Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, ”
Colossians 3:4 “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. ”
Phil. 1:21 “ For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. ”
It’s been a week since my sister and Brandon Cook were wed. There is a thought that has been on my mind throughout the week that I have been itching to share. It’s not just illustrated in their wedding, but in the wedding of any man and woman who are lovers of each other and lovers of God. When my brother-in-law, Brandon, said “I do” to my sister he forsook all others and committed himself to her alone. We joke about it being “game over” or him being locked up to a ball-and-chain, but he seriously did lose his freedom. He no longer may come and go as he pleases, but must give his concerns and thoughts to my sister (as well as his paycheck! LOL!). Her well being precedes his own. There will be items that he will have to fore go obtain so that my sister may have something she needs or maybe just desires to have. In short, Brandon has lost his life for my sister. This, although not perfect, is an illustrative reminder (or a pointer) to the infinitely greater reality of what Jesus Christ has done for His bride – His Church. He considered His being God not a thing to be exploited and took upon Himself the form of a servant, a human, and was obedient unto the death of the cross. He gave His life so as to obtain His chosen people – His Bride! A definite price paid for a definite object, the object of His affection.
But there is another part to the “I do”’s, and that’s my sister, the bride. When she said “I do!” she lost her life as well; although not the same way as her new husband. Brandon lost his life for her, but Kristan lost her life IN him. You see he becomes her life, she forsakes her previous last name and adopts his. She is no longer a Pulliam, but a Cook. He is now her head as opposed to our Dad. She is concerned with pleasing him, adoring him as a wife should adore her husband. She looks to him for protection and guidance. Colossians 3:4 and Philippians 1:21 are two verses of God’s Word that their marriage reminded me of.
A marriage is to illustrate gospel truths to other. One of the ways we image our maker is through marriage. One of the ways we communicate the gospel is through marriage. I do pray The LORD to work mightily in the lives of my sister and her husband. I thank Him for His grace, and that He has given us reminders and illustrations of the gospel in various areas of life.
Are you His Bride? “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:23-26
Today my sister said “I do” to the love of her life. (There’s a good chance my next few post might have somthing to do with the wedding, sorry in advance for those who are like “get off it already!”)
I had the priviledge of ushering in those attending as well as my Maw-Maw (Grandmother on my Mom’s side) and my own Mom. It was a great joy to see lots of my old friends, some I grew up with, some I watch grow up, and some who watched me grow up. I felt like I was getting more hugs than the bride and groom – it’s a blessing to be loved. But back to what I was saying… I would sit people and one of the questions I asked (aside from “would you like a fan?” it was stink’n hot!!) was “Bride or groom?” so I could sit them accordingly. Every wonder why? Ever wonder why we separate the witnesses like that? And then have the bride and groom walking between the two? Then when that part’s over we have a reception. These things make my mind hearken back to the whole covenantal theme. Mind if I explain? Good, ’cause I’m gonn’a! =)
Let’s go back “briefly” to Genesis, chapter 15. God makes a covenant with Abraham, and does a VERY significan thing in that He walks the covenant aisle without Abraham (but I won’t talk about that… for now.) Remember what The LORD was walking between? Halves of animals. That’s vital, for those halves had meaning. One of the things represented by them was the covenant curse. What was said at such a ceremony was something to the effect of “If I don’t uphold my covenant promise, my what happened to these animals be my lot!” Now the meaning of The LORD walking through alone takes on more form. Had God permitted Abraham to walk through, Abraham surley would have invoked the curse on himself. But God promised to make of Abraham a great nation, God promised to redeem all nations through Abraham’s Seed. God needed no help from Abraham. Had Abraham gotten involved, had it been contingent upon Abraham keeping some part of the deal, then it would not have come to fruition. He proves that later when he tries to help God out and just creates a problem with Hagar. Then he lies about who his wife is, claiming she is his sister, and “jeopardized” God’s promise by giving a king free reign to sleep with his own wife! God kept the king from doing so, but look at how the man that every Jew aspires to be like, and every Christian stands in awe of, was lacking faith right when it seemed to matter most!
In the covenant ceremony, those halfed animal parts were reminders, helpers if you will, to spur the two parties that walk between them (humanly speaking, as God needs no incentive to keep covenant) of the seriousness of their vow and the curse for breaking it. So all those witnesses present have a responsiblity to help the newly married couple, and encourage them in their covenant keeping toward each other.
I’ve got nothing surprising to share really, other than that one of things the wedding did was take me back to Genesis and see God walking through the halves as He was making a covenant. That a covenant contains precious promises, witnesses, responsibilities, and curses for breaking it.
I will say this in closing, maybe you will see why I am so fascinated with covenants. God gave Adam what theologians call “The Covenant of Works” in the garden. Through Adam’s disobedience, he invoked the curse on all of humanity. But there is another covenant, one that was made among the persons of the Trinity. One where the Father covenanted with The Son to give Him a people, those for whom He would die for. The Son became flesh and was made a curse for men. The very covenantal curse that was on me, He took on Himself. He, Who knew no sin, became sin for me. He ransomed sinners by His death, and The Father is brining those sinners to His Son, Jesus Christ. There will be a day when all creation will witness the Son meeting His bride face to face. We will then enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb – a reception like no other!
Just something that went through my mind today as wedding stuff was taking place – Covenants.