Marriage Day 9: Who Pays for Your Spouse’s Sin?

Marriage Day 9: Who Pays for Your Spouse's Sin?

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31-Day Marriage Devotion Resources

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).

When your spouse sins, who pays for it? Do you make them pay for what they did wrong, or do you take your spouse to Jesus and show them how His death is enough punishment to remove all of our transgressions? Christians understand the point of the gospel: Christ paid for our sins. The profundity of the gospel encapsulated in five monosyllabic words is amazing grace! This simple way of explaining things is how we taught our children. I would hold up my right hand so they could see each finger. Starting at one end, I showed them the gospel. Five fingers. Five powerful words: Christ. Paid. For. My Sins. When Adam chose to walk away from God by believing a lie (Genesis 3:6), God instituted a plan to redeem Adam and his fallen race (Genesis 3:15). Adam could not save himself. If God did not intervene, Adam and the rest of us would spend a Christless eternity in Hell.

No sin can go unpunished. Even nonbelievers understand the cause and effect of sins and the need for justice. Though they get it wrong much of the time and excuse their sins nearly all the time, they intuitively know the need to punish wrongs. Believers should praise God for the eternal freedom that comes from Christ’s forever payment for sin, but there is something more profound than our present freedom and future hope.

  • Are you living in the present freedom that Christ provides while resting in the future hope of guiltless glorification (1 Corinthians 1:8)?
  • How are you exporting the guiltless, glorious gospel to your spouse?
  • Do you lead your spouse to the payment maker after they sin against you?
  • Do you make your spouse pay for their sins, or do you help them get to the restorative Jesus?

Christ does not make you pay for your sins if you are a Christian. He sacrificed Himself for your sin by giving His life for you. He does not get angry at you but seeks to restore you (Galatians 6:1-2). If you truly understand this fundamental gospel truth at the moment of your spouse’s sin, your response should be a gospel-motivated sacrifice rather than a self-centered punishment. Rather than choosing sinful anger (punishment) as a response to your spouse’s sin, you must adopt an attitude of forgiveness (sacrifice). Jumping to sinful anger will distort and strain your relationship with God and with your spouse.

If your goal is for your spouse to walk in holiness, you have to think and act like Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). To help your spouse to be like Christ, you will have to set aside what you want at this moment. If you choose to punish your spouse when they sin, do not expect to have a one-flesh union that glorifies God or benefits either of you. Each time you punish your spouse, you are making it harder to accomplish the thing you desire the most for your marriage: to be Christlike. If the gospel means anything to you, it must be real at the moment of sin, whether yours or your spouse’s. Otherwise, you are mocking the redemptive purpose of His sacrifice.

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Time to Reflect

  1. How does the redemptive power of the gospel impact your marriage at the moment of your spouse’s sin? Are there any growth opportunities—things you want to change about yourself?
  2. When your spouse sins against you, do you punish or sacrifice? Please explain.

Practical Suggestion

Share this devotional with your spouse. Tell them how the Spirit of God illuminated your thinking, specifically by how you treat your spouse’s sin. Pray together, asking the Father to help you help your spouse. Talk about a practical way to implement this devotion into your marriage.

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