How would you like to be married?
I could tell you a bit about being married.
I know what it’s like.
Actually, I don’t have a wife. Yet :]
But I mean it when I say I know what it’s like to be married. It’s great. I’ll be honest – it’s the best thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. It’s full of love, bliss, satisfaction, and intimacy. It’s all I longed for when I was still unaware of my marriage.
Huh? Unaware of your own marriage?
Yup. Sucks, I know.
So let me ask you.
Are you sure you’re not married?
I think we all know whether we have an earthly spouse or not. What I’m referring to is our marriage with Christ.
Are you saying we’re already married with Christ?
That’s exactly what I’m saying.
Don’t believe me? Judging from the number of people out there who preach that marriage with Jesus is a future event yet to come, I’m not surprised.
Let me ask you another question.
Which is better – marriage with Christ being a future event or a present reality?
I think most of us can agree that if we are already married with Jesus, that is good news. Just some incentive for you to continue to explore this possibility with me and keep reading 😉
What is marriage anyways? Let’s take a look at the first marriage to ever take place.
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. – Genesis 2:21-24
Here we see that marriage is about being joined with another, becoming one with them.
Now before we go any further, let me point out that when the bible talks about the marriage between Jesus and his Church, it is a metaphor. It’s not talking about earthly marriage like we know between two human beings. Rather, it points to something greater.
Marriage is the imagery, but union is the reality.
The language of union is all over the bible. He is the vine, we are the branches. He is the head, we are the body. He is in us, and we are in him. Co-crucified, co-buried, and co-resurrected. We are one.
And of course, he is the groom, and we are his bride.
The Greek word most often translated “bride” (nymphē) that is used in reference to the Church can refer to either a betrothed woman or a recently married woman, so it’s difficult to draw a conclusion just from the word as to whether we are engaged to Jesus or married to him.
But here’s my question. If it is clear from the rest of the bible that we are already united with Christ, and marriage is a direct reference to union, then isn’t marriage an misleading metaphor to describe our relationship with Jesus?
In other words, why would the metaphor of not-yet-being-married be used when being married is what points to union and we know we are already united? It would point to a false reality.
Pretty confusing if you ask me.
Thankfully, that is not the case. Revelation 21:9 tells us what exactly the bride is: “…I will show you the bride, the wife of the lamb.” You can’t be a wife without already having been married.
Paul also spells it out nice and clear for us in Ephesians 5:28-32
So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
A mystery indeed. We and Jesus are one flesh. Whoa!
What we see here is Paul taking the metaphor of marital union (not engagement) and directly applying it to Jesus and the Church.
As a members of the Church we are already perfectly united with Jesus.
The stunning announcement of the good news is that our marriage – the consummation of our union – took place at the cross. Jesus dying on the cross was like his proposal to us. Accepting salvation is us saying yes.
There’s plenty of people out there talking about how we are progressively becoming one with Christ and how we will one day be married to him. They cry out for Jesus and sing about how much they need and miss him.
But Jesus is not our long-time boyfriend, waiting to get married. The Church hasn’t been dating him for 2000+ years.
Jesus is returning for his bride, not his fiancée. You are already married to him. Your union with Christ is not a future event but a present reality that began the moment you first said “Yes” to Jesus. – Paul Ellis
Jesus is in us and we are in him. He is closer than the air we breathe, and we can enjoy fellowship with him right now. There is no hindrance to our communion.
What about the wedding feast in Revelation 19?
Revelation is a fulfilled prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (that’s another story, but if you are interested you can get a free book about it that I highly recommend at http://www.raptureless.com/). That means we are currently celebrating the wedding feast!
In Jewish weddings the feast came after the consummation between a couple.
Our union with Christ was consummated at the cross.
You know what that means.
It’s party time!