Until Death Do Us Part

Egypt = death
Greece = love

The equations above appeared in a dream I had last year, the spiritual significance of which I described in my article “Egypt: A Lesson Before Dying.” I did not realize until yesterday that God wants us to know and trust him in these two ways. God is love – agape, phileo, and eros combined (1 John 4:8). He is also the resurrection and the life; Jesus Christ alone has the keys to hell and death (John 11:25, 14:6; Revelation 1:18). So have we trusted the great I AM in the deaths of loved ones and dreams? Have we also trusted him with our hearts?

adam eve edenDeath and love began in Eden. God created Adam and Eve to enjoy a lifetime partnership – living, loving, and working together (Genesis 2:22-25). Then he told them to be fruitful and multiply (1:28). So marriage and family are God’s creation. Sin destroyed this paradise, not only introducing physical and spiritual death but also damaging Adam and Eve’s relationship (3:16-19). Mankind has been unsuccessfully trying to fix these two curses ever since. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the only answer.

“Son of man, can these bones live?” – Ezekiel 37:3[1]

Physical resurrection is one key to knowing God. Seven people were resuscitated in the Bible. Jesus, the eighth, was resurrected through the Holy Spirit’s power – the firstfruits of resurrection and the firstborn from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20, Revelation 1:5). If we die saved, then we will also be resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:51-54, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, Revelation 20:6). I wish more people were resuscitated after being dead a few hours or days. I also wish more people believed God’s sovereignty over death and saw him perform the miraculous in restoring someone to life. So I keep waiting for the miracle of a 21st-century Lazarus. I want unbelievers to witness God’s awesome power.

abraham sacrifice Isaac Caravaggio.jpgWe can also know God through spiritual resurrection. After we put a dream, thing, or person in his hands and let it die, only then do we learn that a living God is sovereign over death (Deuteronomy 32:39, 1 Samuel 2:6). He “gives life to the dead” and brings something out of nothing (Romans 4:17). Abraham trusted God to give him a son, even after his and Sarah’s bodies reproductively “died” (Genesis 17:17, Romans 4:18-22). God allowed this symbolic death so he would receive glory from the miracle of Isaac’s conception and birth. Abraham later trusted God to bring Isaac back from “death” on an altar (Genesis 22:1-12, Hebrews 11:17-19), just as Ezekiel trusted God to restore Israel (37:1-14).

Love is the other key to knowing God. I am grieved by recent celebrity divorces – Gosselins (Jon and Kate Plus Eight), Neelys (Food Network), etc. Why did these peoplel separate, if not for adultery? Did they ever love one another? If yes, how did they grow apart? Could they not reopen communication lines or seek counseling? Why did they selfishly quit on their marriages? What happened to “until death do us part”?

“Real friendship — real love — means a disinterested interest. It’s an interest in their best interests without reference to ours. John 15:13 declares ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ But physically dying isn’t the only way we’re called to lay down our lives. As Paul said, ‘I die every day!’ (1 Cor. 15:31) Every day, we encounter opportunities to sacrifice our agendas and our personal desires for other people.” – Visionary Daughters

bride and groom men women romance loveThe biblical, divine ideal of marriage is one man and one woman for life (Genesis 2:23-24, Matthew 19:4-6). They give their bodies and souls exclusively to one another in mutual sacrifice and submission, while seeking the other person’s best interests. Many people today despise this ideal. They live together before marriage or do not marry at all. Some have serial marriages, divorces, and affairs. Others embrace homosexuality, polygamy, incest, or pedophilia. Physical and emotional exclusivity frightens them. Yet because God has placed eternity in our hearts, we still long to be with someone – forever (Ecclesiastes 3:11). So I wait for a 21st-century relationship that mirrors Isaac and Rebekah, Ruth and Boaz, or Hosea and Gomer. I keep waiting for a man to give his body and soul to one woman and be willing to give his life for her just so people can say, “This is love.”

Spiritual exclusivity is just as frightening to our sinful nature. We would rather cheat on God with one or more ‘gods’ whom we think we can control and conform to ourselves. So we refuse God’s gracious offer of spending eternity with Jesus Christ. Thankfully, the miracle of conversion and the Holy Spirit’s power produce spiritual commitment on our part. However, our relationship with God does not end at death. He does not say when he saves us, “until death do us part.” We “sleep in Jesus” instead (1 Thessalonians 4:14). He will resurrect us at the last trump (4:15-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, Revelation 20:6). Then we will enjoy Jesus’ presence at the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7-9).

God is love. He is also the author of life. Do we know him? Jesus is waiting for us to trust him.

__________

[1] New King James Version (NKJV), unless otherwise noted

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