August 28 – Unstoppable – Marriage and the Church

Read Ephesians 5:22-33

I talk briefly about this passage at weddings I officiate, but I am not sure that anyone really pays attention.  I can’t blame them.  The bride and groom are often so mesmerized by each other that the preacher is but a talking head.  And those gathered at the wedding are often so taken with the two or with the antics of a flower girl or a ring bearer his words go in one ear and out the other.

But now, just in case you are attentive, let me point out that the Spirit of God gives us several comparative pictures in order to better grasp the essence of Christ’s unstoppable church.  One of those is depicted here.  It is that of a head and a body.  The Spirit uses this picture to illustrate that Christ is the head and the church is His body.  Just as the human body responds to the impulses and desires expressed by the head, so the body of Christ, His church, is to respond submissively to the desires and leading of her Savior.  Just as the head cares naturally and wisely for the body, so Christ cares infinitely for His church.

But there is yet one more comparison used in this rich passage.  In this case, the church/Christ relationship is less illustrated by something else.  Instead, it serves as an illustration for something else.  It seems as if Paul is taking what He assumes is now widely understood . . . the submissive/loving relationship between the church and Christ . . . and is illustrating that which is less understood . . . the interactions between a wife and a husband.  He is saying, “Now that you know about the tender submission and sacrificial love that characterize the church and Christ, apply that to marriage!”

Are you married?  To what extent do tender submission and sacrificial love characterize your relationship with your spouse?  To what extent is your marriage a living, breathing depiction of this deeply intimate and spiritual relationship between Christ and His church?  Are there adjustments that must be made in your relationship?  Do you need to change your perspective of your relationship to Christ?

Steve Kern

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