A Love Like No Other

“Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” Ephesians 5:25 NKJV

 Love is a word that is so easily tossed around in today’s culture.  We give it multiple meaning from pure agape love to sinful lust and debase actions.  It’s no wonder that so many households do not have a guiding example of role models to showcase the most intimate of all relationships.   Unlike our primary or secondary education, there is no course on loving another person, no university with a degree that certifies you or your prospective partner that either of you are experts on all things pertaining to love.

Yet, love is the cornerstone of character traits for the follower of Christ and even more so to those who are married to their partner and called to demonstrate love as Christ has loved us.

A lot of people do not understand that marriage has eternal implications and while though people participate in it on a personal level, it has much greater and far-reaching impact on the world.

Marriage is an earthly reflection of the permanent relationship and covenant that Christ has to his church.  Marriage has global impact as it is the living example of Christ and his redemptive work in action.

The Christian faith and walk is centered around love, and it is demonstrated for us in the person of Jesus Christ.  God is so intimately involved in our love life to each other that he has modeled the relationship to his church as a marriage, with us as believers in the role of the bride, identified as the church, and Jesus Christ as the husband or groom.

This was a deliberate act and choosing by God the father to showcase the drama of eternity with the union of the bride to the groom.  It was designed to show the one-of-a-kind love that God has towards us in his son Jesus Christ, and how that union is to function here on earth.

As you look closely into the life of Christ and his mission here on earth you will soon discover that the greatest union and marriage ever recorded in history includes all the believers.  The bible illustrates in astonishing detail the expected behavior between the two parties that are to be involved in the wedding.  The symbolism seems to overshadow the drama; however, the symbolism is the key to fully understanding the distinct roles of the marriage partners and how they are to conduct themselves in love to one another.

At this very moment Jesus Christ has already done some remarkable things on behalf of his bride.

The Mystery of Marriage

 “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church. Ephesians 5: 31-32 NKJV

 In our society traditional marriage is becoming less significant and in the minds of some marriage is an old outdated, meaningless ritual that enslaves those that subject themselves to its principles.

However, God designed marriage to be the institution for personal joy and fulfillment and the training ground for our daily spiritual lives.  Furthermore, marriage on the earth is but a shadow of marriage in the heavenly realm.

We are dealing with a copy of the original. So much so that all the events since Christ’s resurrection leading up to the rapture of the believers (the church) has all of the elements of a Galilean wedding. The elements of that wedding Jesus described to his disciples in astonishing detail at the last supper.

There is a movie documentary, (Before The Wrath) that I would highly recommend. It illustrates this fascinating correlation between the return of Jesus and the wedding he refers to during the last supper.

The oneness that God speaks of in the marriage not only pertains to the body, but also the mind and spirit. It is a metaphor of greater meaning than just a man and woman coming together.

Marriage is meant to be a living drama of how Christ and the church relate to each other.  The bible gives us practical examples of the correlation between a husband and wife and Christ and the church.

Christ has an unending and unconditional love for the church, and he has given us instructions on how we are to love one another in the marriage union as he loves his church.

“So, husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.”  Ephesians 5:28-30 NKJV

 It should give women great comfort to know that their husbands are accountable to God for how they love them and treat them. There is also awesome responsibility placed on the man in treating and loving his wife as Christ does the church.  The bible is very clear that it is a command and not a suggestion for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church.

Husbands would be well warned that your marriage is not all about you.  It is about your representation and your relationship to Jesus Christ as the model of his relationship to the church.

Roles, Relationships, and Outcomes

 In the model for marriage that the Bible talks about, it is clear that what the husband does for and to his wife he does to himself.  Oneness cannot be escaped by any action on the part of the husband or wife.  We are one body in Christ, and we are joined to him.  We rely on him to nourish, cherish, and love us unconditionally.

God has modeled the marriage role in the exact same manner as the relationship between Christ and the church.  The roles of husband and wife are rooted in the distinctive roles of Christ and his church.  God is illustrating (by marriage) the role of his Son and his church by the way husbands and wives relate to each other.

It is important to know the specific roles that the husband and wife have in the marriage relationship and why God designed it that way.  Our human tendency is to be self-sufficient and independent of other people and this sometimes carries over into our personal relationships such as marriage.

It is also understood that the God given role that husbands, and wives are to play out does not always match up with the attitude of the heart.

There are countless women who rightly so can attest to the fact that their husbands are far from being Christlike in the home.  Likewise, the men can most certainly point out with pinpoint accuracy that they do not have a submissive, obedient wife who respects them.

To begin to understand the different roles in the Christian marriage we must first accept that the roles have meaning and purpose as it relates to Christ and his church.  The husband is in the role of servant leadership just as Christ was to his disciples and is currently to his church.

The wife is in the role of obedience and submission as we the church are in obedience and submission to Jesus Christ.  Now I know that the modern-day feminist would take issue with a woman in a submissive role, however God has distinguished it from the perversion that plays out in so many homes today.

As the church we are in obedience and submission to Jesus Christ because he loves us unconditionally and he sacrificed himself for us.  Our submission and obedience is our reverence to him for what he has done on our behalf.

Furthermore, we know we can trust his guidance, and faithfulness to us.  We absolutely know that he has our best interest in mind.  He has demonstrated with sacrificial love that we are the center of his world.

Submission is the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts.

It has been said if you really want to know the character of a man, see what he does with power and authority!  That concept is clearly on display regarding the role that husbands have been given.

While it may sound very inviting to the men to have a measure of authority in a marriage, it would serve you well to understand exactly who you are representing in the role of husband.  You are representing no less than Jesus Christ himself and tasked with cultivating the traits our Lord has toward his church.

It is not a domineering, or power-driven role. Headship is not a right to command and control.  It is a responsibility to love like Christ. In fact, it is a role that gets is power and authority through serving others and especially your wife.

Headship is the divine calling of a husband to take primary responsibility for Christlike servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home. A sacrificial love is the hall mark of the husband to his wife.  The love that a husband has for his wife is supposed to display to the world the love that Christ has for his people.

The obedience and submission the wife has to her husband is on display to the world of our obedience and submission to the headship of Jesus Christ.  So, as you can see our earthly marriages are not about us, but about those who will see the relationship that Christ has for his people.

For those who are married, your marriage is a ministry, not just to each other but also to the world around you.

We Are The Image Of A Bigger Picture

“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;”

“So, God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26,27 NKJV

 From the beginning God had a complete picture of what he wanted us to look like.  He specifically wanted us to be a direct reflection of who He is.  He also wanted us to partake of the permanent union that he has in himself with the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, from the very beginning he had in mind a permanent union with all those who would become the bride for his son.  I am speaking of the church.  Marriage originated with God, by way of Jesus Christ as an earthly example of what He had in mind to redeem his people unto himself.

As Christians our goal and mission in life is to become like Christ.  We are to think like him, and act like him and love like him.  He wants us to become one with him. Our earthly marriage is the metaphor by which we realize that oneness with our spouse.  We act out the behavior that should inspire us to be more like Christ.

The unique roles in marriage that the husband and wife have highlight what Christ is accomplishing with the church.  The entire relationship between a man and a woman from courtship to marriage is duplicated in Christ.

Let’s take a deeper look at the various stages and see the comparison of Jesus Christ as he takes us on a loving journey that will end at the marriage supper and the wedding of the lamb as mentioned in the book of Revelation.

The Courtship And The Pursuit

 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NKJV

 Jesus Christ has had his eye on me and you and has been wanting to pursue us for an intimate relationship with him since before the beginning of the world.  In our earthly relationship, usually the man has his eye on the prize of the woman he wants to pursue.  The woman most likely does not know that the man seeks her until they make a connection.

We were dead in our sins not realizing that Jesus Christ was seeking us for a relationship with him.  With tenderness and gentleness, he made known his desire for us, just as a man would make known his interest in the woman.

Jesus wanted no less than for us to be in an exclusive relationship with him.  He had covenant in mind long before your husband proposed to you. God ordained a permanent union between his Son and the church.  He wanted his Son and the church to become one body, and so our earthly marriage is the reflection of that, with the man and woman becoming one flesh.

Jesus pursued us just as we were.  We were not pure. we were stained with sin and shame and yet he washed us and took away our sin and shame and smiled upon us. Slowly we began to see his unwavering love and care for us, and we were drawn to it.

The Proposal

 “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy.  For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” 2Corinthians 11:2 NKJV

 As in all proposals, the woman has absolute authority to accept or reject the man.  So, it was with us as members of the church.  God offers total and complete forgiveness and asks of us to willingly accept his plan of salvation and begin a permanent relationship and union with him.

When we accept His proposal, all of heaven rejoices and most certainly the bridegroom and the father. We are one step closer to oneness with him.  If we reject, Jesus is heartbroken just as any man would be if his proposal was rejected.

The Marriage, The Ministry

 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.” Hosea 2: 19,20

 Make no mistake about it, a marriage relationship is hard work. It is a complete miracle that two selfish sinners can be slapped together under the same roof, for years without killing each other!

Yet, it is within the confines of marriage that God does his best refining work on both the husband and the wife. They not only become one in flesh, but also become one in spirit and mind, that has been purified by God’s word.

The marriage takes on a whole new meaning in our service to each other and our service to God.  The distinct roles are on display every day in the marriage.  Is the husband demonstrating servant leadership that the wife can confidently submit to?

Is the wife using her God give talents and wisdom to be a helper to her husband? Long after the rice has been tossed, the real work of marriage plays out in every detail.  From communication on how to run the household and pay the bills, to the agreement on how to raise children.

It’s in our day to day married lives that personal spiritual growth takes place.  We soon realize after the honeymoon is over that servant leadership demands that the husband become a lot more Christ like to instill confidence in his wife, and to lesson her burdens and worry.

Likewise, the woman sees her value and knows she is cherished above all others which frees her up to fulfill her role.

Conclusion

Earthly marriages are ordained by God to demonstrate an eternal bond between Christ and his church.  It is an awesome responsibility and privilege to showcase to the world of unbelievers how God has pursued us with an unending love, while we were yet sinners.  Our mission is to model the permanent union God wants with his people.

Biography:

Eugene Coghill is a contributing writer at Faith Filled Family Magazine, and the creator of Kingdom Living, www.eugenecoghill.com a Christian based inspirational blog. His achievements have included two published novels, Love Is A Fishnet (2008) and A Loving Deception (2020). He is in pursuit of a freelance copywriting career with American Writers and Artists, Inc. and is a member of the Professional Writers Alliance.

Some past careers have included the United States Marine Corps, law enforcement, corporate investigator, and is currently a professional driver (tractor trailer) for Walmart. Inspirational speaking, especially to troubled youths has become his growing passion to share his own story of overcoming a very abusive and challenging childhood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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