A Gospel-Centered Approach to Marriage
This blog post is part of our Fall 2023 community group series, The Gospel And…. In it, we’ve been exploring the transformative impact of the gospel on our lives. Today, we delve into a topic that resonates deeply with many of us—marriage. Whether you’re married or not, understanding God’s design for relationships is essential. Let’s turn to Ephesians chapter five, and explore how the gospel shapes our understanding of marriage.
Instructions for Christian Households
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
In this passage, Paul instructs us to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This call to mutual submission underscores the importance of viewing marriage through the lens of imitating Christ and adopting His sacrificial love. Christ’s selfless sacrifice on the cross for us sets the ultimate example of love and service.
As we examine this divine design for marriage, we must understand that it’s not about placing unrealistic expectations on our partners or using marriage to fulfill our needs. Instead, it’s about recognizing that our primary goal in any relationship is to glorify God through imitating Christ’s love and service.
Marriage serves as a mirror of the gospel, revealing our imperfections and prompting growth. While challenges may arise, a gospel-centered marriage can be a sweet fragrance of grace, forgiveness, and commitment. It’s a journey where two imperfect individuals are committed to serving and loving each other, just as Christ has loved us.
However, it’s essential to clarify what marriage is not. Marriage isn’t about self-seeking desires or attempting to change one another to fit our expectations. Nor is it the ultimate fulfillment of all our needs. Placing such burdens on our partners is unfair and unrealistic. Instead, marriage is an opportunity for growth and partnership, where two individuals strive to glorify God together.
Reflecting on the stories of enduring marriages, we see the power of God’s grace in overcoming challenges. As we learn to serve, forgive, and love one another, we bear witness to the gospel’s transformative work in our relationships. It’s through God’s grace and our commitment to imitate Christ that we can create a marriage that mirrors His love for the Church.
May we all embrace the beauty of God’s design for marriage, allowing His grace to guide us in loving and serving one another. Let us go forth with hearts softened by His love, ready to extend the same grace to others that we have received.
May this message inspire and empower you to embrace God’s design for relationships and cultivate a love that mirrors Christ’s sacrificial love for His Church. Stay tuned for more insights and reflections on how the gospel shapes our lives.