3 Ways the Gospel Brings Harmony to Your Marriage
When the apostle Paul wrote his famous missionary letter to the church in Rome, he wanted to help a host of individuals live together in love, knowing that when people from different backgrounds gather, difficulties would naturally arise. Paul gives the Christians in Rome a vision of how to live together in unity:
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom. 15:5-6)
This is a beautiful passage that most people would read and say, “Yes! We want that!” I mean, who doesn’t want to live in harmony? Even more so, who doesn’t want a harmony that leads to glorifying God? As beautiful as that is, we all come into marriage with a bit of baggage, whether we like to admit it or not. Here are three ways the gospel brings harmony to your marriage.
1. The pursuit of peace is sought as two kingdoms come together in marriage.
Pastor and author Paul Tripp says that marriage can be summarized by two kingdoms coming together. Each kingdom of the self has its own allegiances, passions, and goals, and husbands and wives bring these elements into their new life as one flesh with their spouse.
Paul’s call in Romans 15 to live in harmony and glorify God together with one voice involves something deeper happening in our hearts and minds first. It is a call to gaze at the glorious life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Just a couple of verses earlier, Paul gives the motive that is beautiful enough to hold our attention, while also giving us the ability to let go of our own desires: “For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me’” (Rom. 15:3).
Paul is quoting Psalm 69:9, a psalm foreshadowing Jesus praying to his Father and declaring that he is willing to let the sins of all those who have sinned against the Father fall on himself. In a moment of pure love and caring about others more than himself, the cross becomes the focal point of dying to self for the sake of others. The sinless Savior takes centuries and centuries of sin upon himself so that he can give love and blessing to his people.
2. Tallying in marriage is put aside.
In our marriages, we must first identify ourselves as receivers of grace. Before we can die to ourselves, we must know the intimate and self-giving love of Jesus.
This means that on those days when our logic kicks in and we start to compare who seems to sacrifice the most, we must turn our eyes back to Jesus. There is no tallying in marriage. We cannot keep count of who did the dishes a certain number of times. We cannot count the times we sacrificed our desires for the other, because we will never “out-sacrifice” the Lord Jesus and his death for us. It is a bottomless ocean of grace.
It is only when we come to this place, where both persons in marriage have their minds and hearts fixed on Christ, that something beautiful happens. When Jesus becomes our everything individually, we will notice that both persons can live in harmony with one another because they are both already glorifying God with one voice.
3. Glory is given to God with one voice.
It’s as if you are in two different rooms of your home, quietly singing to your good and gracious Savior. As you walk into the same room, you find to your surprise that you are both singing the same song in a way that creates a true and beautiful harmony. Likewise, when our marriages are lived with the sole purpose of making the gospel known, we are both living in harmony and glorifying our God with one voice.
As an extra bonus, when we fail at this and need help glorifying God with one voice, God himself promises to supply us with what we need. Romans 15:5 tells us, “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony.” Our God cares so deeply about us that he will give endurance and encouragement to keep us living in harmony and glorifying him with one voice in our marriages.
Perfect Harmony in Christ Our Bridegroom
One of the sweetest things about God and his glory is that we are not alone. He has given us the church to help us and love us. We have a whole symphony of voices wanting to come alongside us to glorify God with one voice. And ever before us is Christ our Bridegroom, functioning as a sort of symphony conductor, leading us in this grand procession of glorifying him with one voice. From this day forward, let us sing the tune of his grace together and with his people as we shine forth the good news of the Gospel in our marriages (Eph. 5:22-33).
For Further Reading:
MARRIAGE MATTERS: EXTRAORDINARY CHANGE THROUGH ORDINARY MOMENTS by Winston T. Smith