Marriage Day 30: Husband’s Dilemma: I Lead You, I Sin Against You

Marriage Day 30: Husband's Dilemma: I Lead You, I Sin Against You

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31-Day Marriage Devotion Resources

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit (John 19:30).

Biff does not want to lead his wife. He feels like a hypocrite trying to lead her while sporadically sinning against her. Biff asked his counselor, “How can I lead her and sin against her at the same time?” Admittedly, Mable does not make it any easier on Biff as she reminds him of his sin when he tries to lead her. Biff took the position that it is better not to lead Mable at all if he’s going to sin against her. He has three options.

  • He will not lead his wife until he reaches a state of sinless perfection.
  • He will not lead his wife but continues sinning against her.
  • He leads his wife while recognizing he’s an imperfect leader. Biff acknowledges that he is a sinner called to lead his wife.

Currently, neither Biff nor Mable has an accurate or clear understanding of the gospel—at least as it applies to this situation. The Bible informs us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. God’s Word reveals that there will never be a day in our lives when we will not be tempted to sin, and on some days, we will succumb to those temptations. Because your spouse is the closest individual to you, it stands to reason that you will sin against your spouse more than anyone else. Both partners must humbly understand and apply these two practical truths:

  • God calls a husband to lead his wife.
  • The husband will sin against his wife.

Mable believes Biff is getting off the hook too easily by genuinely confessing his sin and asking for forgiveness. What she does not perceive is the expensiveness of the gospel. The death of Christ on the cross and His eventual resurrection from the grave was an infinite payment for an infinite crime against an infinite Being. To suggest that Biff should pay more than an infinite price for his sin is untenable, plus a mockery of the gospel. Biff is also mocking the gospel by refusing to lead his wife while justifying his passivity by acknowledging he is a sinner. He must accept that he is a saint and a sinner, and sinning is something saints do. Biff needs to get over himself while simultaneously flinging himself on the only person who can clean up his sporadic messes.

He needs to appropriate God’s grace in his life each time he sins and live in the benefit of that gospel experience. Ironically, he confesses his sin against his wife while picking up a host of other sins, such as self-pity, regret, shame, and guilt—all clear indicators that the gospel is not enough for Biff. His gospel is anemic, and Mable is living out her form of gospel dysfunction by not letting Biff off the hook. She agrees with Biff: he must pay for his sin, and though the cross of Christ is a good start, there must be more. While not minimizing any sin against anyone, Mable is missing a vital point of the gospel: Christ died for sins. She has unwittingly put herself in God’s role. Mable is the sole determiner and executioner of the fair judgment of her husband’s sins. Ironically, she does not hold others to this anti-gospel standard: Christ’s death is sufficient for her friends and even her enemies, but she has a Christ-plus penalty box when it comes to Biff.

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Time to Reflect

Will you spend time over the next few days thinking about these two statements? Perhaps sharing them with a friend, in the context of this devotion, will aid in your reflections.

  1. Does your theology say, “God’s Judgment of His Son + Your Judgment of Your Spouse = Satisfied Debt?”
  2. Does “God’s Judgment of His Son + Nothing = Satisfied Debt,” which releases you from punishing your spouse when they sin?

Practical Suggestion

How do you need to change to bring your life and marriage in line with the gospel? Start changing with a prayer to your Father now. Afterward, make a practical plan to avoid the anemic gospel trap.

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