The Gospel changes us and the Good News of Jesus Christ never becomes remedial. In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus he gives some misbehaving husbands some instructions - let’s drop in and hear what Paul says to them, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, …”
Here’s the backstory. In Ephesus, men saw women as a piece of property, a business decision. Husbands did not see their wives as someone to cherish and love and care for so sexual relationships outside of marriage were culturally acceptable, regardless if it went against God’s law.
Please notice Paul did not attempt to address the problem on the surface, he dug deeper into the heart of these men. He told them to think about the Gospel, think about Jesus, think about how much God loves you and let that motivate your love for your wife.
Paul doesn’t say be nice to your spouse or here are the rules of marriage, he doesn’t offer marriage counseling or tickets to the latest marriage conference at some big mega-church and he doesn’t offer free babysitting at the church so they can have more date nights (can you date your wife?). He says to be like Jesus.
Christ loved you when you were not lovely, while you were still a sinner Christ died for you. Jesus gave Himself in order to cleanse you from your sins. Paul tells husbands to go and love your wife the way Christ loved you, serve your wife the way Christ served you. Look at your wife the way Jesus looks at you, He looks at you and thinks you are awesome! If she’s not perfect remember you are not perfect, but it doesn’t stop Jesus from responding in perfection.
At the Church at Corinth, there was a man having a physical relationship with his stepmother, people were actually getting drunk while at church, there were divisions over who was the best pastor. Again Paul did not ground them from driving and send them to their room, this is what he said, “Now I would remind you brothers, of the Gospel, I preached to you, …” Remember the Gospel, remember Jesus, remember what He did for you, remember how He loved you despite the fact that there was nothing to love.
The Gospel never gets old and it never stops having an impact on our lives. It affects our work ethic, our parenting, our finances, blah, blah, blah. Now go and be like Jesus. He told me to tell you that.
Ken Ansell currently serves as a pastor and local missionary in small, rural Texas community. He plays lots of tennis and fly fishes when he can. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.