November 2nd 2009

Seeing With God’s Eyes

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her…. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
Ephesians 5:25-26, 32 (NKJV)

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that that old curmudgeon, Paul, who is supposed to hate women and writes advising against marriage; and so his writings are the very places where we go in scripture to find out the most about marriage and the relationship in marriage that there should be between man and woman?  It’s his words that are quoted pretty well universally in Christian marriage services the length and breadth of Christendom.

Only he tells us himself (you’ve just read it), he’s not really talking about marriage at all! Rather he’s telling us all about the loving relationship the church has with Jesus Christ. The analogy is not that relationship, with the reality being physical marriage; but rather the relationship the church has with Christ is the reality, with the analogy (the picture, or shadow) being – to help us better understand the reality – the loving relationship in marriage between a man and woman.

Fascinating, isn’t it? We not only have a loving relationship one-on-one with God (2 Timothy 1:8-9), we also have a marriage-like relationship with Jesus through the church. And that relationship is like a marriage relationship. The one we have with God is like a son (or daughter) to a Father. Again, the relationship there is not analogous to that of the love between father and son; no, rather the reality is our personal loving relationship with the Father, with the picture or shadow being something similar to that between human father and child.

Getting the analogies right helps us to comprehend something more of the great depth of love God has for each one of us.

Most merciful Father, every time we look into your Word there’s something of wonder for us to learn. Our physical brains struggle at times, because our reality is centred firmly in this world. Help us to see our relationships with You, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, through your eyes, your reality, to appreciate more fully Your great love for us. In Jesus’ name.

 Study by John Stettaford

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