Monday, May 19, 2008

Can Christ Save Marriages?

One of the Google searches that directed a reader to this blog was: "Can Christ Save Marriages?" I think this question is one worth asking and answering, especially in our day of flimsy, unstable marriages. I think the best way to answer this question is to break it down by words. So here goes.

CAN Christ save marriages?

Yes, Christ can save marriages, but that doesn't always mean he will. Can speaks of ability. Christ has the ability to save a person's marriage. But Christ doesn't always immediately do what he is able to do. He always does what fits into his ultimate purposes for creation. For example, Christ can immediately send the world to a fiery hell. He has the authority and capacity to do this. But it would contradict his plans for the future of creation. So his purposes confine his ability. So if someone wonders whether Christ can be called upon to save a chaotic marriage on the brink of divorce, yes he can be called upon. However he cannot be constrained like a genie in a bottle. There's no guarantee that a husband or wife can turn to Christ for the salvation of his or her marriage, and things automatically, miraculously improve.

Can CHRIST save marriages?

Let's consider who it is we're asking to save our marriages. We're asking Jesus Christ, Son of God, Kings of kings, Lord of lords, Light of the world, the Word and Wisdom of God. When someone asks Christ to save his marriage, he has to understand something first. A person's marriage is not Christ's number one priority. Christ's number one priority is ensuring God gets the maximum amount of glory due his name. I've spoken with folks who "have tried Jesus back when Sally Jane was leaving me, and he didn't do anything for me." One of the blessed truths of Scripture is that Christ does good to his people. He is able to do this because at a point two thousand years ago, he took off his royal robes, put on swaddling clothes, then a crown of thorns, and humiliated himself on the cross for the sake of his subjects. But he is not on the cross anymore. He is back on his throne, building his Kingdom in the hearts of mankind, until he brings this age to an end. He does good to his subjects on his terms and in the manner that he sees fit. So, it is crucial when asking if Christ can save marriage to remember just who is being asked. If one has lived his life without faith in Christ, hasn't turned to him for forgiveness for his sins, and humbly submitted himself to Christ as Lord of his life, then he needn't be concerned about his rocky marriage. He needs to be concerned that his Creator has a score to settle with him unless he throws himself on the mercy of the court.

Can Christ SAVE marriages?

This is an important word to ponder. What does one mean by the word save? If by save, one means deliver from an unhappy state, or recover from the brink of divorce, and then leave well enough alone, then one might be disappointed at the answer. And what do married people need saved from? The heaping stack of bills? The screaming kids? Two divergent agendas? Irreconcilable differences? Incessant arguing? All those things are symptoms of the real disease affecting marriage - sin. And Christ saves sinners through the Gospel, not self-help. Is it probable that Gospel-centered Christians will have happier, more durable marriages than others? Yes. But Gospel-centered people don't start with a question about the condition of their marriage. They begin with a question about the glory of God and the state of their soul.

Can Christ save MARRIAGES?

Perhaps a better question to ask than 'Can Christ save marriages?' might be 'Does marriage need saved?' I would answer 'No, marriage doesn't need saved.' Married people need saved. Christ came to save sinners, not marriage. So if one is struggling through a rough marriage, or teetering on the edge of divorce, and will try anything, even Christ, to grant the kind of marriage he's been dreaming of, then he should be ready for a letdown. Christ cannot be used as a means to an end. He is the end. Christ doesn't exist to serve marriages. Marriage exists to serve Christ. So the most important question to ask before asking Christ to save one's marriage is to ask Christ to save one's soul. Then he will be in a better position to understand Christ's agenda on earth, and not sound like a thankless, spoiled brat trying to use God like some dime-store trinket.


Anonymous said...

Probably your best blog ever(or at least so far).


Darby Livingston said...

Thanks. I'll try to keep it up. :)