Marriage is about Worship
There are many reasons often given for the purpose of marriage—because it makes sense for me financially, because it improves my social standing (though perhaps this reason is waning), because it will give me happiness and pleasure, because it feels right, because I want a family—there are many reasons, many good reasons for marriage, but there’s only one ultimate purpose. Marriage is about worship.
Marriage is about worship—not about worshiping your spouse, as if she or he is the center of the universe—marriage is about the worship of God through Jesus Christ, and that should fundamentally shape how you think about your marriage relationship with your spouse.
Let’s start at the beginning. You were created for God’s glory. That’s clear enough from Genesis 1. Mankind alone is said to be imago Dei, the image of God. We were created in God’s image to fill God’s earth with God’s glorious likeness.
After sin entered humanity, that image remains, but is marred. We still reflect something of God’s glory, but we’re inwardly bent toward ourselves and that focus gives rise to all sorts of sinful desires that lead us away from living for the purpose for which God created us.
And the story gets even worse. Ephesians 2:1–3 tells us that sin has brought about our spiritual death, and that as those who were spiritually dead we were actively following the world, and actively following Satan himself, and, lest we try to escape responsibility by blaming this on the world or Satan, we were all the while actively “carrying out the desires of the body and the mind.” We were doing exactly what we wanted to do. We were choosing Satan, choosing the world, choosing the flesh over God, and therefore we were due to receive our just punishment—the wrath of God for our sins.
“But God,” Ephesians 2 continues in verse 4, “being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.” This happened by the work of the Spirit through the word of the gospel. The message of Christ—giving himself for our sins so that we might become righteous in him—brings dead sinners to life. That message is received by grace through faith, not by works, Ephesians 2:8–9 tells us; through that message, God makes us alive, he “creates us in Christ Jesus,” making us new creations in him.
The question then is this: What’s our new purpose in Christ? What’s the purpose of our new life in Jesus?
It’s the same purpose that we were given at the very beginning: we were created for God’s glory, and now, in Christ, we’re re-created for God’s glory.
This is abundantly clear in the New Testament, but for sake of time, I’ll just mention two such verses:
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
- Colossians 3:17 – And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
In Christ, you are called to live for God’s glory, doing everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, that is, in line with the truth of Christ and for the name of Christ.
That same truth is expressed also in the second chapter of Ephesians. Immediately after the message that we’re saved by grace through faith and not by works, Ephesians 2:10 says this: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
We were created in Christ Jesus—made alive in him through the gospel—for good works. Good works do not save us, but they are one of the purposes for which God created us in Christ Jesus, and as we walk in them, carrying out those good works, God gets the glory.
For those who are married, and those who will one day be married, marriage is one of those good works for which God has created you in Christ Jesus.
The second half of the book of Ephesians describes how to live in light of what God has accomplished in our lives through the gospel. It’s filled with the types of good works that we should be doing in response to the immeasurable riches of God’s grace that he has begun to pour out on us and will pour out on us for all eternity (see Ephesians 2:7). It’s in that context that we find the New Testament’s longest treatment of marriage in Ephesians 5:22–33.
The roles of husbands and wives are spelled out there, as is the incredible reality that marriage is meant to be a picture of Christ’s love for his bride, the church. Both of those are blogposts for other days. But for now, the main thing I think we need to see is this: Every aspect of your life is an opportunity for you to carry out these good works that God has created you for in Christ Jesus, and, for those who are married, your marriage is chief among those.
Contrary to popular opinion, your marriage is not about you. Your marriage is not even about your spouse. Your marriage is about God and his glory. Your marriage is an opportunity for you to continually engage in good works—the good works of sacrificially loving your spouse and laying down your life for the good of your spouse in a thousand practical ways—and to do these good works as a response to what Christ has done for you, to the glory of God.
Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God, including every aspect of your marriage.
Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.