The institutions established by the LORD among men are three. First and oldest of these institutions is marriage. God created mankind as male and female (Gen. 1:27), separated the woman from the man (Gen. 2:21-23), and then united them in marriage in the Garden of Eden, making them one flesh (Gen. 2:24, 25). Since the LORD Himself founded marriage according to His will, no man or group of men has the right to issue laws to alter marriage in any way. The Lord Jesus confirmed God’s institution of marriage between a man and woman in Mark 10:6-9. Men may devise laws to sanction other kinds of unions, but those so-called unions are not God’s institution, and thus, not marriages. 

The second of God’s institutions is government. Government exists because God has ordained its existence (Rom. 13:1-4). Nothing is said about government before the flood in Noah’s day. Following the flood, the LORD instituted government when He said, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Gen. 9:6). Government exists to protect the helpless from the powerful, the innocent from the guilty, and the upright from the criminal, and to punish all evil-doers. If human governments cease to do that which they are ordained to do, then they have no reason to exist.

The third of God’s institutions is the church. Founded by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry, the church from the beginning consisted only of believers in Christ who had been baptized upon their profession of faith (Acts 1:21, 22; 2:41). From the first church came many churches, each one being independent and separate from the others, having its own officers, and receiving the Word of God as its sole rule of faith and practice. Anything less is not the church.

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