Isaiah opens with a condemnation of the Children of Israel. As Isaiah described what the nation was like because of their sin, we get a picture of a people that knew nothing of the ways of God. In verse 11 Isaiah mentioned the worthlessness of their sacrifices; he stated that their traditions and worship were vain because they tolerated and lived in sin, didn’t judge the wicked or support those in need. Because of this the Lord threatened to exterminate them. “‘But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’ Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” This warning was to people who supposedly were children of God; the Children of Israel. But He gave them a way of redemption if they made their ways clean, put away their sin, “‘[learned] to do good, [sought] justice, [reproved] the ruthless, [defended] the orphan, and plead for the widow.'”
How well does this warning apply to the Gentile Church today? In a church culture of raising arms in fabricated “worship” at a christian rock concert, or accepting what God calls an abomination – what kind of wrath does God have on that church? However, “‘wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight….. though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.'”
There is hope for the Church!
Yesterday, Mom and I talked about what the primary purpose for marriage is; our conversation stemmed off of what I wrote in “Why Marriage?”.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ultimately, marriage is to be a picture Christ and the Church. Christ loved the Church so much that he unselfishly gave himself for her. The Church chooses to unselfishly love Christ in return and give herself for him. If a marriage follows this pattern, it will undoubtedly be strong – and a powerful witness to the unsaved world both for Christ and good marriages.
A co-worker and I were talking the other day, sharing facts about ourselves and getting to know each other better. He told me about his two kids and girl-friend, then jokingly told me that I shouldn’t get married any time soon; that I should wait until I’m much older. I replied that I actually want much to get married – a lot. He chuckled, then asked, “so what would make an 18-year-old like yourself want to get married so young?” I was kind of taken back, and simply answered that I just had always wanted to get married. But after some more thought I determined why exactly – children.
I see children as a huge blessing from God; a blessing that many folks either skip out on, or delay for years so they can… well, I don’t know exactly what… experience the adventures of life, maybe? But that’s not the way I want to do it. I want to experience the adventures of life (and children, last time I checked, are an adventure in and of themselves) with my wife while we are still young and have enough energy for a bunch of “little Tylers” (as Mom would put it).
Sure there are other reasons I want to get married, but I’d have to say that children is my biggest reason.