Do you realize that a Christian marriage is a living picture? It’s a testimony of Christ’s love for His church. It displays an important biblical message.
As author Rick Pidcock notes:
“The relationship between a husband and wife in marriage models the gospel. When explaining a Christ-centered marriage, Paul says in Ephesians 5:32, ‘This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.‘ The role of husband and the wife in a Christ-centered marriage is ultimately to point our hearts to the gospel of Christ.” (From internet article, “Having a Christ-centered Marriage”)
Christian Marriage as a Living Picture
You can see this throughout the Bible that marriage is referred to as a living picture. It’s a living example displayed, through those who are married, of Christ’s love for the church. Christ is the bridegroom (a man who marries is to be a living example of Christ the bridegroom). And the church (His people) are the bride of Christ (a woman who marries is to be a living example of the bride of Christ).
Jesus Christ takes very good care of His bride —to the point that He sacrificed His life on earth for her. He showed us through His example how to love sacrificially. When we enter into marriage we become models of God’s love in how we treat each other for the world to witness.
The bridegroom (a married man) is to respond to his bride as Christ does for His church. He is to sacrificially love her in his words and his actions. He is to be faithful as Christ is faithful. Christ is then given the opportunity to display His loving nature through this man by how he treats his wife.
The bride (a married woman) is to show her loving respect to God through how she interacts with her husband. This is all a part of being in a covenant relationship with God and her marriage partner. She is to be faithful to her husband as “unto the Lord.”
Distorting The Picture of a Christian Marriage
Think about it. It has got to break the heart of God when we distort His picture of marriage by mistreating each other. As author Charlie Shedd pointed out, “God wrapped His words around the relationship of marriage to describe God’s love and relationship with the world.” What does it say to the world of God’s promises to the Church of His love and devotion for them when we hurt each other as husband and wife?
And what message are we giving out to others of the “transforming power” that God can perform in marriages, when we as God’s living examples, don’t even utilize that power? It’s a sad testimony that so many Christian marriages today are so weak and unhealthy!
We’ve personally known so many people who have expressed a disinterest in knowing Christ because of the nasty ways Christians treat those around them by living unfaithful, dishonest, and dishonoring lives. If we, who claim to know Jesus Christ in a personal way, can’t act loving and gracious towards our marital partner, what makes others who don’t know Christ think He will change their marriages for the better?
As believers in Christ, we’re God’s representatives. We’re His Love “with skin on” demonstrating through our marriages that God, Whose very name means LOVE, can take two self-centered individuals and help us to love beyond ourselves to the glory of God.
As Max Lucado writes:
“A good marriage is a canvas on which God can paint a picture of how he’s able to bring harmony. It’s so God can unite two hearts so that somebody somewhere can look at that marriage and say, ‘Whoa, look at the work God did there.’ And that includes a whole lot of forgiveness and grace.”
In other words marriage models the gospel message. It makes visible the “gospel reality of Christ’s love for the church and the church’s love for Christ.” (Michael Lawrence)
The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 3, that as followers of Christ we’re a “letter, written on hearts, known and read by everybody.” We’re “to show” that we’re “a letter from Christ” …”written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.“
You are God’s Letter
What kind of letter are you writing in how you treat your spouse that everyone can read? Are you writing a love story that shows God’s transforming power? Or are you writing a war story of fighting, contentiousness, and self-centeredness?
For further reflection read the following Bible verses: Proverbs 5:21; Romans 12:9-19; and 1 Corinthians 10:31. Also read: 1 Corinthians 13; 2 Corinthians 3:2-3; and Ephesians 5:1-2. Additionally read, Ephesians 5:25-33; 1 John 3:11; and 1 John 3:16. Lastly read: 1 John 4:7-12; and 1 Peter 2:12. Ask the Lord to speak truth to you as you study His Word.
Our prayer for you is that we will show love to our spouse in such a way that the world “will know that we are Christians by our LOVE.” It is our prayer that God will be glorified in how we live our lives.
Cindy and Steve Wright
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3 responses to “Christian Marriage As a Living Picture – MM #3”
(SOUTH AFRICA) I thank Jesus for saving me from myself. I thank the Lord who has taught me so many things about marriage. I consider myself so fortunate to have learned all these truths about marriage when so many get into marriage blinded and not knowing what marriage is according to God. I am tying the knot in December, I thank Jesus who is my teacher for the work that He has done in me and I KNOW THAT THERE ARE CHALLENGES AHEAD but I pray that I will always learn from Him and always reflect His love to my future husband as well as to the world..
Please cover us in prayer,we have communication problems already that we are struggling with. We always pray that the Lord will help us in this problem and other problems that we face. Is it normal to have communication problems even whilst you are still dating and not even married yet, really serious problems like we can’t finish a sentence without fighting? Is that not supposed to come at least years after marriage? We have been dating for almost 5 years and we have problems even before we marry. Where is the "dating- time hype"?I know the reality of marriage challenges when two people are married, but why are we living that reality already?? I feel so hurt and robbed over this and sometimes I question if we must marry at all… Please help
(USA) Thandi, Are you BOTH born-again believers? If not, then your spirit is going to fight with your fiance’s spirit. You also have to remember that life and death are in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21). There are no two-ways about it… you are either speaking life or you are speaking death. Both of you need to decide today to speak life to each other.
Marriage is hard work. I’ve been married for 18 years. It is a conscious decision to stay married no matter what. You have to pray for protection for yourselves, so that the enemy has no ground to stand on with you. And… the closer each of you is to God, the closer you will be to each other. Think of a triangle. You on the left, the spouse on the right, God at the top.
(ZIMBABWE) I’m one person who has benefited immensely from Marriage Missions. From bitterness to happiness and self contentment. Blessed be you guys for such a stirring work. I praise God for rising to the occasion.