“This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence” by John Piper

The sanctity and meaning of marriage has been defiled and destroyed in a world where divorce, premarital sex, and homosexuality is so prevalent, even among professed Christ-followers. Through his powerful exposition of Scripture, Piper sheds light on the true, Biblical basis and purpose of marriage. As its basis, marriage is foundationally the doing of God, and ultimately the display of God. And the ultimate purpose of the existence of marriage is to reflect the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church.

In Mark 10:6-9, Jesus clearly illustrates the fact that marriage is of God, and that “God has joined together” the two so that they “become one flesh”. It is solely God’s work in holding together two sinners in the blessed, God-ordained covenant called marriage. And marriage, temporary and only lasting in our earthly lives, points to something greater. Paul notes in Eph. 5:31-32 that marriage parallels and reflects the union and covenant between “Christ and the church”. Piper builds and uses this foundation as the Biblical, grace-centered basis for the rest of his book, which ultimately elevated my limited understanding of the beauty of the marriage covenant.

I want to include a small excerpt of the last paragraph of this book because Piper’s beautiful words of thanks to his wife show the culmination of my thoughts, and ultimately those of the diligent reader as well. Piper articulates and conveys his extremely high view of marriage in such a perfect manner that allowed me to finish this book knowing for sure what I have learned and developed in terms of my view of marriage:

Noël, if we live another twenty years (till I am eighty-two and you are eighty), the marriage will be sixty years old. And judging from what I see in the Bible and my memory, it will have been a momentary marriage. But it has been so much more than momentary. It is a parable of permanence written from eternity about the greatest story that ever was. The parable is about Christ and his church. It has been a great honor to take this stage with you. What exalted roles we have been given to play! Someday I will take your hand, and stand on this stage, and make one last bow. The parable will be over, and the everlasting Reality will begin.

Reading this small excerpt even now, for the twentieth time, almost moves me to tears. It truly exemplifies the beauty of this temporary, momentary marriage convenant that God allows us to model, pointing back to the love that Christ has for us, his church.

The result of the diligent reader is a massive reconstruction of his or her view on the beauty of marriage. It explains Biblically why we have specific roles in the family, with the husband exerting leadership and headship over his submissive wife. It details Biblically why divorce is so despicable in the sight of the Lord in defiling this sacred institution. It Biblically instructs on the practical applications of reflecting the worthy love between Christ and His church displayed in the marriage covenant. And it even includes chapters on singleness and its importance, which is not any less (and may even be greater) than the role of marriage in our world.

This book is a must-read, and how providential that it is available free online from the Desiring God website: http://dwynrhh6bluza.cloudfront.net/resources/documents/5218/bmm.pdf?1340647786. I implore you to go through it and experience the radical love of Christ for His church in this temporary institution. Because when this earth fades away, and marriage with it (Matt. 22:30), we will all experience this bridal convenant in future glory with the Christ who sacrificed His own life on our behalf. Oh, what a glorious day it will be!

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