Month: July 2018

Relationships

Relationships

The Bible study group I’ve been a part of on Sunday nights likes to dig deep into topics. We’ve been discussing Heaven over the last couple of weeks. We’ve talked about “where are believers who die today?”, “what did Jesus mean when He talked about Paradise with the thief on the cross?”, and “what about Lazarus and the Rich man, what was that parable or actual events?”. Well this next week we’ll be discussing relationships in Heaven. I emailed some thoughts to our fearless leader, and he pointed out that I should write about it here. He knows that I’ve struggled this last couple of months to get something written here, so I think it was a ploy to get me back and running. Either way, I’m glad he did. I don’t think I’ll go into much detail into my thoughts yet, as they’re still floating in my head, but I think this may be something I write on a couple of times this week.

Relationships in Heaven

I know one topic that will be discussed is Jesus telling the Sadducees that after the resurrection there will be no marriage. I sat down and did some reading from various authors on this topic this evening. I have to agree with them, Jesus is pretty plain in His statement. So the question becomes, “why?” Why is there no marriage in Heaven?

My question first is “Why is there marriage on earth?” Two things come to mind, one Adam and Eve were each given a purpose, but at the same time given a purpose together. Adam was to tend the garden (or orchard depending on your choice of texts), Eve was to be his helper. Together they were supposed to populate and subdue the earth having dominion over it. Individuals are given a purpose. Couples are given a purpose. What one man cannot accomplish alone, the couple together often can. We’re to help each other complete our tasks, and together fulfill our purpose. Another reason that comes to mind is that marriage is a representation of the relationship between us and Christ. Our first love, our first priority in this world should be toward Christ. He sacrificed Himself so that we could be redeemed to Him. He paid the price for our sins, so that we could walk in relationship with Him. Our marriages on this earth are supposed to represent that same love that Christ has for us. We’re supposed to love our spouse the way that Christ loves us, treat them how Christ treats us, and lead as men in the way that Christ leads us.

So, that doesn’t really answer the whole “why is there no marriage in Heaven” issue does it? No, but it does give us some insight. One of the early church fathers, St. John Chrysostom, wrote a Letter to a Young Widow (that’s actually the title of it) where he explains several things to her relating to relationships and Heaven, but I want to pull out of his thoughts one thing in particular. In Heaven we have no need for friends, family, lovers because we’re with God. The most intimate relationship possible, and we’ll experience for eternity. That doesn’t mean that we won’t know each other. Quite the opposite, we’ll have a deep intimate love for each other that finds it’s source in the Father’s love. We’ll have the same love for each other that God has for each of us.

Insight

So where do I get that my thoughts on earthly marriage are insightful? Let’s look at CS Lewis first, then I’ll explain. CS Lewis wrote in one of his many writings about a young boy learning of sexual activities and asks “do they get chocolate too?” (paraphrased). You see in this boy’s mind could only comprehend that chocolates were the key. He had no idea. And so it is with us, we fixate on the things we know and so struggle with understanding how something could be better. It’s hard for us (if not impossible) to imagine a life, one without sin, where our love for each other runs as deep as the Father’s love for us. Because of this we struggle to figure out why, “why can’t I be married to my wife”, “why can’t we help populate the new world”, “what do you mean we won’t live together”. You can have chocolate in your relationship, but that’s not the key. You can have friendships, spouses, family, but in Heaven the love will be and intimate love straight from the Father and our relationship will be with Him and to others through Him. You see, as long as we continue to place this life’s greatness on Heaven, we can’t begin to understand how great Heaven really can be.

Application

I’m going to try and offer some application in my blog posts going forward, not sure how well it will work out, but I’ll try!

We Christian couples like to say that “Christ is our first love!”, but then we go on and live our lives as we do. How many of us honestly truly place Christ as our head relationship? I’m not going to say that it’s OK to place another relationship ahead of your’s and Christ’s, but I can say it’s easy to. It’s hard for us to, on a daily basis, say and truly live out “Christ is my spouse, His needs come first”. So I’m asking you today, do you live like Christ is your spouse? Maybe as an application exercise spend some time examining your relationships with others, and then look at your relationship with Christ. Which one do you give more time and effort?