“We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me” (1 Timothy 1:8-11).
“Marriage is so much like salvation and our relationship with Christ that Paul says you can’t understand marriage without looking at the gospel” ― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage.
Satan is crafty. More than any other tactic he takes something God intended for good and twists it in some distorted manner, causing us to miss the true unveiling of God and His character. Here’s an example.
As believers there are few things more precious to us than the Scriptures. In them we find the voice of God lovingly revealing Himself to us. They are a gift proceeding from the mouth, the very heart of God.
Satan manages to take these words of God and turn them into words of bondage and condemnation – and we allow him; I allow him. How so?
The Law teaches us not to covet. God knows that if we yield to covetousness it would leave us unsettled and ever longing for more of the things that could never satisfy. Yet we are prone to sin’s (Satan’s) warping of that command resulting in us a continual desire for more of the things that leave us wanting (Romans 7:7ff). Herein is one of the many ways in which the Law is used “improperly” and is killing us.
This genocide attacks our marriages as well. God has gifted us with His Living Word yet we use it as a hammer on the one we have pledged to love most in this life. I am ashamed to admit there have been times when I have used the Bible not to bless Robyn but to control her; not to uplift but to tear down; not to serve but to lord it over her.
Just because we are quoting Scripture does not mean we are being godly.
Yes, the Scriptures do make judgments of right and wrong as seen in these verses. However, the intention is to lead us away from those beliefs and behaviors distracting us from seeing the fullness and glory of the Living Logos (Jesus) in our lives. The Law used “properly” will guide us into a closer walk with Christ and results in a desire to please Him in all we do – heart and body; individually and as a couple. If the Law ultimately burdens us we are doing something wrong in applying it.
We have been entrusted in our marriages to model Christ’s love to the world. Paul speaks of marriage as a “profound mystery” but adds that the greater wonder is the union He consummates with the believer – all believers – in the church. Every Christian marriage therefore is a picture that witnesses to the world there is something supernatural in that house; a “crazy love”* reflecting the new life that has been birthed within. There is indeed a “sacred trust” we have the fortune to proclaim in the simple and profound practices of marriage. As we live out the miracle of selfless love with the new nature of our redeemed state, we create a compelling attraction to Christ our friends will have a hard time resisting. Will our marriages faithfully communicate this trust?
Lord, we are not ignorant of the schemes of our enemy (2 Corinthians 2:11). He would deceive us to use Your gifts for our own self-interests, pleasures and comfort. In marriage, teach us to receive Your gifts so as to empower one another and reflect your love to a world in desperate need for intimacy and union with You. Discipline us for our good when we would misapply Your Word and distract our mates from living in its fullness. Together help us to live out the splendor of Your story. Through the freedom of this good news, Amen.
* Francis Chan