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Church as a Bride

In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul goes deep into the nature and form of Church.

He waxes lyrical about the riches of Christ that we can enjoy together as we live and love one another as his Church. Not far from the end of the letter, Paul calls husbands and wives to live in unity by pointing to a deeper truth as their model: the relationship between Jesus and his Church.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:25-32

Marriage rings

There are some interesting word-pictures here that show how the Church is to express the heart of God. We need to get under the skin of the writer.

Paul compares the relationship between Jesus and his Church to that of a husband and wife. This is a ‘profound mystery’, he says. Paul’s clearly enthralled, and he wants us to ponder and fathom it.

Church has to be relational. We need to tap into the love, commitment and devotion that Jesus feels for His people. Have we ever, or do we still, experience this depth of intimacy with Jesus? It’s not an arms’ length thing. Marriage is complete abandonment and commitment to a relationship. The wholehearted abandonment makes it intimate, and the commitment makes it secure, building trust over time. That’s the attitude that we the Church should nurture toward Jesus in our worship, prayer and obedience.

Finally, God’s purpose for the church is that she should be holy (v27). This is the essence of Church: united with the love of Jesus, growing in it and expressing it to the world. When any church lives like this it proves to the world that Jesus is alive.

Published 7th December 2018 with tags: church

Comments

  1. Dan K. says:

    “because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”
    So, we become part of His body, not His bride, as some say.
    So, what is it, are we, the Church, His “bride” or are we members of His body?
    I believe that that is why God gave the Revelation to Jesus who gave it to His angel who gave it to John who was told to give it to the Churches, to clarity some misconceptions that we have to day about the “bride of Christ”.
    Revelation 21:2 tells us that the “bride of Christ” is in Heaven, not here on Earth, and that she will come down
    onto the New Earth in the distant future. The Church is the Body of Christ and He, Jesus, is the Head of His
    body that He will come to gather unto Himself after the Great Tribulation. Matthew 24:29-31. Just my take on this issue.

    1. Admin says:

      The Church is also a temple, a priesthood, a nation, a household of faith, the ark, a letter from Christ, an aroma, branches on a vine… and all that doesn’t contradict the metaphor the describes it also as the body of Christ, just as with the metaphor of a bride.

      The reason the bride descends from heaven in Revelation is because the events in John’s vision happen after Jesus’ return, when we have all been united with him and glorified, “made white” by washing our clothes in Jesus’ righteousness (Matthew 22:1-14), as a bride prepared for her husband.

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