Faith Perspectives – June 20, 2018
By Scott T. Sharp, Pastor
First Baptist Church Nashville
Just a little over a week ago, my parents celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary and their current situation caused me to reconsider the marriage relationship and caring for one another in general.
My dad has developed a severe case of neuropathy in his extremities and now relies on my mom for pretty much everything. Their situation reminded me of the vows my wife Beth and I took 37 years ago – for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.
I was also reminded of the fact that marriage is designed to be a picture of the relationship that exists between Christians and Christ, between the church as the body of Christ and Christ himself. As our bridegroom, Christ is completely committed to loving and caring for each and every one of us.
Revelation 19 describes the relationship between Christ and us as his church (bridegroom and bride of Christ) in the same terms as the marriage relationship is described in Genesis 24. The passage from Revelation reads as follows: “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb (Jesus) has come, and his Bride (the church) has made herself ready. It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
As the bride of Christ on the earth, we as the church are to prepare ourselves for the coming of our bridegroom, Jesus.
And how does this passage say we are to go about this preparation? “By clothing ourselves in the fine linen of righteous deeds.”
In other words, we are called to be extensions of Jesus Christ himself, members of His family who love and care for others in the same way He loves and cares for us.
This is especially true within the confines of the marriage relationship. Husbands and wives are called to love and care for one another in the same way that Christ loves and cares for each of us.
Living this way doesn’t come naturally to any of us and is nearly impossible to accomplish until we first become one with Christ through the marriage of our soul to His.
This spiritual marriage takes place when we yield and submit ourselves to the Lordship of Christ through the act of salvation.
And how does this act of salvation for our souls take place?
Romans 10 tells us: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”