Monday, August 01, 2011


I'd never known the meaning of that word until we went through this.
One sentence that sums up the story of infidelity, pain, and forgiveness as told by the wife of one of my best friends in this sermon:

Almost exactly four years ago, I had the privilege of standing with them as the best man in their wedding. So this story hits really close to home.

Reading this sermon wasn't the first time I learned about this. I heard the news firsthand several months ago almost immediately after the initial confession. But, for some reason, it wasn't until I read this sermon that the faithfulness of God and the glory of Christ in the gospel was impressed upon me in a fresh and powerful way.

During the reception after the wedding ceremony four years ago, I had the privilege of toasting the newlywed couple.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Ephesians 4:15-16
Taking my cue from these verses, I began by talking about how during our junior year in college my friendship with the groom had initially sprung from interests that we shared in common. But, by the time we graduated, something mysterious had happened. Our conversations were no longer about those shared interests. Rather, with roots deeply planted in the gospel of grace, our conversations were about building one another up in love and spurring each other on in the pursuit of Christ. In other words, our friendship had grown up. Our friendship had matured.

I then expressed how my prayer for them was that their marriage would in a more significant way be one that--with each passing year--would grow and mature and deepen and ripen with roots deeply planted in the gospel of grace. We then lifted our glasses and toasted them:
May your marriage be one that is continually maturing...
Almost four years later, here are the words of the bride from the last paragraph of the sermon:
Though our marriage looked like the perfection of romance on the outside, it was dying inside. Once we acknowledged the sin that was in our marriage and moved forward by letting God refine us through fire we were given and now have a life together that is sanctified and truly one for the first time.
Their marriage is only now maturing the way I hoped and prayed it would. Never in a million years did I think God would answer my prayer this way.
"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:31-32
There's no marriage I know where the truth of the gospel--the relationship between a crucified Christ and a deeply flawed church--shines more brightly than this one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Praise God for the beautiful grace that He pours out willingly on His children! Lord, have mercy on us when we fail to forgive, be patient with us as we stumble blindly forward. Lord, show us Your continual grace, that we might love as You have loved.

Thanks for sharing, CG.