We’ve been looking at some of the New Testament images of church, and today we finish with a glorious picture – the Bride of Christ! Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:32 that marriage, in a great mysterious way, is a shadow of a greater reality – the union of Christ and his bride, the church.
This image is for all of us, married and single, male and female. It isn’t a romantic, soppy kind of picture, but rather it speaks of the privilege the church has to be in a covenantal dynamic partnership with the Son of God. This is a theme that runs right through the Bible, beginning in Genesis in the Garden of Eden when Eve was taken from the side of Adam and called ‘bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh’; history will climax with a great wedding banquet in the garden city, the New Jerusalem, when the church born out of Christ’s death and resurrection is finally prepared for her groom.
On that day
We read at the beginning of Revelation 19 of a great multitude shouting ‘Hallelujah’, and it’s good news that here in Scotland we can now gather and sing our hallelujahs, albeit through our masks! These verses inspired Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. ‘Salvation, glory and power belong to our God.’ Sin will finally be judged and dealt with forever and purged from the church. There will be no more wrestling with sin, no more spots, stains or wrinkles when Jesus returns and we see him as he is. He will vindicate his people and the church will be perfect in character, number and racial diversity, dressed in fine linen bright and pure which are her good deeds, worked by his grace.
During this pandemic many weddings have been put on hold, brides were ready, all the planning had been done – the dress, the venue, the guests and the date – but then they felt they had to wait. The day kept being postponed due to changing restrictions. The Bride of Christ has had to wait too, but for a very long time. She still isn’t ready; she’s still preparing and being prepared.
Questions to think about.
- How do we stay pure and faithful to our bridegroom as we wait for the return of Christ?
- What does getting ready for that wedding banquet look like?
- How do we prepare for it?