A couple months ago I saw an article link posted on the Wretched website entitled, “Who pays for your spouse’s sin? Your spouse or Christ?” Intrigued, I clicked on the link and read an excellent article on the relation of the gospel to marriage. I will share a few excerpts below, but I strongly encourage you to read the article in its entirety.
Let’s suppose my wife, Lucia, sins and I get angry with her as a response to her sin. In such a case, which sadly is how it goes in our home from time to time, I would be punishing her for her sin. I would be acting as “God” by demanding justice, while completely missing the Gospel. Christ bore the Father’s wrath, died, and rose from the grave in order to accomplish salvation for anyone who authentically believes this story. Thankfully, Lucia was regenerated by the grace of God many years ago. Her sin, past, present, and future has been paid for because of the Gospel.
When I respond in anger to her sin, I am making her do what Christ would never do. I am punishing her.
Christ did not make me pay for my sin. He sacrificed for my sin by giving His life for me. If I truly understand the Gospel in the moment of my wife’s sin, my response would be a Gospel-motivated sacrifice rather than self-centered punishment.
Therefore, rather than choosing anger (punishment) as a response to her sin, I must choose an attitude of forgiveness (sacrifice) when she sins against me.
However, when I am practically applying the Gospel in the moment of her sin I am living out Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 5:25-26. Our relationship is not distorted by my sin, while my wife is being sanctified, cleansed, and washed by God’s Word. Rather than me forcing sanctification through intimidation, she experiences the freedom, favor, and power of the Cross in her life where true cleansing happens.
It’s time to put your Christianity to the test: When your spouse sins against you, do you punish or sacrifice? Let’s suppose you have discovered your husband’s porn addiction. Is the Gospel real in that moment? What governs your heart when he sins: a desire to punish him or a desire to help him get to Christ where he can be forgiven and changed.
When your spouse disappoints you for the umpteenth time, what is the ruling motive of your heart? Can you rest in God the Judge, or are you compelled to be your spouse’s judge?No married couple is perfect because marriage is the joining together of two sinners! However, as sinners saved by grace, we live by a different standard. The gospel needs to be applied to every aspect of our lives, including our marriage. Is it easy? No. Is it necessary according to God’s Word? Yes.