Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Making a Christian Marriage #1

by Betty Jackson

Loving Grace

Scholars define grace, bestowed by God, as favor, loving-kindness. In biblical context it is “unmerited favor.” Without at least an inkling of the horridness of sin, grace will be unappreciated. “[T]o the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians  1:6-7; ESV). (Emphasis-mine.) 

Consider the cost of the bestowment of that grace! “...For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many” (Acts 20:28; Romans 5:15).

The offer of grace is an offer for salvation (Ephesians 2:1-10). Of course, that means we must know how to obtain grace. The Bible reveals that plan of grace, or salvation (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 22:16).

Grace can be lost (Galatians 5:1-5). We are to grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18). Growing and changing takes deliberate effort. Habitual behavior is not easy to overcome.  

How can an appreciation of God’s grace help one’s marriage? How can growth improve relationships? A deep and abiding appreciation for God’s grace (unmerited favor) will motivate us to permeate our actions with grace and kindness toward others. Jesus had an attitude toward us. He did not look down upon us because of our sins. Rather, his goal was to rescue us, to help us go to heaven. Our individual goals need to be the same as the Lord’s—helping others go to heaven, without being condescending. Our immediate responsibility is to our mates and our children. 

Consider this: 
Make a list (at least mentally) of your sins for which you are especially grateful that God has forgiven. Thank the Lord for his grace that made it possible that you be forgiven.

Try this: 
Make a list of things that you do that you know irritates your mate. These may be something as unimportant as the way you squeeze toothpaste out of the tube, or it may be a real sin. Don’t make a long list. Just one or two items.

Think about how your husband can show grace towards you, when you do these things he does not approve of, or that irritate him. Note: Grace doesn’t always overlook mistakes. 
Do this: 
Read Colossians 4:6; Ephesians 4:29. How does one who speaks with grace, seasoned with salt (speech permeated with heart-felt love for God and others) speak and act towards another person, even an offending person? 

Make a list of ways you can improve in speaking with grace to your mate. How often do you speak in an angry or condescending tone? Practice—not just when things are going great, but even when you are under stress. If you err, apologize; and start over!

Memorize this:
 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight” (Ephesians 1:7-8; ESV).

Recommended Reading
Jackson, Jill. 
Jackson, Wayne.

Loden, Patsy. 2010. Loving Your Husband. Huntsville, AL. Publishing Designs, Inc.

Questions to Ponder
  1. What does the word grace mean?
  2. How has God shown grace to us?
  3. Can one be saved by grace alone?
  4. What is Christ’s attitude toward those upon whom he has bestowed grace?
  5. How can our speech destroy our influence as a Christian?

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