“We had one of our neighborhood couples over for dinner last weekend,” Stan commented one morning.
“It was great,” Stan replied. “They are fairly new to the neighborhood, and this gave us a chance to get to know them better.”
“At one point,” he continued, “we got on the subject of how long they have been married, when and where they got married, and that sort of thing. The husband had an interesting story to tell about how getting married had an eternal impact on his life.”
“An eternal impact?” I said. “How so?”
“He said he was not a Christian when he was dating the girl who would become his wife,” Stan replied, “and when it came time to ask her father about marrying her, the father’s first question led him to eventually come to faith.”
“What was that first question?”
“He said that the girl’s father asked him something like, ‘Will you love her like the apostle Paul wrote about in his letter to the church in Ephesus?’”
“What’d he say to that?”
“That he had no idea what the question was, so he had no answer,” Stan replied, “but it was his future father-in-law’s response that was a real motivation.”
“The father said something like, ‘If you don’t know, you better find out if you want to marry my daughter!’”
“He went home, found a Bible, and looked to see what the father was referring to. From there he began a journey of reading and studying the Bible that eventually led him to accepting God’s provision of the finished work of Christ on the cross, along with the eternal life of knowing Jesus and God the Father.”
“What was it his future father-in-law was referring to?” I asked.
“The very high standard that the apostle Paul wrote in his admonition to husbands about loving their wives just as Jesus loved and gave Himself for the church.”
“Just as,” I repeated. “That’s a pretty high standard!”
“It is a very high standard,” Stan commented, “one that is impossible to meet, or even begin to meet, if a person doesn’t know the meaning of the ‘just as’ of the cross.”
“The just as of the cross,” I repeated. “That’s probably important to know.”
“I would put it in the category of essential,” Stan replied. “Just as there’s no Christianity without the cross, I think it’s fair to say that there’s no Christian walk without manifesting the ‘just as’ of the cross.”
Bible verses to consider:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. Ephesians 5:25.
And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving your only begotten Son so that I could believe in Him and have the assurance of life eternally with you when my time here is completed. Thank you for those who brought me to the truth. Thank you, too, for the words of the apostle Paul about loving and living “just as” Jesus did. I confess that too often I do not love and live in that way. Please help me to understand and to live that “just as” standard in every part of my life for as long as you keep me on this side of eternity. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted what Jesus accomplished on the cross so you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why? What is in the way that keeps you from that? If you are a Christian, how are you doing in measuring up to the “just as” standard? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense the need for change to reach the “just as” standard, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?