Marriage to Glorify God
by John Cobb
The sanctity of marriage is being threatened, and all people likely suspect it. Everyone knows divorce rates are shamefully high, and same-sex unions are being legalized on a global scale. To help protect marriage, some are fighting in civil courts, some are writing books, some are preaching, some are teaching, and the list goes on.
Whether it is working is up for debate. Not up for debate is God’s purpose for marriage — to glorify Him (see 1 Cor. 10:31). How much more should we strive, then, to accomplish this purpose with and through a divine institution given to us by grace, an institution that reflects Christ’s perfect bond with His church?
This purpose for marriage is also where we find our best weapon to protect it. If marriages strive to glorify God, their sanctity is upheld. As a result, the world sees God’s glorious gift of marriage as they should and catch a glimpse of God’s beauty, love, and excellence.
God must be first in marriage for it to be lived to His glory. However, putting God first in marriage is not easy. Husbands can easily place their leadership of the household as primary, wives can easily do the same with their care of the house, and each spouse can easily put each other before God. These are but a few examples of things that can become idols if God is not kept first in marriage.
To put God first in our marriages, we must recognize its place. Marriage is secondary and temporary, and God is primary and infinite. Therefore our marriages should always point back to God. To do this, we must submit ourselves to God every day. While all of Scripture helps us to learn our duties and responsibilities, Scripture specifically gives us the magnificent example of Christ and His bride. In Ephesians 5:22–24 husbands are instructed to lead their wives as Christ leads the church, and wives are instructed to support their husbands as the church supports Christ. What a weighty example to follow! Now reflect upon the fact that it was Christ who was perfect — blameless, with no need to apologize, and yet it was Christ who laid down His life out of love for His bride and obedience to His Father (5:25).
May we be humbled by Christ’s example and make every effort to live it. May that be true of our marriages as well as our Christian life.