What is Marriage? God and the Church

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 3, 2014 0 comments

This blog begins our 4­week series on the topic “What is Marriage?” We will be looking at different aspects of marriage over the next four weeks, starting with this week’s discussion of marriage through the relationship between God and the Church.

This relationship is best explained in Ephesians 5:21­-33. But, that text is talking about Christ and the Church; didn’t I just say we’re talking about the relationship between God and the Church? Simply put, Jesus Christ is God, so discussing Christ and the Church is the same as discussing God and the Church.

But what (or should I say, who) is the church? Read this post or this post to find out more on that. Essentially, the Church is all people, in all times and all places, who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. While the Church as a whole doesn’t have a gender per se, it is referred to using a feminine noun in the Greek (ekklesia) and with feminine pronouns.

Now that we know who we’re talking about ­ Jesus Christ and all who believe in Him ­ what does this relationship look like? Go read Ephesians 5:21­-33 again. Notice these key phrases: “the church submits to Christ” (v24), “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (v25), and “no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body” (v29­-30). Jesus Christ loves the Church unconditionally, so much so that He gave up His life for her. There is no greater love than giving up one’s life for another, and Christ demonstrated that in the most perfect way for His love, the Church.

In response to Christ’s unconditional love and sacrifice, the Church submits to His authority. Jesus Christ is God, and because He created us, loves us, and saves us, if we believe in Him as our Lord and Savior, we should consider Him as authority over our lives. Because of Christ’s great love for the Church, the Church wants to return that love by honoring Christ.

But what does this have to do with marriage? In an ideal world, a marriage relationship would have that same loving relationship of Christ and the Church. All believers should strive to be like Christ, but especially a husband in the way he loves his wife. As the passage says, “husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies” (v28). A husband takes care of his body, and so he should take care of his wife as well as he does himself. In return, the wife should honor and respect her husband and consider him an authority in her life, just as the Church considers Christ. Christ and His Church have a special, intimate relationship, just as a husband and wife should.

If you are married, does your marriage look like that? My guess would be probably not ­ at least not 100% of the time. Christ is perfect; no husband (or wife) is perfect. We are all sinful human beings living in a sinful world, not in an ideal and perfect one. This unconditionally loving relationship between Christ and the Church is a goal for us to strive toward, whether married or not.