My Life as the Bride of Christ (a new series – part #1)

I recently had the opportunity to share this talk with my women’s study hour class at church.  When I read over my notes now, I am sooo disappointed that I didn’t record our conversations.  God showed up and took my meager offerings and multiplied them hundred-fold as the other women in the room shared their thoughts and questions.  It was a beautiful time.  I pray that God would once again take these meager offerings and multiply them in your own mind as you meditate on these truths.

In this series which I’ve titled “My Life as the Bride of Christ,” we’re going to look together at a few things that I believe make the marriage relationship unique and how our relationship with Christ is particularly special because we are His bride.#1. The marriage relationship is exclusive:

We can have a dozen coworkers, a dozen children and a dozen friends.  But we can only have ONE husband and He can only have ONE bride.  God will not share us with other gods and our husband will not share us with other men.

It is not enough for us to make God the biggest God in our life, or the best idol that we have.  He can’t be our “favorite” husband, the one who gets to share our house and our bed.  He wants to be our ONLY husband, our ONE thing.  He wants ALL of our heart, soul, mind and strength, our everything.

As Hosea 1:2 reads, “When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”

What had the Israelites done that made them whores, adulterers?  They had forsaken the Lord.  They had turned their back on Him and chased after false gods, idols.  They had given their allegiance to things OTHER than the one true God.  They were not loving Him with ALL their heart, soul, mind and strength.  God despises adultery of all forms, especially adultery toward Him.  God wants our whole heart.  He will not share His glory with another.

SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR US….  How does the fact that The marriage relationship is exclusive impact our lives?

Well, for one, we can demonstrate our love for Christ, by being a good steward of all that He has entrusted to us: our time, talent, treasure and testimony,

  • by rising early in the morning to spend time with Him when we’d rather sleep in,
  • by using our gifts and talents to serve Him and His kingdom, rather than our own pursuits,
  • by using the possessions and money that He has given to us for His glory rather than selfish passions,
  • by speaking of His unfailing love to both strangers and friends, rather than turning a blind eye to their needs, or being ashamed of our “first love.”

We can demonstrate our love for Christ by giving Him our first and our best, rather than the scraps and leftovers.

Stay tuned for “Part Two: The marriage relationship is ‘til death do we part.” 

Forgiven Times Three

“And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.'”  Romans 4:5-8

At first glance, Paul/David is merely reiterating how greatly blessed we are when we are forgiven by our Holy God – that we are forgiven, forgiven, forgiven.

But, as I looked deeper into this passage, I studied the three ways in which we are specifically forgiven.  Blessed are those whose lawless deeds/sins are:

  1. FORGIVEN – aphiemi – let go, left, sent away (as in divorced, 1 Corinthians 7:11-13)
  2. COVERED – epikalypto – covered, hidden, veiled
  3. (not) COUNTED – logizomai – reckoned, counted, imputed, numbered among, to account (as in Romans 4:3“Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”)

These are three specific ways our sins are forgiven us in Christ.

  1. Christ takes our sin away from us – casting it away, separating it from us – like our record of sin being thrown away into an out-of-sight trash bin.  Like Psalm 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
  2. Christ covers over our sin by His blood, hiding our record of sin from the sight of the Father.
  3. Christ takes our sin off our account, placing it onto His own, imputing onto our account His righteousness, in place of our own sinfulness.

How is it, specifically, according to David in Psalm 32, that we receive this abundant tri-fold forgiveness? Without question this is by faith, by believing God, by following Jesus in the obedience of faith, like Abraham rather than by  any good work because as sinful people we are unable to deserve, merit or earn righteousness.  This is evident from Romans 3:20.

Yet, true faith will include what David writes in Psalm 32:5:

I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”

The way I see it is this is not merely a situation of us not being forgiven if we sin, but don’t confess it.  Rather, as David also wrote in Psalm 66:18, “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”  We must not hold deceit in our spirit, being like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle as David continues in Psalm 32.

By faith we turn to Christ, agreeing with Him of the gravity of our sin, casting these burdens on Him and by faith trusting Him to forgive our sin, covering it by His blood and imputing Christ’s righteousness onto our account.  Thank You, Jesus, for forgiving me and justifying me by your grace as a gift.  I’m not worthy, but YOU ARE!