The Bible is bookended with weddings. Genesis opens with the first creation and the wedding of the first man and the first woman. And Revelation closes with a city descending out of Heaven to earth like a Bride adorned for her husband, God and man in full fellowship, the promise of a new creation, without any tears or death or sorrow.
These two weddings highlight at least two features of all weddings. The first thing is that a wedding always points to greater glory. The first wedding of Adam and Eve already pointed to greater glory: the glory of the dominion mandate being fulfilled: the first family being fruitful, multiplying, filling the earth, and having dominion over all the creatures. Every wedding looks forward to the blessings that will come: making a home, practicing hospitality, welcoming children, grandchildren, companionship, friendship, and all the joys of life – even the comfort of walking through hardships together. But the Bible teaches that the first wedding was also already pointing toward the last wedding. Paul says when God created the first man and woman and they became one flesh, that was already pointing toward Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:32). And therefore, whenever a man leaves his father and mother and joins his wife and the two become one flesh, that great mystery is being proclaimed: the mystery of God and man united: As John heard the great voice say: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:3).
This is the promise of the gospel that we begin to enjoy here in this life by faith and the gift of the Spirit: As John says in his first letter: “That which we have seen and heard we declare unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn. 1:3). This fellowship with God and all those who share fellowship with God is fruitful. God is life and light, and therefore, that fellowship is potent. But this isn’t a bland, generic fruitfulness like a bunch of coins spitting out of a slot machine. This is the gorgeous, diverse fruitfulness of the Triune God: think galaxies and mountain ranges, and sandy beaches and clear blue water full of darting creatures, cool, dark jungles buzzing with life, sunsets playing with light and colors and shadows, and a man and woman at the pinnacle of all of it: a King and Queen, full-blooded masculinity and femininity in full bloom.
But all of this points to the second feature of all human weddings since the first one: the reality of sin and the Fall and the need for new creation, the need for tears to be wiped away and death and sorrow to be dealt with. We live in a world that has worked very hard to confuse God’s original creation order, the glory of male and female, and the glory of masculine leadership and feminine submission. And the Fall has touched every family. This is why the promise of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is so dear to every Christian: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.”
And yet the glory of the gospel is that this final marriage has begun in this history. It is not merely something for the end of history; it is something that has begun already through the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. And the central way this is happening is through the restoration of fellowship between God and man and between all those who are united to the Father in Christ by His Spirit. It says in 1 John, if we walk in the light as He is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
It is possible to walk with God and one another in full fellowship without any darkness. How is it possible? By the blood of Jesus Christ cleansing us. And how does that happen? 1 John continues: if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Confession of sin means agreeing with God that something you said or did or thought or failed to do deserved God’s wrath and agreeing with Him that Jesus died for it and saying so to God and anyone we have sinned against or in front of. And when we forgive one another, we promising to reckon sin against us as paid for by the blood of Jesus. We are agreeing that since Jesus died for it, we will not hold it against our brother or sister. The Bible says that at the very longest, you have until the end of the day to be reconciled to someone: do not let the sun go down on your anger, nor leave room for the devil. You wouldn’t dream of leaving your doors open at night, and yet many Christians go to bed with grudges and bitterness and unconfessed sin, and then they wonder why their homes are such devilish places. After many years of pastoring, I’m convinced that this is 95% of marriage happiness and success: staying in full fellowship: confessing sin and forgiving one another quickly. This is the key to fruitfulness.
So Noah, my charge to you is to lead and guard your wife like Christ leads and guards His bride, the Church, and do this principally through cleansing her with the washing of water by the Word. This means leading in prayer and Bible reading, but it also means confessing your sins and making sure that you stay in full fellowship with your wife. If you walk in the light with God and Mallory, the glory of God will make you and her shine, and you will be more of a man day by day, and she will be an even more lovely lady day by day – and your home will be a fruitful palace. And you will be able to see clearly where you are going and what you should do because the Light of God will shine on everything.
Mallory, my charge to you is receive this leadership from your husband: submit to him and respect him in the Lord. You are a Christian woman, and this means that you have a personal responsibility to walk in the light as God is in the Light and stay in full fellowship with God and your husband. In the same way that God has given you a deep desire to make a clean home, make sure that you keep a clean heart. In the same way that it would be hard to go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink, don’t ever go to bed with a dirty dishes in your heart. Confess your sins to God and anyone you’ve sinned against. Stay in fellowship, and don’t let the devil into your home. In this way, your marriage will be constantly pointing to the final marriage, it will be full of light and fruitfulness, and it will be growing into that final glory.
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.