The Bride of Christ


bride

The Word of God:

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you abstain from sexual immorality (1Th 4:3).

We wanted to revisit the topic of an earlier post, God Defined Marriage, to emphasize that God does not single out homosexuals, but hates all sexual sin.

John is told in the Book of Revelation that murderers, liars, idolaters, sorcerers, cowardly, abominable and immoral (pornois) persons will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 21:8). Pornoisfrom which we derive the English word porn, or pornography, always refers to sexual immorality including fornication (premarital sex), adultery (sex outside of marriage), homosexuality, incest and bestiality.

Sex is a gift from God to be shared by a man and woman within the bond of holy matrimony. This, of course, elicited a liberal backlash to our opposition to same-sex unions. Unmarried heterosexuals took issue with our condemnation of premarital sex as fornication. Liberals seem to think that fornication is sex with a prostitute, but not with your boyfriend or girlfriend, or live-in partner.

The Catholic Church condemns fornication and promiscuity as…

…a denigration of both women and men, viewing them as nothing more than objects of sexual pleasure rather than creatures made in the image and likeness of God [Source].

There is no sanctified bond between unmarried couples. Fornication is uncommitted narcissism, and it says to the other person that I love myself more than I love you. It is an abomination and a sin in the eyes of the Lord.

Immorality was a problem in the church at Corinth to the degree that Paul said not even the Gentiles were guilty of such wickedness (see also Gal 5:19-20):

Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God (1Co 6:9-11).

Paul uses the example of a prostitute to explain that every sin a man commits is outside the body, but sexual immorality is a sin against one’s own flesh. A man who has sex with his girlfriend is joining his body and spirit to her for it is written: The two shall become one flesh (Ge 2:24). What, then, if they have multiple partners? To whom are they married?

In Jn 4:16-18 Jesus tells the woman at the well to: Go, call your husband and come here. The woman replies that she has no husband whereupon Jesus reveals that she’s had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband.

Your girlfriend is not a wife. Your boyfriend is not a husband. Your live-in partner is not a spouse. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate (Mk 10:9). The Greek word synezeuxen (joined) connotes the gluing, or cementing of a relationship. Virginity is the greatest gift that a man and a woman can give to one another. That is an old fashioned idea, but it is holy and righteous before God. Imagine if Mary, the mother of Jesus, had not preserved her virginity.

Marriage is a holy institution ordained by God to be righteously consummated in heaven at the marriage supper of the Lamb. It is not to be mocked, nor defiled. On this issue the church is wavering.

The Episcopal Church has approved a liturgy for blessing same-sex unions; the Evangelical Lutheran Church and Presbyterian Church (USA) permit congregations to support and bless same-sex unions; the Unitarian Congregations and Reform Jewish movement support same-sex marriage; the United Church of Christ recognizes same-sex marriage; and while the United Methodist Church has reaffirmed that marriage is between a man and a woman there is regional pressure to recognize same-sex unions.

While homosexual marriage is gaining acceptance within the church we are equally dismayed by heterosexual promiscuity. We sat in with a group of young Christian women expecting that they might be conducting an impromptu Bible study, but were shocked to hear that they were talking about sex and birth control. One of the women boasted that she slept with a different man every weekend. When we inquired whether these were Christian men one of the women emphatically replied that she doesn’t date Christian men. Evidently, the young woman hadn’t read Paul’s instruction to be not unevenly yoked:

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever (2Co 6:14-15)?

It is perplexing why women, particularly women of faith, are desirous of roguish men, but as one of the Christian ladies said: It’s challenging and fun. SoChristian men aren’t fun?

We suspect that most disobedience is due to ignorance, or unbelief. People either don’t know what the Bible says about sex and marriage, or they simply don’t believe the Word of God. The LORD pulls no punches in the Book of Leviticus (Lv 20:11-21) regarding His condemnation of sexual immorality. Incest, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and homosexuality all incurred the death penalty. This offends the sensibilities of the world, but it serves as a sobering reminder to the faithful that we are to present ourselves holy and blameless before God:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Ro 12:1).

Christian men (and women) who have a problem with pornography are no less innocent. Jesus Christ raised the standard above and beyond Old Testament statutes when He said that everyone who  looks at a woman (or man) with lust has already committed adultery in their heart (Mt 5:28).

We knew a married woman, some time ago in a different town, who committed adultery with a neighbor’s 13-year old son. We  moved to another city, but years later (maybe after her prison sentence) she showed up at our neighborhood church. Paul instructs us to not associate with immoral brethren (1Co 5:11) so we received her very cautiously.

This is all a puzzle to those who are faithless; but marriage is the mystery that reveals Jesus Christ. In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul quotes from the Old Testament:

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church (Eph 5:31-32).

The body of Christ is His bride; the dowry paid is His blood on the cross; and the marriage feast will take place after He returns His bride to the Father’s house. This is why we must defend the tradition of marriage. Sexual immorality and same-sex marriage are direct attacks which subvert and undermine this sacred and holy institution established by God.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready (Rev 19:7).

Brethren, we are the bride of Christ. Have you made yourself ready?

Suggested Reading:

What is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?

Next: God Defined Marriage 

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