Throughout my decades in the church, I have heard this phrase countless times: We are the bride of Christ. But what does it really mean to be called the “bride of Christ”?
Wedding feasts and marriage analogies are spoken of throughout the New Testament. But I’ll be honest in saying that I find it difficult sometimes to wrap my head around the idea. A closer look at Scripture, however, tells us that this analogy is not only beautiful, but it also describes some of our rights and responsibilities within the family of God.
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As the bride of Christ, you were chosen.
Here’s a simple truth about being a bride… brides are typically chosen. Even in situations when a marriage is arranged, someone chose the bride. It’s not by chance. No one is picking names out of a hat or hoping their name comes up in a lottery for a spouse. The Bible tells us that we were chosen by God.
…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will. – Ephesians 1:4-5
God could have given up on us long ago. After all, we were sinful human beings and undeserving of His grace. But He chose to save us in His love. And the best part of all is that this saving grace is available to all who would receive Him. God’s heart is for all men to be saved… for all of mankind to be a part of the bride of Christ.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9
As the bride of Christ, you are pure and holy.
I’ve heard it said that God would not have His Son marrying an unworthy bride. In other words, the power of the cross allows us to be presented holy and blameless. Washed in the blood of Jesus, we are a perfect virgin bride. What an amazing picture of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross! Our past mistakes… it’s as if they never happened.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. – Ephesians 5:25-27 (emphasis added)
As the bride of Christ, God delights in you.
The bride is often the focus at a modern-day wedding. But have you ever stopped to look at the groom on his wedding day? I will personally never forget the way my husband looked at me as I walked down the aisle. There is a reason why photographers try to capture the moment a groom sees his bride for the first time. He delights in his bride, and the look on his face says it all.
In the same way, we are the bride of Christ, and He delights in us.
As the bride of Christ, you are given rights and responsibilities.
The Bible tells us that we are co-heirs with Christ, and we are also given spiritual authority in His name. We have direct access to the Father and have His Holy Spirit living within us. And if that wasn’t enough, we get to spend eternity with Him.
As the bride of Christ, we are given all this and so much more!
But the truth that we are given responsibilities as well. In fact, the book of Revelation tells us that we are clothed in “fine linen” and that this fine linen is “the righteous acts of the saints.” In other words, our wedding gown is made up of our good deeds. As the bride, we have been given an amazing purpose. We are called to share the light of Christ with the world… to love and to serve in the name of Jesus.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. – Revelation 19:7-8
As the bride of Christ, you will one day be face to face with Jesus…
…and you will be a beautiful and worthy bride.
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*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
**Photo by Ben White at ChristianPics.co