CHRIST LOVES THE CHURCH
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
What Christ has planned and will do for the church is the hope of our expectation: and what He is, will be the measure of our likeness.
Our text is the gracious and glorious words used by the Holy Spirit to reveal what Christ has done, and is doing, and will yet do, for His Bride, the Church. Let's notice what these verses reveal.
THERE IS AFFECTION
We are told that “Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.” This statement becomes a model for husband and wife to follow: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.”
When we go to Christ in His Word by faith we discover that the Holy Spirit enables our love for Him and in this experience we find that He loves us. Jesus is affectionate toward us. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). 1 Peter 1:8, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:"
Our relation to Christ is not a non affectionate relationship. He loves us and is with us watching over us and supplying our needs of courage and stability under all kinds of trials.
THERE IS SUBSTITUTION
Our text says, “and gave himself for it.” He is our substitute. He stood in our place. There is nothing more clearly taught in the Scripture than that Christ's death was not for Himself but for us. The word “substitute” means in our place. We should have been there. Justice demanded payment for sin. And it is as if we were only a step away from God's eternal judgment, Jesus stepped in front of us and said, “I am taking his place.” So instead of me dying to pay for my sins, He took it on Him self to do it for me. The words “and gave himself for it” tell what Jesus did for the Church. How can we not bow at His feet and worship with thanksgiving bestowing our greatest affections on Him because of what He has done for us.
THERE IS ABSOLUTION
Absolution is an act “of absolving; a freeing from blame or guilt; release from the consequences, obligations, or penalties.” This is exactly what Jesus did for us by dying for us on the cross. It is impossible for the unsaved world to accept this. The false gods of paganism are cruel and ugly. When they hear that the God who created all things, also created them and loves them, there is a lot of head scratching that goes on. It is inconceivable that God would send His Son to die for them and save them from the penalty of sin. When the Lord cleanses from sin there is nothing left to judge. Hebrews 10:17, "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
THERE IS SANCTIFICATION
He has separated us unto God. We are set apart as His peculiar treasure. The word sanctification has caused many a Christian problems. There are those who take this to mean that one has to have a sanctification that sets him apart and as such one is without sin. This of course is satan's lie.
There is experiential sanctification where the believer lives a separated life. They will tell you that they are living above sin. Paul settles this issue in Romans 7:18, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." Paul was a born again Apostle of Jesus when he said this.
Then there is positional sanctification. Hebrews 10:10, "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
1. This sanctification is according to the will of God: “By the which will.”
2. This sanctification is the work of God in the life of the believer: “we are sanctified.” There words “we are sanctified” translate a perfect tense passive voice. The perfect tense represents completed action in the past, that action continues to the present and through the present forever. The passive voice means that the subject is acted upon, i.e., he is the recipient of a supernatural act of God upon him. This is true of every Christian.
3. This sanctification was accomplished on the Cross and every one who comes to the cross in repentance has this sanctification and is permanent.
4. This sanctification is a “once for all” experience.
5. This sanctification perfects forever them that are sanctified. Hebrews 10:14, "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."
6. There is regeneration. This is what Jesus talked to Nicodemus about. God creates within us a new nature and is in His likeness. Ephesians 4:24, "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
7. There is preservation. He is going to present us to Himself and the condition of the believer is described in Colossians 1:21‑22, "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:"
May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.