The Church is the Fiancée of Christ. For the purpose of this Countdown, the courtship period for the Church is the time in which the brethren demonstrate their compatibility and faithfulness to Jesus Christ. And yet the relationship is a dynamic and energetic exchange of love, emotion, trust and sentiment.
When courting our spouse, we enhanced and augmented each and every date with a token of our love like flowers or candy. The generosity and gifts from Jesus to us are always staggering, but what do we offer in the courtship to show our continuing adoration and devotion to our future husband? Is it enough to say, “He knows how I feel?”
God compares our relationship in marriage with our spouse to the relationship between Christ and the Church. Intuitively we know the importance of keeping love alive with our spouse – but could we be letting down, or worse yet, taking our relationship with Jesus Christ for granted?
“The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
“Jesus said, from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife.” (Mark 10:6-7)
Paul gives us a big head start on understanding our relationship with Jesus Christ by explaining the similar rapport between a husband and wife.
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” (Ephesians 5:31-32)
Within God’s Church, we are aware of the deep spiritual significance of a Godly marriage: First, with regard to God’s plan to reproduce Himself and, secondly, as a figure and illustration of the Church’s intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, the Messiah (Revelation 19:7-9).
When Paul wrote his epistles, there were a lot of troubled marriages in the Church. They had a difficult time understanding what a Godly marriage should be. Paul wrote:
“Husbands, love your wives [not only with candy and roses, but], even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it.” (Ephesians 5:25)
Jesus Christ died for the Church brethren to have salvation – and husbands are to love their wives equally. That kind of Godly, Christian love does not come naturally.
A good marriage is a beautiful thing – a Godly thing with deep and transcendent meaning for the entire Church of God. That is why it is so important to continuously build on our marriages all of our lives. A good marriage is a close, unified relationship between a man and a woman. It was God who instituted the marriage covenant between a man and a woman. God brought about the marriage covenant for a vitally important reason. From Genesis to Revelation, God uses the intimacy and love between a man and his wife to reflect the deeply spiritual relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church.
What do I bring to the relationship with Jesus? And let’s not forget the in-laws! Our reconciled relationship with God the Father is the key to a right relationship with Jesus.
Though the world prefers to believe that Jesus accepts us in our current condition –“just as you are”– it is obvious from the Scriptures that His wife will be arrayed in the purest white wedding gown – symbolizing her perfect love for Him, her spotless spiritual condition, and her eternal faithfulness in marriage.
Are we absolutely certain that we meet that criteria – in other words, are we as ready and prepared as we can possibly be? Anyone who assumes that they have attained to the perfect measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, underestimates the supreme perfection of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:13).
What degree of reciprocation must the Fiancée, the Church brethren, achieve to be doing our part in the courtship?