Friday, September 21, 2007

A Profound Mystery

Belonging to Christ as “a bride in relationship to her loving and caring bridegroom (Eph 5:25-32) [1]is my most cherished image. Though “bride,” is absent from the passage, its meaning “is a profound mystery … I am talking about Christ and the church” (Eph 5:32).

Having been under loved and well loved, this interconnectedness with Christ is richer, dearer as my husband ministers love to me. “Christ loved … and gave himself up for her” (Eph 5:25). “It was on the cross that our Lord gave himself up for his bride … all the more telling, since ekklesia is feminine.”[2] Encouraging my education and vocation, Ray lovingly sacrifices.

Christ’s “mak[ing] her holy, cleansing her …washing with water” (Eph 5:26), loving her as is, but transforming her as “separate for himself a people for his own possession”[3] is profound. Paul possibly “was alluding to the purification of the bride before the marriage ceremony (Ezek 16:9).”[4] His “radiant church” (Eph 5:27a) “in unsullied splendor … Paul … applies … to the presentation of the church as a pure virgin to Christ her husband,”[5] normally the bridegroom’s friend’s function. Christ “introduces the bride to the bridegroom … himself.”[6]

Unlike some spouses, Christ continually cares for his bride, us (Eph 5:29). Connected, united, we are “members of his body” (Eph 5:30). This relationship “is a profound mystery” (Eph 5:32).

[1] Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin and Daniel G. Reid, eds., Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 248.

[2] Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 11 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981), 76.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 77.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

The Bible. New International Version.

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