Friday, February 11, 2011

Christo-centric Marriage - Part 1

So this blog series (which will probably be two parts) needs a disclaimer before it.  I am in no way contending that I am perfect.  I am in no way contending that Meg and I have marriage all figured out.  I sin daily,  against my children and against my wife whenever I fail to love them and lead them as God has called me to do.  So please know from the beginning of this article that it is intended only to help you.  From one person figuring this stuff out Biblically to another who is going through the same trials and joys.  Hope that sets a tone that keeps with the way this was all written.

With that in mind I would just like to put forth some things for you to consider as you choose what you will do pertaining to your marriage.

Problems arise in marriage.  That's a given.  Even Christian marriages are not without their issues from time to time.  We should expect no less quite frankly.  Anytime you put a man and a woman together and tell them to fight their sin nature that screams for them to put themselves first and instead to love the other person sacrificially, anytime you do that... you are going to eventually stumble and instead of loving sacrificially you will love yourself more and act on that self-love.

Determining who is "to blame" in each argument is of little to no value.  The blame game isn't going to get you where you need to be in your marriage.  Sometimes arguments and fights stem from or cause distrust.  Every situation is different and I am in no place to diagnose each individual problem, however where the distrust originates is neither here nor there.  

What is important is asking yourself the question:  Do you commit to working this out or do you walk away?  Sadly in our world many turn immediately to walking away without a second thought.  But Christians are called to something different as we'll see as we progress.

Jesus said, in Matthew 19:6, that when two people marry they become “one flesh”.  Regardless of what the local court house and state records may show, God sees marriage as permanent.  Divorce is not optional from His view point.  Not in any scenario. (See Permanence View link below)

Now many would point to the Bible and say that adultery makes it legitimate for divorce.  In reality, Jesus said that MOSES allowed people to divorce for infidelity but it never says that God condoned or approved.  But adultery and infidelity is not the thrust of this post, so let's move on.

Fill in the following sentence with your personal situation:  You are upset with one another because of ____________________.  Insert the issues there.  One issue or a hundred issues… doesn’t matter… fill it in for yourselves.  What I want to communicate will apply the same across the board.

A teaching that really gets neglected by and large in the churches of our day is the fact that marriage is not just the union of a man and woman in matrimony.  It’s a picture of the Gospel.  The reason that marriage is a binding union is because when God regenerates and saves a person (salvation) it is a binding union of that person to Him.  Romans 8:1 – there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

We are eternally secure in Him.  Saved by Him.  Regenerated and forgiven by Him. 
Romans 8:28-35 - And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.  31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?  33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;  34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.  35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

We are secure in Him.  The meaning of that of course is securely forgiven.  No condemnation for our sins will come upon us.  That’s important because even though Christians are forgiven (saved) we still stumble into sin from time to time because our flesh is weak and none of us are perfect…

Knowing that even though I do sin, sometimes multiple times daily, still God will not reject the covenant of salvation that He has made with me in Jesus Christ.  He will not reject the promise that He made to me through the blood of Jesus Christ that purchased me.  He has adopted me as His child (and any other saved person) and therefore Christ paid the debt for the sins of my past, present, and future.

How does that relate to marriage?  Well, marriage then becomes more than just a union… more than just vows we take and aisles we walk on one day.  It becomes a life long journey.  Marriage is a covenant (another word that is largely lost these days in our teaching of marriage). 

Marriage is a covenant between two people and as we strive to understand how to make it work, we can find our answer.  Not simply by trying to work it out and get over the issue… but by looking first at Christ.  Loving out of the love with which He has loved us.  D. Martin Lloyd Jones said that the logic of our loving out of the love Christ showed us is “quite irresistible”.

Our marriages are a visible picture of the Gospel.  They are a living illustration of what Christ does for us in regeneration.

That’s the first thing I wanted to put out there.  

Christo-centric Marriage - Part 2

Some additional resources that may be helpful:
The Permanence View of Marriage - by Voddie Baucham
The Permanence View of Marriage - notes from the above

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