Stephen preached on the subject of heavenly marriage last night. Marriage (hotly debated in our current society, but traditionally recognised as the union between a man and a woman as indicated by the Genesis account, involving the commitment and covenant between those two parties) is one of the ways the relationship between God and His church is pictured.

Is 54:5 says “For your Maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is His name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is the called the God of all the earth.” In this verse, we see that the relationship we have with God is personal, but it is also collective in that God is the husband of all the church and is also the God of all the earth.

John 15:12-13 talks about the love that should characterise our relationships. Earthly marriage takes commitment between two people; heavenly marriage also involves God’s commitment to us (so great that Jesus laid down His life for us) and our commitment to Him.

Earthly marriage has a timescale of life on this earth attached to it (the wedding vows explicitly say ‘until death separates us.’) The heavenly marriage God wants is eternal, however (‘I will betroth you to me for ever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness and you will acknowledge the Lord’ Hosea 2:19-20). Even death cannot break God’s commitment to us.

Earthly marriage brings many blessings and advantages (security, happiness, commitment, love, even – in olden times – a dowry and wealth!) The heavenly marriage God gives us brings righteousness, justice, love, compassion and faithfulness to us.

Our response to all that God offers us in this covenant of marriage should be heartfelt and total (see Deut 6:5). We are to love God with all we have and make ourselves ready for the wedding of the Lamb (Rev 19:7). The heavenly marriage we have with God sets us apart for His purposes for ever. We were chosen by God and we also choose Him, to live in union with Him for all eternity.