Ephesians 5:22-33 First A Bride, Then A Spouse

by | Jun 21, 2023 | Ephesians, New Testament

Before we are an earthly spouse, we need to learn to be a heavenly bride.
Our experience as the Bride of Christ will greatly enable us to be a good earthly spouse.

I. From Impure To Pure- The Corinthians

A. Their Former Condition-Impure 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

1. The City of Corinth was notorious for promiscuity.
2. The church at Corinth was full of people that had lived very sinful lives.
3. But they had heard the Gospel message re. justification with God through faith in Jesus.
4. They asked for forgiveness, repented, & put their faith in Christ. (V. 11)
5. Verse 11

a. washed-to wash off. Not: “you washed yourself”
b. sanctified– set apart from profane; dedicate to God Not: “you sanctified yourself”
c. justified– to declare one as righteous. Not: “you justified yourself”

6. The change from impure to pure before God is wholly the work of God, not man.

B. Their Latter Condition- A Chaste Virgin 2 Corinthians 11:1, 2

1. Paul was battling false teachers that sought to lead the Corinthians astray
2. He saw himself as a “friend of the Bridegroom”, seeking to protect the doctrinal chastity
of the betrothed bride until she completely joined her husband. (Jesus)
3. Paul called them “chaste”, fully knowing how they had formerly lived.
4. They went from being spiritual sinners to spiritual virgins.
5. In the physical realm, that is impossible. Physical virginity is not recoverable.
6. That is exactly what happens when we are cleansed in Christ. (See Romans 3:23, 24)

C. A Struggle Many People Have…

1. Many of us have come from “Corinthian like” lives. Notoriously sinful.
2. We grow in our awareness of God’s holiness and His standards.
3. The Struggle- We are very aware of our own continued battle with sin, & our failures.
4. Our former life, our present sins, and present guilt, can obscure God’s grace & pardon.
5. We may indeed be a chaste virgin in Christ, yet not really believe it or experience it.
6. We try to cleanse ourselves, & we shamefully “live in the other bedroom”.
7. We don’t enjoy the Bridal Gown Christ died to clothe us in, but constantly feel dirty.
8. Our “marriage” to Jesus is subject to our feelings, instead of His love and promises.
9. That negative mindset & heart condition will overflow into every relationship we have.
10. The Solution: Understand, believe, & embrace the work of Jesus on the cross.
11. We need to live in God’s unconditional love. Then we can give & receive it.

II. A Secure & Fruitful Relationship With God Romans 7:1-6

A. A Relationship Gained By Performance Or By Grace?

1. Paul argued against those who said that man could be justified by works (performance)
2. Those who proposed this idea insisted that man could obey the Law & be right w/God.
3. That religious system resulted in the thought: “Performance gains relationship.”
4. Paul had previously stated that no one can perfectly obey the Law. (See Romans 3:20)

a. If no one can rightly obey the Law, then that can’t be the way to God.
b. Law condemns sinners; it doesn’t justify them. Man needed another way to God.

5. The Cross offers man another way: Man can have relationship with God through faith.

a. Man can come to God based upon the grace of God, not upon works/performance.
b. There is freedom in that kind relationship. There is stability, security.
c. The relationship is based upon God’s goodness, not man’s performance (perfection)

6. Paul says that people are like a woman that was married to a man (system of works)

a. When that marriage (works) ended she was free to be joined to another man (grace)
b. If our relationship with God is based on works, we constantly worry about failing.
c. If it is built on God’s unconditional love and forgiveness thru the Cross, we can rest.

7. Modern Day Example Of Relationship By Works

a. A certain unnamed modern day “Reality Show” features a well-known celebrity
who chooses one woman out of a group of 20 contestants to be his special girlfriend.
b. The girls spend time with the celebrity, trying hard to win his approval & affection.
c. One sad aspect of this show is the effort that these women put forth in trying to
make themselves acceptable to a man that will not be committed to them.
d. They measure their self worth by whether they are accepted or rejected.
e. How many do this with other people? Desperate to be accepted & approved of.
f. How many do this with God? Seeking to earn love & working to keep God’s love.

B. A Fruitful Relationship

1. Paul alludes to the fruitfulness of the marriage relationship: children.

a. A result of intimate union between husband and wife

2. Paul alludes to the negative spiritual fruit that came from our lives when we lived apart
from God. Things we are now ashamed of.

3. Paul tells us that “we should bear fruit to God”. 7:4b

a. This speaks of the fruit/results of a Christian being close to God.
b. Every Christian has the Spirit within them, but that doesn’t guarantee fruitfulness.

4. A husband & wife can be legally married, but never be intimate.

a. The result is no “fruit”, i.e., children.
b. If they are close, intimate, there comes forth fruit. (Barring infertility problems)

5. Every Christian has hopes of being fruitful for God.

a. Having a more godly character. Growing in love, service, and effectiveness.
b. Having a life that increasingly looks like Jesus.

6. A “performance” oriented approach can create distance between Jesus & His Bride

a. We are not close to God because we focus on our performance & failures.
b. The result is that we are a Bride forever trying to change, & never resting in His love

7. That will result in a lack of fruit. Not an absence of relationship, but a lack of fruit.