I am finding a whole new aspect of my relationship to my beloved fiancé, Mary. For the last four months we have been engaged to be married. We have been trying to plan for this wedding and for the most part, I feel like I’m being left in the dust. She is much more qualified to plan for this thing than I am. I was thinking not too long ago about the marriage relationship; how that the husband and the wife complement one another so perfectly and accomplish their purpose. I was thinking about the relationship Christ has to His body, the church – His bride. This post will begin a series of blog posts on the church. We will discuss various aspects of the church and will dig deeper into some passages that talk about this sacred institution; hopefully this study will challenge you to be more faithful to Christ and His church.
The Bible paints a beautiful picture in Ephesians 5 about marriage. I would argue that Ephesians 5 supplies the most practical teaching on marriage in all of Holy Writ. Let’s spend some time discussing a few verses in the glorious chapter of Scripture.
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Eph. 5:21-33)
This is a rather lengthy reading, and we won’t give attention to every verse, but I supplied it here for your reading. Hopefully, you will give great attention to these verses and will read them often as they are a stable for what we know about our relationship to Christ. If you are married, then you are aware of the type of relationship you have with your spouse. You have agreed to care for and help one another because you love them deeply. Our relationship to Christ through the institution of His church is similar to that. We ought to love Jesus more deeply than any other thing or person in the world. Married person, after you chose your spouse, that meant that all others were forsaken because you had found your mate; no need for any more searching. Friends, I note that if we are Christ’s (and we should be) then there is no need for another!
Jesus is the Great Husband in this relationship. We, as His bride have no place usurping His authority. Just as the husband has been given authority to rule over his house in godliness and humility, Jesus is the ruler over His bride. We need to submit to Him and that means that we listen to what He says and do those things He requires.
When a husband and wife are married, they are joined together; they are no longer two separate things, but are one. That is why the Bible says “they shall be one flesh.” Adam says of his wife Eve, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.” (Gen. 2:23) When we obey the Gospel and become a member of His church, we are now a part of His body (Gal. 3:26-27). This is said in our text in the words, “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” We are now a part of Him. What a glorious thought!!
Many other things could be said of this passage, but hopefully these things will serve as a reminder of the glorious relationship with have with Jesus Christ our Lord. Hopefully, it will challenge us to walk closer to Him as an obedient spouse and not a rebellious. Perhaps it will serve as persuasion to those who have yet to name Christ as their Lord and their Mate. To God be the Glory.