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We All With Unveiled Face (Part 5)

9 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.

Parts 1 2 3 and 4 of the series can be found by clicking the respective links.

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

I have to pre-apologize for the length and seeming jumpiness of this installment.  It is the most important part of the whole thing, and I think it deserves the lengthiness.

The Necessary Gracious Redemption

So now we come to the part of the story that is all about some awesomeness.  Without this part, there would be no salvation, no indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and no godly marriages.

First, let us look at the gracious redemption necessary for the ministry of the Spirit.  Under the ministry of death, mankind was given a set of laws, written on tablets of stone, telling us how we could be like God.  The requirement to meet God’s righteous standards was laid out for us on tablets of stone.  That is all we have to do.  Unfortunately for all of us though, we are all like our father Adam, who disobeyed the one law he was given.  We are given a law that we know is the only way to be righteous before God, and still our natural tendency is to disobey that law.  Our eyes are blinded to the ways of the Lord.  So that leaves us, mankind, with a way to get to God, but an inability (in and of ourselves) to follow that path.  And so our just penalty is God’s wrath.  What we deserve, because of that first time we ever broke the Law of God, is eternal death apart from God.  God is righteous, we are not, by our own choosing.  What comes next is that which we cannot naturally choose.  It is the ministry of the Spirit.
The fact that Jesus Christ came and lived on the Earth as a man and died a gruesome death is not debatable.  The fact that He was raised from the dead is almost not debatable, and there is no legitimate argument against it.  Almost everyone in America believes Jesus rose from the dead.  Here’s the kicker: believing that doesn’t get you saved.   Only trusting in the fact that His blood will be enough to fulfill God’s righteous requirements in the Law for you, and His resurrection will defeat your sentence of eternal death will cause your salvation.  That is redemption.  He took on the punishment that we deserve to redeem His people from eternal separation from Him, and make possible an eternal life with Him.  Even the demons believe God is one (and of course they know he came to earth, died and was risen: they actually saw it with their own eyes).  The demons don’t have the faith in redemption that is made possible through Jesus Christ.  For those that have faith in Jesus’ redemption, that faith will not disappoint.  There is no way for us to realize the righteousness of God without Jesus Christ.  He fulfilled every requirement that God’s righteous demands.  Through Himself, in the person of the Holy Spirit, we are able to have that sort of faith.  Faith that is by grace.  Faith that changes your life here on earth, because suddenly, the burden of the Law has been lifted.  Righteousness has filled you up, and that righteousness’ Name is יהוה His Name is God the Father, His Name is Jesus, and His Name is The Holy Spirit.  Yes, your future sin has been forgiven also, but your future sin will be contrary to your new nature, your new righteousness.  You have experienced righteousness, and anything less will leave you dissatisfied.

The gracious redemption necessary in marriage is a different type of redemption all together.  Because a man and a woman are just that: men and women, they both come to the marriage table stained by iniquity in each other’s eyes.  During the time of engagement, they will both have lusted after someone in their heart, even if it is their own fiancé.  They committed to each other, and then broke that commitment.  When they both come to the marriage ceremony, they both must forgive each other by grace.  The marriage law has been broken, but by gracious redemption, on that very day the relationship may be redeemed between that couple, and they may become one flesh.  If this is a true spiritual union, then no other man or woman will be able to take the place of either party.  Because there really isn’t two parties.  There is one flesh.  One flesh cannot tolerate being adulterated by someone else attempting to satisfy half of the one flesh union.

We must be careful to note here that any, “what shall we say then, shall we go on sinning that grace may abound?” attitude here is missing the point.  We acknowledge that the same amount of grace (an infinite amount) is necessary to forgive an adulterer in the flesh as is necessary to forgive an adulterer of the mind.  We also acknowledge that the same amount of grace that is necessary to save those two is necessary to save the 10 year old who realizes his need for a Savior. The issue is how much pain was suffered by the Redeemer for each of those people.   The bachelor/bachelorette party attitude of, “this is my last chance, I need to lust after as many other women/men as possible before I get married,” is totally missing the point.  It is true that your husband or wife, if he or she has experienced the grace of God, will forgive you no matter what you do.  But why pain your redeemer more than you already have?   Why go on sinning when you know that Jesus endured every bit of punishment for every single sin you have and will ever commit?  Why cause your husband or wife any more pain in gracious redemption than is necessary?  The reality is that pain must be suffered in gracious redemption, but it is not suffered by the one who should suffer it.  The pain is suffered by the redeemer.  But what comes after redemption is the truest joy available.  It did not feel good for Jesus to take your punishment.  In the same way it does not feel good to know that your fiancé is an adulterer of the law of marriage, but forgive them of that transgression.  But He endured the pain just like a husband or wife endures the pain, for the joy that was to come.  For the lifting of the veil.

Gracious redemption is necessary and beautiful in eternal salvation, and in life long marriage.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. mom permalink
    13 January, 2010 16:06

    If this is a true spiritual union, then no other man or woman will be able to take the place of either party. Because there really isn’t two parties. There is one flesh. One flesh cannot tolerate being adulterated by someone else attempting to satisfy half of the one flesh union.

    Wonder if you could put this in the traditonal “marraige vows” that are always read. I’m sure many entering into marraige don’t even know what a “spiritual union” is. It ‘s kind of rare in these parts! Ephesians 5 defines one, don’t you think? But how does it really play out? What are some characteristics of a true spiritual union that you have observed?

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