The Tuesday feature of the Worldly Saints is all about reading. The post is meant to share some of my reflections from the latest book or magazine article or blog post I have or am reading. At times, I may post a book blurb (a wannabe book review) or recommend books to be read by others.
When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey is the latest book on marriage that I have begun reading. I am only four chapters into this short work, but have been encouraged by what I have seen so far. Instead of laying a practical “how to be married” guide for prospective husbands and wives, Harvey lays biblical foundations for godly marriages. And he does it under the assumption that we know that marriage is a union of two sinners.
In Chapter One, which is the development of his main thesis, he writes, “What we believe about God determines the quality of our marriage” (pg. 20). I can hear A.W. Tozer in heaven shouting a hearty “Amen” to that. Tozer was the one who famously wrote in his book The Knowledge of the Holy,
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, & the most important fact about any man is not what he at any given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing think about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence if often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God” (pg. 1).
The most important thing about any of us is our view of God.
The foundation Harvey lays is that our marriages must be based upon the Bible, the focus of our marriages needs to be on the glory of God, and the fountain of our marriages is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we are committed to what God says, why He says it, and do so with the cross at the center, our marriages will accomplish much.
Later in that chapter, Harvey writes that “marriage is street-level theology” (pg. 28). Marriage has a way of proving what you believe about God. He says that how you understand your own sin will determine if you thrive in your marriage. On pg. 30, he writes,
“Looking first at our own sin as a root cause of the problems in our marriages is not easy, and it certainly doesn’t ‘come naturally.’ The sin that remains in your heart and mine opposes God and his people. It obstructs our joy and our holiness. It eclipses thriving, healthy marriages which are testimonies to God’s goodness and mercy.
“But as we begin to build our marriage on the Word of God and the gospel of Christ’s victory over the power of sin, as we face the sad, painful, undeniable reality of our own remaining sin … as we see it for the bitter, hateful thing it is … and as we recognize sin’s insidious goals at the core of every relational difficulty we encounter, something wonderful happens. We flee to the Gospel as our own remedy.”
Read this book if you are marriage or want to be married. You will come to have a better view of yourself, your spouse the God who has brought you together.