MARITAL ISSUES AND GOD'S GRACE
I shared some truth about marriage in the last two articles and such truth is a gift because God can use it to change our perspective about His original plan for marriage, thereby urging people to change their attitude toward marriage. Encouraging Godly changes in your marriage helps you to align with God's plan for marriage and to adapt to each life stage with your spouse. But sometimes this topic can look judgmental to anyone who has already experienced adverse marital circumstances that ended badly.
Reference: Matthew 19:9-12 New International Version (NIV) 'I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery. The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry." Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others - and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."'
In the above Scriptures, Jesus made an exception. Now watch this: the Bible tells us that Jesus is made of two powerful realities - grace and truth, which bring about spiritual balance. The Scripture says this about Jesus: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth' (John 1:14 NIV). Jesus is an embodiment of grace and truth. This is the balance. When we talk about God's grace, we gravitate toward the idea of His love and forgiveness, which is based on Jesus' finished work, and so to make up for conflict in marriage, apostle Paul came in with the idea of God's grace.
Here's Pauline revelation concerning married life: To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? (1 Corinthians 7:10-16).
Today, we know that in marriage, many have had experiences where it didn't end well. With Paul's revelation in view, we cannot deny the fact that there are cases where the relationship between a married couple experienced breakdown such that they could not ordinarily restore their marriage. Instead, they tried to forgive and move on. In such circumstances, grace has become a gift because God can use it to bring harmony into their tough situations. This means that we need to create room not to ignore or overlook serious hurts and problems that should be addressed in marriage.
In the Bible we learn the heart of God - our heavenly Father - from the teachings of Jesus. And we see how Jesus brings the practices of grace and truth together, so there could be a balance. Jesus is infinitely compassionate. In other words, He is willing to accept and forgive all who come to Him, regardless of their marital status. At the same time, the truth about God's standard cannot be undermined. So Jesus is never reluctant to communicate the truth to bring us deeper into our faith walk with God.
Scripture Reading - Genesis 2:24; Proverbs 19:14; Ephesians 5:33; 1 Peter 4:8.
Guided Prayer: Heavenly Father, I'm grateful that you have called every couple to intimacy with you first and to have a Christ-centred marriage. I pray that you strengthen the bonds of physical and spiritual intimacy in marriages as couples strive to continuously build a stronger marriage, by your Spirit. Thank you for blessing every marital commitment with courage, strength, tenacity, perseverance and most of all joy, in Jesus' Name, Amen!