August 2, 2013

A marriage that lasts forever

In some circles, marriage seems to have fallen out of favor. Yet for those who choose Christ, they must also choose marriage, a union of a similar sort but that goes beyond “’till death do us part.” In this marriage, there is no parting and death is just the beginning.

God speaks of this marriage in both Old and New Testaments. His promise is amazing…

And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. (Hosea 2:19)

And He hints at it in allegory, painting word pictures that are not fulfilled until the Bridegroom comes for His Bride…

My beloved is mine, and I am his…. (Song of Solomon 2:16)

When Jesus arrived, He identified Himself when asked why His disciples did not fast, again using slightly veiled language…

And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. (Mark 2:19–20)

The New Testament identifies this marital union with the Bridegroom as one of faith, but it is closer than our normal understanding of marriage where God says two are made one flesh. Betrothal to Christ means that He and His bride are made one spirit…

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. (1 Corinthians 6:17)

As Hosea says, this union is forever. There is no divorce because the Bridegroom has made a commitment to love His Bride forever, no matter what she may do. However, the more Christians understand that love, the more we love Him.

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, (1 Peter 1:8)

One day, the Bride will see Him face to face. For that, He has planned a grand celebration, a feast…

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:9)

This marriage is a never-ending joy, a union that never ceases for there is no more death to end it and no more sin to create any reason for separation. Our relationship of love will be perfect.

In this life, we have the contract, a covenant made with God. It begins with a choice, not ours but His. He sets His eyes on those who will become His Bride and by faith we give consent. We desire Him for we realize His love for us and our need for that unconditional, eternal and glorious love. Faith is the bond of the union. We are joined to Him by His Spirit and faith ties the marriage knot.

The result is that I am His and He is mine, a reality so wonderful that my mind can scarce take it in. 

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