When your spouse sins, who pays for it? Do you make him/her pay for what they did wrong or do you take your spouse to Jesus and show him/her how His death is enough punishment to remove the transgressions?
Christians understand the point of the gospel: Christ paid for my sins. The profundity of the gospel encapsulated in five monosyllabic words. Amazing! This simple way of explaining things is how we teach our children. I hold up my right hand so they can see each finger. Starting at one end, I show 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, 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 future hope. Are you living in the current freedom that Christ provides while resting in the future hope of guiltlessness (1 Corinthians 1:8)? How are you exporting the guiltlessness of the gospel to your spouse? Do you lead your wife to the “payment maker” after she sins against you? What about you, wife? Do you make your husband pay for his sins or do you help him get to the restorative Jesus?
Christ does not make you pay for your sin. He sacrificed Himself for your sin by giving His life for you. He does not get angry at you; He 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 each other.
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 right now. If you choose to punish your spouse when he/she sins, do not expect to have a one flesh union that glorifies
Each time you punish your spouse, you are making it harder to accomplish the thing you desire the most for each other: to be like Christ. God or benefits either one of you. Each time you punish your spouse, you are making it harder to accomplish the thing you desire the most for each other: to be like Christ.
If the gospel means anything to you, it must be real at the moment of sin, whether yours or your spouse. Otherwise, you are mocking the redemptive purpose of His sacrifice.
This article originally appeared on RickThomas.net and was republished with permission.