“And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules” (Ezekiel 36:27).
Thus, the promise of God was made. One day the Lord would send His Spirit to dwell within His redeemed people, enabling them FINALLY to live a life of obedience and faithfulness to His character and law.
The New Testament then chronicles how God has fulfilled this promise through the sending of Jesus, the Son of God and the first true “Man of the Spirit.” As the work of atoning for the sins of His people was coming to its fruition, Jesus restated the promise to God’s people:
But when the Helper [Holy Spirit] comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, He will bear witness about Me (John 15:26).
It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you (John 16:7).
Then Pentecost came (Acts 2) and the Age of the Spirit dawned! The church was never the same. The band of competitive, naive and oft ill-tempered disciples were powerfully unified into an evangelisitc force that rocked the world, and is still rocking it! Those who would renounce sin [repent] and cry out for mercy from Jesus the Christ would now experience the permanent presence of God dwelling with them by the Holy Spirit. To be a Christian is to be a person of the Spirit (Rom 8:9; 1 John 4:13-16). Therefore, it should come as no surprise that God now expects His people to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:16).
The very command from God implies that His people actually can obey. Indeed, for followers of Christ indwelt by the Spirit of Christ [Holy Spirit], where God commands He enables obedience. Obviously, Christians will not achieve perfect submission to the Spirit in this life due to remnants of our sin nature (Gal 5:16-17). Nevertheless, God can and does enable His people to pursue Him in obedience. This He does by His Spirit applying His truth [word] to our hearts and lives (John 17:17). This He does as we continually repent, trust Christ and submit ourselves to the Spirit and the Word.
What has all this to do with Christian marriage? Everything! The church desperately needs to recover what I call “You can” theology. In the church, we are quite good at telling people what not to do, and this is an essential aspect of walking with God. But, what we do not do enough is to tell people what they can do in the power of the Spirit and the freedom of Christ. Christ, by His Spirit and truth has set us free! We can obey Him now because He can and will empower us! “You can because He can.” You can because He is, and He is with you!
For sin will not have dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace (Rom 6:14).
Christian brother, you can do marriage God’s way. You can lead and love your wife like Christ leads and loves His church. You can enjoy life-long, God-like love with your wife. You can love your wife and children sacrificially. You can fight lust, the world and the devil. Your home can reflect the glory of the Risen Savior. You can because He can!
Christian sister, you can do marriage God’s way. You can submit to your husband as unto the Lord. You can respect him and love him as a determined act of your will, even if he is not exercising perfect headship. You can pour your life into your children and your home. You can fight worldly ideals of two-income American dream chasing. You can clothe yourself with strength and honor (Prov 31). You can have a gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in God’s eyes (1 Peter 3). You can because your God can!
While we will not fully and finally shake off this sin nature this side of glory, we must never forget that we have been set free, unshakled as it were, to doggedly pursue God’s purposes and pleasure in our homes. And pursue them we must! We must because we can! We can because King Jesus is, and He is with us!
God help all of us, married or yet-to-be married, to live by this creed: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).