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Summary: Paul explains the relationship between Christ and His church as being like the relationship between a husband and wife.

Paul describes the church as being the bride of Christ and tells how the relationship between husband and wife is an illustration of Christ’s relationship with His us. Let’s see what Paul has to tell us.

1. Christ’s Devotion to His Bride - v. 25

There are many "falling in love" scenarios. Some fall in love at first sight & some after an arranged marriage. In some instances, the man fall in love with the woman and pursues her, while in others, it is the woman who first falls in love with the man and then pursues him. And then there is the man who is chased the woman until she caught him or visa versa.

When it comes to Christ’s love affair with His bride, it is clear who took the initiative. It was Christ. He pursued us; we didn’t pursue Him.

"We love Him because He first loved us." -1 John 4:19 (NKJV)

"The Word of God is a history of God’s dealings with man. It is not a book at all about how much man loves God, but how God amazingly and against all human reasoning loves rebellious man. We often

wonder as we read the record of the Old Testament how people could be so sinful, stiff-necked and rebellious. The amazing thing is not that man is rebellious, but that God loves the rebel. We come to the New Testament, and we find this same love demonstrating itself in the central event in history. Both Jews and Gentiles rejected the Lord of glory by crucifying Him on the cross. And in man’s greatest

rejection of God, we find God’s greatest and strongest love for man. ’Father forgive them for they know not what they do!’ cried the Lord from the cross. ’It is finished!’ He said. What was finished? Christ had finished His work of opening the door of God’s love to mankind. Justice was finished. Christ drank every drop from the cup of God’s wrath. God’s anger against man’s sin was satisfied. Even in man’s

greatest hatred of God, we find God pursuing after man in the greatest manner." - Pastor Matt Black

Christ’s love for His church is such that He willingly gave Himself for our sake. And He did so, as we’ve already pointed out, despite our complete and total disinterest in Him. The cross tells us at least two things about Christ’s love for us:

1) Christ’s love is unconditional.

"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." - Romans 5:8 (NLT)

"He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." - 1 John 2:2 (NIV)

"Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more -no amount of spiritual calisthenics and renunciations, no amount of knowledge gained from seminaries, no amount of crusading on behalf of righteous causes. And grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us less—no amount of racism or pride or pornography or adultery or even murder. Grace means that God already loves us as much an infinite God can possibly love." - Phillip Yancey - "What’s So Amazing About Grace"

2) Christ’s love is intentional.

"If, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" - Romans 5:10 (NIV)

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13 (NIV)

When a couple comes together in marriage, they do so having made the choice to "lay down their lives" for one another. Up until that point, he has lived his life and she has lived hers. But now, they are choosing to live THEIR life, together. To do that, they lay down their individual lives so that they might give themselves to one another in their life together. They make this commitment, because they have come to the conviction that the life they might share together is far better than a life they might live on their own.

This is why Jesus gave Himself for us. He gave Himself for us so that He might give Himself to us. He is convinced that the life we can share together with Him is far better than the life we might live on our own. And if our church, you and me, are going to be the church we ought to be, then we must share our Savior’s conviction.

Just as a marriage will not work without both parties sharing the conviction that the life they might share together is far better than a life they might live on their own. Our church will only be all Christ calls us to be when each of us shares this conviction with Him.

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