Nowhere are the permissive morals of our day more evident than in the new practice of men and women living together without the benefit of marriage. I say "new", although the practice has been common for centuries as evidenced by the five-times-married woman Jesus met at Jacob's well who was then living with a man who was not her husband. (John 4:16-18) Nor is it new to our day as instances of common-law marriage are not hard to find. It is new only in the sense that it has become a common practice to which society no longer attaches disapproval.
The Bible does not teach that a civil or, religious ceremony must be performed for a marriage to be valid in God's eyes. This is a civil requirement and as law abiding citizens, Christians are obligated to observe it. The idea that marriage is a "sacrament" is not found in the scriptures. However, it is evident that in biblical times there was a contractual agreement, perhaps verbal, signifying marriage. The parables of "The Marriage of the King's Son", "The Wedding Garment", and "The Ten Virgins" indicate that marriage took place at a given time and place.
If it be argued that in biblical times men and women did not buy a license to solemnize their relationship, it should be recognized that today when people "live together" they obviously do not intend to be married or they would spend the few dollars to legalize their relationship. In fact, they specifically do NOT consider themselves to be married, although in some instances they may consider the possibility in the future.
What bothers me most about the whole thing is not that people flaunt the laws of God (men have been doing this in countless ways since time began), but that religious people engage in the practices and seemingly see nothing wrong in it. Moreover, other professed Christians condone the practice if "they really care for one another".
In the Bible such a relationship outside of marriage is called fornication, or if it involves the married, adultery. Just to set the record straight on what the Bible teaches about it we will quote Paul: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolater, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God." (I Cor. 6:9-11)
There it is! Those living together without the benefit of marriage are lost and cannot be saved unless they repent. This is blunt, but if one believes the Bible it is true. For the Christian there can be no compromise.