Another Night of Blessing, for Jack Hummel.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
In the same way husbands should love their 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 Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. Eph 5:25-32
Jack, I haven’t had as much time to get to know you as I often have other young men we bless in this way. So I created a survey and sent it to every student on the Hillsdale College campus.
Well, actually I asked two people who know you and they both said the same thing. The truth, we know, is established in the mouth of two or three witnesses. They said you were dependable, steadfast, thoughtful and prayerful. They said you were the kind of guy men would follow.
There are wonderful things for someone to say about you as a young man. And they suggest you may already understand what I am about to say. But I’m going to say it anyway. I need to hear it, and so does every man here.
And what I want to say is that marriage is a covenant.
It is not a contract. It is not merely a commitment. Both of these are limited. The one focuses on your rights and the other usually only last as long as your rights are respected. But a covenant does not secure our rights. It surrenders them.
Consider David. He was sometimes a carnal man. But God honors his covenant with David. Abraham was sometimes fearful and even dishonest man. God’s covenants with them were based on what He would do. He swore by himself because He could swear by non one greater.
Covenants, including the new one that secures our salvation, were signified by sacrifice made, promises given, meals shared, witnesses sworn; many of these elements pointed to in a wedding ceremony today. That’s because marriage is about the kind of unconditional covenants God makes. This is the mystery referred to in Ephesians 5.
So know this.
It is a mystery that God uses flawed men like ourselves to picture his own sanctifying love for the church.
It is a mystery that a godly young woman would give herself to us in the first place.
It is a mystery that relationships that require such constant forgiveness and forbearance become stronger rather than strained.
It is a mystery that such covenant keeping relationships teach us more about fidelity and faithfulness than any sermon we will ever hear.
It is a mystery that God trusts us with children and unites us as one flesh with His own daughters.
It is a mystery that through your relationship with Caroline God will teach your children and your neighbors about His own sanctifying, covenant-keeping love.
It is a mystery because you can’t understand the grace that gives it and could never have anticipated the growth that accompanies it.
So cherish this woman. She is for you, all fair, more lovely than you know, stronger than you expect, more forgiving than you deserve. Nurture her, protect her, lavish her with gentle deeds and daily kindness.
She will thus blossom and flourish, more radiant than ever, reflecting the glory of her God. Love this woman in such a way that you both will understand more completely and gratefully how Christ loves his church.
This is now your great calling and will be your great joy.