Copyright © December 19, 2012
Click here to go to “Self-exam Questions: Christ-Church, Husband-Wife, Bridegroom-Bride” [To be added as time permits]
Note. This is a modified version of Section III, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application. The Biblical Doctrine of Separation of Church and State has links to the audio teaching of Jerald Finney on this and other subjects related to the doctrine of separation of church and state.
Christ-Church, Husband-Wife, Bridegroom-Bride
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ep. 5.25).
The Word of God reveals the mind of God. The Bible tells the believer how God feels concerning certain actions of His children. The Husband-wife and Bridegroom-bride analogies depicting Christ and His church (discussed in Section II, Chapter 3 of God Betrayed) have important implications. From the Husband-wife analogy, we know that Christ, likened to a husband, wants to be over His wife, the church, in all things and is jealous when His wife, even if remaining for some purposes under Christ, also puts herself under another head. Why else would God have given this analogy? He wants us to know how important this relationship is.
What godly husband would not be jealous if his wife came to him, arms around another man, and said,
“You know that I love you very much. I appreciate your love for me and all you do for me. I have entered into an agreement with Joe. I want you to know that I have decided that I am going to meet with Joe a couple of times a week for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner; and maybe occasionally meet with him just to talk. He cares for me, and he can give me additional advice and information which will be very helpful to me and which you are not able to give, although the advice you do give is most appreciated and helpful as far as it goes and as far as it is correct. He will also help me financially, since you cannot give me all that I need and want. I will still love and honor you. I know that my relationship with Joe will be alright with you.”
How would a husband feel about such an arrangement? Would it affect the marriage in any way? Would not it affect the way the husband and wife treat and respond to one another? Would the husband be jealous? Is not Christ jealous of His church? Is not the Lord grieved when His wife, the church, puts herself under the state through incorporation and tax exempt status (see Section VI of God Betrayed) or in any other manner?
We see pictures of the Husband-wife relationship in the Old Testament, between Jehovah God the Father and the nation Israel:
Isaiah 54 deals with Israel the restored wife of Jehovah & security and blessing of restored Israel. God the Father was the husband of Israel. “For thy maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy one of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called” (Is. 54.5).
Jeremiah 2-6 discusses the harlotry of Israel toward her husband, Jehovah and His warnings and promises to her depending upon whether she repents. “Turn, O backsliding children saith the LORD; for I am married unto you…. Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD” (Je. 3.14, 20).
Hosea depicts the dishonored wife (Israel), and the sinful people. “… Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband. Let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst. And I will not have mercy on her children; for they be the children of whoredoms. For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after other lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink…” (Ho. 2.2-5).
Hosea 4.6-11 speaks of the willful ignorance of Israel: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou has forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget my children…” (Ho. 4).
Sadly, many of our leading Christians and pastors today, like the Israelites spoken of by the prophets, are either willfully ignorant or allow their reasoning to blind their eyes as to the importance of this issue to God.
What happens when a wife starts to have an affair, even a non-sexual affair? She may be able to hide her earthly affair from her husband, but she cannot hide the effects of the affair. (Of course, a church cannot hide her affair from the Lord.) The attitude, speech, and actions of the wife change. Does not her relationship with her husband change? Her husband now has to share his time with another who is partially over his wife. Does not the joy leave the marriage? Many times, if she does not repent, is not the marriage destroyed? Even if she repents, she and her husband will never forget. Hopefully, he will forgive.
In many ways it is the same with the local assembly that enters into an unholy union with the civil government. Perhaps the church who does this tries to cover up the fact that the church has dishonored and grieved her Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ—those who even think about what is going on say, “Well, if my new partner ever tells me that I cannot preach salvation, he will have gone too far.” The pastor says, “The Lord and his ways are not sufficient. The civil government takes better care of me than does the Lord. The civil government protects the church, allows the church to enter into contracts, gives the church limited liability, gives the church tax exemption (not realizing that God makes the church non-taxable which is not good enough), allows my people to deduct their contributions, etc.” This pastor either does not understand or ignores the Word of God in these matters. He does not understand that God instructs him that the Lord is to be over His church, that he is at the very least combining the holy with the unholy, or at worst committing spiritual adultery, and that disastrous consequences are ahead. Unlike an earthly husband, God can and will forgive and forget if a church repents and turns back to the Lord.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Ro. 7.4).
Note. This subject is dealt with in much more detail in The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls.