Marriage covenant

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.
-Deuteronomy 5

Man was not created to be autonomous, or self-governed. He was created in the image of God, but he was created from nothing. Man is a symbol, or an image, or a reflection of God, but not on his own. He has no inherent being. In order to be a reflection of God, he must remain in God or the image becomes a lie. It always goes back to the garden. Man sought autonomy, life on his own, “to be like God” without God. Even though man reached out for what he though would make him blessed, or happy, it only brought him misery, “because the source of man’s happiness lies only in God, whom he abandons when he sins, and not in himself.” (Augustine, City of God)

Deuteronomy 5 lays out the 10 commandments, or 10 words, that had previously been given on Sinai. “In one sense, the Decalog is the legal basis of the covenant relationship, but to stress its nature as law would be to fail to appreciate its true role. It was the legal aspect of the covenant relationship in a sense similar to the role a legal wedding contract plays in a marriage. A marriage can be legalized by a marriage license, but it is a true marriage only when the legal terms of the contract are representative of a love leading to and maintaining the marital relationship. [So], the law was legally binding, but not in a restrictive sense; it was representative of God’s love for men and it called in turn for a response of love… [I]t’s injunctions, both negative and positive, led not to restriction of life, but to fullness of life. It demanded a response of love, not because obedience would somehow accumulate credit in the sight of God, but because the grace of God, experienced already in the liberation from Egypt, and in the divine initiative in the covenant promise, elicited such a response from man in gratitude.” (Craigie, Deuteronomy)

This liberation from Egypt is the gospel. It is a call from darkness to light, from death in self to life in Christ. We have been called out of the oppressive, restrictive slavery to sin, through the baptism of our bodies into the death of Christ, so that we may live not according to the flesh, that is not according to man, but according to God. So we no longer present ourselves as slaves to impurity, but as it were, slaves of righteousness. We wholly give ourselves to God in the same way a husband and wife should wholly give themselves to each other, living for each other, not for selfish gain. Just as a marriage is no marriage if it is merely law keeping, or a ceremonial show, so our relationship with God is a reciprocal, unselfish love, a response to his great love for us.



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