Thursday, May 01, 2008

Grace upon grace, the food of marriage (Or, grace is what makes Christian marriage different - and how desperately I need that grace)

If Galatians is my favourite book in the New Testament then Romans 7v1-6 is one of my other favourite passages (if you'll permit having favourites).

It's so good because it tells of our awful old marriage to Mr Law which ended when we, not the law, died with Christ. And then we rose to a new marriage with Jesus. Freely. Secured. Justified. Alive. And while the old husband was always right and always fault-finding, Jesus just gives us grace upon grace that is transforming. Abundant grace by which we can reign in life.

I love this glorious life-giving life-changing God-glorifying truth. I love that we got taught it at our 'Join the Church' course meeting last night.

A secondary application has been hitting me afresh this week (actually it's been working away at me since Terry Virgo's opening talk at New Word Alive :

It's not Paul's intention in the passage, but anyone who is married is bound to ask the question - what about my marriage? The sobering question for me is,
Am I like the law to my wife?
Or am I like Christ?
Heart-breakingly I know that too often I've been self-righteous and fault-finding, trying to fix my wife with my great ideas. Such an approach is futile, stupid and evil. Such an approach is rooted in pride and idolatry. I'm not a perfect husband like the law, and even if I were, fault-finding can't help it only results in death.

How much better to be a husband who feeds his wife with grace upon grace. Grace that bears fruit of life. See I know that the husband is to be like Christ, and yet for some reason words like headship and submission don't instinctively work out in the kind of love that Jesus has for his bride. I need more looks to Christ, more feeding on his glorious grace.

O, that the grace I've received from Jesus would overflow increasingly in my marriage. O, that I would reign in life by the grace of God and the gift of righteousness that comes to me freely because of the blood of Jesus.


  1. Amen!! Amen amen amen!! Died to the law!! That's incredible - I was just listening to "The Power of the Cross" in the shower before leaving for work - what TRUTH!!

    "Oh, to see my name
    Written in the wounds,
    For through Your suffering I am free.
    Death is crushed to death;
    Life is mine to live,
    Won through Your selfless love.

    This, the pow'r of the cross:
    Son of God—slain for us.
    What a love! What a cost!
    We stand forgiven at the cross".

    WHAT can you say in response?! What a Saviour!!

  2. Favourite passage? Oh, brother. Have you considered printing it in red........??!#*

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  4. What a great thought, thanks Dave. How many evangelical husbands take headship to mean 'In this marriage I am the law!'. Such marriages bear fruit for death. To be head means to be Christ, which means to pour out your life not because she's beautiful but to make her beautiful.

  5. Your post reminds me of one of my favorite books on marriage by Gary L. Thomas:
    "Sacred Marriage, What if God Designed Marriage to Make us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?"

    His contention is that just like there are unique opportunities in being single to follow Christ and be conformed to his image, so are there unique opportunities in marriage....