Marriage - God's Laboratory1
During my sabbatical I am working through a course from Gordon-Conwell Seminary on marriage counseling. As I proceed through the reading I am once again in awe of God's love, wisdom and care for His people. I want to share with your from a book called Marriage Made in Eden, by Mathews and Hubbard.
Since we have Valentine's Day to celebrate this week, I thought if might be nice to pass on a bit of that awe to you. Marriage has been so beaten up and marred by our current culture, that it is important to go back to the beginning, Eden, and see what a wonderful thing God did by creating us in His image. For God's people marriage is founded not on the culture, or the personal experiences we have lived, but on the relationship with Him and with each other that defines our identity as God's people. Here are some things that shape that identity. Celebrate them with me and my wife this week!
1. God designed His people to be like Him. We are his image-bearers created by divine intention to be like Him, connected to Him in intimate fellowship that flows out of that part of God's essence that we share (Gen. 1:26).
2. But we were also created to be like Him as male and female, so that we could be intimately linked to each other in our shared humanness and our shared essence as image-bearers.
3. Sadly, the image-bearers disrupted and continue to disrupt their relationship with God through their sin. God's image in each of us is bent and broken. Our relationship as image-bearers is bent and broken too.
4. Marriage as God originally designed it must now be worked out by bent and broken people in a world that carries the catastrophic consequences of sin. (Is it any wonder that so many of us struggle in our marriages?)
5. But wait! There is hope! God has promised that He will one day make all well again! The promise came to the first woman, Eve, that through her seed the serpent would one day be defeated. John describes the triumphant end of God's story in which there is a new heaven and a new earth, and all suffering has vanished (Rev. 21:3-4).
6. In order to redeem and restore his broken image-bearers, God willingly acted in a love that lies beyond our human understanding. Paul wrote, "God did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all (Rom. 8:32). Peter reminded the early Christians that God was not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).
7. Redemption, however, requires that the broken image-bearers accept God's loving, merciful provision for their restoration to fellowship with Him. And it requires that we participate with God further in establishing a new pattern for life.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).
8. This transformation process is a lifelong daily procedure - there is no instant magic here! For married people marriage is part of the laboratory of daily living through which God shapes His redeemed people to be "conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters" (Romans 8:2).
I am so thankful to God for a wife that is patient enough with me to wait as God restores His image in my life one day at a time! Happy Valentine's Day Sweetheart!
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