What does it mean for Marriage?
In many Christian circles, Ephesians 5 and Paul’s teaching there is an instant ‘turn off’. For some, talk of ‘marriage’ is hard to hear because of personal circumstances or history. And then, making such conversation even more difficult, is Paul’s mention of the word ‘submission’, which in our contemporary culture seems immediately oppressive– and so the passage is quickly discounted as culturally bound and irrelevant. BUT WAIT! Don’t switch off, because: (i) the passage is primarily about God’s relationship with his people, the church; and (ii) the passage reveals the true nature of love– love in all kinds of relationships. So, if you haven’t already, read chapter 7 of The Dangerous Duty of Delight (link above).
In chapter 7, Piper’s description of ‘Love that includes self-interest’ calls us to allow the bible to define love, based on the example of Christ’s love for his people, the church. He loves his church such that she is ultimately presented before him as pure and blameless, spotless in holy beauty, thus bringing him great joy. Consequently, this love leads him to the cross. What is the highest possible good and greatest joy for the church? To be presented pure and blameless as a bride for Christ, having been made holy by her saviour. And so, concludes Piper:
“Love seeks its happiness in the happiness of the beloved. It will even suffer and die for the beloved in order that its joy might be full in the life and purity of the beloved.”
Pondering this quality of love– the love of Christ for us– we might prayerfully consider the following questions:
- Are you willing to seek your happiness in the happiness of Jesus Christ? What difference will that make?
- If you are married, what difference will this understanding of ‘self-interested’ love make to your marriage?
- If you are not married, what difference will this understanding of ‘self-interested’ love make to your relationships at church?
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