Letter to Covenant Keepers

October 7, 2015

Dear Covenant Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I’ve been thinking. I’ve been thinking of our stand for marriage restoration. Why would we do that in the face of unfaithfulness, unkindness, divorce? I’d like to offer you some reasons we do that. I think a little refresher is good once in a while, so here goes.

Marriage is created by God: Genesis 2:18-24: “And God said, it is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him, and the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Marriage is a God-made institution, not a man-made one. Since God created it, we aren’t at liberty just to jump in and out of it at will. Now God has given us an opportunity to stand in the gap for what He has created…marriage (Ezekiel 22:30), and what He says about it.

Marriage is a covenant, not a contract: Malachi 2:14 tells us: “Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.” Craig Hill explains this in his book Marriage: Covenant or Contract.  “Covenant is an irrevocable, undissolvable  commitment breakable only by death. Covenant does not depend upon the performance of either party. The concept of contract, on the other hand, is an entirely different concept. Under a contract, if one party fails to perform according to the contract, the other party has no obligation to perform either and is no longer bound by the terms of the contract.” Our marriages are a covenant with our spouses and our Holy God. This is our foundation. A more extensive explanation can be found in Craig Hill’s book and Marilyn Conrad’s An Alternative to Divorce, published by Covenant Keepers Inc.

God calls our marriages one flesh: We saw that in Genesis 2:24. Jesus repeated that truth later in Matthew 19:4-6: “And He answered (the Pharisees who asked Him a question) and said to them, Have ye not read that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” This truth is also repeated in Mark 10:7, and Ephesians 5:28-31. Many people have tried to separate what God has joined, but there are always consequences. Some say, “Well, I don’t think God joined us!” Marilyn Conrad says in her book: “The scripture found in Matthew 19:6, ‘What God hath joined together,’ does not apply only to those that He has chosen as marriage partners for each other.  Even if couples are not born-again when they marry, they have chosen God’s plan for man and woman.  When they enter into marriage they are joined in God’s system of marriage.”

We made covenant vows: Furthermore Marilyn shares that “most ceremonies include certain terms. For instance, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. And the promises and terms probably concluded with these words ‘until death do us part.’ We call these wedding vows. The Bible is very clear about making vows. ‘When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it’ (Eccl. 5:4-5 NIV).” I have to admit these truths didn’t come to my attention until my marriage was broken. But God led me to know these things for a reason—for my own marriage and family, and to help others stand for their marriages and families. When we stand on the Word – Truth, and walk in faith, while praying for ourselves, our spouses and our children, we can’t see all that God is doing. But we continue to walk by faith and believe. Many marriages are being healed through the faith of a believing spouse. When my husband was born again, I didn’t know that God was getting ready to save him. But I trusted, believed and prayed, and stood on the promise God gave me in Acts 16:31. God is faithful to His word.

Our marriages are a picture of Christ and His Church: Right now only one of you may be standing true to your marriage covenant. However, you are representing something much bigger than just your own family. You are representing Christ Himself and His church, His body. We see what God says about this in Ephesians 5:30-33: “For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones, for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh (here it is again). This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Now we know Who we are representing as we stand for marriage healing. We are representing the faithfulness that Christ displays to us, His children. Once we know Him, He is always faithful to us. He doesn’t discard us when we goof up. He still cares for us with His arms open wide for us to come back to Him. Craig Hill says in his book: “The covenant value in marriage would say to the marriage partner, ‘I am irrevocably committed to you until death separates us. My commitment to you has nothing to do with your performance or any choice you make.’ It is a unilateral commitment before God until death. This is the commitment that Jesus made to us. ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5).” Many healed marriages testify to the fact that God heals broken marriages and broken lives when someone believes God for their spouse.

God loves people; He loves you – and your spouse: He loves you both so much He shed His precious blood for you and agonized on the cross to pay for you and your loved one’s sins. We know John 3:16 by heart. I John 4:10-11 also says: “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love notthat we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” When we respond in love, there’s something that God does through that. He reveals Himself through love. When He reveals Himself, hearts are touched and changed. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (I John 4:7) I pray that God’s love will be revealed in us toward our loved ones. A man once said he came to Christ because of the love of his wife. If we can grasp the picture of Christ’s love for all, we will have a different perspective about our loved ones. We all need the love of Christ in our lives. We can ask Him for that love. May the love of Christ be revealed in us and through us to those who need His love and grace revealed to them.

In His love, mercy and grace,
Jo
P.S. My husband passed away on February 21, 2015. I want you to know I stand for yours and all covenant marriages to be healed and believe God wants me to share what I have learned to help see your marriage restored.

Scripture references not noted are taken from the KJV and NKJV.

Jo Hurst is a retired Covenant Keeper Group Leader in the Knoxville TN area. She would regularly send emails of encouragement to those CK’s in her group or area. The above is one such message.

Author: Jo Hurst

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