Written by Dawn Rutan
This week I was listening to Alistair Begg’s messages on marriage, which I expect will provide a good parallel to our pastor’s upcoming sermons from 1 Corinthians 7. As one who anticipates remaining single for life, the marriage vows could create a twinge of regret at never hearing someone pledge to me, “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.” But as I thought about it, I realized that God has vowed all that and more to His children, and He’s the only One who can keep His vows perfectly.
“To have and to hold” – “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16 ESV) “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). He will hold on even when we want to give up.
“For better for worse” – “But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant He mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6). He gives us far more than we can ever deserve.
“For richer for poorer” – “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Our poverty is the occasion for His riches to be poured out upon us.
“In sickness and in health” – “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy” (Psalm 103:2-4). In Christ the worst disease, sin, is already cured.
“To love and to cherish” – “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). His love for us enables us to love Him and to love others.
“Till death us do part” – “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Not even death can sever God’s covenant!
As with Noah in Genesis 8 and Abram in Genesis 15, God makes Himself the party responsible for the whole covenant. He knows we will fail many times, but “it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy” (Romans 9:16). He extends love to the unlovely, mercy to the sinner, and grace to the hurting.
No matter how good and enduring a marriage might be, it is only temporary. It will end either in death or at the Second Coming. But God’s covenantal love will never fail and will continue throughout eternity.
Several times in Exodus and Deuteronomy, the Israelites are reminded “God has chosen you to be a people for His treasured possession” and that phrase has stuck with me this past week. No matter what my marital status, I can say “I am His treasured possession” and “I am my Beloved’s and His desire is for me” (Song 7:10). His covenantal promises are far greater than anything I can imagine or can expect from man.
“And I will betroth you to Me forever. I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness” (Hosea 2:19-20).
© 2016 Dawn Rutan. The views stated may or may not reflect the beliefs of the pastor or leadership of Dulin’s Grove Church.