For some time now, I have wanted to provide a series of posts on the blog that look at the verses in the Bible that provide the foundation for what we believe about marriage. We started with several posts looking at the gospel and sexuality. We will now start to look at the gospel and marriage.
Once again, I want to state that most of this material will be coming from a Secret Church on Family, Marriage, Sex, and the Gospel by David Platt from 2011. I highly recommend that if you want to know more about this topic that you visit www.radical.net where video streams and other materials are available for download. Additionally, I have found most of David Platt’s work to be extremely grounded on the Word and without a lot of fluff.
To begin, let’s look at several key passages from the Bible that provide the foundation for marriage.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. –Genesis 2:24
“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.” –Mark 10:6-8
Wives, 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 Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, 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. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 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 5:22-33
Foundation 1: The Glory of God is the Ultimate Aim of Marriage
Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! –Psalm 34:3
David Platt describes this verse as the “picture of marriage.” We too often look at marriage as just a celebration of our love for each other and fail to put any importance on showing God’s glory through our marriage. David Platt goes on to say, “marriage exists for God more than it exists for you. As long as you approach marriage out of the mindset of what is best for me, then you’ve missed the point. The ultimate starting point of marriage is not, ‘What is best for me?’ It’s, ‘What is best for God?'” When we stop and place the emphasis on pleasing God and not pleasing ourselves it becomes clear that what is pleasing to God is pleasing for us.
Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. –Psalm 119:35-37
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD. –Proverbs 18:22
David Platt explains that “the most foundational, significant question in your marriage is this: Is Jesus the Lord of your life?” This is a question most marriages try to avoid at all costs. The greatest thing a husband can give to his wife is to show a likeness to Christ. Likewise, the greatest thing a wife can give to her husband is to show a likeness to Christ.
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” –Luke 14:25-27
This seems like a very odd verse to include in looking at a biblical foundation for marriage but it expresses that our love for Christ should be the centerpiece of our marriage. David Platt describes this verse by saying, “this text is not about marital abandonment. This text is about superior affection.”
Foundation 2: The Grace of God is the Ultimate Hope for Marriage
Without God’s grace I think we can agree no marriages would survive. So, the truth that God has not forsaken us in marriage is a good thing. David Platt explains that “God, who designed marriage, has promised His grace to experience it as He designed it.” Why do we need this grace, though? We need this grace because the biggest problem with every marriage is sin. Sin comes in many shapes and sizes and comes in all types of shiny packages but unfortunately every husband and every wife is a sinner.
As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” –Romans 3:10-18
If we can accept that sin is the biggest problem in every marriage can we accept that the major solution for any marriage is a Savior. There are countless therapists, counselors, pastors, books, blogs and videos to help couples with marriage but having Christ in one’s marriage beats any of those in providing answers and hope for a troubled relationship.
But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. –Romans 8:10-11
God’s Gospel is the Ultimate Picture in Marriage
“For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the LORD has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer. –Isaiah 54:5-8
You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the LORD in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth. The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm … –Isaiah 62:4-8
For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. –2 Corinthians 11:2
All throughout the Bible, God uses the symbolism of Himself as a husband, and His people as His bride. David Platt describes this as “wives give a picture of the church to the world, and husbands give a picture of Christ to the world.” So, your marriage reflects volumes about Christ’s love to nonbelievers. This is both a blessing and a curse depending on how you choose to live out your marriage. The Gospel shows us the expert picture of how Christ loves his bride and how a church should be in glad submission. Marriage is intended to be the public display of the Gospel to the world.