A Holy Matrimony

A Holy Matrimony

Regardless of how Coronavirus 19 started, we are witnessing how plagues greatly change the world through fear. We can read about plagues and their consequences in the Old Testament, and plagues are prophesied in the New Testament to occur before Jesus returns.

Luke 21:10-11, 13 Then he [Jesus] said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven…This will be your opportunity to bear witness.

While people are fearful of Coronavirus, some may be ready to think about God, their sin, eternity, and desire to know how to be saved. Be ready to share the Gospel. Here it is:

Those, who repent, and submit to Christ’s Lordship over their lives, are given grace to be born again by the Spirit into the Kingdom of God. They become the members of Christ’s Church. Another name for the Church is “the Bride of Christ”. Just like a husband and a wife are to be “in one flesh” God desires that the Church be one with Him as well.

Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

1 Corinthians 6:17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

Therefore, regardless of what is happening in the world, plague or no plague, God’s eternal purpose is to bring into existence a group of people who have willingly chosen to love Him and serve Him in holiness, and have a fellowship, a friendship, and a love relationship with Him, culminating into a Holy Matrimony when His Son, the Bridegroom returns for His Bride.

But for a marriage to succeed, it requires two persons, not just one, to love and be devoted to one another. God’s love is unconditional. It is a faithful devoted love. God desires us to love Him unconditionally and faithfully, too.

Mark 12:29-30 Jesus answered, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

As with any proposal of marriage, God gives us a choice to reject or accept His marriage proposal, to become one with Him. If we choose to accept His proposal, the Holy Spirit will sanctify us, and make us ready to be the Bride of Christ.

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

The task of the Holy Spirit is to bring us home to Jesus Christ as His purified, spotless Bride. To illustrate this relationship between believers and the Holy Spirit let us look back at an Old Testament example found in Genesis 24.

Abraham, the father, did not want Isaac, his son, to take a wife from the pagan people around them. So, Abraham sent his most trusted servant, Eliezer, back to his land of origin to find a bride for his son Isaac.

Eliezer’s name means "mighty, divine helper" - a symbolic name of the Holy Spirit. Eliezer’s entire mission and purpose was focused on one thing: to bring a bride who would leave all she had to be married to Isaac and be devoted to him.

God knew what Isaac would like for a wife. Therefore, long before Eliezer arrived in Abraham’s home country, God chose Rebekah as a bride for Isaac. She was a beautiful virgin of good character.

Immediately upon Eliezer’s arrival, the Lord arranged circumstances for Eliezer to meet Rebekah and the Lord identified her as His choice for Isaac.

God knows what you would like for a spouse, too. That person will have qualities that please you and will compliment you—things that you never considered would be a blessing to you. Like Isaac, we must wait for the Holy Spirit to bring that person into our life and identify them as God’s choice for us.

After God showed Eliezer His choice for Isaac, Eliezer told Rebekah, "You’ve been chosen. Now here is a foretaste of the glory of my Master!" And Rebekah put on the gold bracelets and earrings, jewels, silver and expensive clothes Abraham provided for her. Then Eliezer asked, "Will you go with me to be my Master’s bride?"

I can imagine Rebekah had some fear about this proposal. Suppose Rebekah had answered, "Thank you for choosing me, and for all these gifts and blessings, but I like my life here. Without knowing the future, I am unwilling follow you!"

Isn’t that how we respond when the Holy Spirit asks, “Will you go with me to be my Master’s bride?” We accept being chosen and take all the blessings God gives, but we enjoy this world too much to give it up. We are afraid to give up control of our lives and follow the Holy Spirit.

However, just as surely as Eliezer came back with Rebekah to present her as a bride to Isaac, the Holy Spirit will bring back a bride for the Lord Jesus Christ. God chose us and sent His Spirit to prepare us and take us safely home as Christ’s eternal Bride! Will we accept His proposal of a Holy Matrimony and go with the Holy Spirit to be the Bride of Christ?

For an illustration of what will happen if we do not trust the Holy Spirit and follow Him, we can look at the nation of Israel.

Deuteronomy 7:6 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

Oh, how the Israelites loved this message! They loved being chosen, being special in God’s eyes. But they wanted to enjoy the benefits of God without taking on the obligation and discipline of becoming a bride to their God!

Isaiah 54:5, “For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.”

The nation of Israel was redeemed from slavery but that generation didn’t follow the Lord’s leading to the Promised Land. They were fearful, faithless, and grumbled at the cost of following the Spirit of God.

Jeremiah 3:20 Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the LORD.

They continued in stubborn rebellion, backsliding, spiritual harlotry and idolatry. They were chosen, but not cleansed! They were special, but they never separated themselves unto God.

This is truly a picture of modern-day Christianity. We are redeemed. Many boast in being chosen and called of God, but they do not want the discipline of the Holy Spirit to prepare them for the holiness required of the Bride of Christ.

They accept all His blessings, His gold and silver and His great provision. But when the Holy Spirit says, “Follow me. It’s time to deny yourself, pick up a cross, and get prepared as a Bride for the Christ", then they don’t want to accept the cost of following Him.

Does that describe you? Do you have a willing “Rebekah heart” or an unwilling rebellious heart?

Rebekah was asked, "Will you go with this man? And she said, “I will go." She left everything, family, friends, to be the Bride of Isaac and to devote her life to loving him.

The believers who accept Christ’s proposal realize they need to get ready to meet their Bridegroom. They are repentant, broken over their sin, and have no other concern than to be conformed to the image of Christ and get prepared to be His Bride. They are willing say “I will go” and follow the Holy Spirit. They are willing to leave this world behind and allow the Holy Spirit to teach them and prepare them to be the Bride of Christ.

What kind of bride is Christ coming back for? He is looking for beautiful bride with good character—one who has the fruit of the Spirit; that is, the character and nature of God.

Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

The Bride of Christ is made up of those who are born again of the Holy Spirit. They are no longer "of this world" but belong to the Kingdom of God. They have set their affections on things above, not on the things of this earth. They continually crucify their fleshly desires. They are not moved by the world’s events. They are unshakable during plagues. They are no longer lukewarm or half-hearted. Instead, their hearts cry out night and day, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus...."

What happened to give them this desire and passion? Simply this: Just like Eliezer gave Rebekah a foretaste of glory of his Master, the Holy Spirit gave them a foretaste of the glory of Jesus Christ! The Holy Spirit gives us times where Jesus is so real that you taste a little bit of His Presence and love. You come away with a sense of the reality and glory of Heaven.

As a result, your problems no longer bother you, the lapsing economy doesn’t shake you, viruses and failing health don’t worry you, and you’re especially not afraid of death or the devil. God puts a holy fire in your soul, and you hate sin. Then you realize, "This isn’t me! This is God’s Spirit working in me!"

When we get a foretaste of His holiness, His peace, His rest, and His love, we are forever spoiled for this earth, because we continue to yearn for the fullness of what we have tasted! This creates in us a passionate, ever-increasing yearning for Christ! It is an emotion that is so profound there are no words to express it.

2 Corinthians 5:2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling

The Hebrew word used for groaning means a yearning—a longing for more of Christ.

If we truly love Jesus, He is never out of our mind. He is present in our every waking moment. We want to be in His Presence. We long to be with Him with a yearning, a groaning in our spirit. Our soul declares, "Jesus, I’ve tasted and seen You are good. I want all of You, and I want You to have all of me."

This is the deep, inner cry of someone who hungers for holiness and is anguished over his sin. His heart’s cry is: "Come Lord Jesus! Take control of my life. Empty me of all selfishness and fill me with Your Spirit. You are all I need! You are all I want!"

This is also the mark of one who is sealed with the Spirit: He has an insatiable appetite for Jesus and desires a holy matrimony with Him.

Sadly, few today have this consuming desire for Christ. Each Sunday churches are full of people who never question or examine their love for Christ! There is no hungering or thirsting for righteousness, and so little passion. They like Jesus, but they do not love Him nor look forward to His return. They have no passion to be led by His Spirit and be disciplined, changed, and prepared to become His Bride.

Examine yourself. Is your love for Jesus lukewarm? Are you more passionately in love with Jesus than when you first met Him? Can you say right now you’re ready to go be with Him, that you want Him more than your very life?

Right now, the Holy Spirit is asking, “Will you go with me?” If you feel His conviction, that is good! He wants you to be cleansed from every spot or wrinkle before the Bridegroom comes! Ask the Holy Spirit to totally wean you from this world and do whatever is necessary to cleanse you and prepare you to be a Bride for Christ. Let Him do His work in you completely, and you will truly know what it means to walk in the Spirit! You will truly know what it means to love and worship your Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.