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We All With Unveiled Face (Part 3)

5 January, 2010

Read II Corinthians 3.  Now, read Ephesians 5:25-33.  I am about to tread onto soil that I admittedly know very little about, but bear with me; those that know more than I do about this topic, feel very much free to comment/correct me.  The overarching goal in this is not to define marriage, but to draw out the gospel in something to which we all relate.  Defining marriage is secondary, and it is solely for my personal thought process, not to be taken as what I think everyone should agree upon.

Part 1 and Part 2 of the series can be found by clicking the link.

Remember:
ministry of death : ministry of the Spirit :: engagement : marriage

The Promised End of That Which is Coming to an End

The ministry of death, as Paul describes it, was written & engraved on stones.  It was what Moses brought down from the mountain in Exodus.  We know what Paul is referring to as the Mosaic Law, including the Ten Commandments.  The Ten Commandments, though the most prominent and “sought after” part of the Law, were not the whole law.  However, even the Ten Commandments, when expanded upon by Jesus (exposing the true essence of the Law), are impossible for any human to uphold.  The Law is called the ministry of death because it points to one thing for all men and women: the eternal wrath of God.  Because of the fact that we all fall short of the Law, we all are promised death by the Law.
“But God, being rich in mercy… even when we were dead in trespasses and sins…made us alive together with Christ… and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him…in Christ Jesus, that…He might show…His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (If you’re wondering why I left out some of the best parts, I’m waiting for the installment about gracious redemption).

So that passage contains a lot of mention of Jesus Christ when it comes to our salvation.  Not much mention of us, except in a passive context.  That is the key.  No man except the Man, Jesus Christ, ever kept the Law perfectly.  In Christ’s blood, which was shed by us and for us, the Law was fulfilled for all peoples of all nations for all time.  Mary and Zacharias knew that and proclaimed it even before His birth.  Simeon and Anna proclaimed it just after His birth.  He was the promised end of the Law.  The end of the ministry of death.

Though the analogy of marriage fails in comparison to the epic-ness of the coming of Jesus to fulfill the Law, it still has similarities that I want to point out.  The engagement of a man and woman is a type of law.  The couple commits to save their spiritual and physical affection for each other until the day of a lawful — or in a traditional culture, a traditional – ceremony.  Besides the commitment to stay pure, the main focus of most engagements, and probably the main term of engagement, is that that couple commits to indeed marry each other when the day of ceremony comes.  In a Biblical engagement (or betrothal), in light of Paul’s words to the Corinthians to let their “yes” be “yes” and their “no” be “no,” and apart from a breaking of the purity commitment by either party involved, personally I believe that there should be no reason to break an engagement.  So, we see the promised end of the engagement is the marriage ceremony, where the law of engagement and the law of marriage is fulfilled by both the man and the woman.  This secures their relationship to each other, and they are, “joined to become one flesh,” both spiritually and physically.

So now, I hope, we can see the full parallel between the ministry of death and an engagement.  Good news:  the things that are promised to end are ending!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. mom permalink
    8 January, 2010 17:27

    “He was the promised end of the Law. The end of the ministry of death.”
    As I read this I wondered if “for all who believe” should be added, but as I thought about it more I think the truth of this statement is not dependent on anyone believing..it is a truth regardless of who or how many believe it.
    “The engagement of a man and woman is a type of law.” Are you using the word here again as defined: (it certainly applies)
    Type: a symbol of something in the future, as an Old Testament event serving as a prefiguration of a New Testament event.

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