Christ’s Love for His Bride is from Everlasting to Everlasting

10 Feb
  • Christ’s Love for His Bride is from Everlasting to EverlastingLove is one of the magnificent attributes of God. The biblical phrase “God is love”, as found in 1 John 4:8, is widely quoted in our day and contains the familiar Greek word agape for the kind of love that Lord Jesus have for His Bride, the eternal church, as we read in 1 John 4:19: “We love him, because he first loved us”. And the greatest expression of God’s Everlasting love for His people was demonstrated by the work and faith of the Lord Jesus as He patiently endured eternal damnation for His people in order to satisfy God’s justice: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). The word “propitiation” means that the required penalty for sin has been fully paid. The individuals who have entered into the Kingdom of God, as God has drawn them to salvation, are the very ones in view in 2 The 2:13: “… brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”. This is also evident in Jer 31:3 “… I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee”.  God’s agape love for His elect, who are scattered all over the world, began before the foundation of the world and continued to eternity; and He demonstrates His love by saving them from eternal Hell, as Rom 5:8 explains: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth [exhibits] his love toward us [believers], in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. In principle Christ is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8). 2 Tim 1:9 underscores why: “according to his own purpose and grace” and when: “before the world began” this took place and Eph 1:4 reiterates the same truth. Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ is the personification of God’s love. In essence, God is defining love by His very character: “… charity [Agape Love] shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Pet 4:8). The following verses illustrate some of the chief characteristics of lovelongsuffering or patience, kindness or goodness, demonstrated by God. God is patient in saving His elect, as we see in 2 Pet 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. We also learn in Rom 2:4 that God’sgoodnessleads His elect to repentance: “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

1 John 4:16-19 “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.”

Eph 1:4-6 “According as he hath chosen us [the elect] in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

Mat 25:34 “Then shall the King [Jesus Christ] say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”

 

 

  • Christ Loved the Church, and Gave Himself for It – God likens the salvation of His children to marriage. The word “church” here refers to the eternal body of “born-againbelievers, the Bride of Christ. The Greek word agapao is used for “love” and “loved” in this beautiful verse: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” (Eph 5:25). We must remember that Christ loved His people, the recipients of God’s gift of salvation, while they were “without strength” (meaning spiritually sick or dead) and were ungodly, sinners, and enemies in total rebellion against Him, as Rom 5:6-10 insists. The Bible says that true believers were “dead in trespasses and sins” and were “children of wrath” (Eph 2:1-5). Yet Rom 5:8 makes this wonderful statement, “But God commendeth [exhibits] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. Rev 1:5 teaches that the Lord Jesus willingly offered up His life (typified by His blood) to wash away the sins of His people: “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”. Tit 3:4-7 affirms that it is solely God’s mercy and grace that brings salvation. . God frequently uses “to know” as a synonym for “to love” in the Bible; and it indicates an experiential, intimate knowledge that is typified by the physical intimacy of a man for his wife. This intimacy typifies Christ’s love for His eternal church, the body of true believers which is the Bride of Christ. John 15:12-13 declares: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”. Without looking at every other related verse in the Bible one might come to the erroneous conclusion that sacrificing one’s physical life for someone else is the greatest act of love. While this is certainly true on the physical level, it does not take into consideration the spiritual ramifications of this important verse. In John 10:17-18, Jesus is asserting that this power to lay down His life and take it again is a commandment that He has received from God the Father. The reason this statement is so significant is that throughout the Bible God closely associates love with obeying the commandments, as we can see from John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments”. There is also another aspect of God’s love as found in Rom 13:10, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law”. In other words, the Lord Jesus has not only forgiven the sins of every child of God by suffering the equivalent of an eternity in Hell on their behalf, but He has also fulfilled the righteousness of the law for them, by perfectly obeying the Bible in thought, word, and deed.

Rom 5:6-10 “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Tit 3:3-7 “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

John 10:17-18Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

Eph 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”

Gal 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Heb 10:8-10 “Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I [Lord Jesus] come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

 

 

  • His Wife hath made Herself Ready – The Hebrew word for “help meet” is (‘ezer:H5828) in Gen 2:18 and 20: “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet (‘ezer) for him…”, “… but for Adam there was not found an help meet (‘ezer) for him”. It is significant that this word “‘ezer” in most cases identifies with God as ourhelp”, as we see in Psa 124:8, “Our help (‘ezer) is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth”. But let’s not forget that it was God who “… madea woman, and brought her unto the man…”. It was God – not Adam – who recognized that man needed a “help meet”; then God fulfilled that need in a most wonderful way, which shows that He indeed is mankind’s greatest Help. But what is the Gospel, or spiritual, meaning in this beautiful account? God also likens the union of a husband and wife to the mysterious union between Christ and His Bride, the eternal church, in Eph 5:31-32. We must never lose sight of this wonderful spiritual dimension. Adam represents the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is called the “last Adam” in 1 Cor 15:45. He is given a Bride (typified by Eve) comprising all true believers (John 6:37, John 17:24), and God the Father brought her to Christ. Rev 21:2 portrays the glorious wedding day which each child of God eagerly anticipates: “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem [the eternal church], coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband [Jesus]”. Let’s read Eph 5:25 and 26 together, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”. Specifically, how did He “sanctify and cleanse it”? The Greek word for “sanctify” originates from the word for “holy”, which means “to set apart as holy”. John 17:17 affirms, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth”. Once again, the cleansing that is being emphasized here is spiritual in nature as John 15:3 also affirms, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you”. The redemption that God has procured for each believer, by sanctifying and cleansing them by His own blood (Rev 1:5), by His Spirit (Tit 3:5, 1 Cor 6:11), by His Word (Eph 5:26, John 15:3, Heb 10:22) and by His faith (Gal 2:20, Acts 26:18), is the greatest miracle in this universe, as we see from Acts 26:18. The eternal, glorious church that the Lord Jesus will receive as His Bride is comprised of all those whom He has redeemed. The word “glorious” in “That he might present it to himself a glorious church…” (Eph 5:27) refers to herglory” in Rev 19:7-8. God continues to underscore the sinless purity that He has bestowed upon His holy Bride. Notice that in Rev 19:8, she is arrayed with “righteousness” – the righteousness of Christ – which is how she has “made herself ready”. I hasten to add that this condition in Christ’s Bride was altogether the result of the work and faith of the Lord Jesus alone in order to complement His own sinless perfection! Here we see the greatest exchange that has ever taken place in this universe: The righteous God, Who is holy, pure, and sinless become unholy, impure, and sinful on the Cross. Simultaneously, we see unrighteous Church, who by nature is unholy, impure, and sinful become holy, pure, and sinless by the righteousness of her Lord Jesus Christ that is given, or imputed, to her (2 Cor 5:21). The absence of “spot, wrinkle, or any such thing” describes the spiritual status that has been granted or imputed to every child of God by God’s unmerited favor. Song 4:7 affirms this astounding reality: “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee”. The bride of Christ is also referred to as “kings’ daughters” or “honorable women” (or “precious”) in Psa 45:9, “Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir”. The “queen”, or “bride”, likewise is a reference to the eternal church. The “king”, or “groom”, is the Lord Jesus. This is substantiated in Isa 61:10: “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels”.

Gen 2:20-23 “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Eph 5:25-28Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish …”

1 Pet 1:18-19 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

1 Cor 6:9-11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Rev 19:7-8 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

Rev 21:9-11 “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 10And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;”

 

 

  • We are Members of His Body, of His Flesh, and of His Bones – The Bible pays tribute to the priceless value of the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the Head of the eternal church (or body of Christ), as Col 1:18 affirms: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence”. In fact, His resurrection is pivotal to the salvation of all of God’s elect, as 1 Cor 15: 20-22 insists: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept [or those who had died]. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”. And He is its very Foundation of the Church as well, as we read in Isa 28:16, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste”. In Eph 5:29-33 God explains how Lord took care of His bride (or body of Christ): For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones”. The body of Christ is also referred to as “a chosen generation”, “a royal priesthood”, “an holy nation”, “a peculiar people” [or a purchased people] in Col 1:19-22 and explains that one is made a “saint” or “holy” through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. In 1 Cor 6:19-20 God makes the following assessment with regard to every believer’s body: “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost”. Keeping this concept in mind, Rom 12:1 reveals in which way our bodies are to be used: “ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God”. In essence, one who has experienced the “new birth” wants every aspect of his life to be wholeheartedly devoted to the service of His Master. God likens the true believers to “jewels” in Mal 3:17, “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day [Judgement day] when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him”.

Gen 2:23-24 “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

Eph 5:28-33 “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 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. ”

1 Cor 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Col 1:18-22 “And he [Lord Jesus Christ] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:”

Rom 8:35-39Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

 

 

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