And if I want to talk about duties in marriage, one of the first things that comes up, is people say,
“Oh, I don’t like that word duty..I’ve heard that Christ Church isn’t that really into grace. It’s all about law, it’s all about do, do, do; it’s all about ‘these are your duties, this is what you’ve gotta do.’“
Now, of course, duties can be approached as though you were eating gravel; you can just say “here’s your bowl of gravel, this is what you need to do, choke it down“, and that’s what people think of when they think of duty, or Law, or commands. But the Law of the Lord is perfect, it says in Psalms, converting the soul; sweeter also than honey, and the honeycomb.
There’s a way of approaching Law that condemns, and there’s a way of approaching Law rightly, where you encounter it as one of the sweetest things God ever did for us. The law of liberty, James tells us, is the law that, in by its very name, liberates us; it sets us free.
There is an approach to duty that will choke you; there is an approach to duty that will kill you. There’s an approach to obeying commands that will bring you under bondage. There is an approach to law, there is an approach to command, there is an approach to duty that is going to slay you; it’s a bad business, stay far away from it.
But it does not follow from that, that because there’s a way of approaching duty that’s suffocating, that you must go over and do whatever you want, whenever you feel like it, however you feel like it, as though the life of grace were a life of obeying your spontaneous impulses. The life of grace is not obeying spontaneous impulses. The life of grace is having your heart set free, such that you understand the grace of God in the Law, the grace of God in your duty.
So consequently, as we talk about duty, one of the things we need to assume is that there’s a way of approaching this where it’s like milk and honey; there’s a way of approaching your duties that liberates.
There’s a way of approaching your duties that sets you free, and if it’s not that way for you, you’re doing it wrong.
Wilson, D. (2016). Sermon Audio: Reforming Marriage #4 | Biblical Duties in Marriage [sermon]. Christ Church, Moscow. Available http://www.canonwired.com/sermons/1961.mp3. Last accessed 18 Sep 2016.