Our co-worker Francivaldo and his beautiful bride Géssica officially tied the knot in a lovely ceremony on Saturday – a ceremony at which I had the privilege of bringing a challenge from the Word to the young couple. Here, with some adaptation…and memes…are my remarks to them.
Francivaldo and Géssica, you need to be aware that this afternoon you are committing and act of rebellion. And that’s a good thing.
Now, obviously, rebellion is usually frowned upon in the Word of God…or rather condemned in the strongest of terms. But it is helpful for us to remember that the rebellion in question is against God, a stupid and hopeless proposition if there ever was one. But rebellion can be defined as “challenging the legitimacy of those who currently hold power”, and it’s this definition that I want to focus on this evening.
You see, our society is under the dominion of tyrannical usurpers, who would set themselves up as gods. Ephesians 6:12 describes them as the “rulers of the darkness of this world”. The Portuguese version I’m looking at now calls them “the dominators of the world”.
Now, it’s true that these “dominators” are themselves in rebellion against the Most High God. However, from the perspective of the society in which we live, we are the ones in rebellion against the “arc of history”, against the “consensus”, or, my personal favorite, against “tolerance”.
This, of course, cannot be tolerated.
And so, marriage as an institution is mocked, belittled, and marginalized. And those who have the temerity to uphold the sanctity of said institution find themselves subjected to a bonus round of cultural opprobrium.
But why all the hate?
The answer to that question is manifold, but I would like to point out what I observe to be the three main reasons our self-proclaimed rulers hate the biblical view of marriage. In doing so, I hope to give you, Francivaldo and Géssica, the motivation you need to continue on your current path of counter-cultural defiance.
1. A biblical marriage implies a woman’s voluntary submission.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Ephesians 5:22-23
There are passages in the Bible that are not readily clear as to their meaning, and on which Christians can reasonably disagree. The above is not one of them. A wife submits her will to that of her husband, just as a believer (male or female) is to submit their will to Christ.
“But I’m more educated than my husband.”
I see no education-related exception clause.
“But I make more than he does.”
“But I’m smarter than he is.”
This is probably true. Makes no difference.
It’s a real no-brainer to understand why our not-so-benevolent overlords absolutely lose their minds over this. They have worked for millennia to create the image of the independent, self-actualized, professional woman who needs no hearth, no home, no man. And they have succeeded, to the point where your average Christian pastor will hem and haw to try to explain away the above text (and others), and where your average Christian woman will feel a pang of shame to admit that she is “just a housewife”.
And in this we see the absolute cruelty of the “dominators”. God has given women a role for which they are uniquely created, and for which they are to receive high honors, and yet they are told “you really are not worth anything unless you have a degree after your name, and a five-figure salary.” They have set up their own version of femininity, that stands in opposition to what God has established. Géssica, your intention to live according to God’s order is a slap in the face to that version.
They’re not going to like it.
2. A biblical marriage implies a man’s self sacrifice.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. Ephesians 5:25
This passage is as equally clear, equally binding, and equally offensive to our self-proclaimed rulers as the one mentioned above. Men are not to be free-wheeling tomcats, “loving and leaving” with wild abandon, nor are we to be emasculated, androgynous automatons murmuring “yes dear” at every opportunity. Once again, our example is Christ.
Francivaldo, for your adult life, up until today, you have been pretty much on your own. You got up when you wanted, you went to sleep when you wanted. You bought what you wanted, and if you didn’t want to buy something, you didn’t buy it.
And I’m here to tell you, those days are over.
You may never have to take a bullet for Géssica (you might, though!). However, you will die to yourself and your desires in a thousand ways every week throughout your marriage. You’re going to have to make decisions…and those decisions might not always be popular with Géssica at the outset. But you will have to make them with the consciousness that it is what is best for her. And when you are wrong (and you will be wrong) you are going to have to be man enough to admit it and ask for her forgiveness.
Why will you do all this? Because you love her, because you are focused on what is good for her, and you are ultimately responsible, before God, for her. It has nothing to do with how lovable, or even how submissive Géssica is. As you are both sinners, there will be times when she is neither. And as is the case with the biblical command for her to be submissive, there is no exception clause for the biblical command for you to love her.
And a world full of sex-crazed robots and androgynous automatons (two sides of the same corrupt coin) will find your attitude very threatening.
3. A biblical marriage proclaims the Gospel.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Ephesias 5:31-32
Of all the aspects of biblical marriage that enrage our wannabe overlords, this is perhaps the greatest. They cannot abide the Gospel, for while the Gospel is hope and peace for us, for them it is ruin.
Francivaldo and Géssica, think with me for a minute about how this all came about. You, Francivaldo traveled from your home in Maranhão (let’s call it “Paradise“), and fell in love with Géssica. You then worked very hard to show Géssica that you are a man worthy of her confidence. At at some point, Géssica, you became convinced of this fact. You put your confidence (from the Latin…”with faith”) in Francivaldo. And right now, Francivaldo is in the process of giving you a new name, after which he will take you to live with him in Paradise.
And this is perhaps the most beautiful illustration that God has given us of the Gospel. Jesus Christ left his home in order to gather His Bride to him, demonstrating Himself to be worthy of her faith. He has given her a new name, and will one day gather her to Himself in Paradise.
So you see, Francivaldo and Géssica, every day you honor the covenant you are establishing today before these witnesses is a day you are preaching the Gospel. And the “dominators” hate that.
And that’s why God is so pleased that this wedding is taking place. Not because it is the union of two wonderful Christian young people (although it is that). Not because the ceremony is beautiful (although indeed it is). Rather, it is because there is a cosmic importance to what is happening here today.
When you say “I do” you are defying the rulers of the darkness of this world, you are going against the grain of our corrupt society, you are spitting in the eye of a tyrant, you are establishing one more rebel base against an evil empire.
May God be with you.
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