This message shall point out to you what the key is to the divine palace of love, and how that manifests itself in a godly marriage. When we line up with the Word of God, we line up with the heart of God, for the Word reflects His heart. He wants us to place the Word in our heart, and to follow (keep) it out of love, not obedience. We obey our drill sergeant or our employer out of fear of their authority. That is not how we are to keep the commandments. However, when God’s Holy Spirit gives us specific instruction, we want to obey.
THE WORDING OF EXODUS 19:5 is significant: “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine.” 1) OBEY THE VOICE OF HIS SPIRIT….2) & KEEP HIS COVENANT. There is something big in these words that goes over the heads of most readers. We have to go deep to realize the significance of God’s choice of words. There is a significant difference between obeying and keeping.
THE KEY TO THE DIVINE PALACE OF LOVE. Yahshua describes the key to the divine palace of love at JN 14:21: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Now this raised a question from one of his disciples, who realized that this promise was very personal and inclusive, excluding much of the world, so we read in the next verse… “Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word: and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our home with him.'” JN 14:22-23
So Christ repeats his intimate and personal promises of verse 21 again in verse 23; he will come into our homes and love us, if we love him by keeping his commandments. This promise of intimacy is explained a third time by the beloved disciple John who wrote: “Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” 1 JN 2:5 God’s love in us is perfected, by keeping His word. Our heart is in sync with God’s Heart.
“KEEPS”? Have you noticed that all three verses use the Greek word “tereo” (keep)?? rather than the Greek word “hupakouo” which means “obey”??? Tereo is never translated by the KJV translators as “obey”, but almost always “keep”. In a few rare instances it is translated “preserve”, “observe”, or “hold fast”. The connotation to Christ’s word “tereo” (keep) is very different than the concept “obey”. In the Hebrew scriptures, it does use the terminology “obey” in regards to commandments. But the prophecy was that a day would come when God would write His commandments on our hearts and inspired by His Spirit, we would willingly want to keep them. This is why the entire NT is devoid of telling us to “obey”, but rather we are told to keep the commandments 25x and do them 3x. The two times “obey” is used it is in reference to the disobedient or to non believers.(A)
“OBEY”? The Holy Spirit gives us timely specific personal directives, and these we do obey! For instance Saul (Apostle Paul) said, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.”(B) “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”(C)
HUSBANDS, LOVE YOUR WIVES, JUST AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH and gave himself for her.(D) The standard for obeying Christ’s commandments is beyond what most people can satisfy. Christ came to teach us higher levels of spirituality, for instance, not hating a brother as a standard instead of just simply not murdering. These are high standards, that are to be kept…not obeyed. When we view them as something to obey, we fall short. Those who try to obey a commandment like “husbands love your wife like Christ loved the church” end up making rules like the Pharisees to satisfy thinking they are fulfilling the law. But that gives a false sense of accomplishment, which is why Christ said, you have heard not to murder, but if you even hate your brother you have done it in your heart. When we write His commandments as guidelines and goals upon our hearts, and voluntarily want to keep them, we are freed from pride & legalism. We can only keep His commandments with the assistance of the Spirit. “God loves a cheerful giver.” (E) We should cheerfully give ourselves to God. He wants His children to want to keep His commandments, which shows their hearts are in sync with his. A forced obedience misses the most important point, bringing our hearts in sync with God’s.
Christ said in prayer to heavenly Father, “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one…” (F) Christ is talking about the intimacy of oneness–and he doesn’t use the term obedience, but he uses the concept that God gifted him, and he took that gift of intimacy and passed it on to others. God wants us to voluntarily gift Him our compliance with His commands–it is not an obedience done in fear of His authority, but a keeping from love of where His heart is at. This totally relates to what a covenant marriage is all about.
Here are the conceptual differences between a Worldly marriage and a covenant marriage:
Covenants are based on freedom of choice. Covenant marriages are not built on coercion, deceit, and manipulation. Wives, submission is freely given and grows from respect, not fear and manipulation. In like manner, husband, choose daily to love your wife “as Christ loved the church.” One must freely choose to love and honor her in spite of the fact that he may not “feel” like loving and honoring her.
Covenants are the fruit of a loving, faithful relationship. The vows the man & woman exchange at their wedding reflect a relationship already bound by steadfast love and faithfulness. The degree in which these words have meaning comes in direct proportion to the unconditional love that dwells within his or her heart for the one to whom the person is repeating them.
Covenant partners take responsibility for their actions. As partners in a covenant marriage relationship, the man & woman are responsible for their actions. An example would be to remain “sexually pure” in each spouse’s thoughts and actions towards the other.
Covenants are rooted in actions based on choices, not feelings. Our feelings are forever fluctuating. Therefore to build a covenant marriage on feelings is to build it on shifting sand, which cannot support the foundation of marriage.
Covenant partners nurture their relationship. Their marriage will grow as they build up one another in love. This takes place when each values his or her spouse more than one self. As we experience the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, we are able to love our spouse as He loves us. Covenant partners administer unconditional love, forgiveness, and reconciliation while providing comfort and hope to their partner.
Covenants are based on commitments freely offered. A covenant is built on selfless love, freely given and freely received. As strange as it may sound, a covenant marriage is one in which the “tie that binds” the couple together is a commitment freely offered with no strings attached. Paul said it well: “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8).
(A) 2 THES 3:14, 1 PTR 3:1 (B) ACTS 26:19 (C) ROM 8:14 (D) EPH 5:25 (E) 2 COR 9:7 (F)