Friday, February 22, 2013


I'm involved in a wedding this weekend. I've been working with the bride and groom to develop the actual ceremony. It's given me a lot to think about. So I'm going to share them with you.

First, A successful marriage starts with a wedding and ends with a funeral. If you have a successful marriage, either the bride is going to bury the groom, or the groom is going to bury the bride. Unless, of course, the Lord Jesus comes back to get us first. I certainly don't mean to be morbid, but the fact is that a marriage that ends without a funeral is a failure.

Scripture doesn't say as much about marriage as we might expect. There are a few passages that address marriage: Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 7, Colossians 3, etc., but for all the importance Scripture places on it, it doesn't give us a lot of detail. I think the foundational truth Scripture teaches about marriage is in Ephesians 5. Ephesians 5 lays out the most important fact about marriage: marriage was given to teach us about Christ and His love for the Church. Thus, the Scripture teaches, there are two important roles in marriage: the husband is to love his wife, and the wife is to reverence her husband.

A husband is to love his wife like Christ loved the Church, laying down His life for her. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives, laying down their lives for them. I noticed several years ago that Scripture doesn't say Christ was willing to lay His life down for the Church, but He actually did it. I interpret that to mean that a man ought not merely to be willing to lay his life down for his wife, but he ought actually to do it. If we take this literally, the husband's job is to die first. The husband's job is to give up his life for his wife. In a more figurative sense, there is a metaphorical laying down of a man's life for his wife. This is hard: really, really hard. It's possible a man might need to die to save his wife, but it's more likely a man would need to choose to put his wife ahead of himself.

Colossians 3:14 says, "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them" (JND). Colossians warns against the main danger to a husband: becoming bitter against his wife. Why would he become bitter? Because he gives up his own life for her.

So what's the wife's job? The husband is to love his wife, she is to reverence (or respect) her husband. If he is to lay down his life for her, perhaps we might say her job is to lay down her pride for him.

It's obvious that many women are married to men who really might not deserve their respect. So does that mean she doesn't need to respect him? Perhaps we could ask another question: when a woman isn't very lovable, is her husband excused from loving her? Of course not! A man is to love his wife, regardless of whether she's lovable. A woman is to respect her husband, regardless of whether he deserves it.

Scripture does tell us more about marriage. Ephesians 5 isn't the only passage in Scripture about marriage. But I'm sure Ephesians 5 is the most foundational. I'm no marriage counsellor: I'm not trying to give marriage advice. But it's important to remember the underlying principle.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Every couple of weeks we have "all-day meeting". So rather than head home after the Lord's Supper, we have a potluck lunch in the meeting hall and then have meetings in the afternoon. There is another small gathering in a town about 45 minutes away, and those folks typically come down and join us for what my family calls "eatin' at the meetin'". Yesterday they hosted the all-day meeting instead, so we headed up there. It's about an hour drive from our house to the other meeting room.

When we first arrived, I realized I'd done a pretty shoddy parking job, so I hopped back into the truck to re-park it. The truck wouldn't start.

So when meeting was over, we gathered around the truck, and some of the more mechanically-included poked, prodded, played with jumper cables, and finally gave up. It looks like we have a bad starter.

We called the roadside assistance number for our insurance company, who told us there wasn't anywhere to take the truck until this morning, so they'd send someone out around 7:00 AM.

So there we were, stranded about an hour from home, with a tow truck coming to pick up our vehicle and take it to a dealership for service the next morning.

A family in the meeting offered us a vehicle to drive and another family drove us out to pick it up. I figured I'd be having to make a 5:30 AM commute this morning to meet the roadside assistance people by my car for 7:00; but a brother in the other town took my car keys and met them instead. By his reckoning, it made more sense for him to travel ten minutes and handle it, rather than for me to travel an hour to handle it. "You should just sleep in," he said.

So yeah, we're annoyed and frustrated. But the kindness and generosity of the people we remember the Lord with has turned this from potentially disastrous to annoying.

By this shall all know that ye are disciples of mine, if ye have love amongst yourselves. (John 13:35, JND)

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I mentioned this at the Bible reading last night:

Matthew 11 makes a strange and powerful statement. The Lord Jesus is speaking, and He says:

23 And *thou*, Capernaum, who hast been raised up to heaven, shalt be brought down even to hades. For if the works of power which have taken place in thee, had taken place in Sodom, it had remained until this day. 24 But I say to you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in judgment-day than for thee. (Matthew 11:23--24, JND)
Certainly the point the Lord Jesus was making is, His presence in Capernaum robbed them of any excuse before God. God had reached into the world in a way unknown even to Abraham, God's friend. And so even though the sin of Sodom was so great that God rained fire on it from Heaven, the sin of Capernaum was greater. They had rejected the Son of God.

There is a more subtle point: God knew exactly what it would take to drive the Sodomites to repentance, and He chose not to do it. This is worth consideration.

God is sovereign. It is because He is sovereign that He reaches out in love to us. It was an act of sovereignty to send His Son to die for our sins. God's sovereignty extends to His judging the world. He owes us absolutely nothing. God is perfectly within His rights to pour out love on wicked sinners. He is perfectly within His rights to pour wrath on them too.

God has declared that He will judge the earth by raising Christ from the dead (Acts 17:31). It is not our place to judge God, He judges us. We ought not to think that God owes us anything. We would do well to remember the God judged Sodom.