F O U N D A T I O N S 58 When a person in discipline has gained the assurance of a cleansed heart and God’s peace, he or she may ask to be reaccepted into the fellowship of the church ­community. The church then declares the forgive- ness of sins, receiving the person back with joy and ­unreserved love. Marriage 77 Christ declared marriage to be the lifelong union of one man and one woman joined together by God, holy and instituted by him from the beginning: “From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Jesus had great joy in marriage and performed his first miracle at a wedding by changing water to wine. We too rejoice whenever a man and a woman are led by God to love each other and vow to be faithful to each other for life. In the church community, marriage vows are made publicly before the gathered members as witnesses, and the marriage is then confirmed by the church through the laying on of hands. 78 As a creation of God, marriage is not a human inven- tion. It is a sacrament that precedes and transcends the authority of the state. When a man and a woman 2 Cor 2:5–11 Eph 4:30–32; Rom 15:5–7 Mark 10:6–9 nrsv Gen 1:27; 5:2 Gen 2:24 John 2:1–11 Matt 19:6