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A Deep and Bright Purpose of Marriage

Right after Jesus gifts us with the Beatitudes from his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-11) and shows us the many counterintuitive ways in which we are blessed, he empowers us with a mysterious piece of wisdom. He teaches us that those who follow him are a light in a dark world, and that such a light should not be hidden, because those who have been blessed can now illuminate the gloom, and then bless those groping blindly in the shadows (Matthew 5:14-16). The blessed then become beacons and blessings.

This luminous metaphor can have a variety of meanings. For instance, followers of Christ emanate this light in many different ways – mostly by doing good deeds. But Paul provides us with one very powerful way in which we shine that light. We shine that light through the deep and compelling divine symbolism woven into the nature of the lives we are to live as followers of Christ. Everything we do should point in some way to Christ and his primacy in the church. Paul argues that we can do this by mutual submission to fellow siblings in Christ (Ephesians 5:21). When people see us actively looking for ways to submit to one another, then they will see love and commitment – a functional family with Christ as the head. Even more profound, Paul argues, is the symbolism in marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33). He contends that a wife submitting to the godly leadership of her husband is a divine symbol of the church submitting itself to the leadership of Christ. He then goes on to argue that a husband sacrificially loving his wife is a symbol of Christ loving the church. Lost people who do not know Christ should get a picture of the love of Christ in their observations of Christian marriages!

The world should see a man so devoted to the well being of his wife that he is willing to give his life for her betterment, for her holiness, and for her spiritual radiance. The giving of his life includes everything from his small desires all the way up to his physical life. The world should see a respectful woman so devoted to her husband that she submits to him in everything unopposed to godliness. The striving for these things should be so enmeshed into the character of the marriage that a worldly person sees not only two separate people, but also two people integrally united into one entity. When the lost person sees the light of this kind of marriage, he will then better understand the mystery of Christ and the church.

In what way is the light of Christ embedded into the nature of your life?

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