A bride—an exquisite picture of the relationship that Jesus wants to have with us.
Think of all of the metaphors that God uses to describe His relationship with us.
He is the Potter, I am the clay. He molds me.
He is the Shepherd, I am the sheep. He provides for me.
He is the Master, I am the servant. He commands me.
He is the Father, I am the child. He nurtures me.
He is the Friend, I am the friend. He shares interests with me.
He is the Groom, I am the bride. He shares life with me.
Of all these metaphors, the Bride and Groom relationship is the most intimate and all inclusive.
The role of the Bride of Christ is
to provide eternal companionship for the Son
to rule and reign with the Son
“…to occupy the highest position in the universe short of the Godhead itself.” (Paul Billheimer, Destined for the Throne)
If that doesn’t knock your socks off, I don’t know what will!
If you’ve been following these blog posts, you know that we’re pulling back to see a thousand mile view of God’s Eternal Purpose - What does God want from you, anyway? The answer is in these relationships, the highest of which is in our identity as Bride.
If you haven’t been following these blogs, you can catch up here.
Companionship for the Son
According to Ephesians 5:22-33, the whole point of the husband-wife marriage relationship is to be a sweet picture of our relationship with Jesus. We are betrothed now, but one day He is going to “present to Himself the Church in all her glory.” Paul says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” Well, that love didn’t end on the day that He gave Himself on the cross. The giving of Himself set up a future eternity of us loving each other and sharing life eternal with each other. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be day one of “doing Life together,” (as my Facebook friends are prone to say).
Ruling and Reigning
Jesus’ “career” in the eternal future is going to be ruling over the universe. What that entails I cannot imagine, but Paul Billheimer from the book quoted above believes it involves “an ever-increasing and expanding Kingdom.” And, come to think of it, it makes sense that God’s creativity hasn’t gone dormant. In any case, whatever that ruling over the universe looks like, the Bride will be ruling and reigning with Him. AND this will be without the infernal resistance of the enemy who is hard at work now.
Revelation 5:10 says it this way: “…You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Who shall reign? The Bride, people who have been ransomed from every tribe and language and people and nation.
The Highest Position
Please understand that I’m not trying to brag on human beings, but on God’s grace. All of this is entirely by the grace of God. But seeing what God has in store for the Bride of Christ magnifies that grace! If grace is “unmerited favor”, we’re looking at UNDENIABLY unmerited and UNBELIEVABLE favor!
Paul Billheimer again:
“Through the new birth—and I speak reverently—we become the “next of kin” to the Trinity…[we] form a new and exclusive royalty, a new ruling hierarchy who will also constitute the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife. This order is divinely designated to be co-ruler, co-sovereign, co-administrator, partner to the throne by virtue of redemption and wedlock with the King of Kings.”
You just don’t get better than that. This is what the Lord has for us!
The Bride in This Present Darkness
That all sounds fabulous for the future by-and-by. What about here and now? How does the Bride live in the gritty reality of a world under the dominion of the Prince of the Power of the Air? (Ephesians 2:2)
To prepare for eternal companionship, we deepen our devotion. We read His love letters to us. We dream about our future together. We talk constantly “long distance” until we’re face to face.
To prepare for ruling and reigning, we learn about our authority in prayer. We practice spiritual warfare and carrying out the commands of the true King.
To prepare for the highest position, we shun anything or anyone who would steal or dilute our affections. We do as the Jewish woman did while waiting for her bridegroom to come: we stitch our wedding gown, which according to Revelation 19:8 is “pure white linen…the righteous acts of the saints.”
Ooooh, I get shivers. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!