Marriage: Imaging Christ and His Church

    Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Ephesians 5:25-28 ESV, a portion of our read-through-the-Bible passage for today

John Piper, in a sermon, “Marriage: A Matrix of Christian Hedonism”-

Christ died for the church in order that he might present to himself a beautiful bride. He endured the cross for the joy of marriage that was set before him. But what is the ultimate joy of the church? Is it not to be presented as a bride to the sovereign Christ? So Christ sought his own joy in the joy of the church. Therefore, the example Christ sets for husbands is to seek their joy in the joy of their wives.

Verse 28 makes this application explicit. “Even so, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it.” Paul acknowledges one of the foundation stones of Christian Hedonism: “No man ever hates his own flesh.” Even those who commit suicide do it to escape misery. By nature we love ourselves, that is, we do what we think in the moment will make us happy. And Paul does not build a dam against the river of hedonism; he builds a channel for it. He says, “Husbands and wives, recognize that in marriage you have become one flesh; therefore, if you live for your private pleasure at the expense of your spouse, you are living against yourself and destroying your own highest joy. But if you devote yourself with all your heart to the holy joy of your spouse, you will also be living for your joy and making a marriage after the image of Christ and his church.”

To read or listen to the rest of the sermon, click here:

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