Called to be Married to Christ

The Person of Jesus is the Great Shepherd of the sheep who wanders over the hillsides to find the one lamb that becomes conscious of being a long way from the Shepherd of the flock (Luke 15:4). He knows and calls His people by name. Over a long period of time, He has gone to great lengths to show man his need of a Savior from sin. God’s plan called for the most loving thing that anyone could ever do for his or her beloved. He died for them to set them free from sin. This act of love brings about the strongest, most powerful thing in the universe—the power of love, agapé love. This kind of love is self-sacrificing and brings about a love response from the one who receives such grace. God has sent His Son into the world to win and woo His bride to Himself, especially those who are far away from Him and wandering near wolves. To show us just how special we are to Him, Paul the apostle, in writing to the church, the people of God at Corinth, deliberately speaks of those who are born-again believers as being prepared for a wedding with Christ Himself:

I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him (2 Corinthians 11:2).

The God of all creation wants us home and in a marriage covenant with His Son, the Lord Jesus. A wedding ceremony between a man and woman is just a picture of what God in Christ has done for His Church, the people called into a marriage relationship with Jesus. Paul the Apostle sees the ministry that God gave him as one who prepares the bride of Christ so that she may be pure and spotless for her wedding. No matter what you have done and no matter where you have been, the Bridegroom can make you clean or has made you clean, pure and spotless. If you are a Christian, you have been clothed with a robe of purity and righteousness that He bought for you at Calvary’s cross. He is calling for His bride to come home. Paul is not alone in using this analogy of a marriage relationship. The prophet Isaiah, also speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit, wrote:

As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you (Isaiah 62:5).

When you think of a wedding ceremony between a man and woman, of what traditions can you think of that perhaps symbolizes and represents the relationship between God and His church? One of the first things that speak of this heavenly union in a wedding ceremony, is that of the bride leaving her father and mother and the new couple becoming one with her betrothed. Paul the apostle writes in another letter about becoming one with Christ when he writes about marriage:

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 5:31-32).

Paul is speaking on two levels, about a man and his wife’s relationship but also about the heavenly union between Christ and His bride, the Church. How wonderful it is for our heavenly Bridegroom to call us into union with Himself. How loved we are!

Taken from the series Insights into Eternity found in the middle column. Click on the study The Wedding of the Lamb. Keith Thomas