But what if one or both partners becomes overwhlemed iwth the truth of justification by faith alone--and especially with the truth that in Christ Jesus God credits me, for Christ's sake, as fulfilling all of his expectations? What happens if this doctrine so masters our souls that we begin to bend it from the vertical to the horizontal and apply it to our marriages? . . .It is possible, for Christ's sake, simply to say, "I will no longer think merely in terms of whether my expectations are met in practice. I will, for Christ's sake, regard you the way God regards me--complete and accepted in Christ--and thus to be helped and blessed and nurtured and cherished, even if, in practice, you fail."
The world of Reformed theology is still relatively new to me, and I am still awed by the idea (not new, but newly emphasized) of the enormity of God's grace toward me. In the September/October 2003 issue of Modern Reformation magazine (I rescued a number of old issues our pastor was cleaning out, for my edification), John Piper writes about the significance of the doctrine of justification by faith. Though in this quote he specifically references the marriage relationship, the idea applies anywhere: