Marriage on Purpose (part 2)

I guess you could say that Kramer didn’t quite have the biblical concept of marriage in mind 🙂

Wedge of discord

Getting back to our “thesis statement” on marriage, the sole intent of the marriage union is this: A true biblical marriage is one that points others to Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for the church to bring us to unity, sanctification, and ultimate glory.  Last time, I pointed out that the mystery of marriage is made very clear in God’s word.  It doesn’t take a genius to understand what needs to be done in order for marriages to be successful.  But as I stated before, there is a huge difference between getting it, and putting it in to practice on a daily basis.  In the last 11 years of my own experience, I have constantly failed to do one, and only one thing that would put my marriage at the top of the charts: to deny myself (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34), pick up my cross daily (Luke 9:23), and practically live out what Jesus calls me to do as a husband to my wife (Ephesians 5:25-29).  All too often, I have allowed my own pride to drive a wedge in between me and my wife.  Selfishness in marriage is the root of all discord.  It is, by our experience, the one thing that Satan will use to discredit our marriage as one that points to Jesus Christ.

Recipe for unity: The role of the wife

The role of the wife in marriage is submission.  Now if I were to stop there and move on, liberal feminists would rain down upon me like piranhas on a drowning chihuahua.  Submission in American culture is a sign of weakness.  To society at large, it means being a doormat for those in authority to wipe their muddy, tyrant-wearing diamond shoes all over you.  However, we must read the complete line.  â€śWives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its SaviorNow as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” (Ephesians 5:22-24 ESV)

Every Christian’s primary responsibility is to do the will of God.  And what is God’s will for you, but the continual process of sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8).  This is the process by which we seek holiness in our lives.  Wives are to submit to their husbands, and in so doing, reflect a spirit of holiness.  1 Peter 2:21-25 gives us a glimpse of the example that Christ is for us in submission to those in authority.  And as we’ll see in scripture, authority in marriage is not authoritarian, tyrannical rule.  It is not oppressive.  It is not demeaning.  Think about it.  Why would Jesus call you to be submissive to someone who is going to take advantage of you, hurt you, and ultimately not bring you to a closer relationship with the Father?

Ultimately, what is submission (Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18, 1 Timothy 2:9-15, Titus 2:4-5)?  1. Entrusting oneself to God.  2. Respectful behavior.  3. Development of Godly character.  4. Doing what is right.  Submission to God and your husband is imperative for oneness in marriage.

We live in an ordered universe, in which there is authority and submission to authority everywhere (cf. Rom. 13:1). Authority and submission relationships are therefore natural and necessary to maintain order: God has authority over man (James 4:5). Man has authority over nature (Gen. 1:28). Husbands have authority over their wives (Eph. 5:22).  Parents have authority over their children (Eph. 6:1). Governors have authority over those they govern (1 Pet. 2:13-14). Employers have authority over their employees (1 Pet. 2:18).  Spiritual leaders have authority over those they lead spiritually (1 Pet. 5:2). ~ Dr. Thomas Constable

Recipe for unity: The role of the husband

Love.  Love.  Love.  If men would come to the realization of what this word truly means in the context of marriage, there would be very little divorce and separation.  â€śHusbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)  Jesus Christ gave himself up for us, the church, through the sacrifice of his own body.  Gentlemen, are you “getting it”?!  Your authority in the home goes only as far as your love for Christ.  You are called to serve Jesus, your wife, and your family (Mark 10:42-45).  Leadership involves recognition that God has placed the husband in a position of responsibility.  It means that he is accountable to God for his wife and children.  Men!  The relationship you have with your wife will be a direct reflection of your relationship with Jesus Christ.  

Ultimately, what is Leadership?  1. Recognition of God’s authority to place you in such a position.  2. Accountability to God.  3. Taking initiative.  4. Integrity.  5. Service.  6. Management (not domination).

As a Christian’s primary responsibility is doing God’s will, a husband’s primary responsibility is effective leadership in the home.  Husbands are to lead their wives, in mutual submission to Christ’s authority, towards a continual process of mutual sanctification.  Why submission?  Why sanctification?  What is the purpose in all of this?  Husbands lead their wives in the continual process of sanctification for the ultimate purpose of appearing before Christ at our resurrection into eternal glory (1 Peter 3:7).

The Scripture is the guide for faith and life in the Christian home. A husband’s authority in the home is derivative: as a servant of God, his authority comes from God. He is, therefore, subject to Scripture in all that he does, and has no freedom to guide his family in ways which contradict it. Should he clearly do so, individual members must follow God before man. ~ James Hurley, Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective

One flesh

“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, Ephesians 5:31 ESV)

“This statement from the creation story is the most profound and fundamental statement in the whole of Scripture concerning God’s plan for marriage.” (Francis Foulkes)  Unity in body.  Unity in spirit.  Unity for the glorification of Jesus Christ.  The following statement is now so profound when you think of its meaning: What God has joined together, let no man separate (Matthew 19:6, Mark 10:9).  John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  If you think about this verse in the context of marriage, it makes perfect sense.  The branch has to have an intimate relationship with the vine in order to produce fruit.  In like fashion, husbands and wives must have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ if they desire for their marriage to bear the fruit of righteousness.  If the husband and/or wife’s relationship with Christ is cut off, the marriage is headed for destruction.

By now, the mystery should be crystal clear.  God’s purpose for marriage is the sanctification of His people, for the glorification of His Son.  “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:32)  Husbands are to daily sacrifice everything about themselves for the love of their wife, just as Christ gave Himself up on the cross because of His immense love for His people.  Wives, would you willingly submit to this kind of man?  I think you would.

And in no teaching anywhere in Roman, Greek, or Jewish writings is such a solution to the problem of disunity within marriage put forth. Rather than focusing on the rights of the husbands and wives, rather than providing financial incentives for the promotion of marriage, Paul drove right to the heart of marital unity by presenting the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as the model for the relationship of the husband to the wife. ~ Jack Gibson

And that my friends is marriage on purpose!  May the Lord bless you!!


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