Letters to the Family of God

by Joe Franzone | June 8, 2023 | Pastor's Blog

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June 8, 2023


He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:9-10


Any person who only sticks with Christianity as long as things are going his or her way is a stranger to the cross.

Tim Keller


And I wish that I could slow the whole thing down
Have it all back again, just one more time.

James Taylor—You and I Again

Dear friends.


Two important couples in my life will soon become husband and wife. As of late, I have been thinking a lot about marriage and commitment, especially before a couple says, I do.


At Christmas time 2002, Lewis Meade wrote an article entitled, The Power of Promising. In it, he wrote about that power.

Somewhere a father is telling himself, "I wish my daughter would pack up, leave home, and never come back; God knows she has driven us crazy." But he remembers a promise he made when she was baptized, and he sticks with her in hurting love.


Somewhere a woman is telling herself, "I want to get out of this marriage and start over with someone who really loves me; God knows the clod I married has given me reasons for cashing him in." But she remembers a promise she made when she married him, and she sticks with him in hopeful love.

In the context of the marriage promise, he said, my wife has been married to five men. Every one of them has been me. He goes on to explain, The one thing, the thread that kept all five of them together, is my promise that I will be there for you. I'll be faithful to you.


He was making the point that people change. Your spouse will change.


Stanley Hauerwas takes that line of thought a bit further, suggesting you always marry the wrong person. In other words, even if you think you are marrying the right person hang on. Marriage is such a big deal that once you get together, you start to change each other, which is a good thing. Change not by condemnation, accusation, force or rule keeping but serving and giving. In the case of the husband, any husband worth his salt wants to see his wife reach her full potential as a woman made in God’s image.


Therefore, the basis of your marriage can't be a feeling. The bases of your marriage can't even be that we're just kindred spirits because your spirits will go in and out of being kindred. But the thing is, we made a promise. Marriage is two broken people coming together to create a safe space of love, permanency, and solace, a shelter in a callous world.


Marriage makes me think of God’s radical commitment to His people. In the cross of Christ, we find the most powerful demonstration of faithfulness and promise-keeping. It enables us to hold unswervingly to the hope we profess. There is no fickleness in God, no false love. We were dead in sin, ungodly, following the wiles of the devil (the multisided ways the Bible explains our condition before Christ saved us.) (Colossians 2:13, Romans 5:6, Ephesians 2:2,3)


In the same way, His grace does not come to people who morally outperform others but to those who admit their failure to perform and confess their continual need for a Savior. Subsequently, in marriage, I’m sorry, please help me, has the force of a nuclear explosion. Mercy and forgiveness have to be free and unearned by the wrongdoer. Consequently, if the spouse has to do something to earn forgiveness, that is not mercy. But forgiveness always comes at a cost to the one extending forgiveness.


However, God’s saving love in Christ is a radical truthfulness about who we are and yet a radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. Conviction and repentance move us to rely on and rest in God’s mercy and grace.


All of this shoulders itself on the one, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did not demand His rights. He did not think of Himself but laid down His life for His friends. (John 15:13). His sinful, rebellious friends. What a wonder Jesus is.



God bless you in many different ways, that bring you tremendous joy and encouragement as we embark on another summer only by God’s grace.


Pastor Joe