Relationships in Christ

DAY 2 Marriage as an expression of the gospel – Ephesians 5:22-28

The New Testament perspective on Christian marriage is one of the union being an image of Christ’s union with the church. This union is so close it is to be the two becoming one flesh. The phrase is clearly not literal it is an image of being so close that the two persons are fully united, spiritually, emotionally and physically for equal mutual benefit. It is love so intimate that it is like loving one who is a part of themselves. Paul calls it a profound mystery because it reflects the completeness of Christ’s love for the church. Just as Jesus has presented his bride, the church, as pure through his baptism which represents his death and resurrection and cleansed by the word, v5:28so in Christian marriage that bond should be maintained as pure and unblemished. A Christian marriage should be characterized by mutual love for Christ and dedication to him because of Jesus’ saving death and resurrection. A Christian marriage should also be maintained in its purity by the work of the word of God in their lives. A strong Christian marriage studies and lovingly applies the word of God to their lives together. In a Christ-like Christian marriage love and respect should co-exist. v5:33 Love should not patronize but recognize that both are equal heirs of God’s grace. 1 Peter 3:7 Recognition of that blessing makes the prayer life of the married couple more effective.

It is because Christian marriage is an image of Christ’s love for the church and the church’s love for Christ that it should be between two Christians. Christian marriage is missional in its purpose presenting an image of salvation. Where two people are married and only one of the couple is a Christian, scripture urges that the two remain married in the prayerful hope that the loving witness of the Christian will cause the other to be saved. 1 Corinthians 7:16 However the passages specifically on Christian marriage do not speak about a situation where a marriage is abusive and in such a situation love, righteousness and justice should be appropriately applied for the sake of the victim of abuse.