“I don’t want him to be with me out of obligation. I want to be chosen.” Granted this is not a passage of Scripture - it was spoken on a TV program we were watching. Yet, there was a profound Gospel truth to what was said. I had to jump up and find a notepad to write down the words verbatim.
The verse of this great anthem of the church came almost immediately to my mind:
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.
The Groom will not rest until He has gathered His Bride unto Himself.
What greater motivation could there be than the revelation that the Church is the chosen elect Bride of Christ? His Great High Priestly Prayer rings eternal in her heart: "I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours;” John 17:9. The fervency of our hope is also fueled by: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” John 6:37 And: "Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one." John 18:9
The Lamb’s Reward
The Church is the Lamb’s reward for His suffering - presented to Him by His, and our, Faithful Father. Paul writes to the church at Colossae: “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,” 1:13 At once this is the initiation and the culmination of the eternal purpose of the Father in the Son of His love. "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:44
He is under no obligation to respond to us as a result of our choices–nor any rite or ritual we may observe whether evangelical or sacramental. The Son’s only obligation is to gather unto himself those from every tribe, tongue and nation: "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9. This is the Song of the Bride - the Chosen Wife of the Lamb. It arises from the very depths of her being for she knows that she has been chosen by Him - out of many He has foreordained one. She becomes virginally choice as a result of having been chosen.
Desire of the Bride
As an outcome the desire of the Bride burns with an unquenchable fire for the Groom. Her consummate passion is to be pleasing to Him and she will not hire herself out to another. She will dress herself with the garments given to her by Him: “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” Revelation 19:8. His purpose in her will not be abated: “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:27
The following immutable hope exists eternally as a definite atonement for those that the Father has given the Son as His Bride: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. “I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30
Delivered from Bondage
From an unknown author of the 12th Century the church’s hope continues to ring forth.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
“The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.” Revelation 12:9. There is no liberty. There is no power to choose - until one has been chosen. It is only the One who is the Rod of Jesse who can set free His own from bondage - and He will dress her in the splendid robes of His righteousness. She will have a new name and nature: “No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah ("My delight is in her,"), and your land Beulah ("Married"); for the LORD will take delight in you,...” Isaiah 62:4 NIV
Delight of Christ
From This Morning’s Meditation (Today!) by Pastor Charles Spurgeon on Jeremiah 2:2 "I remember thee." ‘Let us note that Christ delights to think upon His Church, and to look upon her beauty. From all eternity "His delights were with the sons of men"; His thoughts rolled onward to the time when His elect should be born into the world; He viewed them in the mirror of His foreknowledge. "In Thy book," He says, "all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them" (Ps. 139:16).’
I posted this on Facebook and a pastor friend of mine just replied: “Thank you Ron for sharing this. It's a wonder-full meditation to consider the romance our dear Lord initiates with His own. God bless!” And I would add - what the Lord initiates He brings to completion: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10:9 The Marriage Covenant is but a mirror image of the relationship that exists between Christ and His Church. From Paul speaking under inspiration: “for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure (chaste) virgin.” 2 Corinthians 11:21
Finally, at the glorious consummation of the ages: "And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” Matthew 24:31
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.