We gathered on Saturday night to fight for our marriages. Not surprisingly, we started the night by looking at how the gospel informs and transforms our marriages. Below is a review of the main points of Josh Anderson’s first session:
BECAUSE I am perfectly loved and accepted in Christ, I do not exist in my marriage as someone with deep voids in my heart that my spouse needs to fill.
- My spouse doesn’t have to be something for me that he/she cannot be. Only Jesus can satisfy a thirsty soul, and He alone says, “Come and drink and be satisfied.”
- When we look to each other for ultimate acceptance or validation or significance, we are setting each other up for failure. We cannot bear the weight of each other’s souls’ deepest longings, and we weren’t meant to.
- Instead, we are free to actually love one another rather than simply manipulating one another into giving us what we think we need from each other.
BECAUSE I’ve received boundless mercy, I can extend boundless mercy.
- I didn’t have to pay the price for my own sin, so I’m in no position to make my spouse pay when he/she sins against me.
- One of my sins against a holy God is infinitely more offensive than all of his/her sins against me. If we know how much we’ve been forgiven, we are free to forgive one another with no limit.
BECAUSE the cross speaks a supremely offensive word about me, I do not need to defend myself when accused — rightly or wrongly!
- The cross shows me the true sinfulness of my sin. I have nothing left to hide. Anything I’m ever accused of again pales in comparison to what the cross has already said.
- It’s a lot easier to offend the Pharisee than the tax-collector. The Pharisee stands there thanking God that he’s better than everyone else. The tax-collector beats his chest begging for mercy because in light of God’s holiness, he knows he needs it.
BECAUSE of the power of the Holy Spirit at work within me, I am not defined by my past, and our past doesn’t need to define our future.
- God has begun a good work in me and in my spouse. He will not stop that good work until it’s completed.
- We are not doomed to be forever struggling in the same ways.
- We do not need to be slaves to our sin in any of its forms or manifestations.
BECAUSE God has saved us into a family of fellow-rescued sinners, we do not need to walk through marital difficulties in isolation and secrecy.
BECAUSE God created marriage, He intends for it to reflect the gospel, I can know that He is more interested in purifying our marriage than I am.
BECAUSE God gave His Son for me, I know He will not withhold grace from my marriage if we humbly seek Him for it.
Without the gospel, all of the opposites are true and we are left to our broken selves to make a marriage work.