This Post is for those who are married and the want-to-be-married.
Today, a young man close to my heart will be “united together in holy matrimony” with his beloved he found at his office five year ago. And what a wait it has been for them. I will be preaching at the wedding today, God willing.
There is a reason why Christian marriage is called holy matrimony. As believers in the Lord Jesus as our Lord and savior, we are set apart (meaning of holy) unto Him for ever. And everything we do is for His glory and honor. Our standard of life is set by him. We are not like those who do not have the assurance of eternal life with Jesus.
In the light of this truth, I have been thinking about the marriage vow the Christian couple make to each other:
“I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to you.”
This part, “till death do us part” needs some clarity. It is true that several verses teaches that the marriage covenant (binding) is effective for this life (see Matt 19:4-6; Rom 7:2-3; 1 Cor 7:39). It is life-long!
This teaching of God is up against today’s cultural norm to walk out of marriage relationships for the silliest of reasons. Usually the reason is individuals’ ego or as in India, collective ego of clashing families of the couple. Marriage is for life. When you redefine it for what ever reasons, you owe an explanation to God, not to the pastors. Many people try to provide all excuses and reasonings for divorce. They alone, not another must answer to God and to their own conscience.
But I am excited about something more glorious in Christian marriage. Apostle Paul, quoting Genesis 2.24 says,
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is great—but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” (Eph 5:31-32).
The servant of god saw something more grandeur in the marriage relationship of two Christians. Somehow, Christian marriage is a replica of an eternal truth–the truth of the mystery of Christ & the church. This mystery of Christ and the church is detailed in the letter to the Ephesians where Jews and Gentiles are united together in an inseparable relationship with one another to the Head, Christ (Eph chs 1-3).
Instruction concerning Christian marriage should be read in the light of the unity we have with one another in Christ in the first place (4:1-6). So, yes, Christian marriage lasts only for this life and it is for life–till death do us part, but there is a greater, more exciting and glorious truth override this truth.
That is that the Christian couple are brother and sister in Christ for all eternity. Paul had said in this context something we don’t emphasize enough on the marriage day: “For we are members of his body” (Eph 5:30). We do when one of the couple dies! We proclaim that we will see him or her when we gather together at Jesus’ Feet at the Rapture.
My question is “Why not celebrate it now?” So, hereafter, when I hear the vow made at a Christian made, “till death do us part” I am going to think a bit differently. What do you think?