I was blessed to take part in the wedding of two great friends, now Mr. and Mrs. Brandon Freeman. Brando and Kaylee have been married for almost two weeks now. The weekend was refreshing. I was able to catch up with old friends and those who have been among the most influential in my life. Best of all, God was kind to use the wedding ceremony to push many of us deeper up into Christ. The end of this matrimony was worship. By God’s grace, it achieved its goal.
I have never attended a wedding where the person and work of Christ was gloried in more than Brandon and Kaylee’s wedding. This started as early as the rehearsal dinner. The speeches (yes, I gave one) were saturated with Christ. It is such a temptation to make the wedding day “their day.” God was kind to focus our hearts on calvary that night, that God came in Christ to save sinners of whom we are the foremost. God’s beautiful providence, illumined by His beautiful Word, was on full display. Brandon and Kaylee each began their stories with them in rebellion to a glorious, holy God. They each were brought to saving faith in Christ. Now, they had been brought together to portray the very drama that saved them both.
The coolest part was that there were many unbelievers there. Each had family who were still dead in their sin. Even on “their day,” Brandon and Kaylee wanted nothing more than for people to see Christ as He is! Time after time, the unbeliever’s gaze was forced upon the truth claims of the Lord Jesus. Pointed, not towards their own goodness or morality, but the perfect, spotless righteousness of Christ to be had by faith and faith alone. May God in His grace be pleased to save!
As a follower of Christ by God’s grace, the ceremony was sanctifying. We are changed, not primarily by doing, but by beholding. We change when we see Christ lifted up like Moses lifted high the serpent in the wilderness. The gospel is what changes us, the finished work of Christ producing what little holiness we achieve in this life. God did this primarily through the preached Word. Sam did an excellent job unpacking the rich gospel doctrine found in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. The charges to lead and submit are good biblical commands. But they are not raw commands, but joyful commands that we are able to walk in because of the glorious gospel indicatives, what Christ has done on our behalf. There is little room for quietist, “Let go and let God” in biblical marriage. It is indeed a fight. We are insanely sinful. But our victory is secured by the victory of another.
God is kind to condescend as give us parables, symbols that act as windows into a reality. Never before have I cried at a wedding. It is fitting that I cried during Brandon’s wedding (as he is a crier). The tears came in small measure even at the beginning of the ceremony. Not a word had been spoken. The music, however good, was not emotionally charged. But then Kaylee appeared, shrouded in white linen. There stood Brandon, up on a platform, to receive his beautiful bride. One could not help but to be awestruck by the moment. Think on this, how we are covered in the white linen of Christ’s righteousness. Blood stained, but white as snow before the Father. As Kaylee, we approach the throne of our great Husband, who has provided everything necessary for our eternal pleasure in Him. Brandon receiving Kaylee, as Christ receives us, not on the basis of her intrinsic worth but Christ in her. Kaylee striving to please her husband because there is freedom to do so, knowing no shortcoming of her own is going to make Brandon leave. Oh the surety of our glorification! God completing His finished work. Fall on your knees and praise this great God, to whom be glory, wisdom, majesty and power forever and ever. Amen.
Though the Fig Tree Should Not Blossom
Christ has died for our affections to be reserved only for Him. The necessary result of being born again are what Jonathan Edwards called certain “religious affections.” More than just emotion, these affections come from a new delight, a new treasure. There are a particular set of idolatries associated with love and marriage. We here these errant sentiments all of the time. “You complete me.” “You satisfy me.” “I will love you forever.” Blasphemy! Just like all good gifts, marriage is no end to itself. Verses 25 and 26 of Psalm 73 must still be true on our wedding day. They read:
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26 ESV)
What an otherworldly disposition. Marriage is good. It is a great tool in the hand of God to fit us for Heaven. God Himself must be our driving passion, though. We must use marriage to push us deeper in satisfaction in God the giver, not the gift. When our hearts and flesh fail, God and not our partner is our strength. He is our portion. He is what we have been promised.
Brandon and Kaylee get this. This day was a celebration of God, and His worth. Both of them know they have nothing good apart from God (Ps 16:2). It is precisely this that drives their love for each other. Vertical satisfaction is the only grounds for horizontal peace. Brandon and I have often meditated on the end of the book of Habakkuk. Our hero, Dr. John Piper, had this text read at his wedding. It still hangs in his bedroom. Let me leave you with this text, that points to the great treasure of our lives, the great treasure that made Brandon and Kaylee’s becoming one flesh so beautiful. Thus says the Lord:
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV)