NT Tuesday: The Church, The Body of Christ [part 4]
We continue to explore what the Bible says about the Body of Christ, the Church.
We have been using Ephesians 5:25-28 ESV – “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” as our theme verse.
Over the last few weeks, we reviewed some of the names that William MacDonald listed in his book “Christ Loved the Church.” Last week we looked at the terms dwelling place, house, and pillar and ground of truth.
This week, I want to look at my personal favorite. All of the phrases are amazing and reveal what God thinks about the Church, but the Bride of Christ reveals an amazing love and incredible sense of intimacy.
Let’s think about what John the baptizer said about Jesus Christ and His bride. “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete” John 3:29 ESV.
Two important points can be made from this short statement:
One is that the Bridegroom “has the bride”. In other words, there is an intimate relationship between the Bridegroom and the Bride. We often say, “we don’t have a religion, we have a relationship,” but do we really understand the significance of that statement. A religion is a series of beliefs/mores that define how God relates to man and man relates to God. But a relationship is about two living, intelligent beings that involve our emotions, our intellect, and our physical being. Relationships are living and can grow or can drift. Marriages get stronger or they stagnate. The same is true with our relationship with our Bridegroom, it ought to get stronger. Relationships take work. I like to say it takes investment, where we expend our time, emotions, and energy in something that is worthwhile.
The other fact contained in John’s statement is that there is great joy involved in a relationship between the bride and the Bridegroom. Now, John is saying that he has joy, so it is a joy that spreads. His joy is in knowing that the Bridegroom is rejoicing in His relationship with His bride.
I have to admit, that this concept is hard for me to grasp sometimes. I can understand, having experienced it myself, the joy of ME knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. But, the Lord is rejoicing because He knows me?? How can this be? The answer is clear. It all has to do with His nature and His character and His attributes and it has NOTHING to do with me. He loves me (and His entire Bride) because He is love and because He loves us because of Who He is. We are unlovable, but He loves us anyway. I am so incredibly thankful that He loves me despite my numerous flaws, despite my falling short.
The Church is not a building, nor an organization! I hope we are starting to see this. The Church is the Bride of the Son of God and as such, it is the object of His special love and affection.
Praise God for His incomparable love!
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