You are a temporary spouse. Despite living in a world in which death is often taboo, the Bible won't let us ignore or avoid our inevitable end. God is very interested in teaching us how to die.
…today matters because tomorrow can’t be assumed. (170)
God wants us to die well. (170)
Sometimes I have come upon a cemetery plot with a matched pair of headstones, one inscribed, the other still blank. That’s when I stop and ponder the marriage story being illustrated there. (170)
You are given to your spouse to help him or her die well!
Pastor Richard Baxter saw one of the goals of marriage as this, ‘To prepare each other for the approach of death, and comfort each other in the hopes of life eternal.’ (171)
Key Text: 2 Cor. 4:16-18
16 Therefore we do not lose heart,
but though our outer man is decaying,
yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us
an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
18 while we look
not at the things which are seen,
but at the things which are not seen;
for the things which are seen are temporal,
but the things which are not seen are eternal.
This inevitable wasting away comes from our forefather Adam, who turn from God toward self-sufficiency doomed us to the universal physical destiny of ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Life involves bodily decay, folks. The only question is when do we recognize it.
But Paul overlays this cold physical reality with radiant gospel truth. Bodily decay isn’t the only thing going on: We are being gloriously renewed from within. …under the new spiritual birth, the life of God re-animates our sin-dead souls and the process is reversed—we actually get better with time! (172)
So when life comes at you in ways you don’t expect, remember this: Regeneration is the initial burst of spiritual life in our souls. Renewal is that same power working itself out in every facet of who we are, fitting us, as it were, for eternal life with Jesus.” (172)
The only way that we will not lose heart as our bodies waste away, is by fixing our soul’s gaze on the eternal weight of glory that makes any and all affliction on this earth look light and momentary.
If all we treasure is here on earth, then each passing day means we are backing away from what we treasure. We are bound to lose heart if we are, in a sense, walking backwards out of this world.
But if we lay up our treasure in heaven, and if we encourage our spouse to do the same, then each passing day means we are getting one step closer to where our heart is already. And rather than losing heart, we will be renewed day by day.
Oh, how we need the “eternal weight of glory” to become increasingly REAL to us! Oh, how we need to see that this world is actually the “Shadowlands,” and the life to come is the place of REAL life and substance and solidity.
Heaven is always Heaven and unspeakably full of blessedness… And on that day when the springtide of the infinite ocean of joy shall have come, what a measureless flood of delight shall overflow the souls of all glorified spirits as they perceive that the consummation of love’s great design is come—“The marriage of the Lamb is come and His wife has made herself ready”! We do not know yet, Beloved, of what happiness we are capable… Oh, may I be there! ... If I may but see the King in His beauty, in the fullness of His joy—when He shall take by the right hand her for whom He shed His precious blood and shall know the joy which was set before Him, for which He endured the Cross, despising the shame—I shall be blest indeed! Oh, what a day that will be when every member of Christ shall be crowned in him, and with him, and every member of the mystical body shall be glorified in the glory of the Bridegroom! …the saints, arrayed in the righteousness of Christ, shall be eternally one with him in living, loving, lasting union, partaking together of the same glory, the glory of the most High. What must it be to be there! (182, quoting Charles Spurgeon, from The Marriage of the Lamb – no. 2096, preached morning of July 21, 1889)
Questions (mainly from the study guide):
- What are your thoughts and feelings on death? How might they affect how you currently life your life?
- How do you think you might need to view your marriage differently to prepare for the later years?
- Where will you be as a couple in ten years? What would you like your marriage to look like at that time?
- Have you ever seen an elderly married couple that you admired? What about their marriage did you find attractive? How will you be that couple? What do you need to change? To start? To cultivate?