Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Bride of Christ

A new household traditionally begins with the advent of a new marriage relationship. A man and a woman marry and then proceed to start their own home together. Similarly, one way that the Bible views our entrance into God’s household is by describing it in terms of a marriage taking place between ourselves and His Son, Jesus the Christ.
By studying some of the key Scriptural passages having to do with marriage, we will start to get an idea of what that marriage relationship between ourselves and the Lord is supposed to look like.
In Genesis chapter two, following God’s creation of Eve, we read, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
The first step in a human marriage is normally for you and your spouse to leave the households you each grew up in and to start your own household. You leave your parents’ family in order to step out and start your own family.
When we marry Christ, we are called to do the same thing. We leave our old way of life and begin something new. We leave our sin and everything that we know is wrong and against God’s will. We also leave our old priorities and reorder the other relationships we have in our lives in order to start this new relationship with Jesus. When a new bride and groom get married, they are declaring that their new spouse is now the primary person in their life. So, when we marry Jesus, we have to be willing to say that Jesus is the most important person in our lives. He takes precedence over anything and everyone else.
Jesus said, "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37).
We never stop loving our family when we become Christians, just as the new husband or wife should never stop loving the rest of their earthly family. But we do make the decision to love our Lord and Heavenly Spouse first.
In Ephesians 5:22-27, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant Church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
As the Bride of Christ, we are continually reminded that He is the one who gave Himself for us. He is the one who died for us so that we might become His beautiful Church. And the Church, God’s household of faith, is to respond to Christ’s death by submitting to Him. When a man and a woman get married, they are to care for and love another and serve one another by doing those things that they know will bring their spouse joy.
In the same way, we know that Christ has loves and forgives and cares for and blesses us continually. In response to His love, then, we do those things for Him that we know bring Him joy. We live our lives to please Him, not because we are forced to submit to Him, but because we love Him and want to express our love through our everyday actions.
Paul finishes his thought by writing, “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the Church — for we are members of His body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the Church” (Ephesians 5:28-32).
We are members of Christ’s body, just as a husband and wife become united into one flesh. We know how a husband and wife become one flesh. We recognized that their two separate lives have now come together in marriage and that they are now living their life together. They are depending on one another and working together and making decisions about how they will manage their lives and their home together. They have become one unit, one flesh.
But when we marry Jesus, we are united to Him and become one flesh with Him even more closely than we are with our earthly husbands or wives. When we marry Jesus, His Holy Spirit actually comes and lives with our spirit in our flesh! Christ’s Spirit and our spirit set up home together in us. We are, literally, one flesh with Him. We become a part of His and He becomes a part of ours. And like a good human marriage, we learn to work with Christ’s Sprit in us. We learn what it means to share our life with Him and to make our decisions and to manage our lives as a unit with Him.
Finally, we know that when we marry our spouse, we are making a life-long commitment to that person. When we marry Christ, we are making a forever commitment to Him and He is making a forever commitment to us.
The Apostle John writes in Revelation 19:6-9, “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: ‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.’ (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.’

We are all invited and will all take part in Christ’s wedding celebration, for we in the household of faith are His bride, His beloved, and we will dwell with and love Him forever. Amen . “These are the true words of God.”

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