Marry Me: The Proposal

marriage-proposalI will never forget the proposal episode from The Practice (1997-2004). In one scene, Lindsay (Kelli Williams) proposes marriage to her boyfriend Bobby (Dylan McDermott) at an empty Boston Red Sox stadium, at night. He humbly accepts.

Letting a woman propose to a man seems chic today. The reverse is pooh-poohed as too traditional. The church ridicules this moral confusion, yet she’s traveled the way of the world. Instead of letting Jesus Christ call sinners to repentance, she lets unrepentant sinners sign the dotted line. Instead of letting the Holy Spirit draw sinners through conviction, she lets un-convicted sinners recommend themselves to Jesus. Is anyone being saved? No.

God spoke to Abram in Ur and to Jacob in a dream (Genesis 12:1-3, 28:12-15). He revealed himself to Moses in a burning bush and to Gideon as he was threshing wheat (Exodus 3:1-5, Judges 6:11-12). The prophet Isaiah responded to a heavenly vision at the temple in Jerusalem (Isaiah 6:1-8); others responded in Babylon (Ezekiel 1:1-28, Daniel 7:9-27, 10:4-9). Jesus called his disciples by the seashore and at the tax collector’s office as he said, “Follow me” (Matthew 4:18-22, 9:9, 10:1). After his ascension, Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-7). Paul later said that the gospel he preached “came through the revelation of Jesus Christ”; it wasn’t received from or taught by men (Galatians 1:11-12). Even the Shulamite woman, King Solomon’s bride, said, “Draw me away” (Song of Solomon 1:4).

Only three times does the Bible record someone asking Jesus if they can follow him. Each time, knowing their hearts, Jesus refuses. He tells one seeker that “the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Luke 6:58). Jesus tells another that “no one, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (6:62). He tells a third, the Gadarene demoniac, to “return to your own house and tell what great things God has done for you” (8:39). This last command wasn’t necessarily a refusal; maybe the healed man had a family who needed him.

wedding brideJesus Christ said that “no man can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).[1] He also warned that “every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted” (Matthew 15:13). Therefore, “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1). Only those drawn to Jesus by the Holy Spirit will “run after” him (Song of Solomon 1:4). So why is the church today letting the bride propose to the bridegroom? It’s moral confusion.

Salvation “is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy” (Romans 9:16). If we want to see people saved, then we must preach a pure gospel: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (6:23). We must also let the Holy Spirit draw, convict, and convert sinners. We can’t short-circuit the salvation process. But if we let God take control of his design, then we won’t have to worry about the results.

Oh, draw me Lord
Oh, draw me Lord
Oh, draw me Lord
And I’ll run after you
– “Oh Draw Me Lord” (Selah)

__________

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

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