Sunday, December 9, 2012

An Introduction

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." --Genesis 2:24

While it is generally understood that "they shall become one flesh" is referring to the "act of marriage" as Tim LaHaye so tactfully put it, marriage doesn't end there. The vows said on the wedding day and the following consummation are only the beginning. The couple is fully "one flesh," but similar to salvation, it is not the end.  

There are three stages in the Christian walk--salvation, sanctification, and glorification. The moment we put our trust in Christ, are saved. We are 100% His. Yet at the same time, we are not complete. We are saved, but we have not yet been made like Christ. Sanctification continues the work of salvation, bringing us in closer unity with Jesus and the Father. It is never complete while we live on this earth; we have an infinite amount of growing to do. Nevertheless, we continue to become closer and closer to Him, more perfectly reflecting Christ as we go on. Glorification is the third stage in which we are complete. Finally after the struggles and trials, disappointments and failures, and much growing, Christ will bring us to His eternal kingdom, making us perfect in moments. John the apostle splendidly summarized the idea of glorification in 1 John 3:2, "We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is." At our first glimpse of Christ, we will finally be as He is. Perfect unity.

In a similar manner, marriage is begun at the vows and the consummation. There is no marriage without them. But it doesn't end there. After the original union on the wedding day, we continue to grow in that unity, striving to better reflect Christ and the Church. Similar to sanctification, the marriage is a journey of becoming more one, more unified, a more accurate model of the Lord's relationship with us. And like sanctification, the process is never finished while on this earth. The full realization of the purpose of our marriage will come at the same moment that we are glorified--when we are taken up to heaven and given to Christ Himself as His perfect and spotless bride. That which we have been practicing for while on earth will finally be accomplished in the heavenly marriage of Christ and the Church.

So, my husband and I are one, and are becoming one, as we strive to be a representation of Christ and His bride. This is the story of our journey in progress--our failures, successes, ponderings, and lessons learned as we grow. Given in hopes of encouraging, and reminding us of our commitment to each other, and to Christ, as the three of us become one.