Marriage & The Gospel
This past Saturday I was able to attend a wedding for two of my good friends on a bright but chilly June afternoon. Before God, their families, and their friends, the couple promised to love each other until the end of their days, to seek the needs of the other before themselves, and most importantly to strive to grow in their relationship with Christ both personally and as a couple.
As I was listening to the words of the pastor and the vows the couple had prepared, I could not help but think of how truly important the symbolism found within the marriage ceremony is. Beneath what on the surface appears to be centuries of Christian tradition, ultimately lies the Gospel message in its very purest form. At the very core of every traditional Christian wedding rests the truth found in the Gospel.
The bride. Dressed in white, a testament to purity and spotlessness. Given by her father to the man that has been found worthy of his daughters hand.
The groom. The man that joyfully accepts the bride not as a separate being but as a part of himself. No longer do they exist as two individual people, but they are now united as one, calling her the bone of his bone, and the flesh of his flesh. The groom assumes his new role as the head, the one to which the bride can turn to in all difficulties and hardship, for better or for worse.
In the joining of this couple in marriage, we find the redemptive promise of the Gospel. Two people that were once without hope, find it in the person and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In their search for love and acceptance, their journey brings them to the foot of the cross where their cries are answered. Only because of the price that Christ paid are the two able to understand the grace and love they do not deserve. It is the knowledge of God's unconditional love that brings them to an understanding of what it means to be able to truly love another person. To love unconditionally amidst all the pain, tribulation, and brokenness is to know with full assurance the love and grace that God provides.
The One that the Father has found faithful and worthy of the Bride is the truest example of love. The giving up of Himself and the laying down of His life for the world personifies sacrificial love. Even when we were unrighteous and depraved, God sent His Son to die for us, receiving the punishment and wrath of God we so rightly deserve. In our place He stood, receiving the full weight of our condemnation upon His shoulders.
Jesus and the Gospel message provide us with a second chance. In Christ, the union of man and woman, once so severely scarred and broken by The Fall, is given a second chance. The truth of the Gospel provides us with a second opportunity to love unconditionally as God has loved, a second opportunity to lay down our lives for another, a second opportunity to be like Christ.
Congratulations to Josh and Katie Farnham. May God continue to bless you both as you enter into all that He has planned for your lives.