohabiting couples ever get married.
In the United States and in the UK, couples who live together are at a greater risk for divorce than non-cohabiting couples.
Cohabiting couples had a separation rate five times that of married couples and a reconciliation rate that was one-third that of married couples.
Cohabiting couples are more likely to experience infidelity.
Compared to those planning to marry, those cohabiting have an overall poorer relationship quality. They tend to have more fighting and violence and less reported happiness.
Cohabiting couples earn less money and are less wealthy than their married peers later in life.
Compared to married individuals, those cohabiting have higher levels of depression and substance abuse.
It's clear from the statistics that the Institution of Marriage is a better alternative with more positive outcomes than cohabiting. But why?
If it may please the court, allow me to lift up the Word of God to shed light on this question and deception by the advarsary!
Firstly Paul's argument for marriage in chapter 7 is preceeded by his recognition in chapter 6 that Intercourse outside of marriage is sin.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul gives us a list of sinful acts in the flesh that cause the violators to be categorized as unrighteous.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
In these two verses, Paul gives us a list of sinners that will not inherit the kingdom of God. Notice within this lineup are the words "fornicators" and "adulterers." These words clearly focus on sexual activity between unmarried individuals. The general sense of the two terms (fornicators and adulterers) refer to illegal and illicit sexual intercourse outside of the bond and boundary of marriage. Moreover, it is clear from the scriptures that Paul preaches against immoral sexual activity. The fact that it is done outside of the bond of marriage is what makes it immoral.
In Hebrews 13:4 the writer issues a clear warning concerning this sinful activity. Sex between marriage partners is permitted and even encouraged. However, sex outside of marriage is against God's law and God judges the violators.
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
The carnal Corinthians argued in 1 Corinthians 6:13 that sexual desire should be addressed and satisfied in the same manner that hunger was addressed and satisfied. However, Paul drew a distinction between the stomach and a persons body. He argued that the body was not meant for sexual immorality but was meant for the Lord, to use in the manner that He desired. Our body is for the Lord's use.
Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
In vs. 1 Corinthians 6:15-17 Paul asks if the Corinthians were aware that they were literally joined to Jesus Christ. His question displays his direct opposition to the sinfully acceptable act of having intercourse with temple prostitutes in the Temple of Diana. His emphasis is when a person has intercourse, they are essentially "joined" to that person. The goal of intercourse is that the two persons become one flesh. However, Paul uses that same fact to point our that when we are paired with the Lord, we are one Spirit with Him!
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
Thirdly, in 1 Corinthians 6:19 Paul points out that our body is the "temple of the Holy Spirit" as opposed to the Temple of Diana. He moreover makes reference in verse 20 to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as payment for sin's ransom on our heads. Because of this, Paul states that we have a obligation to glorify God in both our bodies and our spirits. Mainly because we belong to Him!
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Paul had clearly warned the church-at-large of the dangers of sexual immorality. It is this understanding and perception that all improper sexual activity outside of marriage is sin that prompts Paul to provide a remedy for the Christians who were living in first century Corinth. What is his remedy you ask?
It is clear that sexual relations outside of the bond of marriage is sin. This fact is a "red flag" issue that disqualifies cohabitation as an acceptable alternative to marriage. One can never glorify God by cohabiting with the opposite sex. The temptation towards sexual immorality is too great. Therefore, cohabiting can never be viewed as an acceptable act to God.
However, because our bodies belong to the Lord due to His sacrifice on Calvary, Paul's command In 1 Corinthians 6:20 is to "glorify God in your body and spirit, which is God's."
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Here alone is the what makes the institution of marriage defendable and acceptable. Herein lies the one and only means for sexual activity and procreation to be honored and honorable to God. This is the only way that the human race can glorify God in our bodies. How? Through the bond of marriage!
Paul now addresses the concerns that the Corinthians wrote to him about. He advises them that it is not good for a man to "touch" a woman. The Greek verb for "touch" actually means to seize or grasp or lay hold of, which implies sexual intercourse. The word "touch" then, is a euphemism for intercourse. The same is true in the instance of the same word found in Proverbs 6:28-29 which states:
Can one walk on hot coals, And his feet not be seared?
So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.
Therefore Paul presents a remedy. That remedy is found in our text. 1 Corinthians 7:2 states clearly–
Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.
In our text, Paul gives us a series of allowances that all stem from his stated issue of sexual immorality found at the beginning of verse 2. He instructs that a man should have his own wife and that a woman should have her own husband. In the next verse, Paul issues the second allowance given to us in scripture. 1 Corinthians 7:3 instructs the husband to render to the wife the physical affection that is "due her!" The use of the verb render, as well as the overall gist of the text suggests that physical affection leading to sexual intercourse is a debt that is to be paid to each marital partner. It is an obligation that is not to be ignored.
The lyrics to the popular song, "Find One Hundred Ways" written by James Ingram amplifies and illustrates this tenet of the text effectively.
Compliment what she does, Send her roses just because
If it's violins she loves, Let them play
Dedicate her favourite song, And hold her closer all night long
Love her today, Find one hundred ways
Don't forget, there could be, An old lover in her memory
If you need her so much more, Why don't you say?
Maybe she has it in her mind, That she's just wasting her time
Ask her to stay, Find one hundred ways
Being cool won't help you keep a love warm, You'll just blow your only chance
Take the time to open up your heart, That's the secret of romance
Sacrifice if you care, Buy her some moonlight to wear
If it's one more star she wants, Go all the way
In your arms, she'll reflect, That she owes you the sweetest of debts
When she wants to pay, Find one hundred ways
Love her today, Find one hundred ways
Therefore, Paul makes it clear in verse 1 Corinthians 7:4, that in marriage, the each marriage partner has authority over the other persons physical body.
The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
He emphasizes this obligation in verse 5, by directing the Corinthians not to deprive their marriage partner of this marital responsibility and duty, to safeguard and maintain the sexual aspects of a marital relationship.
I want to close this sermon with a quote from Derek Prime. He writes this: "A secret of successful marriage is not to insist upon what our partner owes us but to focus on our duty to our marriage partner."
The success of a marital relationship is found in the mutual desire of each partner to focus more on their personal obligation to the other person, rather than than focusing their energy on their personal marital rights. The admonition found in Acts 20:35 clearly tells us that its more blessed to give than to receive.
I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
Moreover, Paul writes to the Church at Philippians, telling them clearly in Philippians 2:4:
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
When this approach of considering the needs of others is adopted between marriage partners, marital harmony is the outcome, rather than marital discord.
When either partner in a marriage asks, ‘What are my rights?’ seeds of discontent are sown. On the other hand, when, instead, the question is, ‘What are my duties?’ a good foundation is built and strengthened.
Therefore, with this understanding from the words of the Apostle Paul concerning our marital responsibility, if it please the court, I ask that all charges against my client, the institution of marriage, be dismissed on the grounds that it is the only acceptable, admissible, reasonable and viable option available to the human race that will allow us to honor and glorify God in our bodies and spirits while participating in the God-given process of intercourse, where the two become one flesh. That which was sinful is now righteous! That which was damnable is now honorable. That which was abhorred is now admissible. That which was cursed is now blessed. Why? It is due to God's perfect provision for mankind.
What is God's perfect provision? Jesus!