Monday, October 27, 2014
Baptism and Marriage
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the word, 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." [Ephesians 5:25-27]
Let's take another look at what it means for a husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church. Rightly, much of the emphasis in those talks, discussions, and articles, centers of the sacrifice of Jesus. He literally died for the church. A husband must be ready to do the same thing.
Yet the verses above, from Ephesians 5, also make a connection to baptism-the washing of water with the word. What is the connection between baptism and the manner in which a man should love his bride?
Perhaps Romans 6, another baptism text, can give us some insight:
"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?...If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his...Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him." [Romans 6:3,5,8]
In baptism Jesus unites the church with himself in a one-flesh-union. The church becomes the bride of Christ, the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12). He remains the bridegroom, the head.
Yet notice that everything that belongs to Christ now also belongs to the Church, both death and resurrection, cross and new life. Jesus holds nothing back from his bride. She shares in his greatest tragedy, albeit vicariously. And she shares in his greatest triumph. By extension, also, she receives all the treasures of heaven and earth over which Christ rules.
A man is also joined with his bride in a one-flesh union. And he is to share with her all that is his. He is to hold back no good things from her.
He is to share with her his sorrows, his defeats, his death, although only vicariously. He never places her in harm's way, yet she will suffer his hurts for the sake of love. You cannot strike the head without affecting the rest of the body.
More so, however, he is to share with her his life. The husband shares new life in Christ, drawing his bride to receive with him the gifts of God. He passes to her the same forgiveness he has been given from God his Savior.
Also, he shares with his wife every blessing of this life: physical, emotional, material. The husband gives her the physical blessings of the marriage bed, the delights of making love. He shares all of his joy with her, approving glances, affirming embraces, compliments and flirtations. He provides for her food, clothing, and shelter, earning what she needs, and if her is able even more.
In this union of groom and bride, what is his is hers. Christ shares life and eternity with his bride. A man of this world shares all that he has too, all that is good. May all husbands find joy in this sharing of God's gifts. Christ will surely never tire of giving us life.