Even if we are not married, we have all attended weddings. Most people love watching a freshly scrubbed groom and an attractive bride recite poetic vows like these:
With this ring, I pledge my faith and trust. Receive it as a symbol of our endless union and our unbroken love.
Those simple words draw from a profound truth in the Bible. Paul says that the oneness of a husband and wife, and the oneness of Christ and His church are parallel mysteries. The making of a marriage commitment forms one flesh from two. The joining of people to Christ has equally profound implications.
He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:28-33)
To understand the mystery of oneness we must stop thinking as individuals for a moment. When Paul spoke about the mystery of Christ in you, “you” meant “y’all.” Christ certainly died for each one of us individually, but this mystery concerns the body of believers, the church at large, also known as the bride of Christ.1 The Bible says that husbands and wives are essentially one, and so are Christ and His church.
You might be thinking that the church you attend doesn’t fit; it has too many problems. Look beyond the local for a moment. What is church? It is not as simple as the people who gather in buildings for services. Church includes everyone who is cleansed by Jesus and set apart for Him.
A few verses earlier,2 Paul talked about the lengths to which Jesus went for His bride because of His love for her. He allowed Himself to be sacrificed to prepare His bride. Everyone who by faith accepts what Jesus did for them, as an individual, becomes part of the bride. We are all-too-conscious of our imperfections. Jesus sees us through different eyes; in His eyes of love, the bride is gloriously unblemished. Our Christian life is a journey of catching up with that spiritual reality.
Doesn’t such a high view of church change how we think about the Christian life? If Jesus died for a corporate bride, shouldn’t we pay at least as much attention to church relationships as we do to our individual Christian lives? If He sees us as unblemished, can’t we take that as affirmation of His love, and allow it to spur us on to greater spiritual maturity? Jesus set us apart for Himself, so let’s be a community that looks different from the world. We are not to be aloof, but freshly scrubbed and attractive as we march down the aisle of time to heaven’s altar steps.
The goal of Bible Maturity is to promote spiritual growth and faith in God. Please share these short Bible devotions with your friends and family and pray for revival.