This is number 8 in a weekly series begun on December 21st/13 with a post called, “Married Forever?”
So which is it? Is the purpose of marriage to promote the good of family and society? Or is it to enhance the well-being of self? It might surprise you to know that Jesus didn't set marriage up as a choice between one or the other. I know, that's how the world views Biblical marriage - oppression of self-fulfillment. However, like most other things that have to do with Jesus and His teaching, the world is wrong. In reality, God brought marriage into being with the intent of showing that mutual fulfilment could only come through mutual sacrifice for one another.
To set an example for us, Jesus gave up His rights and He died to self to bring us into a healed relationship with Himself and then He said, “Follow Me, be like Me, do in your relationships what I did in My relationships. Submitting to Jesus by submitting to one another in our marriages brings personal fulfilment. A marriage where two people engage in loving surrender to each other drives away fear of abandonment, ends loneliness, and grows us into Christ-likeness. And that is the point of life (Romans 8:29). That is the “good” that God works for in all things for believers; to make us more and more like Jesus. The more you live out the Gospel of Grace toward each other, the closer you become toward each other and to Jesus. That's the secret, or the mystery of which Paul speaks.
Biblical marriage will change your heart and soul.
I heard a comedian once, who said, “No matter how smart you think you are, you're not that smart.” That's true, but so is the Bible which explains, “No matter how good you think you are, you're not that good.” We need to be changed. Society and the world at large needs us to be changed. A Biblical marriage will bring about that inner change unlike anything else. That is because Biblical marriage teaches us what it means to love.
Through expressing the enormous love that Jesus washes over us, we are truly transformed. However, this awareness of who we really are must be brought forth in an atmosphere of love. Without a loving environment, we simply will not hear the truth. In the absence of the certainty of love, men hear criticism as rejection and women hear it as a lack of love. With the certainty of love we not only hear the truth about our sin with which our partner must live, we long to repent of our sin and be changed. God's mercy and grace, freely received can then be freely given.
More on this next Friday