John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?
John Piper deals with marriage as a uniquely Christ-exalting facet of life in this age. Marriage shows the eternal reality of Christ’s relationship with his church. When we bear that fact out, we look forward to the life to come more fervently and show Christ’s covenant faithfulness to the world.
Table of Contents
1. Staying Married Is Not Mainly about Staying in Love
2. Naked and Not Ashamed
3. God’s Showcase of Covenant-Keeping Grace
4. Forgiving and Forbearing
5. Pursuing Conformity to Christ in the Covenant
6. Lionhearted and Lamblike—The Christian Husband as Head: Foundations of Headship
7. Lionhearted and Lamblike—The Christian Husband as Head: What Does It Mean to Lead?
8. The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission
9. Single in Christ: A Name Better Than Sons and Daughters
10. Singleness, Marriage, and the Christian Virtue of Hospitality
11. Faith and Sex in Marriage
12. Marriage Is Meant for Making Children . . . Disciples of Jesus: How Absolute Is the Duty to Procreate?
13. Marriage Is Meant for Making Children . . . Disciples of Jesus: The Conquest of Anger in Father and Child
14. What God Has Joined Together, Let Not Man Separate: The Gospel and the Radical New Obedience
15. What God Has Joined Together, Let Not Man Separate: The Gospel and the Divorced
Staying Married Is Not Mainly about Staying in Love
Having introduced the book with an analogy between marriage and martyrdom–each shows forth the passing and momentary nature of the present in light of the life to come–John Piper qualifies marriage in the face of a culture with too low a view of marriage. Indeed, the biblical vision of marriage is a high one. There are a few considerations which help to show this gap between our selfish, sinful conceptions of marriage and God’s own institution.
1) Marriage is, most foundationally, God’s doing. Genesis 2:18-25 shows God’s purpose for marriage: he gives away the first bride as he speaks the design of marriage into existence. He even performs the one-flesh union (Genesis 2:24).
2) Further, marriage is for God’s glory. We might say this is the ultimate thing to see about marriage: God uniquely displays his glory here (Ephesians 5:31-32). Just as Christ will never leave his bride, the church, and just as he brings her to himself to show his love, marriage is about covenant faithfulness — the love of seeking the good of another.
In short, Christ died for his bride, and marriage is our truth-telling exercise of the Lord’s faithful relationship to his people.
Naked and Not Ashamed
As we consider further the notion of the two people called “one flesh” or “one spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:16-17) in marriage, a puzzling element of this covenant-keeping arises: the pair, Adam and Eve, were naked and not ashamed. How is that? In other words, what is the nature of the intimacy they enjoyed?[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence