Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive Jesus Christ as the Lord, Savior, and supreme Treasure of our lives, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized by immersion in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully re-affirm our covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Ghost,
a. To walk together in Christian love. b. To strive for the advancement in knowledge, holiness and peace; c. To promote spirituality and fruitfulness; d. To support worship, ordinances, ministries and discipline; e. To welcome instruction from the Scriptures by the Pastors, as it pertains only to the Word of God; f. To align ourselves in word and deed with the Holy Scriptures, God's Word, as we seek to grow toward biblical unity in Spirit and Truth; g. To prayerfully, cheerfully contribute to the support of the ministry, the church, relief of the poor and hungry, and the spread of the gospel through our community, and through the world. h. To maintain family and personal devotions; to educate our children in the Christian faith; i. To seek the salvation of our family and acquaintances;
We also engage:
1. To live a Godly life before the world;
2. To be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment,
3. To avoid all tattling, gossiping backbiting and excessive anger;
4. To seek God's help in abstaining from all drugs, and practices that bring un-warranted harm to the body of Christ or jeopardize our own or another's faith.
We further engage:
j. To watch over one another in brotherly love;
k. To remember one another in prayer;
l. To aid one another in sickness and distress;
m. To cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech;
n. To be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the command of our Savior to secure it without delay.
Marriage is intended by God to be a lifelong fruitful relationship exemplifying unconditional love, reconciliation, sexual purity, and growth between a man and a woman. Marriage is a vow to God, to each other, our families and our community to remain steadfast in unconditional love, reconciliation and sexual purity, while purposefully growing in our covenant marriage relationship.
The term "covenant" means "a coming together." In the Bible, the word covenant is translated in Hebrew over 300 times!
The meaning of the Old Testament word is bond; a covenant refers to two or more parties bound together. The New Testament term has usually been translated as covenant, but testimony and testament have also been used. The generally accepted idea of binding or establishing a bond between two parties carries with it the concept of "cleaving," or sticking together like Super Glue!
A marriage is an eternal commitment with God. People can negotiate out of contracts, but not out of a covenant. The heart of covenant marriage is "the steadfast love of the Lord," which comes from the very heart of God and "never ceases" (Lam. 3:22, RSV).
Covenant partners take responsibility for their actions. As partners in a covenant marriage relationship, we are responsible for our actions. An example would be to remain "sexually pure" in our thoughts and actions towards our spouse.
Covenants are based on freedom of choice. Covenant marriages are not built on coercion, deceit, and manipulation. Wives, submission is freely given and grows from respect, not fear and manipulation. In like manner, husband, choose daily to love your wife "as Christ loved the church." You must freely choose to love and honor her in spite of the fact that you may not "feel" like loving and honoring her for as long as you both shall live.
Covenants are rooted in actions based on choices, not feelings. Our feelings are forever fluctuating. Therefore to build a covenant marriage on feelings is to build it on shifting sand, which cannot support the foundation of marriage.
Covenant partners nurture their relationship. Our marriage will grow as we build up one another in love. This takes place when we value our spouse more than ourselves. As we experience the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, we are able to love our spouse as He loves us. Covenant partners administer unconditional love, forgiveness, and reconciliation while providing comfort and hope to their partner.
Covenants are based on commitments freely offered. A covenant is built on selfless love, freely given and freely received. As strange as it may sound, a covenant marriage is one in which the "tie that binds" the couple together is a commitment freely offered with no strings attached. Paul said it well: "Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:8).
Are you ready to commit yourself to someone for as long as you both shall live?