The Shadow of Sex & Marriage, The Future of My Marriage, & A New Reality

67 Comments
February 22, 2013

I am both overjoyed and terrified to share this post with you. I am overjoyed because what I am about to share with you has been one of the greatest discoveries of my life. I am terrified to share this post with you, however, because I know this post will be misunderstood and I will be personally maligned. The joys of what I am experiencing have been stirring in me for quite some time, but have only become clear recently.

I believe this is a vitally important article for you to consider and read carefully. I would ask that you DO NOT skip ahead, or skim any part of this article, but to read this with a spirit of openness and sensitivity. Before I share some news with you about my own marriage that some of you might find disturbing, I need to begin this conversation by talking about ‘shadows’. I will then talk about a new glorious reality that will seem to good to be true.

In Praise of Shadows

Shadows are greatly loved by many. After all, if all you have ever seen are shadows, how do you know they are really shadows? Until we see what the shadow points to, the shadow is the only reality we know and experience. As you can imagine, the attachment to those shadows can be quite strong. Not only can the attachment to those shadows be strong, the shadows often become idols. This has been the case for the best of our God given shadows.

The Old Covenant is filled with beautiful shadows and pictures that point to a greater reality. Jesus Christ is the greater reality. It took some time, however, before that greater reality was revealed. Unfortunately, many of the people to whom those shadows were given put their identity in those shadows. As a result, when the reality came to ‘overshadow’ the shadows, a great offense rose up among the people who idolized the shadows.

The scriptures tell us that the law was a schoolmaster pointing us to Christ. Thankfully, Christ fulfilled the law for us so we can move on to the greater reality of Himself that the law points to. A great example of this is the Sabbath. Instead of one day of physical rest, Christ ushered in a way of life within Himself that brought us into a spiritual lifestyle of rest seven days a week (Hebrews 4). Being ‘in‘ Christ means we are now living inside of the very one who is the personification of the sabbath. This is simply one example among many.

Those who did not understand this new reality were deeply offended. They accused those who were operating in this new reality of violating God’s law and statutes. The accusations brought against Paul are a great example of this. His response to these false allegations can be seen in His letter to the Galatians.

One of the main problems with the institutional religious system is that it is built entirely upon Old Covenant shadow thinking. Institutional Christendom is built upon a selective hierarchical priesthood, an external ‘temple’ mentality, and religious devotion to external forms of rule (law) keeping all in the name of ‘obedience’. Idolization of Old Covenant ‘shadows’ thrive in such a context.

Because the religious system is not practically awake to the radical reality of the New Covenant, devotion to the ‘shadows’ are simply repackaged using New Testament terminology. A simple observation of what is focused upon in the institutional religious system can be quite revealing.

The Sacred Cow

In the Old Covenant, a beautiful shadow was introduced that points to a glorious new reality.

Human marriage.

Of all the shadows that point to Jesus Christ & His bride, human marriage & sexuality is the chief shadow that our Father crafted together to point to the greater reality of Christ & His bride. As you probably know, it is quite the bond. It can be difficult to imagine anything greater than marital sexual intimacy.

When Jesus came on the scene, he was interacting with a strong patriarchal society that placed great value on marriage and family. A man’s family & wife defined him within the social order. A woman’s husband, or lack thereof, defined her as well.

We need to understand this in order to truly appreciate the radical nature of the New Covenant reality that Jesus ushered in. He seemed to refer to His disciples as His true family over His own human mother and brothers. There is a profound reason He did this, and it was a radical departure from the Jewish culture He belonged to.

In the same way, Jesus upset the proverbial apple cart when he let us in on the future of marriage. No one saw it coming. He ruined Valentine’s day cards forever when He responded to a question about marriage in the next age. Here is what He said:

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven. (Matthew 22:30, NASB)

Can you believe it? No marriage in the next age. That passage used to really mess with me. I used to wonder how sad of an existence it is going to be not being married to our spouse in the next age. How would we relate? Would our relational potential be a step down in the next age? After all, what could be better than true intimacy with our spouse? If that is taken away from us, what will we have left?

Like most of institutional Christendom, I couldn’t deal with that strange reality right now, so I figured I would simply deal with that after I’m dead. For now, I was taught that marriage was the highest relational reality that exists in this age, so I better make the most of it. I read many books about having a great marriage. Many ministries were developed around helping folks focus on their families. Being a great dad and husband was the topic of many a sermon series. I was taught that getting married and having a family is the height of evangelical existence.

Although I tried real hard to fit into that culture, I never could come to terms with this focus on marriage & family as being the goal of our existence. Then I read something that Paul wrote which sent me into a tail spin. Here is what He said:

…I wish that all men were even as I myself am (single)… (1 Corinthians 7:7a, NASB)

WOW! Wishing that everyone could be single is quite a statement considering the patriarchal religious society he came from. Obviously not everyone can be single as the rest of the chapter indicates, but that didn’t stop Paul from wishing that everyone could be single!

You certainly don’t see this verse on post-it notes around the office, or on Thomas Kincaid calendars. I have heard this passage from 1 Corinthians 7 explained away more times than I can count. As a married person, I found this passage offensive as it seems that Paul is indicating we have settled for second best by being married. Many single people also hate this passage as they deeply despise their own singleness and wish they could be married. How could Paul wish such a thing on anyone?

I’m convinced that Paul didn’t wish singleness on everyone simply because of logistical simplicity, however. He was living in the entirely new reality of the New Covenant that brought married life into proper perspective. In the New Covenant, married life is no longer the highest reality. There is something higher, more fulfilling, and eternal.

The Future Of My Own Marriage

I have some news to share with you about my own marriage. Some of you are going to find this disturbing. Even though I love my wife, and she loves me, our marriage is not going to last. As a matter of fact, it’s coming to an end. Please hear me out. We are not getting a divorce. We are very much committed to our marital relationship until we die. We love each other very much, but the marital way we currently relate to one another is simply not going to last. As Jesus indicated, marriage is temporary, but love is eternal.

Heaven Is Coming Down

Jesus prayed that His Father’s kingdom would come down to the earth just as it is in heaven. The Father’s kingdom fully dwells in the person of Christ, and this Christ now dwells inside of us. When we live by His divine life within us, we are getting a taste of the future heavenly age now! We were all made for love. We were made to receive love, and to express love. Although the marital relationship is a shadow of the context of love, there is a higher and eternal context in which this love was meant to flow.

The New Testament Ekklesia

The New Testament ekklesia (church) was meant to be an eternal community of brothers and sisters who are united in love (Christ). They are to be of one mind. They are to be of one purpose. They are to dwell in unity. They are to bear one another’s burdens. They are to be patient with one another and prefer one another above their own lives. They are to rejoice with one another, and honor one another. It is like a good marriage on steroids.

The church depicted in the New Testament were so in love with one another that they couldn’t stop regularly spending time with one another. The scriptures tell us that they met together daily in their homes sharing meals and communing together around Christ’s life. They didn’t do this out of a sense of obligation or duty. They actually were compelled to do this because of their deep love for one another. This is a radical kind of love that the world knows nothing about.

When a community of people try to manufacture this kind of a heavenly reality by *human* life, however, two disastrous things usually occur. First, the idealization of such a heavenly community quickly gives way to disappointment and discouragement. It won’t be long before that group begins to bite and devour one another.

The other disastrous thing that can occur when communities of people attempt to relate to one another outside of religious laws and boundaries is sexual immorality. Some of the communities depicted in the New Testament had these issues. As you can see, it can be easier to simply live our lives more devoted to the ‘shadow’ of human marriage and family than this new heavenly reality among brothers and sisters.

So, is it possible that a community of people can intimately relate to one another in the genderless way that Paul talked about in Galatians 3:28 without sexual immorality?

Is it possible that a community of people be so in love with one another that they regularly share meals, burdens, and life with one another without being coerced to do so through manipulation, law, and guilt?

Is it possible that a community of people be so in love with one another that their love outlasts and outshines the bonds of human family & marital love?

YES

 

The New Commandment

Jesus gave us a new commandment. There is something that made this commandment new, however. It is a new commandment because it is not like the old commandments. Jesus came on the human scene and did something entirely new that no human being had ever done before.

As a human, He loved with His Father’s divine love dwelling in Him.

This love broke down and transcended the cultural relational barriers between the sexes. This love broke down and transcended the socioeconomic barriers that people had been born into. Jesus was not married, but I promise you his relationships and interactions with people were not a step down in regards to intimacy, but a step up.

A *new* commandment I give to you, that you love one another: *just as* I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34, ESV, emphasis mine)

Wow, this is quite radical. We are to love our brothers and sisters in the *same way* that Christ loved us. It is through this NEW commandment that we are able to engage in a heavenly love with our brothers and sisters in church life.

It is very important that we recognize *how* Jesus loved others. He did not relate to people through religious legalism and law. He did not wall Himself off from others out of fear of falling into sin. Neither did Jesus interact with the opposite sex in a fleshly or sexual way despite the fact that the indwelling life within Him caused Him to interact with women in ways that completely violated the norms of his society. His love and interaction with others transcended the flesh altogether.

  • Loving like this is new.
  • Loving like this cannot be done in the flesh.
  • Loving like this will bring offense and accusation from the flesh & world.
  • Loving like this is fearless.
  • Loving like this is from a future heavenly age.
  • Loving like this is possible NOW because of the indwelling life of Christ.

 

Broken Wedding Rings

As I have been pondering the eternal nature of love, as well as the temporary nature of the human marital relationship recently, my wife came home and shared some interesting news with me. She told me that her wedding ring broke. I was stunned. I knew the Lord was speaking to us through this situation. The timing was certainly no accident.

Before I could share with her what I had been dwelling on, she shared what the Lord had communicated to her about this incident. She told me that the Lord spoke to her heart as soon as the wedding ring broke. He told her that she had been defined by her human marriage to me. In the past, her identity had been wrapped up in being my wife. Like all marriages, however, this identity was only temporary. The Lord desires to give her a new identity that is eternal. Her new identity would be united to the eternal bride / wife of Christ. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! What a beautiful Christ we truly have.

What I am NOT saying

I can already hear the objections, the offenses, and the “yes, but…”. Please hear the heart behind what I am saying, however. I am certainly not saying that human marriage is not important or beautiful. I love weddings. I love love stories more than anything. I am married and love my wife deeply. I recognize that we are still living in an age in which the shadow of human marriage is still ordained by God and is very important.

The husband wife relationship is special and unique. Marriages should be protected, preserved, and cherished. This post is not meant to be an exposition on good human marriages, however. There are literally billions of blogs, books, sermons, and ministries devoted to that topic. This post has an entirely different aim altogether.

The point of this post is to take marriage down off the ‘stage’ of idolatry that the religious system has put it on. The idolatry of marriage is a hinderance to life in Christ in the New Testament church. As long as we see human marriage as the highest way of relating, then every other relationship will by default be seen as lesser. This is devestating to church life.

The New Covenant radically changed this. The New Covenant does not abolish marriage in this age, but it certainly transcends it. We now have the ability to love one another in an eternal way that is actually greater and longer lasting than human marriage.

I’d like to leave you to ponder a few questions:

Does the thought of not being married to your spouse in the next age bother you? Why do you think that is?

Did you know that your spouse will be your brother or sister in Christ long after they will be your spouse?

Does the non-sexual / marital way that we will relate with one another in the next age seem like a step down to you in regards to relational intimacy? Why do you think that is?

How might our focus and devotion to that which is temporary negatively affect the desire that the Lord has to bring this future heavenly community to the earth now?

What is the highest form of love?

For His future reality in this present age,

Jamal Jivanjee

 

Jamal Jivanjee

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67 responses to The Shadow of Sex & Marriage, The Future of My Marriage, & A New Reality

  1. Yes, brother, yes. Thank you and Brandie for sharing something that is difficult to share. There’s something so difficult about saying this because it makes you feel as though you are not valuing your marriage or the person you love, but, truly, it is only right to recognize that Christ is more. Even in an amazing marriage, Christ is more, and that is truly breath-taking. It is impossible for me to imagine an intimacy more complete than the one I have with my husband, impossible to imagine eternity being complete without being married to him, but it is true that, as beside myself with awe, love, and gratitude that I am to be my husband’s wife, there is more. My husband and I are both part of the bride of a far more awe-inspiring, more loving, more magnificently undeserved and merciful bridegroom than even my earthly husband is to me. My heart and mind can’t fully comprehend it. Thank you for sharing.

    • Natalie,

      I’m very glad this makes sense to you and encourages you that there is more of His life available to us than we can ever imagine. Thanks for reading and sharing your heart:)

  2. Awesome post Jamal! I totally see what you’re revealing here…wonderful!

    I love it when the Lord peals back the curtain and gives us peaks into the next age or season. While it can be disturbing, if we will remain calm and hold back any potential inflamed reactions to the “new” thoughts (revelations), then we’ll find that He has many things to show us, and that they’re all for our good and His glory.

    If the revelation is coming from a fruitful and trusted souce (like you!), then our disturbance can be chalked up to a lack of understanding on our part which should provoke humble teachableness. Otherwise, our disturbance will provoke fear-based reactions, that lead to strife, contention, accusation, slander, etc.

    I believe in you bro, and appreciate your courage to press us deeper and deeper into Christ and His kingdom.

  3. It’s good to hear this encouragement, Jamal. For some people I know, the wedding day was a major focus in their relationship. The marriage was an afterthought. Both of which can cast a shadow over the reality of being a part of the Bride of Christ. The enemy is sneaky. But the Bride is beautiful! Thanks for sharing this perspective, bro.

  4. I think I’m hearing the heart of your post, and I appreciate your openness. For years when I have looked at the scripture you quoted, ‘For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven. (Matthew 22:30, NASB)’ I have actually been hesitant to believe it truly means that those married today will not be married in the next age. I’m not saying it doesn’t, but I’m not positive it does, either. I see the line ‘they neither marry’ and think ok, no one gets married. I see ‘given in marriage’ and think, about the same thing. But does that necessarily mean that those who are *already* married do not stay married? I’m not sure. Once you are married you no longer ever need to be remarried or given in marriage again. So does that scripture mean that an existing marriage is truly going to cease? I’m not entirely sure it is saying that. It’s always been one of those scriptures I have shrugged my shoulders at.

    • Katie,

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. This post is really not just about one verse in Matthew 22, but the greater reality of the New Covenant as it relates to the shadow of marriage and family life. There is a bigger picture we need to see in this…

      • I agree, which is why I said that I think I’m hearing the heart of your post… I generally liked your post, I guess I was just thinking out loud when it came to the one scripture. ;)

  5. “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 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.” ~ Paul

    Can we see this mystery that Paul was speaking of, “This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church.”,
    we are collectively the ‘wife’ and He is our husband.

    Loved this post Jamal, thanks for sharing with us you and Brandie’s broken ring story.

    Grace and peace to you and yours!

  6. Jamal, : D, you expressed this clearly and beautifully. I had my own enlightened understanding of this some time ago. It allowed me to love Christ more fully and deeply, and release iullsionary expectations from my husband and family; to love them more freely also and free them to be loved in loves reality rather than the shadows! … Recently one word He highlighted expounded what you have written about here. “KENOSIS” from Philipians 2:5-10, it fully magnified epignosis-the knowing intimately as in marriage… And I’m am still in wonder of the greatness of how transcending the meaning of it all is… and the experience of it – glad you chose courage to share. I get you, I agree : ) you are blessed. Upgrades are awesome : )

    • Amen Cyndi, thx for that insightful comment. I love the fact that you used the word ‘Upgrades’. That’s a great word:)

  7. Jamal,

    Wow Brother! That was bold and AWESOME revelation! My wife and I have had similar conversations in regards to this, recently. This definitely cuts against the grain of the institutional mindset. The ramifications of this revelation is gloriously freeing, to the body of Christ.

    • Amen Otto. I have talked with several others recently who have had similar conversations with their spouses about this. I love how the Lord speaks to us, and confirms His heart to us. Thx for reading:)

  8. Hey Jamal,
    This post has been a breath of truly fresh air. I have struggled within my marriage (22 years & together 24) to see it as God has intended. My struggle has been to separate what this world defines as successful. I have believed for years that, holy matrimony and marriage are two completely different things. I have loved my wife and will as God intended until Christ returns. However, I have fought within my own mind to place the worlds ideals as priority over God’s and back and forth the fight goes. Coming out of the institution has caused me to put everything on the table and be open to new revelation through Christ. To see as I have never seen before. This post is a confirmation of all I have known and believed, even though none have gone with me. This world is not my home, I am an alien here! In closing, I am free to love my wife into eternity, God’s way, even though I’ve been feeling that my marriage as I have known it is over!

  9. Jamal thanks for the willingness to go where others don’t dare.
    I can totally relate to this post, as I have had the experience.
    I fell in love when I was about 17, and was madly in love, would give my life over it (no exaggeration). Married my first love, at 25. Fell in love again, madly, when I first become a mother and another time after. Had been Christian for all these years, but looking back can’t say that “ Love the Lord your God with all your mind, soul and strength, first” was really true for me at that time.
    The truth is this, that after many years my heart was not settled, not truly satisfied, still looking. And in desperation I cried out to the Lord, and He started to reveal Himself to me. Wow, I had never seen such beauty! It was around that time when I, one day burst into singing Tina Turner’s song “You’re simply the best” my version.
    You’re simply the best
    Beauty of the Universe
    Like nothing ever seen or heard
    Jesus you rock my world
    Oh, you’ve set this heart free
    I live in you and you in me
    Yea, there’s no better place
    YOU ARE SIMPLY THE BEST!!!
    I have come to understand one thing (by the Spirit work in me) that human love keeps you in bondage, but the love of Christ sets you free. I have come to understand that nothing, absolutely nothing in this life is an end to itself, but only the means to know Him. And this is eternal life, that you may know Him!
    I’m so very grateful to the Lord, for He has truly come to set the captives free, one of which I am.
    Thanks again for this post brother!

    • Marsela,

      Thank you very much sister. This line from your comment really jumped out at me:

      “I have come to understand that nothing, absolutely nothing in this life is an end to itself, but only the means to know Him.”

      Wow, that puts everything in perspective. I want everyone on the planet to understand this. Everything is a shadow pointing to Christ as reality!

      Thanks sister for this insightful comment.

  10. Jamal,
    I hear your heart and what you are saying in this message. I believe having our identity in Christ alone apart from any other exterior thing including marriage is the name of the game. And I want to point out that you did attempt to bring balance by stating the importance of marriage. These topics are truly delicate to handle since they typically seem to be either or in many peoples minds. But it is important that we read with understanding and allow the Lord to work His realities into our lives.
    I have seen community life suffer due to unhealthy marriages. I have seen marriages and children neglected in the name of Christ and community life. Especially, I have seen this happen in the IC where marriage is typically sacrificed at the altar of ministry. However, I have also witnessed marriage sacrificed at the altar of community life.
    So in the midst of this profound truth and reality which is a higher calling for us all into the Love Expressions of the New Creation we also need mature understanding and walking with the Lord. So I affirm what you are sharing for it is needed but I am also affirming and highlighting your balanced point that I am sure if you were to flesh out a little more you may have to turn this post into an e-book =)

    Community life is glorious to our walk with the Lord as we walk together and live out His life but for those who are married and have the privilege to be apart of a close knit community of believers with Christ as the Center and Head then I exhort you to remember that if it isn’t done at home with the first community with the fellow believers in your own home don’t think it is more real outside of that context. In fact if a community of believers has strong healthy marriages with children cared for appropriately that community will exude a strength and health more so than if they just got together all of the time in the name of community life for the sake of Christ.

    • I completely agree! Love it !!!

    • Amen Seth, thanks for offering this perspective. What you have shared here is very important. As you know, this post was intentionally directed toward removing the ‘marriage / family’ idol, but what you have said is also equally important within the community of Christ.

      Being sensitive to the indwelling life of Christ as we are at home with our family, and with our brothers and sisters is vital. Love you brother, and thanks for taking the time to read and share.

  11. “These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ”…No, I have no problem not being married to my husband in eternity…because as the Bride I will consummate with the Bridegroom…To know as I am fully known…One flesh with Him…The great Mystery. This is the highest ideal…and all our, the Bride’s, destination.

  12. Yes, Jamal. Yes. The Lord has shown me many, many times that there is more value in relating to my husband’s identity in Christ than in relating to him as a mere husband or mere man. I came to terms with there not being marriage in the next age at some point in my past, and I know my temporal marriage is better and more satisfying for having learned that the “ideal” projected by the Christian culture is an elusive counterfeit for the higher relational communion with Christ and the brethren that has been made available to us in The New Covenant. All my relationships, with brothers and sisters, as well as unbelievers, are influenced by by my understanding of my identity in Christ and this accessible communion He has made available to us. Anyone who truly reads this post through the lens of the New Covenant should be able to see the truth in it without seeing a reason to attack you or twist what you’re saying.
    P.s. I’m glad you’re not getting a divorce. ;)

  13. “Does the non-sexual / marital way that we will relate with one another in the next age seem like a step down to you in regards to relational intimacy? Why do you think that is?”

    I won’t lie, my initial feeling is disappointment. However, how many of us invision a love so deep that we grow old together. In that earthly image of a love that endured time, it is obvious this love goes beyond a sexual intimacy. How much greater can and will our love be for one another as we will be together as family for eternity.

    • The reality of love and intimacy that we will share “IN” Christ & His bride will completely outshine and transcend the earthly shadows of love that we have been given. It’s amazing to think we have access to this new reality “IN” Christ right now:)

  14. Great post Jamal. For Jim and I this has been a reality for a long time. Knowing there is no marriage in the next age, we have discussed this and realize that the relationship we have in eternity will be far deeper and richer than it is now. Both us put Christ before each other in our lives. He is first in everything, then is the relationship with my spouse. After all if we didn’t have the relationship with Christ that we do, we wouldn’t have the marriage that we do. We relate to each other as both husband and wife and brother and sister in Christ. We worship together, pray together, express Christ together. It;s a wonderful, beautiful kind of marriage. Love to you and Brandi.

  15. Daniel Gingerich February 22, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Jamal,
    There is nothing offensive in this post. It makes complete sense. That is, because I know God can change everything before we can blink our eyes. He can make time stand still and give us a taste of Heaven even in this life. In the next life, we will be much more content with being single than all the best marriages put together on this planet. (Apologies to my future wife… in case she reads this. Ha.) The Spirit takes away all the earthly desires; and “boredom” in Heaven should be nowhere on our list of concerns. “Time” will be completely different, and there will be plenty fun things to do. Travel time will go to zero and gas prices won’t matter. Thanks for sharing.

  16. God in us continues to increase our capacity to love. We will be with all the saints for eternity and our “circle” (wedding ring) will be increased. I don’t see that as a loss. Thanks for sharing the revelations the Lord is giving you, Jamal! You are a blessing!

    • Thank you Ruth. I absolutely love the wedding ring analogy that you shared. To think we are His wedding ring is awesome. This ring must be quite profound, ornate, and large to adorn His finger:)

  17. Great post… when the intimacy of the new covenant is revealed everything pails in comparison to our Christ. It was a few years ago when I finally understood what Paul was looking forward to post death in heavenly intimacy. It’s something that is exciting to think about living in and so great to look forward to. It’s beautiful when these views can be shared with your spouse. It’s liberating and makes the intimacy on this side of death so much better! If we had had this revelation five years ago I can tell you our wedding day would have been MUCH different…haha.

    • Clay,

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing here brother. It’s great to hear from you. To think about the heavenly intimacy we will experience “IN” Christ in the next age is amazing. To begin to experience this future heavenly intimacy with a community of people in this age is even more astounding to me.

  18. Jamal,

    Feel free to shorten this comment in any manner you like, it may be too long for a comment.

    Are we living in the shadow of a future and timeless age? Is Christ in us is a shadow Christ, a Christ that is somehow a lesser than Christ in this slot of time? No! He Is. He is come in the flesh, Christ is in us.

    What is an age? The measurement of time divided, and a subdivision of that divide is called an age. Is Christ divided? No, time is divided into ages, but Christ is not divided. He is the beginning, the middle and the end in the same breath. He is the all of time, for time itself is in Christ. And so, this undivided Christ that has time in Him, lives in us. We are not so bound to the subdivision of time as we perhaps we may think. Ageless and age-enduring Life Himself is in us.

    Temporary identities are temporary because why? They are not our true Identity, and what is temporary is not eternal. What is it about the coming age that scares so many in regard to being married in this age of Today? Maybe we should take a peek at what the “coming age” is exactly? Him who Was, who Is, and who Is Coming. The Age that Is Coming is Christ, the fullness of the Glory of God in full manifestation, the ageless Age wherein all the ages of time itself find their sum total wrapped up by the big finale, the utter height of Heaven’s pleasure — all things in Christ. The consummation of Love, of Life’s fullness and glory, reaches the highest peak of pleasure in the eternal Climax of divine Love. There is no greater reality for us than Christ, simply because there is no other reality, Christ Jesus is the Reality. In answer to the second question, I say, hello Reality, yes right now, your wives and your husbands are your sisters and your brothers, right now. Your fathers are your brothers and your mothers are your sisters, and on and on.

    What is the result of husband and wife coming together? A birth. And it so, Christ is in Father, as he is Father’s Seed. And Father is in Christ, His Seed. The Life of Father is in His Seed, and the Seed lives by His Father’s life. The Seed died, and rose and opened the womb of the earth/the grave, and scattered His Seed and multiplied, and the children of God were born. Father’s Seed of Life is now planted in us. The picture gets bigger and bigger: We are the children of God our Father. We are also the wife/bride of the Son. We are the many membered body of the Son. We are branches of the Vine of the Seed of Life.

    Human marriage is a shadow of the union of the Spirit of God, and if anyone thinks the union of human marriage is the cat’s meow, think again, because you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! The Oneness that we have in Christ right now is not close to being manifested in the fullness of His glory, His life. And I am saying that we have this Life, this Union, this Oneness, right now — Christ is in us. We need only live in the oneness that we already possess in Christ.

    I may be considered single by m,any, but I am so IN Love that sometimes I feel as though I may explode with just a single thought of Him. People who say I am single, do not fully see who I am. In Reality, it is impossible for me to be single. I would like to share a short expression with you:

    “Time comes alive, and is now here. The Bride awaits, but oh, she sees Him! She reaches, longing for her Groom with her Love Life born of heaven. She breathes in a drawing inhale, refreshed within the divine aroma of Love’s aromatic wonder, the Flavor of Life Himself — Jesus Christ. As He gazes into her eyes of Beauty, He sees Himself, for His bride has eyes only for her true Love. Yes! Within her heart of oneness, there is no other but Jesus Christ, her Lover, her All. The Groom bestows upon her expressive lips, holy kisses of heaven, adorning her with His pearly essence of white, and she glows brighter than lightening strikes on the darkest night. He comes, He comes to her! He swoops her up in His arms of Love, and He carries her into Him. As they dance, even the heavens quake, and the sleeping awaken. Glory completes all space of time, filling all the heavens and the earth. Shouts of hallelujah ring, and the whole creation sings, “The Groom has taken His Bride, until forever they are One.”

    Praises be to the Father of Glory!

    • Kat,

      Sister, what a tremendous treasure you are. Thank you for sharing this with us here. I read your comment, and it speaks volumes about the heavenly reality “IN” Christ that we have right now. I will be coming back to what you have shared here multiple times to read and digest, and I hope other readers will do the same as well. Thank you!

  19. I made it a point to read through your entire post, from beginning to end. I believe I understand what you are saying, however, what is the current life application. You stated “Even though I love my wife, and she loves me, our marriage is not going to last. As a matter of fact, it’s coming to an end. Please hear me out. We are not getting a divorce. We are very much committed to our marital relationship until we die. We love each other very much, but the marital way we currently relate to one another is simply not going to last.” Is this a more of a spiritual adjustment versus a physical one? How might this “new” approach to marriage impact, perhaps not your marriage specifically, an existing marriage? What is the practical application of this?

    My initial thought was that you were going to create an asexual commune of sorts…

    • Brina,

      Thank you for reading and for your question. This has been a spiritual adjustment to our marriage, but it does have physical implications when it comes to how we relate with others in the life of the ekklesia we are being built together with. Understanding these things takes away the relational walls that come when we see the human marital relationship as the highest relationship.

      ‘In Christ’, there is a higher way to relate with our brothers and sisters. The way we will relate with our brothers and sisters in eternity begins now. Embracing this reality will cause us to know others and be known in ways we have never thought possible. This practically translates to everything we do in life on a daily basis. I hope this makes sense.

      • It does, though, I certainly haven’t had any personal revelation as to how this might be applied to my life. I was curious only because the tone of your post is so lofty, often in ways where I am left thinking “I think I get it. I’m pretty sure I get it.” But in that, it was also somewhat vague in the practical, real-life sort of way. I was hoping that your response would be similar to what it was (I think, hehe.) I wanted to make sure that in explaining your better understanding of our identity in Christ and how that should affect our relationships with other believers, there was the suggestion of abandoning marriages in the name of Jesus.

        • I’m glad that makes sense Brina. I am certainly not advocating anyone from abandoning or abstaining from marriage as Paul also did not tell anyone to abandon or abstain from marriage as well. I am simply speaking of the same higher reality that the New Testament speaks of regarding life in Christ and the church. This reality is rarely seen today.

  20. Excellent, well written post Jamal. While some will disagree, I believe misunderstanding will only come due to the fact that this is a major paradigm change, not because of a deficiency in your explanation. I first started to become more aware of this truth thanks to Dan Brennan. He promotes the importance of deep friendship between men and women. While he comes at it from a different angle, at the heart of it is what you have described here. What we discover is that marriage and “romance” have been overemphasized in our culture. Marriage is good and should be honored. But it is not the ultimate relationship, or at least it is not intended to be.

    The elevation of the “romantic” relationship to preeminence is not normative across cultures and history. But it has become so ingrained in our culture that, unless we are awakened to a different reality, most of us can’t even imagine there being any other way to look at marriage. Yet it is problematic. As an older single, I can share how tough it is to exist in a world where it seems that you can’t have that close of a relationship or be loved that much if you’re not married. Put another way, if marriage is the ultimate loving relationship and you’re not married, then you must not be experiencing the best love possible. While “romance” isn’t in reality the highest form of love, because of our culture’s values, many people put much less into any relationship outside of their immediate family. This leaves out those who don’t have families. I don’t believe this is what Christ wants (something about loving the widow and orphan). I don’t believe romance is the savior of the hurt, lonely, and broken.

    Jesus clearly calls us (those who follow him) to be a loving family. Jesus’ love is obviously the highest love. And we can experience it as we join with him. I think we really only experience this fully in the community which is his body, as we love one another with this (agape) love. (In Greek words, our culture generally holds eros to be the highest form of love, whereas in reality agape is truly the highest form of love.) I recently wrote an example of one way this played out in my life. Another book on this subject which I thought was excellent is “Singled Out“. I’m passionate about this because I think it is a central part of being united with Christ.

    • Brother,

      Thanks very much for this insightful comment. I appreciate your link to Dan Brennan’s site. I have heard of his work in regards to this topic, and I plan to read more from him as a result of your comment. Thanks very much for contributing to this discussion!

  21. Hi Jamal! May I jump in with my uuuuh (cognitive dissonance happening here) GULP …. OK call me crazy but I am abit rattled (in a good way I HOPE!) ok I am processing but have a question. I’d like to see the full picture of what you are saying. But am wondering……when you say
    “……..our marriage is not going to last. As a matter of fact, it’s coming to an end.”

    What is the difference between coming to an end and divorce? Are you saying that it’s coming to an end as you have always thought it to be but now it’s going to be different? In what way? OR coming to an end meaning something else. I sometimes interpret things more literally than most so help out the ISFJ readers ha!

    How do you and your wife envision the practical ‘walking out’ of this new reality?

    • Skylla,

      Thanks for reading and for your question. When I say that our marriage is “coming to an end”, it has to do with our understanding of what is temporary, and what is eternal. That which is temporary is a shadow of that which is eternal. We are beginning to live by the eternal, heavenly life of Christ now. Understanding this will affect the way we relate to our brothers and sisters in community life. Another reader asked a similar question about this as well. Here was my response:

      “Thank you for reading and for your question. This has been a spiritual adjustment to our marriage, but it does have physical implications when it comes to how we relate with others in the life of the ekklesia we are being built together with. Understanding these things takes away the relational walls that come when we see the human marital relationship as the highest relationship.

      ‘In Christ’, there is a higher way to relate with our brothers and sisters. The way we will relate with our brothers and sisters in eternity begins now. Embracing this reality will cause us to know others and be known in ways we have never thought possible. This practically translates to everything we do in life on a daily basis. I hope this makes sense.”

  22. Having grown up in the Mormon/LDS religion, “eternal marriage” was ingrained in me for 25 years! After throwing the baby out with the bathwater and coming back to the Bible – just the Bible – I had questions about the scripture that indicated marriage was not “eternal.” I love how well you expressed it here, Jamal.
    Also, as synchronicity would have it, I just finished the book “Black” where the main character learns of the Great Romance in an alternate universe – showing that the love we feel toward our selected spouse is really just an emulation of God’s great love for us. It was a timely read for me in relation to this post.
    Thank you for your continued illumination!

    • Sister, what you shared is music to my ears. I’m so glad that this post is confirmation to you regarding what the Lord has been showing you about His love. Thx for taking the time to comment:)

  23. Stunning…a beacon of Truth.

  24. Wow….thats meaty stuff. Gonna have to keep chewing on it further but i think i like what you posted. I see no need in picking apart what you said about your marriage. you made it clear that you and your wife would be commited to your marital relationship for the remainder of your lives. I I trust that The Lord has given you such a grand picture of the substance (Himself) that the shadow couldn’t possible be as important.

    As a 30 yr old single man who has spends far too much time preoccupied with mourning my singleness i can say that one need not be married to make an idol of this covenant. The Lord has actually been gently dealing with me about this of late and i feel that this post is a part of those dealings. God bless you and your wife as you continue to plum His depths together. i rejoice with you in this new found love!

  25. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – Roberta Flack”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jVMTydhx1Y

  26. What an awesome, fresh insight into the topic! Thanks, brother.

  27. I was just telling a group of men this morning about my ongoing discovery of how Jesus Christ can FULLY satisfy ALL of my needs if I let Him. Every need! Jesus satisfies even sexual cravings (try to tell that to a sex-soaked society). Ironically, He makes my union with my “temporary” wife better and better as we/I get closer to Him. But I also learn that I do NOT actually NEED an earthly wife (although I do want her)!

    Here is a good spot for a John Piper quote:

    “But when the reality comes, the representation as we know it will be laid aside…

    …there will be neither marriage nor giving in marriage in the age to come. And those who have been single and devoted to the Lord will sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb as full fellow-heirs of the grace of life. And according to their devotion to the Lord and their sacrifices they will be rewarded with affections and relationships and joys beyond all imagination.”

    Amen!

    • Jim,

      Thanks for your comment. Isn’t it amazing to think that ‘In Christ’, we actually have the ability to live in that future reality that you described right now with our brothers and sisters? What a Lord we have dwelling within us!

  28. Jamal,
    I like your blog. And over all I relate to what you are saying here but …. I don’t see what the big revolutionary thing here is. I feel like you put a little too much hype and drama into presenting this… we all understand that marriage is temporary, and a shadow of true reality in Christ, don’t we? *scratching my head* If I don’t “get” something about this blog, it’s that I just don’t get why this is being presented as some revolutionary and potentially controversial teaching on your part. Oh well.

    I will say about being single: Paul said he wished everyone could be single…but there’s sort of a wistful thing in that, like he was recognizing that it really wouldn’t work in the real world. Singles are at an advantage when it comes to not having a family to concern themselves with – there is some freedom there, but on the flip side of it singles have unique struggles that also make their lives distracted in other ways. Singles are usually not taken quite as seriously by the body of Christ as married people are, sad to say. Singles have to survive on their own financially – they don’t have the safety blanket of another person who can go out to work to keep the lights on if necessary. And when singles are old, they have no children to look after them or visit them in the nursing home. And there is loneliness, etc. Just in the practical sense of “while we live in this world” singles can have it really really hard. In Heaven, no one will have to worry about loneliness or finances or being taken seriously or having someone there for them when they are old. But in this life, being married can be a real amazing blessing.

    • Erica,

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. I actually think the reality communicated in this post is far more revolutionary than you may realize.

      In your comment, you mentioned that people who are single in this world have extra concerns that married people do not have. For example, you mentioned that “in heaven” no one would have to worry about money or being lonely, etc…

      May I ask you what you mean by ‘in heaven’?

    • This is an excellent point! In Paul’s context, a single person would not constitute their own household, but would be part of a larger household. In a very practical way, that’s not possible for most singles in America today, which leaves us with a huge burden of responsibility to shoulder alone. Paul’s point is less singleness or marriage, and more freedom to work for the kingdom.

  29. Thank you brother. I hear you loud and clear. Here is where I am today YES YES YES

    “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”
    ― C.S. Lewis

  30. What an insight! This is a message to the body of Christ and the world at large. God bless you my brother!

  31. Your post is a message that can be scary to some. The ‘idolatry’ of family and marriage is something my bride and I have discussed often, and see often within the church.

    You mention what is coming in your post. But you also exhibit the freedom we now have to love in Christ.

  32. I am trying to put all my thoughts together. I have just got around to reading your blog today and also wanted to join the conversation since the Lord has taken my husband and I through this transition by going to a marriage counselor after having much trouble in our marriage many years ago. The marriage counselor was a good born again spirit filled man but the outstanding person present was the Holy Spirit Himself. I had trouble relating sexually to my husband and intimacy with him was never experienced, only sex, and it came from duty on my part. Maybe many women can relate. As we both prayed together at home, the Holy Spirit began to reveal His love for us and for me particularly. He revealed to us that one of the ways in which He desired to express His love was through sexual intimacy. That was almost sacriligious to my hearing, yet I knew this was God’s voice. As I was able to grow in this concept, the Holy Spirit led us both in every move and we both came under the understanding that God needed our physical bodies to love us both and our love for each other began to grow as we began to experience the love of God through sexual intimacy. Since then, which has been many years ago, our marriage has been firmly fixed on Jesus our bridegroom and His love working through us to love each other. I heard the word identity a lot. We began to identify with the love of Christ and not each others love which relieved the pressure to perform and gave us the joy of intimacy with Christ. In heaven it will be no different without sexual intimacy, for our immortal bodies will already have intimacy with God without flesh. Each day on earth we enjoy this spiritual intimacy whether it is expressed in a marriage, a community or church, family, etc. as the Lord leads the way to express Himself, His love, His way: we will be satisfied completely.

  33. Baron Eickhoff March 13, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Great article, Jamal! I have undergone a lot change in my life this past year, and am rethinking a lot of things. This journey of God’s redemption and grace is a great one, and I was really intrigued with some of what you shared. Keep on, Bro.

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