He met her when he was 16. After first glance, he knew she was the one for him. She had bright eyes, she had smooth skin, she was soft spoken. He liked the way she treasured God above all else. She experienced similar feelings. He had a chiselled jaw, he was funny, and he had a heart that cherished God and his Word. All the things she had imagined in a life partner.
10 years later they are in Paris. In front of the Eiffel tower, he slows down. She looks behind. He goes down on one knee. A ring is produced. A kiss seals the deal.
20 years after they first met they’re both 36. Together they overcame the ‘one year hump.’ A miscarriage they battled through together. Parental support? Six feet deep. Breast cancer had come and gone. But through all their issues, they remembered their vows. He remembered the wife of his youth. Daily, she was reminded that he tried to love her as Christ loved the church. Insecurity and lies from the deceiver always loomed over the horizon for them. But God had kept them as he had promised to. ‘What therefore God has joined together let no man separate’ (Mark 10:9) was the caption to the wedding kiss picture that featured on the mantle piece, above the fireplace.
Tired he sits in his car. Work, troublesome teens, and an aching back have taken its toll on the now 45-year-old man. He knows what waits for him inside is not going to fill him with happiness. A wife on the bottle is not what he pictured all those years ago. Previously he has walked into wet soaked bed sheets, broken glass on the floor and pyramids of bottles at the door. The times where the neighbours would knock to say his wife has fallen drunk in the street had passed. Now he fears her committing suicide in a drunken haze. Recently she seemed to have forgotten the part where she promised to ‘love and cherish him.’ He prays and cries out to God to give him strength while he locks his car.
Are they more or less married?
Impossible question? Poorly defined? The truth is that marriage is an unbreakable position, from a Christian perspective, only sexual immorality can break it. Sin makes us question the relationship we have with God. Sin prevents us from seeing God clearly (Matthew 5:8). Sin is the issue. But it doesn’t change the facts of the relationship we have with him. He saves Christians by grace and grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). He keeps Christians until the final day (Philippians 1:6). Christians love him because he first loved them. (1 John 4:19). He saves Christians while they are enemies to him (Romans 5:10). Those he justifies he glorifies (Romans 8:30). When a Christian becomes born again the promised Holy Spirit enters him or her (Ephesians 1:13-14).
“You also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory”
When a Christian becomes born again, the heart that is ‘wicked above all things’ (Jeremiah 17:9), is removed, yanked out, and replaced with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). Much like the married couple saying their vows all those years ago, as Christians, God took us into an irreversible realm when he placed his spirit in us. For a Christians to lose their salvation God would have to take back the gift he gave us (Ephesians 2:8-9). He would have to remove the mark, take back the Holy Spirit, cancel his deposit, revoke the guarantee, overlook the inheritance and lessen his glory. The bible and scripture are clear. A Born again Christian cannot lose their salvation. The prodigal son is kept on return.
However, many often challenge this truth. ‘What about those who continue to bask and live in sin?’ ‘What happens to those Christians who stop following Jesus?’ ‘What happens to those who walk away from Jesus?’ These are often questions that believers have when it comes to this topic. But we must accept the realities in this situation. Not all that wear the badge of ‘Christian’ live up to the definition of Christian that scripture provides. A Christian isn’t one who attends Church. Or one who was baptised at birth. A Christian is one who fully accepts Jesus as the only Saviour for their sins and thus possesses the Holy Spirit. (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9). So when confronted with the questions aforementioned maybe its wise to consider this question. ‘Were they really saved in the first place?’ John said in his 1st Epistle ‘They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.’
Our hope for the married couple will always be that they reconcile and remember their vows. That he holds fast to look after her in sickness and in health. And she works to love him as the bible commands. But the reality is that the vows they took all those years ago are not changed by their present circumstances. The same way that Christians do not ‘lose their salvation’ due to isolated acts of sin. Marriage in a Christian sense is sealed by vows. To perpetually break them would indicate maybe one didn’t mean them when he or she said them. God for God secures salvation. He is not a man or woman, he will not turn back the good work he has started in you as he is working for his glory not yours.