In Christian Marriage 101-206, we considered practical applications for marriage in the basics of love as outlined in the Ten Commandments. This week, we build on that foundation by introducing five “power tools” God’s given. But, as you probably know, any power tool designed to build up can be neglected or abused to tear down. Therefore, our hope cannot be in any tools or even in how well we use them. We need to know and enjoy the God behind the tools who builds His people as the Bride of Christ.
So what is God like, and how can we be sure? To answer the second question first, it’s crucial to understand how God validated the Bible’s human authors (the prophets and apostles) and Jesus. 1) They repeatedly worked miracles: healings, raising the dead, etc.; 2) they were living testimonies of obedience and faith in God; 3) their teachings were consistent with the earlier Scriptures in which He had revealed Himself; and 4) they consistently pointed to our only and sure hope as the Messiah, the Son of God. And they did so surrounded by critics who wanted to discredit them to secure their own religious or political power. In other words, if Jesus or the prophets or apostles had been liars or lunatics, everyone would have known immediately and dismissed the Scriptures as tabloid material.
So what did Jesus, His apostles, and prophets say about God? The most basic attribute and work of God is love in relationship as God the Father’s love (Deuteronomy 32:6, 1 Chronicles 29:10, Isaiah 64:8, Jeremiah 31:9, John 5:18, etc.) for His Son (Psalm 2 and 110, Matthew 26:62-64, Mark 5:7, Acts 9:20, etc.) through His Spirit (Psalm 104:30, Haggai 2:4-5, Acts 5:1-5, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, etc.).
He is one God of love in three Persons (Matt 28:19, Mark 1:1, Luke 8:28, John 10:30, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Galatians 4:6, Ephesians 4:4-7, Hebrews 9:11-14, 1 Peter 1:1-2, etc.). This is especially clear in Jesus’ teaching in John 14-16 and prayer in John 17. And their love now overflows from the Father to His Son through His Spirit for unlovely people. (Luke 11:1-13, Romans 5:5-11, Ephesians 1:2-14)
Discuss “love” in light of each Person of God and how their love should impact marriage in Christ.
- God is not a dispassionate creator. The Father is love, so all creation reflects aspects of His goodness. (Deut 32:6-18, Malachi 1:1-6, Luke 12:32, John 16:27, James 1:16-18, 2 Thess 2:16-17, 1 John 3:1, etc.)
- God is not a distant teacher. The Son lives love perfectly in the flesh. (Psalm 2, Proverbs 30:4, Isaiah 9:6-7, Matthew 21:1-5, Mark 10:35-45, Luke 3:21-22, John 6:15-71 and 19:1-6, Philippians 2:1-11, Hebrews 1:1-14, 1 John 1:1-5, etc.)
- God is not a morally neutral force. The Spirit gives love to the spiritually dead (Ezekiel 36:26-27, John 3:3-8 and 6:63, Romans 8:1-11, 2 Corinthians 3:6), teaches us the truth (John 14:17, 15:26, and 16:13, 1 Corinthians 2:13), and transforms us to begin delighting in God’s love and to love as He does. (Romans 5:5 and 8:11, 1 Corinthians 12:4-13, Galatians 5:22-24, Titus 3:5, 1 John 3:24)
You can see other articles and the embedded videos in this series here.