Alright. There are so many other things that could be said but I think it is time to wrap this one up. This is officially the longest series that I have ever done. It has been edifying to me. I hope it has been edifying to you. I would like to thank everyone who reads the blog, has followed this particular series of postings, and/or has provided feedback. It means a lot and you are more than welcome to share and share alike if you feel it would be helpful.
I want to emphasize that while the material has been direct and revealing at times , I have made every effort to be biblical at every point. Sometimes the bible can be offensive and difficult to swallow. What we must always remember is that the bible is God's inspired, inerrant, holy word. It must not be added to or be taken away from. God does not require that His word conform to what people want it to say. God requires that HIS people conform to HIS word(Romans 12:1-2). With that said, let's review what the bible has taught us.
The biblical God is a fan of biblical marriage!
It was His idea! He is a fan of man and woman joined together in an unbreakable, covenant union. A covenant union that is designed to glorify God and help to populate the earth. He created the idea, He blessed the idea and the subjects of the idea, and He said that it was good.
(Genesis 1:27-28, Matthew 19:3-9)
Biblical marriage is designed with a purpose!
What is that design? First, it must be the union of a male and a female. Second, the male and female should be believers. Third, each member of the union must recognize their God-given role and the instructions for that role. Fourth, the Gospel is central. (Matthew 19:4-6, Ephesians 5:21-33)
The Gospel is central!
God's design for marriage
is centered around the Gospel. The sacrificial love of Christ for His
church is the example of the kind of sacrificial love that we are
expected to exhibit, one Christian to another and one spouse to the other. We must understand how we
were designed as individuals and what the design of our roles in
marriage are. We must understand that just as we are dead in our sins
and cannot come alive unless Christ makes us alive; none of what is
expected of us in marriage can be done appropriately without the
empowerment of God's grace through Christ's death and resurrection.(Ephesians 2:1-10, Philippians 2:12-13, 1 Corinthians 15:10)
Sacrificial, selfless, love is required by God.
Maybe you are struggling with a spouse who is not living up to the biblical definitions of their role. Perhaps you are struggling with an unbelieving spouse or a maybe your marriage is struggling sexually. All of these struggles, along with all of the other above points, have been addressed in greater detail in the previous posts, scripture references and all.
What is certain is that when Jesus came to earth, He gave all while
being despised and rejected by the majority. Many say that God's love
and often that Christ's love is unconditional. This is simply not
true. The condition of God's offer of salvation by grace alone, through
faith alone, comes in the death and resurrection of Christ's perfect life alone, for
the glory of God alone. It is not free! If you are a believer, you are not your own, you were bought with a price.
Christ's blood shed on the cross paid the price for the sins of the
world so that eternal life would be made available.
That's right! The love of God the Father and God the Son is not unconditional, but it is sacrificial. God is not asking anything of you, no matter how bad it may seem, that Christ did not experience. Jesus knew temptation. Jesus knew betrayal, rejection, emotional hurt, and physical pain. He understands it and He will see you through it. As a believer, He does not expect you to do it by yourself. As a believer, God's grace is always working in and through you to accomplish His good purposes. (Philippians 2:12-13)
I don't need Jesus, my marriage is doing fine by itself!
Perhaps, during this process, you have thought, "I have a perfectly happy marriage and I don't have to think about all this stuff. My wife and I are good people who love each other and treat each other well and we don't even consider the application of any of this spiritual, Gospel-centered marriage hype." Maybe. But rest assured, whether you believe it or not, that the benevolent love of God's common grace to all people is the only thing that keeps mankind from totally annihilating themselves. It is not because you carry all the power within yourself to do good. God restrains any evil that does not run rampant, anywhere, including your marriage.
Happy wife, happy life is not enough!
Regardless of what you think, one other thing is true. You can live a happy, good life with a happy, good marriage and still go to hell. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the live. No man comes to the Father but by me!(John 14:6)
I don't want that for anyone. This series has been a bit pragmatic in the "How to have a better marriage biblically" kind of way. I admit that. But, the Gospel has been present throughout. All of it has been Christ-centered. The reason for that is because no success in this world has any meaning eternally apart from Christ. I have not helped you at all if you apply some of the principles found in this series and never have a relationship with a living Savior, the Eternal Bridegroom himself. You will not be a part of the bride of Christ if you are not in a saving and surrendered relationship with the Groom that makes it all possible to begin with.
Please, go back and look at the post entitled, "Wanna Save Your Marriage?, What is the Gospel?"(Part 3). Not for me, but for you. Make sure you understand what the Gospel is. 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us to examine ourselves and make sure that we are in the faith. It is ok to assess your life in relation to biblical truth and look for areas that either point to proof of saving faith or the lack there of. Even if you come to the conclusion that you are in fact saved, there are always areas that are not yet perfected and we should always be looking to strive for repentance in new areas of our walk in order to ensure that we are living a life worthy of the gospel(Philippians 1:27).
Find joy in the Father!
Last but not least remember, in the words of John Piper, that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him". As believers, the greatest way to be most at peace in trials and suffering is to keep God's glory as your ultimate goal. The greatest way to ensure you are walking in unselfish, sacrificial love is to keep God's glory as your ultimate goal. The greatest way to ensure that you are walking obediently to God in your marriage is to keep God's glory as your ultimate goal. The greatest way to ensure you are living a life worthy of the gospel is to keep God's glory as your ultimate goal.
The greatest way to walk with the best possible satisfaction at any given moment and to experience joy unspeakable and full of glory(1 Peter 1:8) is to remember what Christ did for you on the cross and through His resurrection. Not only that, but to remember that, while He died for all who would believe, Jesus' ultimate goal was always the glory of His Father.(John 17:5)
Jesus always found His greatest satisfaction in the glory of God through loving obedience. That was, and is, His ultimate goal!
If this series has helped one marriage to grow or be restored, or more importantly; if this series has helped one individual to discover a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, then it has been worth it.
If you have not read the whole series yet and you would like a fleshing out of these points, parts 1-8 can be found under the October and November tabs on the this blog page. I pray it has been and will be a blessing. Thank you for your time.
In Jesus name,