Thursday, October 16, 2008

Married . . . For Now

Marriage is supposed to be permanent, correct? If you agree with that statement, then you need to define what you mean by permanent, lest you come to a misunderstanding like Larry and Cheryl:



This clip was taken from Curb Your Enthusiasm, a show that commonly portrays Larry David as the bumbling fool. But this time, Larry is correct! We do not take our marriages into eternity with us:
For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. (Matthew 22:30, cr. Mark 12:25)

Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage. . . (Luke 20:34-35)

Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. (Romans 7:1-3)

John Piper has recently released a new book, This Momentary Marriage. The book is so new that it was introduced at the True Woman conference, and not even Nancy Leigh DeMoss has read it yet. For this reason, we are unable to review it for you, but we wanted to make you aware of this interesting new book. According to Piper's website, Desiring God, the book is described as follows:
Romance, sex, and childbearing are temporary gifts of God. So is marriage. It will not be part of the next life. And it is not guaranteed even for this life. It is one possible path along the narrow way to Paradise. It passes through breathtaking heights and through swamps with choking vapors. With marriage comes bitter providences, and it makes many things sweeter.

There never has been a generation whose view of marriage is high enough. The chasm between the biblical vision of marriage and the common human vision is now, and has always been, gargantuan. Some cultures in history respect the importance and the permanence of marriage more than others. Some, like our own, have such low, casual, take-it-or-leave-it attitudes toward marriage as to make the biblical vision seem ludicrous to most people.

Reflecting on his forty years of matrimony, Piper explains:

Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. And ultimately, marriage is the display of God. It displays the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his people to the world in a way that no other event or institution does. Marriage, therefore, is not mainly about being in love. It’s mainly about telling the truth with our lives. And staying married is not about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant and putting the glory of Christ’s covenant-keeping love on display.

“If you are married, this is why,” says Piper. “If you hope to be, this should be your dream.”

Earthly marriage between humans is not permanent in the eternal sense. Like Cheryl in the clip above, many people have a difficult time with this. They don't like the idea of being separated from their spouse after so many years of marriage.

While Larry is correct in thinking he and Cheryl will no longer be married in eternity, he is mistaken in assuming he will be single. Even though all marriages will be dissolved in heaven, we will not be single, because we will all be joined in Christ. As John Piper explained at the True Woman conference this past weekend, "God had the cross in mind when he created marriage." This being said, we can understand why there would be no marriage in eternity. Marriage is merely a symbol of greater, more permanent things to come.

Although physical marriage lasts only as long as one's physical life, we still get the pleasure of an eternal commitment in Christ. We remain faithful to our marriage covenants "till death do us part," after which, we are betrothed to another for all eternity!

2 comments:

LisaM said...

This is very interesting and not often discussed - I'm glad you brought it up.

Jennifer said...

You know Lisa I am not married but I can definitely see how this is a hard truth. I think after spending your life with someone, the thought of having the marriage dissolved is completely foreign. It's hard to imagine how you can devote everything to a person and be united as one, only to get to heaven and be just friends or "brother and sister in the Lord" again. But I guess knowing this is what the future holds helps us to assess in the present if we are making an idol out of our spouses.