Far Better Than Marriage

Jesus is Better

I want death more than marriage.  Why?  Because I want to be with Jesus more than I want to be with a wife.

Am I crazy?  Maybe.  But before you declare me a sociopath and a rebel against God’s holy institution of marriage, hear my logic:

  1. Marriage is a temporary thing of this world.
  2. To be with Jesus is better than anything else in this world.
  3. Death is the doorway by which a believer enters into glory with Jesus.
  4. Therefore, death is better than marriage.

Three passages will be sufficient to prove my point:

Matthew 22:29-30 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.  For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord … and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

Philippians 1:21-24 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.  But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

In the resurrection, in heaven, there will be no marriage.  Thus, marriage is a temporary institution created by God for His glory, our good, and the propagation of mankind on the face of the earth.   But it has no place in heaven.

Furthermore, while we are in the body, physically alive, we are physically away from Christ.  To be at home, aka with Christ in heaven after death, is preferable.  It is far better to be with Christ, and death, therefore, is gain.  To desire death over even life itself is not crazy, but a overwhelming conclusion in light of the superior delights of glory over the delights of the earth.

So I repeat: I want death more than marriage.  Why?  Because I want to be with Jesus more than I want to be with a wife.  It is simply biblical.  To see anything — marriage, children, career, leisure, fleeting pleasures, entertainment, family, money, prestige — as more glorious than dying and being with Jesus is idolatry.  Jesus is better.  He will always be more worthy, more glorious, more satisfying, more wonderful, more exhilarating, more than anything or anyone else.  He is preeminent; no thing and no one compares.

Marriage and the Church

I could have chosen to write about a myriad of idols that are the world exalts above Christ.  But I choose to write about marriage because I am concerned not what the world thinks, but what the church of Jesus Christ, the Bride of Christ, thinks.

Of all people, the church should understand when I say, “I want death more than marriage.”  Oh for single Christians to have their devotion be single — for Christ!  And yet, people who say they want death more than anything else, in particular marriage, are consciously or subconsciously labeled derisively as “idealistic” or “extreme” or, my personal favorite, “hecka-holy.”  It should not be, brethren.

The church, and only the church, has the glorious truth of the promises of eternal life after death.  The church, and only the church, has the intimate knowledge of the infinite God of heaven and earth.  The church, and only the church, has all things in Jesus Christ.  Brethren, if we will not proclaim that Jesus is better than all things, even something as good as marriage, who will?  Our lives, desires, and affections much match our testimony.  A wicked world perishes for lack of the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ that only we have.

If from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks, we reveal that we have made an idol out of marriage.  Conversation and excitement and buzz seem to revolve around the newest couple to start dating, the next wedding, or the most eligible bachelor/bachelorette on the radar. We could speak about the glory of God among the nations, but we choose to speak about the newest dating couple at our church.  We could revel in the expectation and longing for heaven, but instead we complain about our loneliness and unmet desires.  We could rejoice in the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, but instead we giggle while playing matchmaker with our friends.  We could dwell in the Word of truth that brings us the story of God’s work of redemption, but instead we tell the latest and juiciest dating/engagement/marriage stories.

Brethren, it is a grievous thing when the church wants marriage more than Jesus.

I don’t say this to devalue marriage or relegate marriage to a category of unholy.  By no means!  The Scriptures say that a man who finds a wife finds a good thing; I absolutely agree. I will proclaim Ephesians 5:22-33 as passionately as everyone else as the epitome of the inextricable tie between the gospel and marriage.  If anyone loves the gospel, he by necessity must love marriage, for marriage is the preeminent picture of the gospel in the Scriptures.  Christ came to die for and sanctify to Himself a Bride — the Church.  And if anyone does not love marriage, he does not love the gospel.  I love the gospel.  I love marriage.

Rather, I say this to exalt eternity with Jesus Christ to its proper place of glory over marriage. Marriage is good.  Jesus is better.  Oh it is good to desire the first; it is far better to desire far more the latter.

Brethren, I say this by way of reminder: to be with Him, where faith becomes sight, where hope turns to fruition, where the delight of knowing God by the written revelation explodes into the fullest revelation of knowing God by glorious sight, is so, so much better.  Return to your first love.  He welcomes His Bride with open arms.

Help us, O God.  May we have one pure and holy passion.

Without This One Thing, Joy is Impossible

2014.02.05 Update