After the wedding is over, who does the work in the marriage relationship? The answer is both … if the marriage is to be successful. So it must be when we enter into a relationship with Christ. The Bridegroom has conquered sin and death by the cross and the tomb, but believers meet Him at the altar by obeying the gospel. In baptism the wedding is over, how now can the marriage work?
I. Galatians 3:26-29. When we enter that covenant, we become “heirs according to the promise.” No longer separated by our sins from God, we become children of God, “provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:16-17). Some of that suffering comes from choosing to walk according to Scripture instead of in the way of the religious world around us. It’s a very narrow path to navigate (Matthew 7:13-14). Stray a little too much towards ritual and our faith becomes a Checklist Christianity; a little too much towards relationship and it becomes Cultural Christianity. Rather, true worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
II. Philippians 2:12-16. For our part, we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. And it is hard work indeed. Maintaining any good relationship is. We must not grumble or argue to not wreck our influence for the gospel of Christ. There is a process of partaking in the divine nature and escaping the corruption of the world. We must add various virtues one to another in increasing measure and practice them with diligence to not fall and find a rich welcome in the Kingdom of God (1 Peter 1:3-11). Only you can strengthen or destroy your own relationship in Christ.
III. Hebrews 10:38-39. For His part, God promises to work in you, to work and to will for His pleasure. So, as you are working out your own salvation, He is molding and shaping you into His Son’s image. So, faithful living requires many moment-to-moment decisions to walk as Christ did (1 John 2:6). We can no longer live for ourselves but rather make it our aim to please Him (2 Corinthians 5:9). As two become one in marriage, we are, as members of Christ’s bride, united with our Bridegroom in death and so also life (Galatians 2:20 and Romans 6:5). Therefore, we do not shrink back but live by faith