Wedding of Tanner and Danielle Stallings (Eph 4,32; Eph 5, 21–33)

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Be kind to one another, tender hearted, graciously forgiving one another, just like God in Christ also graciously forgave you. (Eph 4:32)

᛭ INI ᛭

“God in Christ” has “graciously forgiven you.” (Eph 4:32) “God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself.” (2 Cor 5) Christ made “peace by the blood of His cross.” (Eph 2) There “the record of debt that stood against us” (Col 2) was paid in full. “Finished” (Jn 19) Jesus said at Calvary. So it is, and you’re forgiven before God in heaven.

This gracious forgiveness, this kindness of God is what Paul’s talking about in Ephesians 5. “Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, that He might present her to Himself as a glorious church, without [age] spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Eph 5) She has no spot, no stain, no sin to speak of. She is forever forgiven.

His gracious forgiveness for her continues! It’s ongoing, lifelong, continual, “daily and much.” She she was “cleansed by the washing of water in the Word,” (Eph 5) but now He “nourishes and cares for His bride, His flesh,” (Eph 5) in the Supper of His body and blood. And now we get to you two, not just you, but all of us who believe in Jesus “for we are members of His body,” (Eph 5) members of His Church.

That’s you Dani and Tanner. The Lord Jesus does the same for you. You are members of His body. He’s “grafted you in,” (Rom 10) as He has for all us “Gentiles.” He grafted us into Himself, and into His death and resurrection. “He was delivered up for our transgressions and raised for our justification,” (Rom 3) our innocent verdict, the gracious forgiveness He wins for us. He did this in the water and word of Holy Baptism. “When the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal.” (Tit 3) He also does this continually through His Word, and weekly and much through the Supper where the bread and wine are His body and blood, given and shed for you for the “forgiveness of sins.”

Solomon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, says in Ecclesiastes, “Though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Eccl 4) When the Lord saw Adam, He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper that fits him.” (Gen 2) So, He made Eve just for Him. Adam for Eve; Eve for Adam. So also you two. “What God joins together, let no one put asunder.” (Mt 19) Tanner for Dani; Dani for Tanner. After today, “no longer two, but one.” (Gen 2; Eph 5)

Yet, “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Eccl 4) The Lord Jesus is that third cord. “Raised on third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Cor 15) “never to die again, death no longer has dominion over Him.” (Rom 6) “I am with you always,” (Mt 28) His the promise He attached to Baptism and to His Word. But for you two, in your married life together, it’s not an abstract idea. “Me, you, and Jesus.” That’s true, but only has He works on you with His gracious forgiveness, and most concretely for you, in your day to day married life together—a whole new thing after today—it’s another 3. Three words: “I forgive you.”

“There’s no other foundation that can be laid except Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 3) Jesus, His death and resurrection for the Church, His promises to Adam and Eve in the Garden, are the bedrock for your marriage. But that bedrock, that foundation has a certain form and fashion to it. Day in and day out “I forgive you.” A marriage built on Jesus death and empty tomb, a marriage enlivened by His forgiveness delivered to each of you through sermons, His Word, and His two Sacraments, a marriage that’s an echo chamber of those three words (“I forgive you”)—well, that’s a marriage that will last a lifetime. Just like the Lord intends for you.

Be kind to one another, tender hearted, graciously forgiving one another, just like God in Christ also graciously forgave you. (Eph 4:32)

᛭ INI ᛭

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