Relationship: Forgiving and Forbearing
In the first five sessions we explored God’s glory reflected in Biblical marriage. Marriage is not man’s idea, but God’s. God made marriage part of the creation events. From the beginning, marriage has a clear purpose. The Apostle Paul makes clear the purpose in his letter to the Ephesians stating, “This mystery is profound, but I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Marriage will portray Christ’s relationship with his bride, the church. On the stage of life, each husband represents Christ and each wife represents the church. This profoundly shapes the way we understand headship and submission. As husbands and wives, we must accept our divine calling in this one flesh relationship, not just because it’s best for the marriage, but because the Gospel is at stake.
Even though God’s design for marriage reflecting the Gospel is perfect, the actors engaged in the play are not. No matter how much we desire to image the perfect love of Christ in our marriage, often we fail. This is the reason marriage is based on grace. “As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”(Colossians 3:13) In other words, take the forgiveness that we have received by the death of Christ and freely give it to others; specifically, husbands to wives, and wives to husbands.
No one is naïve enough to think their marriage will be perfect to the end. We are sinners married to sinners. Therefore, this session examines the need for forgiveness and forbearance by grace.
The Foundation of Marriage:
GRACE (Colossians 2:13-14, 3:13)
The Practical Aspects of Grace in Marriage:
- There is going to be conflict based on sin in marriage, we need to forgive sin and forbear strangeness, and sometimes you won’t even agree on which is which;
- The hard, rugged work of forgiving and forbearing is what makes it possible for affections to flourish when they seem to have died;
- God gets glory when two very different and very imperfect people forge a life of faithfulness in the furnace of affliction by relying on Christ.
You and your Spouse have worth:
Colossians 3:12 –
Chosen – the apple of God’s eye
Holy – set apart for God’s purpose
Loved – God is for you and not against you
Value and worth solicit a response:
Colossians 3:12 –
Inner response – compassionate heart
Outward response – kindness, humility, meekness
Being a person with Patience:
Colossians 3:13 –
Forbear – endure strangeness
Forgive – freely or graciously give
We don’t know what our spouse will be like in 35 years. Our HOPE is based on this: we are chosen, holy, and loved. All things God works for our ultimate good.
In the “Garden of Marriage”, learn to separate the flower bed from the compost pile. Spend more time among the flowers.