This past Tuesday I led an opening devotion for a regional gathering of pastors. I shared thoughts that were well received and decided to repeat some of it here.
The conference theme was that God’s way of justification by grace through faith in our crucified Savior, Jesus, is foolishness in our current culture. Along those lines, I noted how marriage is a perfect illustration of this. God’s way for marriage is a way of sacrifice and unconditional commitment. It reflects that we’re justified freely as a gift purchased for us by the sacrifice and unconditional love of Jesus. He willingly went to the cross for us. In marriage, we’re to be ready to do the same for our spouse…sacrificing and committing unconditionally, even if it’s not always fun. This is a theology of the cross rather than a theology of glory. And, it’s something that our culture thinks is totally foolish! To most, marriage is supposed to be something that SERVES me and makes me always HAPPY! That’s what the Disney movies taught us as kids…we are to live “happily ever after.”
God’s way for justification and marriage is a way that isn’t always happy, but it IS always the way of REAL, ENDURING JOY! We ARE forgiven for free by what Jesus did on the cross. We can be 100% sure of our salvation because of His gift of love. That’s cause for pure joy. Marriage in God’s way reflects the same thing. As a couple commits to sacrificially and unconditionally love one another, they won’t always be happy, but their REAL JOY will grow through all their days until death parts them. A couple that lives in such love and enjoys such love is a living picture of God’s way of justification for all the world to see. It helps the world to understand the mysteries of God that to natural reason are totally foolish. And, by the power of the Holy Spirit, more and more will be led to receive the gift of justification. They’ll also be led to live and love in God’s way for marriage in a way that will bless them and all who see them.