FROM 'DE FACTO' TO 'DE JURE:’ Part 03
Finding Legitimacy in an Immoral World
We have learned that ‘de facto’ is a reality and relationship without official or divine sanction. It seeks the benefits and pleasures of said relationship without the commitment and responsibility. De facto is also called ‘cohabitation.’
Yet to live in a de facto relationship is a gamble. From a Biblical view, any sexual relations in a de facto context is considered to be fornication, since it is outside the parameters of marriage. Furthermore, we learned that that de facto couples who eventually get married have a much higher rate of divorce than those who never lived together at all.
A de facto attitude and lifestyle are clearly not options for Bible-believing, Spirit-filled Christian. We are called to a life of commitment, communication, responsibility, and solid relationships based on love, respect, and reciprocity. Everyone who has experienced these benefits endorses them without hesitation.
Dr John Hayward, director of the Jubilee Centre, said: 'All the evidence suggests that families headed by married, biological parents who have not previously lived together provide the best environment for both the individuals involved and their children.’
How can we trade-in our self-centred, fearful, uncommitted de facto mindset for a solid, stable, sanctified and credible de jure one? The answer is ‘Make a Commitment.’ To whom?
• TO GOD: Receive Him as Saviour, serve Him as Lord, listen to His Word (the Bible), obey the prompting of His Holy Spirit.
• TO FAMILY: Be committed to your spouse, children, and parents. Sound family life is universally valued, regardless of nation or culture. Morality is a God-given hedge that we build to protect our families and ourselves.
• TO GOD'S PEOPLE: Commitment to Christian fellowship is vital for a healthy, flourishing Christian life. God's church may be universal but it also has a local address. Church-hopping and irregular fellowship is part of the de facto syndrome, even if you are married, and can be hazardous to your spiritual health.
• TO SOCIETY: Be faithful, responsible, and committed in your civic duties, like paying taxes, voting, speaking out on moral issues, etc. De Jure Christians make great citizens in any society. Love your neighbour as yourself. This includes de facto couples, divorcees, widows, etc.
What if you are in de facto relationship and have come to Christ, what should you do? You are not alone. Amazingly, the first person Jesus revealed Himself as Messiah was to a Samaritan woman who was married 5 times and lived in a de facto relationship when she met Christ (John 4:16-19). He has been called the friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34).
This author was confronted with this question a few years ago. The couple had been together 10 years and had two children. They had become Christians and planned to marry soon. However, they were uncomfortable about the possibility fornication now and a higher divorce rate after marriage. My advice to them was simple: The foundation of their relationship was flawed, therefore get a better foundation. This meant repudiation of the old foundation: the de facto spirit and fornication. This repudiation involved repentance, moving out of the house, and refraining from intimate relations until after the wedding. Only then could they have a new, better, and sure foundation for marital stability. Fortunately, this couple readily agreed, as others have before them.