“Do you promise to love, honor, obey and, absolutely forsaking all others, keep thyself only to him and be to him in all things a faithful and true wife, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death do you part?”
No doubt these words bring to mind the marriage of a man and woman. You can imagine the handsome groom standing next to his beautiful bride as they give themselves to one another. But can we look at these vows from another perspective?
Several times in the New Testament, the relationship between Christ and His church is compared to that of a husband and his bride. More than once, the church is portrayed as the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27, 32; II Corinthians 11:1-2; Isaiah 62:4). One of the parallels we can draw between the relationship of a husband and wife and the relationship of Christ and His church is that, as Christians, we promise to love Christ (the groom). Why? The answer should be obvious!
First, we love Jesus because of the peace He provides. Isaiah 9:6 depicts Christ as the prince of peace. Notice Jesus’ own words from the book of John. John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” This world is filled with troubles, trials, and temptations. But, in the midst of these trials, we can still experience peace. You might say Jesus is the “eye in the middle of our storm.” This peace is a contentment that comes from being in a right relationship with God.
Second, we love Jesus because of the rest He renders. Imagine trying to carry the burden of a heavy load. Your back is bowed and your knees start to buckle. Now imagine having to carry this load for years! More than anything else you’re wanting to rest! You’re wanting relief from carrying your heavy burden. We need to understand that sin is a heavy load. We need to understand that Jesus is the only one that can offer any relief! Matthew 11:28-29 28 – “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Third, we love Jesus because of the salvation He supplies. Because we have all sinned, we all need to be saved from our sin. We need to be saved from the eternal consequences of our sin. Just as our sin results in being separated from God, salvation results in being reconciled to God. This salvation can only come through the blood of Christ. Acts 4:12 – “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Fourth, we love Jesus because of the cross He carried. Imagine the garden where Jesus was praying shortly before being taken away by the Roman soldiers. Imagine the scene as later Jesus was scourged, slapped, and mocked. Can you picture in your mind the soldiers placing Jesus on the cross, driving nails through his hands and feet? Can you envision Jesus’ bloody and beaten body as He is hanging on the cross and praying to His father? Throughout all of this, Jesus could have called the angels (Matthew 26:53). Instead, He chose to endure the shame and excruciating pain of the cross so that you and I could be with Him forever in heaven. Know this without a doubt – this is the greatest love anyone could ever imagine (John 14:15). Doesn’t it only make sense for us to love Him in return?
As the bride of Christ, we ought to love Him because of the peace he provides, the rest He renders, the salvation He supplies, and the cross he carried!