Today I was asked by the two of you to speak about the gospel. And it’s worth asking, why would you want me to talk about the gospel at your wedding ceremony? Isn’t this your special day? Why have me speak so much about Jesus and His death and resurrection?
What does the gospel have to do with marriage?
I think you know the answer is that the gospel has everything to do with marriage. Or, rather, marriage has everything to do with the gospel.
And what I want to do in these next minutes is briefly touch on two ways that the gospel and marriage intersect with each other.
The Gospel is the Power for Marriage
The first comment is that the gospel provides the power for marriage.
Take a moment to look at each other. Don’t you look great? But I have news for you: you are each sinners. Each of you is a son of Adam and a daughter of Eve and you’ve inherited a nature capable of toe-curling sin. There is literally no end to the selfishness, greed, and sinful passions that you are both prone to.
And today, you are choosing to get married. You are choosing to enter in to the closest of all human relationships. You have chosen the other person as the one with whom you will share your very life, your very self.
And what that means is that you have chosen the other person to be the person who will sin against you the most.
While you’re dating, while you’re on your best behaviour, you can keep it looking pretty good. But by entering in to marriage together, you are each going to get a front-row seat to all of the faults and flaws and sins that you work so hard to keep hidden from everybody else.
And as you really start to get to know each other, beginning today, as you encounter each other’s sin, as you are hurt by each other, you will be faced with a constant choice.
A choice to withdraw, to protect yourself, to keep score, to hurt the other person back. To love them only as much as they love you.
Or, a choice to engage, to bless, to keep no record of wrongs, to show undeserved grace to each other again and again and again. To love the other person better than they deserve no matter how little you get in return.
And this is why the gospel is the power for marriage. Because showing that kind of love, that kind of grace, that kind of forgiveness, is only possible at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.
He died for you. He took your sins and your sorrows and made them His very own, taking your burden to calvary where He suffered and died alone. For you.
And if Jesus has shown you that much grace, how can you not freely show grace when you yourself are sinned against?
And you can go a step further and look at your spouse right when they have hurt you and know that the Son of God was already punished for what they just did to you. So how can punish them with your anger or sullenness or whatever it’s going to be? Full atonement has already been made for everything wrong you will both do for the rest of your life.
Knowing this as you enter into marriage will give you a freedom to love without limits.
And on the nights when things feel so hard and your heart is not responding to these truths the way it is today, you can remember that Jesus Christ did not just die for our sins but He walked out of the grave for us. And if He is powerful enough to overturn death He is more than powerful enough to conquer the hardness and the hopelessness that so often finds a home in our own hearts.
In these and in so many other ways, the gospel is the power for marriage.
The Gospel is the Purpose for Marriage
The second truth we want to consider this morning is that the gospel provides the purpose for marriage. You know that marriage is not just a celebration of how you feel. Marriage is a covenant in which you promise to be faithful no matter how you feel.
And this covenant was designed on purpose by God to be a reflection of His covenant relationship with His people.
In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul quotes Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” And then he adds: “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Eph 5:31–32).
This whole thing—Adam, Eve, marriage, you two, the covenant of marriage—is all about Christ and the church.
Jesus is the groom who left his Father’s side to seek out a bride, His church. Us. And Jesus laid down His life in the place of His bride to make her beautiful and perfect and spotless.
And not even death could do us part. Jesus walked out of His own grave, and today is watching and waiting and working for His bride to be complete and to be ready.
He is coming for His bride, His people, His church, and we will enjoy our covenant relationship with Him forever.
Your marriage is a miniature of that marriage. Your covenant is about that covenant. Your marriage is not about you but was designed by God to show the rest of us what Jesus is like, and what we, as His church, should be like.
In the years to come, people should be able to look at you two and say, “If Jesus loves his church that way, I want in. If submitting to Jesus brings as much blessing as I see in that marriage, I want in.”
So what does the gospel have to do with marriage? Everything. And we’ve just scratched the surface today! You two, if God wills, have years, decades, to discover together the power and the purpose of the gospel in marriage.