Beauty from Ashes

"They will be called oaks of righteousness; a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Isaiah 61:3

This Momentary Marriage: Chapter 3 June 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiemears @ 3:02 pm

Quite frankly, I believe that John Piper totally outdid himself in this, the third chapter of his book on marriage. This book is quickly making me the Piper fan I’ve always wanted to be, but just never could bring myself to be. His thoughts on marriage reflect his (obviously) intense spiritual maturity and his evident downright wisdom on the topic of Godly marriage.
This chapter showcases the purpose of marriage as being for the display of God’s grace. Grace and Jesus’ sacrifice for me on the cross are two things which I try daily not to take lightly but, which I also could probably never grasp. Why anyone would want to lay down their life for someone like me (or you, or you, or you) and then to continually forgive me when, time after time, I throw grace back in His face with my sin, is beyond me. But, He does. Paul sums this grace up so well in Colossians 2:13-14: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”
In this chapter, Piper urges husbands and wives to first, live a life experiencing the forgiving grace of Christ and then, to show such grace to their spouse. This is one of the main ways in which marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship to his church.
Everyone who is married has thrown the famous verse of 1 Corinthians 13 into their spouse’s face during an argument, “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” However, this verse is not meant to be a sword with which we fight our spouse but, rather, the actual way in which we interact with them. What would my marriage look like if I could daily, without thought or reservation, extend the same grace to Michael which Christ extends to me? This is probably one part of marriage which I particularly struggle with the most. Piper sums it up well in this quote in the chapter which I love, “God took the record of all your sins that made you a debtor to wrath, and instead of holding them up in front of your face (like I so often do to my spouse) and using them as the warrant to send you to hell, God put them in the palm of His Son’s hand and drove a spike through them into the cross. Powerful.
So why do I find it so hard to forgive and extend this grace to my husband? Because I’m sinful. But, in a strange full-circle type of way, this is precisely why God extended the grace to me which He does. Thus, my response to His grace MUST be the extending of said grace to those around me, namely my husband, the greatest gift which I have been given, other than my salvation.
The greatest part is, though, that when I do extend this grace to my husband and CHOOSE to see him the way Christ sees him: completely justified and righteous, it brings glory to God, our ultimate purpose on this Earth. It is also marriage-strengthening and love-growing when I can recognize that he is able to extend me that grace our of not only his love for me but also, his commitment to a depiction of Christ in our marriage.


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