Vol. 8, No. 9
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The apostle Paul tells the Corinthians, "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2). Two things are seen: one, espouse you to one husband is an analogy that uses the idea of a bride that is espoused to one husband, and two, chaste refers to purity, referring to a bride that is pure by the rules, and the desires, of the husband, that being in this case Christ as that one husband, and his word, as the requirements for his bride.
In Ephesians Chapter 5, Paul uses human marriage as a symbol of Christ and the church. Paul says, "…even as Christ is the head of the church: and is savior of the body" (verse 23). Again, "Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" (verse 25). "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones" (verse 30), which shows how close and much the church is integral to Christ, and how much in likeness the church is to be like him.
Then each Christian being a part of his body, understands that he or she can be rejected when in conflict with Christ. The conduct will then be what the Christ the head instructs Christians and the church to follow. These surely describe the bride that all men want, and it describes the church, the bride of Christ, which he wants.
When the church is considered as the bride of Christ, it takes on a new meaning, and a responsibility to Christ. Thus the church is not a toy of men. It is his bride and he has all requirements for that bride.
Christians need to remember that they are also members of the family of God. Paul says, "For ye are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26). Through belief and obedience in Christ Jesus we become children in the family of God. John 1:12 tells us, "But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God..." (John 1:12).
Since Christians are children in the family of God, the question comes, "Shouldn't we be obedient to the Father of that family?" And since Christ is described as "the Word of God" in Revelation 19:13, we have the Word of the Father that we should obey or risk his correction and even punishment of being cast out of that glorious family.
On the other hand, what a wonderful situation it is of being children in the family of God. Wouldn't his children always bring glory for him and praise for him through Christ's church--his kingdom, "To the general assembly and church of the first born [Christ is the first born, resurrected]…" (Hebrews 12:23). Thus Christians are members of Christ's church. Then in the same chapter we have, "Whereby we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved" (verse 28a).
Again, "Who hath delivered us [Christians] from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son" (Colossians 1:13). Translate refers to Acts 2:47b, "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved," and again in John 1:12, "...to them he gave the power to become the Sons of God..." Paul further states, "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God..." (1 Corinthians 15:24a).
Not only are Christians children in the Family of God, but we are also citizens of his kingdom. Jesus Christ is the ruler of his kingdom, a monarch, who has the rule of his spiritual kingdom. Paul said, wives obey your husbands, meaning also that the church, the bride of Christ is to obey him the husband. As children in the family of God we are to obey the Father over which Christ has the rule, and as citizens of his kingdom we are to obey the monarch, the ruler of that kingdom, which is Christ. Christians are members of both the church of Christ and of the kingdom of Christ. Fortunately the requirements for both are the same, the New Testament.