In Revelation 21:5 we read, “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” This is a Revelation, in the middle of history, of how the world will end. Christ’s resurrection inaugurated a new world. This new world is “now” & “not yet”.
Each of us have tasted and felt the “not yet”. You’ve not only seen how dark and twisted and empty the old world is, but each of us have done our part to add to the darkness. This text before us goes on to describe (in Rev. 21:8) all the filthy acts of wickedness which will be judged with the righteous judgement of Christ. Mankind has spun a dark web of lies in which he thinks he can hide from God. Man has built shadow kingdoms, and claimed that what he says goes. All the strife & envy, all the murder & lust, all the deception, manipulation, and lies are the standard operating procedure of that old world. In the “not yet” there is blackhearted sin, there are sooty lies, there is red-raged envy, there is cancerous lust. This world is not yet as it should be. But, we have not been left without a picture of what it one day shall be.
This is because the Word which Christ declares is not just for the “not yet”, it’s also for the “now.” In Christ, those who look to Him in faith, partake of this global remaking. This includes your blackest, darkest sins being forgiven. This includes grace untangling the tangles which your sin has produced. But this only flows from faith in what Christ has accomplished by His life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascended reign.
Indeed, as we gather for this wedding, a wedding that was more than a bit unlooked for, we see the way God, in Christ, is making all things new. In fact, the picture which God gives to us as to how the world will end is the picture of a wedding (Rev. 21:2). God gives us this picture to aid us in understanding both the “now” & the “not yet.” We know that Christ has set His love upon the church, and baptized believers partake of this certain and unswerving love. But we also know that we must wait and hold steadfast for when the Lord shall come again to judge the living and the dead. This is what your marriage is a parable of.
Therefore, whereas you may have been accustomed to walking in self-centeredness, these marriage vows summon you to selflessness. These vows bind you both to recognize the “now” that Christ has brought about: all your sins forgiven, all His blessings promised to you, all His kindness extended to you in the sweetness of the joy which is a faithful marriage. But they also compel you to put aside all the deeds of darkness and to live & long for the “not yet”, when Christ shall have overcome all His & your enemies.
Nate, the charge to you is this. You are called by the Living God to be like granite & not like sand. Sand is moved and shaped by every wind and tide and rain and toddler with a dollar store bucket. Granite is far less malleable. It doesn’t alter with the mood, season, or year. Your steadfastness must be the foundation for your wife, your daughters, and any other children the Lord blesses you with. First & foremost this means being steadfast in Christ. But then, you must be steadfast in the good works of providing, protecting, and presiding in your home. You provide tangible love by working to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. You protect by being vigilant against sin in your life and theirs, enemies who would do harm whether it be sin, the devil, or the wicked world. You preside by leading them with decisive wisdom, judicious patience, and unfaltering faithfulness.
Shoshawna, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” So your charge is this: you’ve lived your life, in many respects without a head over you to provide for & protect you. This isn’t how God designed things to be. This is part of the sorrow of living in the “not yet”. Yet God, in His kindness, is giving you this day a head. From this day on you’re to live as one who has a head. It’s been observed that things that are headless or have two-heads are generally to be avoided! As Nate provides, you are to receive it all joyfully and, with gratitude, turn what he provides into glory. As he protects, be a boon of comfort to him in the weariness of his battles. As he presides, sweeten his duty to guide your home by cheerfully following, patiently advising, and loyally submitting. Scripture tells us that this sort of godly femininity is, in God’s sight, of great worth.
So, here as you exchange vows, which bind you until death parts you, you are telling the world about the glorious “now” which Christ has given to His people: sins forgiven & the assurance of eternal life. Yet, you also proclaim the “not yet”, when all things shall be renewed. Christ is making all things new, and your marriage, with Christ as Lord of it, is one of those things.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, amen.
May the God who raised up the Lord Jesus from grave, and Who sent the Holy Spirit to dwell with fire in the midst of His people, pour out plentiful blessings upon this marriage just now established. May He bless with abundant joy the “now”, and grant you faithfulness to pray and labor for the “not yet”. May He bless you with a fruitful & faithful home, and may it be a proof that in Christ, all things are being made new. In the name of Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, and to the glory of God the Father, Amen.