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.