Since Zane and I are involved in various aspects of marriage ministry, we will begin sharing some of our favorite marriage resources on Family Savvy. Zane shares some notes he took recently while listening to a sermon by John Piper.
I’ve been challenged by John Piper’s teaching on marriage and wanted to share my notes & comments on one of his recent sermons….
Our sin, selfishness and cultural bondage make it almost impossible to feel the wonder of God’s purpose for marriage between a man and a woman. We need the Holy Spirit to deliver us from small, worldly, culturally contaminated, romance-intoxicated, unbiblical views of marriage. My prayer is that we would move in sync with God (concerning marriage) and out of sync with our secular Western culture.
Plant your marriage in the soil of the following three biblical/foundational truths:
- Marriage Is God’s Doing/Creation/Idea
Jesus makes the point most clearly that marriage is the doing of God. Mark 10:6-9, “From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’ [Genesis 1:27], ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ [Genesis 2:24]. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” This is the clearest statement in the Bible that marriage is not a merely human doing. The words “God has joined together” means it is God’s doing.
- Marriage was God’s design
- God personally gave away the first bride in marriage
- God spoke His design of marriage into existence: “leave parents, cleave to your wife, become one flesh”
- The one-flesh union is established by God Himself in each marriage.
A glimpse into the magnificence of marriage comes from seeing in God’s word that God himself is the great doer. Marriage is his doing. It is from Him and through Him. That is the most foundational thing we can say about marriage.
- The Gospel of Christ is the ultimate picture in marriage.
- God created marriage to be a living drama of the loving relationship between Christ and His bride the church (Ephesians 5:31) Marriage is the display or illustration used by God to demonstrate the covenant-keeping love between Christ and His people to the world in a way that no other event or institution does. God says, “If ou want to know how My Son loves My people, look at marriage.” The primary purpose of marriage is to model God’s love for His church. If you are married, that is why you are married.
- Wives, you will give a picture to a lost world of how the church views Christ.
- Husbands, you will give a picture to the world of how Christ views His church
Model of Christ and the Church “we can’t emphasize this too much”
- This reality lifts marriage out of this culture’s sordid sitcom images and gives it the magnificent meaning God meant it to have.
- This reality gives marriage a solid basis in grace, since Christ obtained and sustains His bride by grace alone.
- Christ’s relationship to His Bride/Church is defined by Christ’s self-denying work on the cross so that her pride and slavishness are cancelled. We speak righteousness over our brides.
- The Grace of God is the ultimate hope of marriage. The major problem of marriages throughout history has been sin.
- Our spouses show us our sin more than any other person ever will. You will have opportunity to forgive each other often in this sacred union.
The vertical reality of the grace of God must be extended horizontally to our spouses if marriage is to display the covenant-making, covenant-keeping grace of God. We see this in Colossians 3:12-13, “ Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
Live vertically from the grace of God and then bend out horizontally in forgiveness and justification toward your spouse:
- Because there is going to be conflict based on sin and strangeness
- Because the hard, rugged work of enduring and forgiving is what makes it possible for affections to flourish when they seem to have died;
- Because God gets glory when two very different and very imperfect people forge a life of faithfulness in the furnace of affliction by relying on Christ. When two sinners become one for His Glory the gospel is preached.
Father, give us the grace to “do” marriage your way so we might be ambassadors of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.