Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Power of the Gospel for Marriage

Dave Harvey has written a wonderful book on Marriage, the title alone should be some indication that it's not the typical fare. It's called "When Sinners Say I Do".

Dave is senior pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA, his church is a part of the Sovereign Grace family of churches, which already made this a worthwhile purchase!

I generally am skeptical of most of the Marriage books that I've come across, simply because I don't believe that they paint a very accurate picture of what most Marriages are like, they usually speak in generalities and don't give much practical advise, I should say not all of them are that way just most of the ones that I've read.

When Sinners Say I Do is far from the typical book on marriage, it gets right to the heart of the problem of all of our marriages, and that problem is...are you ready? me. It's not my spouse or the kids, or the outside circumstances, it's me.

I'm a sinner, in fact I'm the worst sinner I know. Dave Harvey gives a great confession in the preface of the book, quoting Galatians 5:17 "For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do."

This passage describes us all very well, and shines quite a bit of light on most of the problems in our marriages, sin and the fact that we are sinners, that is indeed what we are.

Dave gives a lot of insight here, "To say that "I'm a sinner" is to stare boldly at a fundamental reality that many people don't even want to glance at. But when we acknowledge that painful reality in our lives, several great things become clear. We find ourselves in good company-the heroes of our faith, from Old Testament times to present, who experienced the battle with sin on the front lines. We also acknowledge what everybody around us already knows-particularly our spouses, But, by far the greatest benefit of acknowledging our sinfulness is that it makes Christ and his work precious to us."

Only sinners need a savior and marriage is the place that brings that to the surface more than any other relationship that we have, living in close proximity with each other tends to do that and just the fact that in Marriage everything is live and in full technicolor!

Dave gives a very helpful example in regards to this and the remaining sin in us, " Original sin filled the "engine" of our hearts with the "oil" of depravity-dark, greasy, and staining everything it touches. Circumstances come along and heat the engine. When the engine is hot-when events in our lives test our hearts by stirring anger, lust, greed, etc. - whatever is in the engine spews out. The heat (the circumstances) did not fill the engine with oil, it simply revealed what was in the engine.(emphasis mine) Experienced any heat lately?"

Dave goes on to give the example of Jesus and how when he experienced excruciating pain and suffering, what we would definitely consider bad circumstances, what spilled over from his heart was love, mercy, compassion, kindness, Christ did not respond sinfully to the circumstances in his life. Even an undeserved humiliating, brutal and torturous death, that he was enduring even for the ones who spit in his face and hated him really, even we who were the very enemies of God, we've been brought near through the cross.

This book would be a great resource for couples who have been married 50 years or 50 minutes, the great thing about this book is that it relates to all of us, there aren't many books written that you can say that about especially in the area of Marriage. So do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of "When Sinners Say I Do" your spouse will thank you!

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