Recap | One | Redemption

This weekend, Chris Curtis taught on redemption in marriage from Ephesians 5:31-33. In this passage, Paul explains that marriage is not about us but about illustrating the relationship between God and His people.

Marriage is not characterized by emotion or duty, as our culture teaches, but by loyal, steadfast, committed love, just as God has for us. Both romance and duty fail to provide solid foundations for marriage because they entail a commitment to something besides the other person. The only true foundation for oneness in marriage is a loyal, unfailing commitment to the other person, as exemplified by God’s love for His people.In Ephesians 5:32, Paul makes a statement that infuses marriage with spiritual meaning. He says, “This [marriage] is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.” Marriage is primarily a tool to illustrate the Gospel. We forget this too often. We like to make our marriages about happiness – whether for ourselves, for our spouses, or for both. However, all of these models fall short, because they focus our marriages on human happiness. This may work for a while, but it will fail in the long run, because our marriages aren’t designed to hold up under the weight of those expectations.

It is clear that marriage is primarily a picture of God’s love for His people. But how do we move past this spiritual statement to practical application? Chris provided two questions to shape our thinking and help us make our marriages about God, not ourselves:

What if God designed our marriages to make us holy rather than happy?
Marriage is the closest, most invasive relationship possible. It is exposing and difficult, and it is impossible to escape. It confronts our selfishness and points out the darkest parts of our souls. In some ways, our spouse is a mirror that is designed to reveal the most sinful and selfish parts of us. In marriage, God uses all of these things to show us our sinfulness and our need for Him. This may not always make us happy, but it sanctifies us and makes us holy (Ephesians. 5:25-27).

What if God designed marriage to be our teacher?
Marriage is designed to teach us about the Gospel. Chris listed four redemptive themes that are brought out in marriage:

1) Grace – Marriage shows us our need for grace. We must confront the fact that we are more sinful than we can imagine, and we need grace both from God and from our spouses.
2) Repentance – In marriage, we will sin against our spouses often. When this happens, we must admit, confess, and turn from our sin, just as we must do with God.
3) Forgiveness – When our spouses do sin against us, we must forgive them, just as Christ has forgiven us. When we receive forgiveness in marriage, it reminds us of Jesus’ love for us.
4) Self-Sacrifice – Just as Jesus died for us, we must die to ourselves in marriage, whether in service to our spouses or in self-denying forgiveness that absorbs the pain the sin caused.

Finally, Chris presented five relationship phases to be used in analyzing our marriages:

1) Infatuation – This is the beginning stage, which is characterized by high emotions and uncritical adoration of the other person.
2) Distraction – As the marriage progresses, energy is diverted from the spouse to other things. Distractions can come from kids, increased career expectations, home ownership, or other responsibilities.
3)Apathy– As these distractions draw us from each other, we become tired and escape into hobbies, friends, or work. Love for our spouses fade, and we begin to merely co-exist.
4) Special Circumstance/Event – This may be the death of a parent, an illness, loss of a job, sickness of a child, etc. that changes the dynamic of the marriage in some way.
5) Crisis – As apathy is compounded by a difficult event, we begin to flee the marriage to something or someone else.

We can use these stages as a diagnostic for our marriages and consider how to apply the Gospel to our unique situation. Redemption does not come to marriages overnight, but it is a process requiring work, perseverance, community, and committed love. Hopefully, in the redemption of our marriages, God will illustrate His loving and faithful relationship with His people.

-Alexander Batson

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Worship Songs from the Weekend

  • You Reign: Psalm 146, Psalm 47:5-9, 1 Chronicles 29:10-20
  • Lamb of God: John 1:29, Hebrews 4:14-16, Romans 6:5-11
  • Great Are You Lord: Psalm 104, Ezekiel 37:1-14, Psalm 98
  • Worthy, Worthy: Revelation 5:12, 1 Chronicles 16:25, Psalm 146
  • Song of Moses: Revelation 15:3, Exodus 15:1-3, Psalm 28:7
  • We the Redeemed: Psalm 74:2, Revelation 5:9