Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Ugly Fiance

Yet again our Tuesday night discipleship group got into some very interesting discussions. One of the passages we read was Ephesians 1: 18:

Ephesians 1: 18 - I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 

This passage is saying that we are Christ's inheritance. Typically when I think about an inheritance I think of something valuable like a ring that has been passed down for generations or a stash of rare coins. As I thought about this I began thinking about us, the church, as his bride. I know that one day the church, the bride of Christ, will be reunited with him in heaven and on that day we will be blameless and perfect. We will be a beautiful bride without stain or wrinkle based on Ephesians 5:

Ephesians 5: 25-27  25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

But what do we look like right now? I know weddings and engagements were much different now than they were back then but I sometimes wonder if Christ looks at the church now as his fiancé and sees something less than a radiant church without stain or wrinkle. I wonder what he sees when he looks at his bride-to-be fighting over petty things. I wonder if he shakes his head when he sees his bride-to-be getting into bed with the world, allowing very subtle changes take place within the church, straying ever so slightly from the truth.  Paul was very adamant that the church was not to be polluted but was to be kept pure.

I Corinthians 5: 9 -13 - 9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

I think Paul is pretty clear with what he is saying. He does not want any blemishes on the bride of Christ. He wants the church to be a pure bride and he is telling the church to take drastic measures to ensure this. Imagine if every church actually took Paul's advice. Imagine what a church who did everything within their power to get rid of the sexually immoral or the greedy or the idolaters or the slanderers. The church may be smaller, probably a lot smaller, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Actually if you think about it, I do not think Christ will be impressed with the size of our churches at all. I think this is a true case of size does not matter. He wants quality over quantity.

Our challenge as the church is to do the right things and many times do the hard things as we prepare for the great wedding that will take place one day.

1 comment:

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