The Sermon of the Week

POLYGAMY IS A SIN

God is the author of the human race and, by extension, families and what is clear right from the beginning, from the creation of the universe and all that is in them, is that He never authored polygamy, gayism, lesbianism or any practice He considers immoral and sacrilegious.

The Bible records that, after God had completed His work of creation and was very much pleased with everything He had made, He noticed one thing that wasn’t in order. Much as all other living creatures- and especially the animals- had companions, because they were male and female, Adam was only male, had no companion suitable for him and, therefore, was lonely. And so the LORD knew exactly what to do. He would make Adam a helper fit for him, one who was like him and who would complement him.

And what does God do? In Genesis 2: 24, God causes man to fall into a deep sleep and while the man is sleeping, He takes one of his ribs, closes up the place with flesh and makes a woman for Adam and brings her to him.

Adam is very happy to see her, for at last he has one of his own , a helper suitable for him, and the life of loneliness is now history. And, very much elated, he says, ‘This is the flesh of my flesh and the bone of my bones’. And, saying that she was taken out of a man, he calls her ‘woman’.

And the Scripture concludes that for the same reason a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two become one flesh. It means that, once a man and a woman get married, they are not two anymore, for they become one flesh. It is a concept that defies mathematical logic; where one plus one equals to one.

It becomes very clear, from the setting up of the first family on earth, that, one, God isn’t the author of polygamy and it isn’t His will for us. Two, that marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman and never between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. It means that God isn’t the author of gayism and lesbianism and He does not approve of such relationships, either.

Jesus Christ, like Paul, emphasised the fact that marriage is sacrosanct and a lifelong relationship that must never end as long as the two partners are alive. Only on the death of one or both partners can the marriage be dissolved. Jesus said, ‘And what God has joined together let no man separate’. Matthew 19: 6; Mark 10: 8.

Marriage is such a sacrosanct institution that, in Christian circles, a wedding has to be conducted in church, officiated by an ordained church minister who is also licensed by the government to do this kind of business, and it has to be conducted in accordance with the laws of God as well as those of the state. It isn’t a practice that can be conducted haphazardly by anyone anywhere. It isn’t a business that can be conducted in a market place, in some sugarcane plantation, in some thicket, by the roadside or by the riverside.

Jesus Christ taught that divorce isn’t the will of God for us and emphasised the fact that, ever since God instituted marriage on earth, His will for us has always been, one man, one wife. Jesus clarified- for instance in Matthew 19: 8- that Moses permitted the children of Israel to divorce only because they were hard-hearted. Yes, God put up with them, irrespective of their weaknesses and imperfections, by allowing them to walk in His permissible will.

When God entered into a covenant with the descendants of Jacob, He gave them the laws, which Moses wrote in the Book of the Law, also called the Book of the Covenant, the most famous of which were the Decalogue. The seventh of these commandments is about holiness and it stipulates: ‘You shall not commit adultery’. Exodus 20: 14. This Scripture doesn’t tell us what what constitutes adultery, but when Jesus Christ began to minister here on earth- having come to put in place the New Covenant of which Jeremiah the prophet had spoken- He talked at length what constitutes adultery.

One, He said that when you look at a woman lustfully, you become guilty of committing adultery with her in your heart. Matthew 5: 28.

Two, Jesus taught that to divorce your wife and marry another woman(while your lawfully wed wife is still alive) is to commit adultery and to marry a divorced woman or man is to commit adultery. Luke 16: 18.

Apostle Paul taught the same. He said that a man should have his own wife(one wife) and a woman her own husband(one husband) and the two must not divorce. The Apostle explained that if any man separates from his wife, then, as long as she is alive, he must not marry another woman, for that would amount to adultery. But when her husband dies, she is freed from the marriage covenant with him and, therefore, free to get married to a man of her choice. 1 Corinthians 7: 39.

The first century man of God taught that, for us to be partakers of the kingdom of God, we must not be immoral, sexually or otherwise. 1 Corinthians 6: 9- 11.

We see therefore that both Jesus and Paul agree that to enter into another marriage while your first marriage still lasts- which can only be dissolved on the death of one or both spouses- is to commit adultery. It therefore follows that polygamy, like polyandry, is an act of adultery and therefore unacceptable to God. Why, on earth, should anyone argue that there is no Scripture that outlaws polygamy in the light of this knowledge? If polygamy were not a sin, then a man who decides to marry a second, third or fourth wife and so on would be allowed to have a church wedding with all his wives.

The first recorded incident of polygamy in the Bible was that of Lamech, the sixth descendant of Cain, who married two wives, Adah and Zillah, and this deviation from the norm was a product of sin and rebellion against God and not the will of God for mankind. Genesis 4: 19. It was one of the many sins that compelled God to destroy the earth by the flood.

There are lots of Old Testament characters, some of whom men of God, who- like many traditional Africans- married many wives and God overlooked their sins because the grace of God that brings salvation to all mankind- which came with Jesus- was yet to be revealed. But today, ever since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God no longer overlooks ignorance. We must just repent of all our sins and walk in God’s perfect will. Acts 17: 30. The time to walk in God’s permissible will as did the Old Testament men of God some of whom married many wives is long gone. We must walk in God’s perfect will for Him to be with us and to bless us.

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