Nevertheless: Marriage

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
The word which forms the heading of this paper occurs in the fifth chapter of the epistle to the Ephesians, and the last verse. It is a very important word, as indicating what we are all so prone to forget, that there are two sides to every question and, in particular, to the great question before the Apostle's mind in this passage. He is speaking of the subject of marriage, and of the relative duties of husband and wife; and he uses as an illustration the great mystery of Christ and the Church.
Now there are two sides to this subject. There is a heavenly side, and there is an earthly side. We need them both. We cannot dispense with either; and the Holy Ghost has, in His infinite wisdom, bound them indissolubly together by the little word "nevertheless"; and, may we not say, What God has joined together let not man put asunder? It is quite true-blessedly true-that the Church's relation to Christ is heavenly, that the Church is called to know, rejoice in, feed upon, walk with, follow, and be conformed to a heavenly Christ.
All this is what we may call vital and fundamental truth which cannot for a moment be given up or lost sight of without giving up, so far, the heavenly side of Christianity.
But are we not in danger of forgetting the practical application of all this to our present walk on the earth amid the stern realities of actual life day by day? Are not husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants, earthly relationships? Unquestionably. True it is they are formed upon a heavenly model, and to be carried out after a heavenly pattern, as they also rest upon a heavenly base.
But still they are relationships in nature, formed on the earth, and to be carried out in daily life. There will be no such relationships in heaven. They do not belong to the resurrection s t at e. They belong to nature, to earth, to our time-condition; and we are called to walk in them as Christian men, women, and children, and to glorify God by our spirit and temper and manner, our whole deportment therein, from hour to hour, and day to day.
Thus, for example, of what use is it for a man to traffic in lofty theories respecting the heavenly relationship of Christ and the Church, while he fails, every day of his life, in his earthly relationship as a husband? His wife is neglected, perhaps treated coldly or harshly; she is not nourished, cherished, sustained, and ministered to according to the heavenly model of Christ and His Church.
No doubt, the same pointed question may be asked in reference to the wife, and to all the other sacred relationships of our earthly and natural existence; for there are two sides to every question.
Hence the very great importance of the Apostle's "nevertheless." We may depend upon it, it has a wide application. It is most evident that the Holy Ghost anticipated the need of such a qualifying, modifying, regulating clause, when, having descanted upon the heavenly side of the subject of marriage, He adds, "Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife ever as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."
Christian reader, let us remember the two sides. Let us deeply ponder the inspired "nevertheless." We may rest assured there is a need of it. There is the most urgent need of the practical application of divine and heavenly truth to our natural relationships and earthly ways. We have to remember that God recognizes nature, else why have we marriage? Flesh is not recognized, but nature is, and even admitted as a teacher (see 1 Cor. 11:1414Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? (1 Corinthians 11:14)). We are not yet actually in heaven. We are there, thank God, as to our standing, there in principle, there in spirit, there by faith. Our life, our portion, our hope, our home, are there because Christ is there.
But we are here on the earth, called to represent Christ in this world, as He represents us in heaven. God views us as men, women, and children, called to tread the sand of the desert, and to meet the positive realities of daily life. Life is a reality- an actual, bona fide practical reality—and our God has provided for us, in view of this fact, by the priestly ministry of Christ on high, and by the ministry of the Holy Ghost and the teachings of Holy Scripture here below. We must have what is real to meet what is real. We are not called, thank God, to be occupied with visionary notions, with empty theories, with a powerless sentimentality, nor even with one-sided truth. No; we are called to be real, genuine, sound, practical Christian men, women, and children. We are called to display in our daily history here on this earth the practical results of that which we know and enjoy by faith in heaven. In one word, we must never forget that when the very highest truths are being unfolded before us, there is a healthful and holy application of these truths indicated by the inspired "nevertheless."