February 10, 2019
The word ‘betrothed’ is rarely used today. It is the old-fashioned way to say engaged to be married. If you are betrothed, you are completely and formally pledged to someone. This Thursday, Valentine’s Day, is one of the most popular days for wedding proposals. So very soon there will be an increase in the number of those who are betrothed.
But did you know that all true Christians are betrothed? It doesn’t matter whether in this life we are currently married, divorced, widowed, or single. We are all betrothed to our Lord Jesus Christ. We are his bride-to-be. Now the men hearing this might not want to picture themselves in a long white wedding gown, and are possibly wondering how this is going to play out. Rest assured, the marriage of Christ and His bride, the Church, is not a physical union as in human marriage, as human marriage is only a foreshadowing of that which is to come. And even though in our first Scripture reading (Hosea 2:16,19-20 NIV) the Lord said we will call him ‘husband’, the Bible is using the symbolism that it spoke of in Ephesians 5, which says “’A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” Just as our third Scripture reading (Revelation 19:6-9 NIV) says that our wedding clothes will be fine linen, bright and clean, which stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people; keeping in mind that our acts cannot be righteous, nor are we God’s holy people, without faith in what Christ has done for us, his atoning sacrifice which cleansed us with his own blood.
How many of you have ever read Song of Solomon in the Bible? It is right after my favorite of Solomon’s poetic writings, Ecclesiastes. If there ever was a book in the Bible that could have an ‘R’ rating, it would be Song of Solomon. It reads like a romantic novel. It speaks of love and beauty, and the attraction between bride and a groom. But while many quickly dismiss it as nothing more, it actually paints a beautiful picture of the divine love between Christ and the church. Chapter 2, verse 10, says “My beloved spoke and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.’” And the day is coming when Christ will call us, his beloved bride, to arise and go with him.
And so we must be ready, just as the five wise bridesmaids in our second Scripture reading (Matthew 25:1-13 NLT). Letting your oil run out as the five foolish ones did is akin to your professed devotion to Christ being merely a passing infatuation and not a true commitment - seemingly on fire for the Lord one minute, and back to your old life the next. Those who do this do not have the light of Christ. Instead they are part of the darkness, having never truly escaped it. And don’t think that you can borrow someone else’s oil. It must be your own. You can only purchase this oil by paying the price yourself, which is to commit yourself to Christ, put all of your faith in him for salvation, love him above all others, and be true and faithful to him as your Lord. But don’t wait until the last minute. Don’t think to yourself, “I’ll enjoy life first, and worry about my salvation later.” Christ could return at any minute, and if you have no oil in your lamp, the door to heaven will be locked, and you will be left outside.
But for those of us who have committed to Christ, who have said “yes”, we will partake in the marriage supper of the Lamb, a wedding reception such as the world has never seen. A celebration to end all celebrations! And we will live with Jesus, our glorious bridegroom for all eternity in the heavenly mansion he is preparing for us.
So while Jesus maybe doesn’t give us a diamond ring when we accept his proposal, he does give us something far better. We receive the Holy Spirit as his “pledge of what is to come” (2 Corinthians 5:5). For “He has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.” (2 Corinthians 1:22). And the Holy Spirit is not only our wonderful guarantee, but while we are waiting for Christ, He produces in us “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness”. (Galatians 5:22). So what are you waiting for? Say “yes” to Jesus! Amen.
“Wedding Day” (Casting Crowns) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRQnXot2zxI
“Wedding of the Lamb” (Bride of Christ Ministries) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otEgXJRTLSg