But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God.
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It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw us. It requires us to face the truth about ourselves and one another. But alone with truth, we need love. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. Without grace truth and love cannot be combined.
Spouses either stay away from the truth or attack one another. It takes a loss of pride and self-will for a person to humbly serve others. Keller argues that only if you have learned to serve others by the power of the Holy Spirit will you be able to face the challenges of marriage. When one studies a covenant it becomes clear that love is fundamentally action rather than primarily emotion. To be united to someone through a covenant is to be bound by promise, or oath.
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A covenant has horizontal aspects as well as vertical. A covenant relationship is not just intimate despite being legal. It is a relationship that is more intimate because it is legal. But underneath them all I see growing the person God wants you to be. Sanctification is a group project, and most intense between two spouses. It will drive you further into reliance on it. On the other hand, a greater understanding of the gospel will help you experience deeper union with each other as the years go on. That sort of experience tends to preclude a realistic assessment of who the person really is.
It has to be a commitment strong enough to move us to glad, non-begrudging, sacrificial service of another person even during the inevitable seasons when the emotions are dry or cold. Have you been through and solved a few sharp conflicts? Have you been through a cycle of repenting and forgiving? Have you shown the other that you can make changes out of love for one another? The practical fact is that sexual activity triggers deep passions in you for the other person you have gotten a good look at him or her.
Marriage should not be a strictly individual, unilateral decision. It is too important, and our personal perspective is too easily skewed.
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Singles should get community input at every step of the way when seeking marriage. Christian marriage should be communal. Marriage in Light of Eternity. Review "This is a book Christians need to read. Penguin Books; Reprint edition November 5, Language: Start reading The Meaning of Marriage on your Kindle in under a minute.
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8 Pieces of Advice for Single Christians from Tim Keller
But I am also a thirty-something Christian single female, who has dodged a lot of sympathetic sighing from well-intentioned people. Keller and his wife, Kathy, are well aware of the myriad of mixed messages Christian singles receive and they don't sidestep this often neglected group in their excellent book. They don't offer a five step if you do this, this, and this you will attract a godly mate, instead it's a Bible based exploration of why God gave us marriage and what it means for everyone- single or married, divorced, separated, widowed, etc.
The kids told my wife and me that this year they weren't coming home for Thanksgiving, so we decided we'd use the long weekend instead for our own little marriage retreat. We found an little farmhouse about an hour away offering a loft apartment for a three-day rental, and the two of us each brought a copy of Keller's book and spent those days working through the book, chapter by chapter.
Both Tim and Kathy shaped the book, and Kathy directly wrote at least one chapter. I appreciated their honesty, biblical foundation, God-centeredness, and practical counsel. Marriage is clearly a troubled institution in American culture, and that includes even among American Christians. The problem is that so often Christians have accepted the world's definitions of marriage.
What makes "The Meaning of Marriage" so excellent? At least four things. First, Keller gives a vision for marriage. His main reason for writing the book, in fact, was to give both Christians and non-Christians a vision for marriage. What is Keller's vision for marriage? Keller writes, concerning the meaning of marriage, that "It is for helping each other to become our future glory-selves, the new creations that God will eventually make us.
The second reason "The Meaning of Marriage" is so excellent is that Keller bases his views on the Bible. Time and again, instead of turning to what the world teaches about marriage, Keller returns to the Bible, especially Ephesians 5. While Keller begins with the Bible, he does more than just quote Scripture: This is what makes his teaching on writing so profound and powerful. While he doesn't cover every possible topic, he does give a theological vision for marriage that will change your marriage for the better or better prepare you for marriage in the future.
Third, in presenting a biblical view of marriage, Keller directly challenges the worldly views of marriage, including many that have infected the Church.
A Critique of Kathy Keller’s “Jesus, Justice and Gender Roles”
Among the most popular of these myths is that we should be looking for our "soul mate," in the sense of finding someone we're presently in love with. This view minimizes the importance of the hard work that goes into marital love. Keller also rightly rebukes the idea that we should not go into marriage expecting to change the other person.
To the contrary, marriage is precisely for the purpose of sanctifying one another, and Keller demonstrates some of the many reasons why marriage is such a powerful means of sanctification for Christian spouses. Keller takes on many other myths as well, for example, the idea that marriage is primarily for self-fulfillment, instead of mutual sanctification and becoming one with another.
The Meaning of Marriage
Fourth, "The Meaning of Marriage" is both readable and practical. Keller's ideas are rooted in theology but are written in a very readable prose. Most importantly, his book is eminently practical. While it's not a "How To" manual and doesn't give you every detail, he does amply illustrate and explain his major ideas on marriage.
So practical is "The Meaning of Marriage" that it's applicable not only to Christian spouses but also non-Christian spouses and Christian singles. He has, for example, a chapter on a theology of singleness Chapter 7. There are many profound insights in the book. There was little that was new to me as a priest and as a husband who has worked every day on his marriage for 18 years.