“As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the Church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:31-33 New Living Translation
In our culture today marriage has become something many feel they must defend, an issue of contention between religion and the state. I have expressed it in these words considering how many different factions have weighed in on the issue. As I think back over the years of my life, much has changed. Recently I was talking with a friend who has known me since high school. We were discussing the expectations we recalled from that time in our lives. It was our intention to find a job, marry, to love and live happily ever after, even though parts of my earlier life felt like they were disintegrating. Forty years later I look back with the greatest desire to tell my former self everything is going to be just fine, Hunky Dunky!
No matter where you decide to place yourself in the debate on same sex marriage, ultimately it has nothing to do with how the sanctity of marriage is defined. God is the one who sanctified marriage, so to declare that same sex marriage somehow destroys the sanctity of marriage suggests that we have the power and authority to change what God has created. As those who proclaim that God is holy, all powerful, and the ultimate authority, we need to rethink that position.
We who carry the name of Christ must know how our attitudes towards divorce have done more damage to the sanctity of marriage than any same sex marriage laws ever could. The fact that within the Christian community divorce is as high and has been higher than those who hate God reveals there is a problem. We supposedly know the One who ordained and hallowed marriage, yet it is treated as casually as buying a new suit of clothing. If you don’t like it exchange it for a new set, or like a buying a car, trade the old model for a new one! Jesus’ scribbling in the sand reaches into the fabric of time showing us the folly of pointing out that which we find inappropriate when we live in glass houses!
I have no personal agenda in the issue of same sex marriage. My purpose in bringing the issue into this post is to emphasize a need. This need is for those who claim to represent the name of Christ to be real in our understanding of what we are saying to the world. Jesus gave us a responsibility to bring to the world the message of His love and grace.
We cannot accomplish that task as long as we are focused on the wrong issues. Jesus chose the metaphor of marriage, the two becoming one to make a point. This is the point, love transcends everything! The first marriage God performed laid the foundation for all marriages. Marriage was created for eternity. Marriage doesn’t come with a money back guarantee, because God made it to be a forever union!
I know because we live in a world of dysfunction the reality of all marriages succeeding is not possible. Marriage is a marathon not a sprint, and there are times when marriage can feel more like an iron man or iron woman triathlon. Even within the Body of Christ it will not and cannot be 100% successful. However, Jesus told us He had overcome the world, and if we believe that is true, then He is overcoming the world that inhabits us as the poor vessels we are, jars of clay!
Men, we are given a great responsibility by our Creator for each one to love your wife as you do yourself, to cause no harm to anyone. As I flip back through the pages of my personal life there is much I would change. This opens questions of future impact on what is vs. what could have been, what could be. How would those changes have altered who I am to the man I would have been? How could that change the entire impact of what is now, in contrast to what might have been? As speculation, daydreaming can be an interesting exercise in finding out what motivates us.
In the final analysis it comes down to this, no one is forcing anyone to be a Christian, but when you make that choice to be included in the Bride of Christ there are responsibilities. God has promised to deal with the dysfunctions! He asks us to give Him carte blanche in our hearts, minds, souls, and into the depths of who we are. He wants entrance into even those places we hope no one will ever see, especially not even ourselves.
But here is an incredible reality check from the Holy Spirit; no one ever has to see or know what has lurked or is lurking in the darkness of our innermost being. Grace demands mercy and justice be served, which they were at a place called Golgotha. There an innocent man, the unique hybrid of divine and human fused into the Messiah, who not counting it loss, took death to give life back to those He created. Jesus is the only one who knows what death is, and therefore is extremely qualified to be our Salvation!
“And the two shall become one.” Do I have to say anything more?
“Husbands, give yourselves to your wives as Christ gave Himself to/for the Church.” Need I say more?
“Wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord.” Must I say more?
It’s very evident what God has planned for those who accept His invitation, an eternity of knowing Him, knowing those we love, and maybe most important of all knowing ourselves. Daily we discover who we are in Christ, forgetting the past, remaining present in the present, longing for the home we’ve been promised, becoming more like Jesus every day as He changes our witness, and finally believing all God has promised belongs to us!
There are no strings attached, no coercion, only God’s mercy and love personified in Jesus and given us through His grace. I am under no illusions, delusions, or confusion. God does what He desires. Do you remember the simple definition of Grace given by my friend Kregg?
“Grace: God does it because He wants too!”
In the end all that matters is this, do you believe on Jesus Christ as the only one who can reunite you to the Life Giver? Remember this one thing; as much as you want live in eternity with Him, believe God desires it even more than you can possibly know! Just consider how much God has been willing to care for you, even enduring things you and I can never imagine. Know this, it won’t be much longer and all of the struggle, pain, and need for endurance will be behind us. Then we will live as God has always intended us to live, with Him.
“I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also. Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that.” Philippians 3:13-16 Amplified Bible