We continue to meditate on the thought that God has called a people from all nations to be in a marriage relationship with Himself. This relationship is brought about by the greatest of loves, agape love, a self-sacrificial love. Jesus came to express His love by dying as a substitute for us. The judgment of sin was "the soul who sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4), but God has made a way to escape being separated from Him at that judgment. Because He loves us, He sent His Son to take out of the way man’s punishment, the greatest act of self-sacrificial love ever seen on earth. Because death could not hold Christ, God raised Him from the dead and now waits for each of us to respond to such love. God has betrothed all believers to Christ, and when this evil age ends, Christ will come for His bride and then begin the festivities. Until then, all true believers are in a betrothal relationship of preparing themselves for the wedding of the age by living in purity for Him. I borrow from the words of C.H. Spurgeon here:
The marriage of the Lamb is the result of the eternal gift of the Father. Our Lord says, "Yours they were and you gave them to Me." His prayer was, "Father, I will that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am. That they may behold My glory, which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world." The Father made a choice, and the chosen He gave to His Son to be His portion. For them, He entered into a Covenant of Redemption, whereby He was pledged in due time to take upon Himself their nature, pay the penalty of their offenses, and set them free to be His own.
Beloved, that which was arranged in the councils of eternity and settled there between the high contracting Parties, is brought to its ultimate end in that day when the Lamb takes unto Himself in everlasting union the whole of those whom His Father gave Him from of old.
Next is the completion of the betrothal, which took place with each of them in time. I shall not attempt to elaborate on distinctions. However, as far as you and I were concerned, the Lord Jesus betrothed each one of us unto Himself in righteousness when first we believed on Him. Then He took us to be His and gave Himself to be ours so that we could sing— "My beloved is mine and I am His." This was the essence of the marriage. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, Paul represents our Lord as already married to the Church. This may be illustrated by the oriental custom by which, when the bride is betrothed, all the sanctities of marriage are involved in those espousals. Yet, there may be a considerable interval before the bride is taken to her husband's house. She dwells with her former household and has not yet forgotten her kindred and her father's house, though still she is espoused in truth and righteousness. Afterward, she is brought home on an appointed day, the day which we should call the actual marriage. Yet, the betrothal is, to Orientals, of the very essence of the marriage.
That is what we will talk about next: the home that the Lord has been preparing for us. He said, 1“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also (John 14:1-3).
I'm looking forward to being with Him in that place; I hope you are too. Keith Thomas
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