Biblical Marriages in a Broken World, Part 1

[Editor’s Note: This summer we at BtT are running some older but good posts. Look out for all new content in August. This post originally appeared on October 22, 2008.]

Portrait of a Redeemed Marriage

I believe one of God’s greatest gifts this side of heaven is marriage and family. I believe they are good gifts from a great God. My wife Charlotte and I have been married for more than 30 years and we have loved each and every minute. We have had our good days and our bad days like every couple, but our life together has truly been a blessing from the Lord. We were also graced by God with four sons, each now serving King Jesus, with two involved in ministry overseas. We have three beautiful daughters-in-law and three grandchildren and a fourth on the way. We agree with the psalmists, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5).

Tragically many in our fallen world are not experiencing what God designed for marriage and family. Sin and confusion rob them of the delights and joys God planned in this sacred covenant relationship. Divorce, marital disharmony and broken lives are all about us, and the heartache and disappointment we see day after day causes us to weep and cry out to our Lord for help.

Placing marriage within the great redemptive storyline of the Bible is instructive in seeing what God planned, what went wrong, and how we can regain something of “Paradise Lost” in our homes. The three great movements and the appropriate text can be outlines as follows:

CREATION

Genesis 1-2

“Equal Image Bearers”

FALL

Genesis 3

“Battle of the Sexes Begins”

REDEMPTION

Ephesians 5

“Redeemed and Restored Marriage”

There is a remarkable redemptive biblical storyline when it comes to the family that runs like this: Genesis 1:26-28 – Genesis 2:18-25 – Deuteronomy 6:1-9 – Ruth – Psalms 127, 128 – Proverbs 31:10-31 – Song of Solomon – I Corinthians 7:1-40 – Ephesians 5:1-6:4 – Colossians 3:1-18 – 1 Peter 2:13-3:7. This list is not exhaustive but it does note major text along the path.

Interestingly the New Testament grounds both the assignment of a redeemed husband and a redeemed wife in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus. In Ephesians 5:25-33 Paul draws on the themes of sacrifice and substitution (v. 25 in particular) in addressing the responsibility of a saved husband. In 1 Peter 3:1-6 Peter calls upon a saved wives to submit to an unsaved husbands that they “may be won [to Jesus] without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior (vs. 1-2). The grounding or basis for this charge is found in 2:21-25 where Peter highlights the redemptive emphasis of Christ’s example (esp. vs. 21-23). This is an amazing insight, the significance of which must not be understated or papered over. A biblical theology of the atonement undergirds a biblical theology of marriage.

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