Mysteriously Meaningful Marriage Part 1

April 1, 2011 at 8:28 am | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Biblical Marriage | 41 Comments
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When the Bible uses the word “love” for the way spouses are supposed to treat each other, it is a translation of the Greek word agape (pronounced uh-GOP-ay). There are different Greek words which can be translated as “love,” but agape is the one we call “Christian love.”

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:24-32, emphasis added

A “mystery” in the Bible is not something we’re never supposed to think about it, and it’s not something to be solved.

https://i2.wp.com/www.modifiedpowerwheels.com/forum/userstuff/wheres/2009142627_MysteryMachine.jpg

It’s something that God has withheld the fuller revelation of, but is about to be revealed by Him. In Ephesians 5:32 God uses the Apostle Paul to reveal a mystery concerning marriage. Marriage had been around since the time of Adam and Eve, but the full revelation of what it meant had not been revealed until Ephesians 5:24-32. The revelation is that God always intended marriage to be a picture of Christ and His relationship to and with the Church. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church, not only in the salvation of individuals (in that He pursues and “takes” a bride), but in that He loves His bride. Christians are supposed to love their spouses the same way that Christ loves His bride, the Church. Therefore, we need to know what kind of “love” is the love of Christ. Obviously, His type of love will be the best type of love. The Greek word for love resulting from relationships, especially familial relationships, such as parent-child and brother-sister is phileo. The Greek word for the type of “love” that is tied to physical passion is eros.

But agape is sometimes translated as “love” and sometimes as “charity” because it is more than just a feeling. It is an active love. It is love in motion. It is true love because it operates in truth and not just in feelings.

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love [agape] of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love [agape] toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:5-8, parenthetical agapes and emphasis added

For God so loved [agape] the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16, parenthetical agape and emphasis added

Agape love is the love of God when He gave His most valuable Gift: His Son.

Beloved, let us love [agape] one another: for love [agape] is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love [agape]. In this was manifested the love [agape] of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

I John 4:7-9, parenthetical agapes added

In Part 2 I’ll show some very practical applications of the mystery of true marital love.

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  1. […] has the first marriage. Revelation has the last. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and […]

  2. […] Last time I showed that Christians are supposed to love their spouses the same way that Christ loves His bride, the Church. The Greek word for the type of love wherewith Christ loves the Church is “agape.” Agape love is Christian love because it operates in truth and not just in feelings. […]

  3. […] your husband. However, fear does not cancel out “agape” love, which was described in a previous lesson. Think of it in terms of how you love God. We are commanded to love God and to draw close to Him. […]

  4. […] Going by what is taught in the Bible, we have to admit that both men and women are affected by the fact that we inherited a fallen sin nature. There is something in the fallen nature of women that wants to rebel. There is something in the fallen nature of men that wants to shirk the responsibility to lead. The world, which for the most part rejects that the Bible is really true, gets this wrong. The world’s portrayal of the stereotypical male who is a bad husband is the “alpha-male” who is overly aggressive and bossy and domineering. The stereotypical picture of these men is that they love to be “leaders,” but they lead with too much force and ego. However, that is a worldly lie, because it is not really the deeper problem. The real problem with men in marriage is that they are not really “leading” because they are not modeling forgiveness or selfless giving. […]

  5. […] To show God’s redemptive glory in the picture of marriage; and 2. To sanctify husbands and wives through the marriage covenant and relationship. Christ hath […]

  6. […] you don’t feel loving toward your spouse, use the love you feel toward Christ as your motivation. Perform acts of grace and mercy on your spouse, regardless of whether he or she appreciates it or […]

  7. […] or the other must be central. Or that the relationship itself is central. The radical thing about knowing what we know about the way marriage pictures Christ’s relationship to the Church is that marriage can be […]

  8. […] marriage was invented by God. Marriage is also an illustration designed by God. It is an illustration of Christ and the Church: Christ is the Bridegroom; the […]

  9. […] Frolicking, and Friends 17. Rehearsing Repetitive Roman Reigns Really Recognizes Right Reckoning 18. Mysteriously Meaningful Marriage Part 1 19. Sacrificially Submitting Surrendered Sanctified Service 20. Doubtful Disputations Deter […]

  10. […] is why “agape” love in a marriage is the only hope for recovering a semblance of the “naked and […]

  11. […] it is even more important to remember that I am a fallen sinner. Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all […]

  12. […] And I do not want it to be empty of the eternal value that God wants it to have as a portrayal and glorifying sign of Christ and His […]

  13. […] trouble? Or when one of your co-workers or relatives comes to you with questions about his or her troubled marriage? When you attend a church service or a Sunday School class, and the Word of God is preached or […]

  14. […] little we understand of agape love! The word “ravished” means to capture someone’s heart – to make him or her come alive […]

  15. […] virtue about your spouse that you wished he or she did not possess? In the Bible’s description of agape love, there are both positive and negative sides. Christian love suffers long, which means that […]

  16. […] Marriage is not about getting recognition for ourselves or gratifying our desire for receiving the appreciation of another person. It’s more about glorifying God’s Name, and reflecting the truth of Christ’s relationship to and with His Church. […]

  17. […] courteous does not have to do with how you “feel.” Note that the Verse says that Christian love does not “behave” itself unseemly. In public, most of us are conditioned to thinking one thing […]

  18. […] is agape love. It is “Christian” love. Within the context of marriage it is self-sacrificing love, […]

  19. […] but, in another, truer sense, the best motivation for marriage is to be a living revelation of the mystery of the love and submission between Christ and His Church. Therefore as the church is subject unto […]

  20. […] Now, those are principles that apply even if you are on your own when it comes to understanding the truth about Christian marriage. You can have victory in Christ even if your spouse is not on your side. I will say, though, that […]

  21. […] rather than carnal battles with carnal weapons. (II Corinthians 10:3-4) When we view our marriages through the Gospel, it is unthinkable that we won’t be proclaiming the Gospel through our marriages in the world. We […]

  22. […] Lord, for loving us. For teaching us that love is more than just a feeling or an emotion. It’s an action – an opportunity to obey You and to show what we believe by how we treat each other. In […]

  23. […] in Ephesians 3:18). True love – rooted and grounded in Christ- is never just passive. It is active. It extends toward others. The Bible knows nothing of “withdrawing love.” If you love […]

  24. […] In marriage – especially Christian marriage – there are certain duties owed by husbands to wives, and vice versa. Even more so, there are duties owed by both spouses to Christ, Who is supposed to be the Center of our marriages. […]

  25. […] the burn pile. The word translated “prayers” is pretty generic, but we know that in marriage, the husband represents Christ and the wife represents the Church. When Christ prays for the Church He “intercedes.” He goes on our behalf and pleads our cause […]

  26. […] is, strictly speaking, about marriage, but marriage is certainly supposed to be nourished by real love, and real love never stops […]

  27. […] and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the […]

  28. […] mysteries are really not mysterious in the way we normally think of that term, because if you read it they are revealed. It is obvious […]

  29. […] of how our marriages are supposed to work and look. Marriage is supposed to be reflective of the love between Jesus and His Church. Therefore, adultery and whoremongering are things that are certainly antithetical to this […]

  30. […] You don’t have to go to a local church to be a Christian. You also don’t have to go home to be married, but I would be a terrible husband if I never went home, and I would be a poor Christian if I […]

  31. […] courteous does not have to do with how you “feel.” Note that the verse says that Christian love does not “behave” itself unseemly. In public, most of us are conditioned to thinking one thing […]

  32. […] 4. The Blessings of an Unhappy Marriage Part 2 5. God Is Real, God Is Good, and God is REALLY GOOD! 6. Mysteriously Meaningful Marriage Part 1 7. Mysteriously Meaningful Marriage Part 2 8. Reverence in Marriage (Part 1) 9. Reverence in […]

  33. […] (II Corinthians 11:26). He has counterfeit churches (Revelation 2:9). He even has counterfeit mysteries (Revelation […]

  34. […] were and are “good,” we must be content to accept them as “mysterious” to us. Usually, a “mystery” in the Bible is something that was hidden, but is now revealed. It is when the absconditus […]

  35. […] never be separated from “living by faith.” Just as love – for Christians – is more of an action than a feeling, so faith – “saving” faith – is a faith that has the power to work. As we […]

  36. […] little we understand of agape love! The word “ravished” means to capture someone’s heart – to make him or her come alive […]

  37. […] and covenant-partners, draw closer to Him and glorify Him with our marriage, in the name of, and for the sake of, Jesus […]

  38. […] you and your spouse to be frequent, inviting, natural, and exciting. He also wants you to know the real reason for your […]

  39. […] pride. We expect humility to be the great deflater, but here the Bible teaches us that love (“charity”) fills people up (“edifies”) in a good way – not with puffy vanity, but with wholesome […]

  40. […] I am joyfully married, and because of the exalted view of marriage given to us by God in the Bible – and because I have been blessed with such a […]

  41. […] Too many people assume that this means everyone should desire the more visible gifts, but the “best” gift for you is whichever gift(s) that God has chosen, in His perfect will, to give you. Covet what He wants you to have. He will give you the desire of your heart if your desire is to know and serve Him. The more excellent way is (as will be shown in Chapter 13) “charity” – agape – Christian love. […]


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