Summary: Thoughts on the Bridal Paradigm
God’s very essence is love. (1 John 4:7-10) He has always been love, even before He created mankind. He has always sought to have a close relationship with mankind. Human Beings were made for this love. The entire story of humanity is wrapped up within it. Love is why humans were created, and in love is their eternal destiny. This truth is taught throughout Scripture beginning with Adam in the Garden of Eden.
When God created Adam, He said to him, "I will make a partner suitable to you." (Gen 2:18) God was declaring the hidden purpose of His heart from eternity past, the mystery of the ages. The Holy Spirit reveals that this promise ultimately speaks of Jesus and the Church. (See Eph. 5:25-6:1)
God proved He is love by sending Jesus to walk among mankind and die in their place. (Jn 3:16) He now reaches out in tender affection with nail pierced hands in the most pure and intimate way.
Sadly, there are many who are not yet able to experience the fundamental reality that Father God loves and enjoys them. There are those who would argue that God could not possibly be in love with them. What a person believes about God is the most important thing contained in their mind. It affects everything about them.
For too many people, God seems remote, impersonal, and unknowable. Because of that, many suffer from an inability to feel forgiven, nagged by doubt and mistrust of Him. A dysfunctional picture of God results in a dysfunctional way of praying. Jesus revealed this truth; "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?" asked Jesus. "Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him" (Luke 11:11-13).
Those that had an earthly father who was never around when they needed him or have experienced trauma, abuse, or extreme discipline will have a very difficult time pursuing an intimate relationship with the heavenly Father.
The Bible speaks of "agape" and "phileo" love. "Agape" has been defined as a self-sacrificial love committed to the highest good. It is a love not dependent on the emotions. Without it no one could be saved (John 3:16). With "Agape" love God set aside His wrath against mankind and poured it out on the Beloved Son.
"Phileo" love is best defined as tender affection; love from the emotions in a person’s soul. It is that kind of love which responds to love from another. It is the love of true friends; love of a child for his parents or for another child; love between a husband and wife.
This kind of love can be casual or intense. “Phileo” love can’t be relegated to just human emotion. Jesus used this word in describing the Father’s love for Him. (John 5:20) "Phileo" is used in describing the Father’s feelings toward the Son’s disciples. (John 16:27)
The Bridal Paradigm
The Bible unveils the ultimate purpose of mankind’s creation at the very end. It reveals the day when the bride of Christ meets her heavenly Bridegroom and the marriage covenant is established.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready”. (Rev 19:7 NIV)
Some say that the Bride of Christ is the universal Church and not each individual member of the church. However, there can be no difference in God’s love even if there was only one person left on the planet. This is the most profound mystery of God’s love! The King of the Universe, the Beautiful God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the supreme Lord of all creation is so passionately in love with every individual person on this planet that the Bible describes it as the love of a groom for his bride! His heart is ravished by every Christian for He takes great “delight” in them “as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride” (Isa 62:4-5).
The foundational teaching of the Bridal Paradigm is that God’s heart is ravished with enjoyment and delight over His people and that He pursues every Believer with a personal and relentless, infinite love. God is not some mystical, nebulous force whose love is only focused on vast populations - not on an individual person.
John the Baptist introduced himself and his personal ministry in context to the Bridal Paradigm (Jn. 3:29). Jesus was the first to introduce the Bridal Paradigm to the corporate church in His last sermon before the Cross (Mt. 22:1-13). The Apostle John points to the universal prominence of the Bridal Paradigm in the generation the Lord returns. (Rev. 22:17, Hos. 2:16) The Bible clearly reveals how important to God this bride-Bridegroom relationship is. (See II Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:9; Isa. 54:5; 61:10; Jer. 31:32)