Marriage is based on the gospel and is a picture of the gospel, so our marriages must be shaped by the gospel. In the last two posts, we noted that this happens as we sacrificially give of ourselves and as we commit to grow in holiness. Now we’ll look at two final aspects of a gospel shaped marriage, and then conclude our reflections.
First, a gospel shaped marriage has a firm grip. The gospel makes clear that Christ has a firm grip on his church. He will not divorce his church. He will not get tired of his church. The marriage supper of the lamb is certain. Our spending eternity with him is certain. Now if marriage is based on the gospel and is a picture of the gospel, we must have a firm grip on one another in marriage. If Christ will not divorce his church, then we cannot divorce each other. If marriage pictures the gospel, then divorce distorts the picture. So we must have a firm grip on one another. Not a loose grip, not a slow drifting apart, but a firm grip. We must guard our marriages lest we distort the picture of the gospel by divorce.
Second, a gospel shaped marriage includes forgiving grace. In Ephesians 4:31-32 we see the gospel in the last phrase: “as God in Christ forgave you.” God has forgiven us through Christ. Every sin is buried forever, never to be dug up and used against us. Now if marriage is a picture of the gospel, then we must forgive one another. Past sins must be buried and remain buried, never to be dug up and used against the other person. In the gospel, we find that God has poured out his grace on us – even though we don’t deserve it. In a gospel shaped marriage, we must share that grace with our spouse – even when he or she doesn’t deserve it. It isn’t about deserving – it is about grace, it’s about a gospel shaped marriage.
Our culture sometimes whispers, sometimes shouts its low distorted view of marriage. In the midst of the onslaught, let us take our stand on a high true view of marriage. Marriage is based on the gospel and is a picture of the gospel. So let us sacrificially give of ourselves. Let us be committed to growing in holiness. Let us have a firm grip on our spouse. Let us extend grace and forgiveness. Let us live gospel shaped marriages.
And when death comes, our marriages will end. The picture of the gospel will be finished, but the gospel that our marriages picture will go on. When Christ returns, we’ll celebrate the marriage supper of the lamb. And new joys will expand forever and ever with the Lord. Even so, come Lord Jesus.