25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Whenever you hear someone talk about the passage above, you are generally hearing them talk about the roles that husbands and wives play in the home. This, of course, is perfectly right, as the passage is dealing with those issues. However, there is another thing that it would do us well to notice about the picture that God is drawing for us through Paul’s writings.
God calls husbands and wives to have their relationship of love and respect demonstrate for the world the relationship between Jesus Christ and his bride, the church. But, if our relationships are to mirror the love of Christ for his church, we must, absolutely must, remember that Jesus Christ has that kind of love for the church. Too often, we miss the fact of Jesus’ love.
Jesus loves the church the way that a perfect husband loves his bride. He thinks she is beautiful. He wants to be with her. He wants to take care of her. He wants to protect her from harm and from slander. He wants to help her to grow. He wants her to be the most radiant, most beautiful, most perfect bride that she can be. And he gives his all to make sure that this will happen.
When you think of the church, do you remember that Jesus feels this way about his bride? Are you able to look at your local congregation, a congregation with wonderful strengths and obvious flaws, and see the beloved of Jesus? Do you remember that the others in the body, even those who look, think, and smell different than you, are the very people that Jesus considers his precious wife? Do you find encouragement in the fact that Christ loves you in your blemishes, but that also means that he loves your brothers and sisters with their blemishes too?
What will change when you see the church as the bride of Christ? Our speech will change, for sure. No one is going to look at a beaming groom and tell him, “Boy, your wife sure is ugly.” It will also change our commitment to the church, as we realize that we must work together and each do our part to become the bride who will please our Savior. It will change our giving and our attendance as we who are the bride of Christ would not ever want to give him anything less than our very best.
Church family, Jesus loves his church. He loves us, warts and all. He will work with us, from now until the day he returns, to make us more like the beautiful bride that he already sees in us. Let’s pray that we remember that we are the bride of Christ, and let’s work to love God and others in such a way as to become the beautiful bride that our Savior deserves.