The Bride of Christ – part II
The Bride of Christ – part II
There is a Scriptural link between the Church as the bride of Christ and human marriage. Christ is the bridegroom and the Church is the bride. What can be learned from this truth?
For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy.
For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness,
So your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached,
Or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received,
Or a different gospel which you have not accepted—
You may well put up with it!
II Cor. 11:2-4
A nation or a home working against itself cannot stand- Luke 11:17, Matt. 12:25
The following relationships are God’s pattern for life.
This relationship is absolutely without question of any kind. God the Father and God the Son are totally compatible. They have a relationship since before the world began. God the Father is absolutely wise and powerful and Christ, God the Son is absolutely submissive.
In this relationship Christ is always faithful and is always correct. His Word is the final word. His Spirit of truth is His indwelling presence in the life of the believer. His unfailing love calls the man to holiness. He is called to a heartfelt love and submission. The Holy Spirit in the heart and life of man is the power for a submissive life. Man, however is the variable. He is not always faithful. He is not always obedient. He is not always submissive. When he is not submissive to Christ, when he is not controlled by the Holy Spirit, he is not prepared for his relationship with his wife or his function in life.
Both of these persons are fallible. Neither is perfect. Since both of these are variables, the relationship will be fraught with challenge and difficulty. That is especially true if the man does not show Christ-like love and/or the woman is not submissive.
God gave tasks to man and woman. He gave them one prohibition. He cursed them because of their disobedience. To the woman He said that her desire would be to her husband and that he would rule over her. Women seem to desire to control their husbands. It is their most debilitating temptation and tendency.
This is the arena of human marriage. Human marriage is symbolic of the marriage of Christ and His Church. As such it is imperative that men and women model that relationship – loving husband and submissive wife. Human marriage is for time. The marriage of Christ and His bride is for eternity.
In this relationship Christ is always faithful and is always correct. His Word is the final word and His Spirit is the indwelling presence in the Church. The church is the variable.
The Church is the feminine/submissive character in this relationship. Just as a wife is to be submissive to her husband, the Church is to be submissive to Christ. Just as a wife tends to want to control her husband, the church tends to want to control Christ. This is the grave mistake of the church over the ages. Catholic, Protestant, and even Anabaptist churches struggle to be submissive to Christ. They tend to place something/someone between Christ and His church.
Godly leadership in the Church provides for obedience in the Church as the Holy Spirit indwells the gathered, obedient body of Jesus Christ in this world. When this happens, the Church becomes the model and paradigm for the relationship of human marriage. Church leaders are servants who are gifted by the Spirit to fill the roles expressed in Ephesians 4:11 and I Timothy 3. These Church leaders are also members of the Church and must be absolutely submissive to Christ. The submissive, obedient Church to the loving, faithful Bridegroom and His Word is the pattern for human marriage.
This relationship is not in the Scripture except as the unfaithful, harlot church. In this approach, both members are fallible. This is a human/demonic construct designed to confuse, control, and manipulate people. Religious systems require and provide for control of their members. They place allegiance and loyalty to their system above allegiance and loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Summary – God has designed relationships. They each have purpose. It is important that we recognize God’s purposes in these relationships. It is important that we honor His purposes. These relationships are designed to work together in God’s plan and purpose for His people and the world.
In the relationship of God and Christ, God is head and Christ is submissive.
In the relationship of Christ and man, Christ is head and man is submissive.
In the relationship of man and woman, man is head and woman is submissive.
In the relationship of Christ and Church, Christ is head and man and woman are submissive.
That means that in the relationship of Christ and Church, man is submissive.
Man takes a submissive role in that relationship because he is part of the bride of Christ.
That means that his role is absolute submission. Even those men called and gifted for servant roles in the Church/bride are to be absolutely submissive to Christ as the Word of God.
God is always head.
Christ is submissive to God and head of man.
Man is submissive to Christ and head of woman.
Woman is always submissive.
When the Church is not submissive to Christ, the family loses its model for joyful harmony. When anything is placed between Christ and His Church, the model is flawed.
Anything coming between husband and wife illustrate the Spiritual sin of the aforementioned situation. Most faithful husbands will react in anger to find someone between them and their wife. They, all the while, allow for the same situation to exist in the church and never notice, or if they notice, they continue to allow the sin in the greater Spiritual dimension in the Church.
Men called to shepherd and teach the Church must guard the Church just as diligently as they guard their marriages. Perhaps the lack of guarding the Church is what has spilled over into the marriages and both the Spiritual/eternal and the temporal are flawed as representing each other.
Women struggle to be submissive to their husbands. The Church struggles to be submissive to Christ. It is the same struggle in two dimensions. Satan is diligently at work in both cases. His task was/is to deceive Eve and to deceive the bride of Christ.
It is time for men to wake up and be submissive to Christ.
It is time for men to wake up and be ‘Christ’ in their marriages.
It is time for men of the Church to wake up and be submissive to Christ in the Church.
It is difficult for men to function in those different roles. They need to be submissive to Christ. They are the head in their marriage. They are the bride in the marriage of Christ and the Church. They are the Church, they are part of the bride. Only as they are submissive to Christ as the bride of Christ in the Church can they expect their wives to be submissive to them as their husbands.
So men have three roles:
Be submissive to Christ.
Be the head in the marriage.
Be submissive to Christ as part of the bride, the Church.
When these relationships are not respected and are not followed, chaos ensues. There are undisputed relationships and there are disputed relationships. God and Christ are undisputable. Man and woman are the disputable roles. It is time for men to step up and model submission by being totally submissive to Jesus Christ through His Word. It is time for men to love their wives as Christ loves His Church. It is time for women to be submissive to their husbands in everything.
There have been many sermons on women being submissive to their husbands.
How many sermons have been on men being submissive to Christ and His Word?
How many sermons have been on men being ‘Christ’ to their wives?
How needed are those sermons?
Where are the ‘servants-of-the-Word’ who will preach and teach and live that truth?
It is time for revival.
It is time for revival that will bring the blessing of God.
This is where it needs to start.