Category Archives: Uncategorized

Do Christians Need Government?

Government was instituted by God to bring His laws to people and to carry out His will and purposes. In the Old Testament, government maintained the place of worship, provided judges to decide civil cases between the people, restrained and punished lawbreakers, and mobilized the nation for action against external enemies.

The first government was a theocracy, where God dealt directly with the people. When God was in charge of things, no other government was necessary.

He worked through the family, clan, or tribe. The father or patriarch acted as the agent of God for the rest of the family.

During the period of the judges the people became rebellious, and clear direction from God was lacking. Both religious and civil life became confused, and “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6, Judges 21:25).

At the close of the period of the judges, God raised up Samuel, who was both a prophet and a judge. At that time, the formal religious life of the country was under the direction of the high priest. During Samuel’s administration, the people asked for a king, and God gave them a monarchy which rose to its height during the reign of David and his son Solomon (1 Samuel 8:4-5, 1 Samuel 19-20, 1 Kings 9:3-5, 1 Kings 10:23).

When the perfect government is established during the Millennium, Jesus Christ will combine in Himself the offices of prophet, priest, and king.

This will be a perfect theocracy, made possible because the perfect law of God will be universally accepted by all mankind, and “the earth shall be full of knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). Perfect government comes from God and is controlled by God.

Short of that, the next best government is a limited democracy in which the people acknowledge rights given by God but voluntarily grant government limited power to do those things the people cannot do individually. Contrast these forms of government with Communism, which maintains that the dictatorship of the proletariat is supreme and an essential evolution of history; that God does not exist; and that citizens have only those privileges granted by the state.

SCOTUS rules on pastor’s role in execution

Texas likely violated the religious liberties of a death row prisoner when it denied the man’s request to have his pastor touch him and pray over him during his execution, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

In an 8-1 opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the high court found that Texas’ policy disallowing John Ramirez’s request was an unnecessary burden to a religious exercise. Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenter.

“[Texas fails] to show that a categorical ban on audible prayer is the least restrictive means of furthering this compelling interest, and they do not explain why other jurisdictions can accommodate audible prayer but Texas cannot feasibly do so,” Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

Ramirez’s execution, originally set for September but halted while the court weighed the case, can now be rescheduled, providing the Texas prison system changes its policy to allow touch and prayer in the death chamber. Texas prison officials said in a statement that the agency “respected the court’s decision and will be making appropriate modifications to our practices to align with today’s ruling.”

The decision comes months after the court heard arguments on the case and follows years of back-and-forth between the high court and the Texas prison system over the religious rights of prisoners set for execution. The Supreme Court has repeatedly blocked Texas executions over concerns that the state was not equally and fairly accommodating condemned prisoners’ religious liberties, which are protected by federal statute.

Challenges to the state’s religious accommodations have prompted the high court to stop several executions in recent years, even as it rejected last-ditch appeals to stop about a dozen other Texas executions for reasons including a prisoner’s youth at the time of murder, or claims of false testimony or junk science presented at trial.

The justices halted the execution of Ramirez, a 37-year-old sentenced to die for the robbery and fatal stabbing of a Corpus Christi store clerk in 2004, hours after he was set to die in September. Texas prison officials had denied his request to have pastor lay hands on him and pray over him as he died, claiming it would involve security risks, though the state later told the justices that the risk of disruption was likely low.

Since the justices opted to hear Ramirez’s case last September, one man has been executed in Texas, but several other executions have been rescheduled or taken off the calendar while waiting for the court to resolve the religious rights question. Four people are scheduled to be executed in the state between April and August.

During oral arguments in November on Ramirez’s case, several conservative justices seemed concerned that ruling for Ramirez, and again ordering Texas to change its execution policy, could increase their own workload. They theorized that deciding Ramirez should be allowed to be touched by his pastor would open the door for other prisoners to bring forth personalized requests.

“If we rule in your favor here, this is going to be a heavy part of our docket for years to come,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who previously penned the court’s sole opinion against religious limitations in Texas executions, told the prisoner’s attorney.

Texas’ procedure for allowing religion in the execution chamber has undergone several iterations in the last few years, after repeated guidance from the high court. For decades, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice allowed its staff chaplains to rest a hand on a prisoner’s leg and pray quietly during an execution, but the agency only employed Christian and Muslim advisers.

After multiple orders by the justices halting executions over concerns of religious discrimination and violation of liberties, the department’s policy now allows prisoners’ personal religious advisers to be in the death chamber — provided they clear a background check and orientation — but they can’t touch the prisoners or speak.

A “call from God” prevents a suicide attempt.

One Saturday night, a pastor was working late and decided to call his wife before he left for home. It was about 10:00 PM, but his wife didn’t answer the phone.
The pastor let it ring many times. He thought it was odd that she didn’t answer but decided to wrap up a few things and try again in a few minutes.
When he tried again, she answered right away. He asked her why she hadn’t answered before, and she said that it hadn’t rung at their house. They brushed it off as a fluke and went on their merry ways.
The following Monday, the pastor received a call at the church office, which was the phone that he’d used that Saturday night. The man that he spoke with wanted to know why he’d called on Saturday night. The pastor couldn’t figure out what the man was talking about. Then the man said, “It rang and rang, but I didn’t answer.”
The pastor remembered the mishap and apologized for disturbing him, explaining that he’d intended to call his wife. The man said, “That’s okay. Let me tell you my story. You see, I was planning to commit suicide on Saturday night, but before I did, I prayed, ‘God if you’re there, and you don’t want me to do this, give me a sign now.’
At that point, my phone started to ring. I looked at the caller ID, and it said, ‘Almighty God’. I was afraid to answer!” The church that the pastor attends is called Almighty God Tabernacle.

The Bible in 50 Words

God made.
Adam bit.
Noah arked.
Abraham split. Jacob fooled.
Joseph ruled.
Bush talked.
Moses balked. Pharaoh plagued.
People walked.
Sea divided.
Tablets guided. Promise landed.
Saul freaked.
David peeked. Prophets warned.
Jesus born.
God walked.
Love talked. Anger crucified.
Hope died.
Love rose. Spirit flamed.
Word spread.
God remained.

The Prince who became a monk

Throughout the extensive history of the Church, there have been numerous events of lasting significance.

Each week brings anniversaries of impressive milestones, unforgettable tragedies, amazing triumphs, memorable births, notable deaths and everything in between.

Some of the events drawn from over 2,000 years of history might be familiar, while other happenings might be previously unknown by most people.

The following pages highlight anniversaries of memorable events that occurred this week — March 20 through Mach 26 — in Christian history. 

This week marks the anniversary of when Thomas Cranmer, a leader of the English Reformation credited with helping craft the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer, was executed.

Cranmer served as the Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of King Henry VIII and helped oversee the Church of England’s break with the Roman Catholic Church.

Cranmer was tried for treason under Catholic monarch Queen Mary I, partly because of his beliefs and partially because he supported Lady Jane Grey’s claim to the throne.

“After a long trial and imprisonment, he was forced to proclaim to the public his error in the support of Protestantism, an act designed to discourage followers of the religion,” noted BBC.

“Despite this, Cranmer was sentenced to be burnt to death in Oxford on 21 March 1556. He dramatically stuck his right hand, with which he had signed his recantation, into the fire first.”

This week marks the anniversary of when 80-year-old Prince Stefan Nemanja of Serbia abdicated his throne and became an Orthodox Christian monk.

A ruler known for fighting multiple wars and for building Orthodox monasteries, Prince Stefan transferred his royal authority to one of his sons at a council held in Ras.

“After his abdication, Nemanja took the name Symeon. He joined another son, Sava, at the famous monastic community at Mount Athos, Greece,” states the Christian History Institute.

“There Symeon and Sava acquired a decayed monastery, Hilander (also transliterated ‘Chilander’), which they refurbished and expanded to house a Serbian religious community. Within a decade, its numbers had swelled to two hundred monks. Because of the monks’ learning, it became a cultural magnet for Serbia.”

The Christian History Institute reports that while sources differ on the exact date of the prince’s abdication, “all agree the event took place on the 23rd or 25th of March in either 1195 (O.S.) or 1196 (if the new calendar is retroactively followed).”

This week marks the anniversary of Francis Asbury, a Methodist bishop and circuit rider known for spreading Methodism in the United States, preaching his final sermon.

During his ministry career, Asbury had reportedly traveled around 300,000 miles, preached over 16,000 sermons and ordained around 4,000 clergy during his ministry.

Asbury gave his final sermon at a church in Richmond, Virginia, apparently so weak from illness that he had to be carried from his bed to the pulpit, where he sat on a table.

“Asbury often had to stop and catch his breath during his hour-long sermon,” recounted the Association of Religion Data Archives.

“A week later, his death became imminent at the Spotsylvania home of his old friend George Arnold. With loved ones surrounding him, Asbury lifted both hands to the sky and breathed his last breath.”

Peter 3:12: The Lord’s face?

This verse continues Peter’s reference to David’s Psalm 34, verses 12–16. What David wrote describes the very specific choices made by those who want to love life and see good days.

Peter cites David’s words after declaring that Christians must not try to “even the score,” when insulted or treated with evil intent. Instead, we must give a blessing in exchange (1 Peter 3:9). In these verses, Peter shows how this is to our benefit. Those who want to love life and see good days refuse to use words to harm even those who have harmed them (1 Peter 3:10) and, instead, turn from evil and do good, searching for and chasing peace (1 Peter 3:11).

Finally, in this verse, Peter affirms David’s statement that God sees all of this. He is watching. He is paying attention. He knows, and He cares about those set apart for His purposes. Specifically, God is paying attention to the righteous. Peter has already made it clear that Jesus, perfectly righteous, paid the penalty for our sin when he died on the cross (1 Peter 2:22–24). Paul adds that those who trust in Christ have been made righteous by what He has done for us (Romans 3:21–25).

So God is paying attention to all Christians, to all who are His people in Jesus. His ears are open to our prayers. He is ready and willing to hear us as we reject the option to repay evil with evil, and choose instead to give good. We are to seek peace. But God also notices those who do evil. David’s and Peter’s words are meant as a comfort: God does not simply ignore the hurtful actions of those who bring suffering to His people. His face is against the evil ones. Justice will come (Romans 12:19).

Chapter Context
Peter continues teaching about Christian submission to human authorities, now addressing Christian wives. Believing wives must be subject to their own husbands, even if the husband is not a follower of Christ. By doing so, they might win them to Christ through the example of their own changed lives and hearts. Christian husbands must honor their wives. All believers must live in unity together and refuse to seek revenge. In part, God means to use our hopeful response to suffering to provoke the world to see His power in us. Christ, too, suffered and then died, was resurrected, and ascended to heaven.

Context Summary
1 Peter 3:8–22 addresses all believers, commanding Christians to be unified and to refuse to seek revenge when wronged. Peter quotes from both David and Isaiah to show that God’s people have always been called to reject evil and to do good. This is true even when we are suffering. In fact, it may be God’s will for His people to suffer, in part, to demonstrate His power. Our good example can convict others into repentance. Christ, too, suffered, died, was resurrected, and ascended to power and authority in heaven.

Breaking down Revelation 1:7

In this verse John looks forward to the second coming of Jesus Christ. It is important not to confuse the second coming with the rapture. The rapture occurs when Jesus comes in the sky and catches up Christians from the earth to be with Him. The rapture is a secret event, in the sense that only those who are saved will see Jesus. On the other hand, the second coming is a public event. John declares that every eye will see Jesus at the second coming.

Also, the tribes of Israel will have undergone a national revival when Jesus comes again. There is no mention of such a revival before the rapture. John recalls what Zechariah had prophesied about Israel’s revival when Jesus comes to earth again. Zechariah 12:10 prophesies, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” Likely, John remembers what the angel told him and the other apostles when Jesus ascended into heaven. The angel promised that Jesus would come again in the same way as He went into heaven. Then, Jesus ascended in a cloud from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:11–12), and at His second coming He will return in the clouds to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4; Matthew 24:29–30).

John’s joyful anticipation of Jesus’ return to earth caused him to exclaim, “Even so. Amen” (Revelation 1:7). We, too, should eagerly anticipate the second coming, because Jesus will reign over the earth, and we will reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:12).

Context Summary
Revelation 1:4–8 identifies John’s audience as the seven churches in Asia. John addresses these churches with a greeting from the triune God, and he ascribes praise to Jesus. Jesus is coming in glory, John declares, and His coming will be visible to everyone. At that time, the tribes of Israel will express remorse because of His crucifixion. John concludes this passage by quoting Jesus as saying He is the beginning, the eternal Almighty One.

Chapter Summary
The Roman government had banished John to the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey. While John was at Patmos, the risen, glorified Son of God appeared to him and commanded him to write ”the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this” (Revelation 1:19). John pronounces blessings to those who read and obey Revelation, and then he greets his readers warmly and describes Jesus’ appearance.

What does Matthew 21:21 mean?

The disciples have asked Jesus how He was able to cause a fig tree to wither (Matthew 21:18–20). Jesus presents them with a lesson about the power behind faith, indicating that with faith they could have withered the tree, as well.

In fact, Jesus adds that with faith in God and without doubting, they could have the power to tell a mountain to be taken up and thrown into the sea. In part, this is an example of hyperbole: exaggeration for effect. At the same time, it’s good to remember that the power behind prayer comes from God, not the one who prays. If a request is aligned with God’s will, it’s not impossible for Him to accomplish it (Luke 1:37). At the same time, that means a person who is fully aligned with the will of God wouldn’t make requests He clearly does not want (Matthew 21:22; John 14:13–14).

The point, of course, isn’t that Jesus wants them to throw mountains into seas, including the Mount of Olives, which they are standing on. He wants the disciples to understand that, in and through Him, they will have power beyond themselves to accomplish what He gives them to do in the coming years.

Chapter Summary
Jesus fulfills a prophecy from Zechariah about the coming of the king to Jerusalem by riding in on a donkey. The people celebrate and praise Him as the Messiah. Jesus drives the marketers and moneychangers out of the temple and heals some people. He curses a fig tree and tells the disciples nothing will be impossible for them with faith. Jesus forces cowardly and hypocritical religious leaders to back down with a question about John the Baptist. He then exposes their fraudulent spirituality with two parables about vineyards. Jesus applies to Himself a psalm about a rejected stone being made the cornerstone by the Lord.

Judge blocks law requiring proper disposal of aborted babies

A judge has issued a second preliminary injunction against an Ohio law that, among other things, requires that aborted babies be given proper disposal through burial or cremation.

Judge Alison Hatheway of the Court of Common Pleas in Hamilton County entered a preliminary injunction on Monday against Ohio Senate Bill 27, also known as the Unborn Child Dignity Act.

While the first preliminary injunction against the law was a temporary measure issued last year, this second injunction will remain in effect until a judgment in the case is reached.

“Given the breadth of the Ohio Constitution’s guarantees of bodily autonomy, privacy, and freedom of choice in health care, strict scrutiny must apply to a law that infringes on this protection,” ruled Hatheway.

“SB27 is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest … the State does not require health care facilities to dispose of identical tissue after miscarriage and infertility treatments by cremation or interment, thus casting strong doubt on the State’s claimed purposes.”

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union, and a couple of abortion clinics issued a joint statement on Wednesday supporting the ruling.

“Today’s ruling reaffirms what we already know to be true: aggressive and cruel regulations like SB27 serve no other purpose than to impose severe burdens on abortion patients and providers, and to shame and stigmatize patients seeking essential health care,” they stated.

“We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure Ohioans have the freedom to make their own decisions about their bodies, their families, and their futures.”

In late December 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed SB 27 into law, which requires “final disposition of fetal remains from a surgical abortion at an abortion facility (to) be by cremation or interment.”

Other provisions include requiring abortion facilities to “document in the pregnant woman’s medical record the final disposition determination made” and “maintain evidentiary documentation demonstrating the date and method of the disposition of fetal remains from surgical abortions performed or induced in the facility.” Failure to comply with these will be “a misdemeanor of the first degree.”

Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis said in a statement released at the time that the new law showed that “we respect life and we bury our dead.”

“No longer will the tiny bodies of babies whose lives have been tragically taken through abortion be treated like trash,” said Gonidakis.

“The abortion industry, who has for decades tried to convince women that the lives of their children don’t matter and should simply be thrown away, will now be unable to hide behind this blatant lie.”

Ex-Satanist’s Story About Finding Christ Goes Viral

A few months ago, Carl Sartor would have described himself as someone who hated God, but today the 35-year-old says he wants everyone to experience God’s love. 

Carl’s story of salvation is going viral on social media.

This image has more than 325,000 views on Facebook. 

Carl gave his life to Christ at Cross Church in Parkersburg, West Virginia, in November. 

The former meth addict told CBN News he had been running from God since age 5. 

“I’ve always had this emptiness in my life,” he said. “No matter what religion I followed, I always believed that when you died, you were dead. That was it. You were in the ground.” 

Carl shared he was an atheist for 15 years and a Satanist for five years.

“I would argue you tooth and nail that He did not exist. I was living in a vicious cycle of drugs and alcohol. I had a severe anger problem. I blamed everyone and everything,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “I also blamed God.”

Carl said it wasn’t until he hit rock bottom in 2021 that he began to have an open mind about Jesus. 

“I couldn’t stand who I was and what was going on in my life,” he explained. “I tried to commit suicide.”

Carl decided then to try Cross Church where Minister Rich Walters had invited him more than a year ago.

“He said, ‘I’d love to have you for service.’ I said, ‘I walk a different path, buddy. You’d never catch me there. It will be a cold day in hell before you see me in church.'”

But it was that invitation, a word of knowledge about Carl’s life, and a message on forgiveness that led Carl to let go of hate and give his life to Christ. 

“We didn’t even get to the preaching yet because we were still singing, praising, and worshipping. We didn’t even make it 15 minutes in that service before he ran to that baptismal tank,” Walters wrote on Facebook

“Today, he’s a worshipper. Today, he’s a believer. Today, he’s my brother in Christ. It’s like the old song says…’There’s just no telling what you’re gonna do, in that moment Jesus gets a hold of you!!!!’ Praise God!!!” he added.

“I feel completely whole. I feel at peace with myself. There is no longer a void,” Carl told CBN News. “Everything has changed about me.”

It is a life-changing experience that Santor wants everyone to have.

“I’m spiritually alive now and that happened when He wrapped His arms around me…and I felt that love,” he explained.

“God is real and I will continue to walk this path with Him beside me. By His grace, I’m by far the best version of me I have ever been,” Carl wrote on Facebook. “My God is an awesome God and I pray that everyone gets to experience His love as I have.”

What Started Traditional Marriage Vows?

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).

If you’re thinking of “tying the knot,” then one of the things you are likely already thinking about is your wedding vows. Wedding ceremonies — not to mention wedding vows — vary wildly from culture to culture, even from country to country, and religion to religion.

Of course, most people could recite the vows we have all heard — at weddings and even weddings in movies or television shows.

“I (name) take you (name) to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”

These are words that quite likely, your parents or maybe even grandparents used when they wed. Such vows — or something quite similar — have been used for hundreds of years and represent a tradition.

Today, of course, many couples choose to write their own vows — rendering them truly unique, with promises that are meaningful to them.

Whether couples choose to follow tradition, or decide to write their own vows, or combine the two in some way, shape, or form — the moment they speak these vows is generally one they will always remember. Or will they? Will these words of commitment be remembered? Or…only the party that follows the ceremony?

Wedding vows these days seem to fall short of what we consider a solemn promise. Did you know that, although the divorce rate has remained relatively stable over recent years — and declined somewhat in the long-term — the average length of a marriage in the U.S. is 8.2 years. And somewhere between 40% and 50% of marriages end in divorce.

Sadly, according to a 2014 study by Baylor University, the divorce rate of those who call themselves Christian is actually higher than for non-Christians. True or not — it certainly seems true, doesn’t it?

One would think that when we do say those vows, we ought to know what we are getting ourselves into. We ought to understand what we are taking a solemn oath to do. Shouldn’t we?

The History of Wedding Vows

The wedding vows as we know them originated in what is known as the Book of Common Prayer (BCP,) a liturgical book used by the churches of the Anglican Communion.

Originally published in 1549 under what then was the Church of England, during the reign of Edward VI, the BCP was written by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury — although it was followed soon thereafter by edited versions just a few years later.

The BCP has served and still serves, as the source of the proper “procedures” and prayers to be followed for not only marriage, but also for baptism, confirmations, funerals, communion, morning and evening prayers, prayers for the sick, and more — along with the weekly service epistle and gospel readings. It pretty much runs the gamut of the dos and don’ts of worship and prayer.

While the Book of Common Prayer dates to the 16th century, it is not the first place such vows can be found. In fact, they date back to the Sarum, as far back as the 11th century.

The Sarum was the Latin liturgical form used in the English Church for centuries before the BCP. Even the expression “tying the knot,” while its actual history is uncertain, goes back to early-century traditions.

If you are old enough, you might remember the original version of the vows actually required the bride — and only the bride — to vow to obey her husband.

It is not surprising that most modern wording no longer includes that quite one-sided commitment. But other very important — and often overlooked — words of the original wedding vows have also been removed. And we seldom hear them today.

“…to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy law, and this is my solemn vow” (Emphasis added). According to God’s holy law. And this is my solemn vow.”

And therein lies the crux of what it means to utter the wedding vows. What it means to be married, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:9).

The Biblical Definition of Marriage

God’s Word has much to say about marriage — a man and a woman who are joined together.

In Ephesians 5, Paul reserves an entire section to Christian households and how a husband and wife ought to treat one another and be committed to one another.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (v. 5).

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as you do to the Lord (v. 22).

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… (v. 25).

And then Paul repeats Genesis 2:24.

“For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (v. 31).

It would certainly seem that Paul believes this to be critical. So critical, in fact, that he continues,

This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband (v. 32-33).

And there is the significance. The crux of what marriage ought to mean to us. The hinge on which the entire door of marriage swings.

Isaiah put it a bit differently, but with the same message:

For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called (Isaiah 54:5).

Marriage is sacred. It represents how the Lord views his relationship to us. A mystery, yes, yet still a solemn commitment sworn on an oath.

An oath God swore to each of us to reconcile us to himself. To commit himself to us, his bride. We too are to treat our spouses as he has committed to us.

Is There a Biblical Definition of a Wedding?

What we don’t find in the Bible, though, is any clear definition of a wedding — or wedding vows. Were Adam and Eve married? I dare say yes, but there was never a “wedding” mentioned. That did nothing, though, to lessen their commitment under God to each other.

Wedding vows — whether from the Book of Common Prayer from almost five centuries ago, or those we write ourselves — do not appear in the Bible. We find no formal words of the sort.

What we are taught are the words of Jesus, “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’” (Mark 10:9). Jesus too chose to go back to the words of Genesis 2:24.

It is appropriate, I think, that these words were spoken by Jesus as part of his answer to a question from some Pharisees about divorce.

So, what is important about the vows we speak at our wedding if they don’t appear in Scripture? Well, we must mean them. Whatever words any of us has chosen to speak, we must understand what we are committing to.

We must know. The words — the vows themselves — may be written by man, but the commitment is clearly written by God.

“To have and to hold from this day forward.” We are making the promise that as of today, we are a team who face the world together. “For better for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.”

Here the bride and groom are pledging the depth of their love to one another; making the promise that even if things don’t go as planned or desired, regardless of what happens — and there will be struggles, and trials, and misfortune; or what bad habits we do not yet know about, even if the marriage isn’t as easy as we think it will be…we will be dedicated to one another now and forever. Just as the Lord is to us.

Greg Grandchamp is the author of In Pursuit of Truth, A Journey Begins – an easy-to-read, conversational-toned search that answers to most common questions about Jesus Christ. Was he real? Who did he claim to be? What did he teach? Grandchamp offers perspective as an everyday guy on the very same journey as his readers and listeners – as a disciple of Christ Jesus, and learning life’s lessons along the way.