Bible Reading: Ephesians 5:22-33
“Husbands, love you wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)
Christ has died on the cross for Your sins. God has loved you for eternity. God’s Word is readily available to you in the Bible. This is God’s open invitation. He is calling you, saying, “sinner, come and get to know me”.
What is God’s love for His people? It is unfathomable and infinitely wise. Yet, this is what Ephesians unfolds for us. Christ loved the church, that is, His own chosen people, and gave Himself up for her. Christ left His glory in heaven to dwell with man in the flesh. He then died on the cross to atone for our sins. But why did He do all this?
He did this so that He could sanctify us. To be sanctified means to be made holy, to be consecrated and cleaned. Paul depicts the relationship between Christ and His church as a husband and wife. Christ is the husband who woos His wife, His church. But, what kind of wife is the church? Ezekiel 16:1-29 describes what kind of wife God’s people are in a very vulgar manner — disgraceful prostitutes. Such is an accurate description of the vileness of our idolatry. We were never faithful to our God. Instead, we wasted ourselves pursuing worthless idols.
But now, God’s offering an open invitation to be cleansed, renewed. He wants to wash us clean once again. He wants to purify our dirty hearts by renewing them. He wants to plant a holy love for God in our hearts and cast away our adulterous past. But, how? How will God do so?
God cleanses us through the “washing of water with the word”. That is a spiritual cleansing by God’s Spirit through God’s Word. How many Bibles do you have lying around in your house? Have you ever longed to read it? God is inviting to cleanse you. He invites you to pick up His Word and read it. This is the psalmist’s heart, “Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!” (Psalm 119:40). Do we long to receive life from God’s Word? Are we willing to be wooed back to God, renewed, and made like Him in holiness once again?
This brings us to the question, why would God want to make us holy? Why does He cleanse us? It is so that He can present the church to Himself in splendour once again! It is so that we can be brought into an intimate relationship with Christ once again! How many of us love for a perfect lover to enjoy moments of intimacy? Christ is the King of the universe. He is the Lord of Lords, and He wants an intimate relationship with you! He offers a relationship far more fulfilling than marriage, far more intimate and satisfying. In fact, marriage is only an image that points to Christ and His relationship with His church. This relationship is what He created us for!
Has God spoken to you through His Word recently? By His providence, are you brought to listen to His Word at church? Why do we take these opportunities so lightly? God is inviting you to be sanctified and to be wooed home into a relationship with Him. Will you obey? Are you willing to be made holy? God does not force or coerce. He only waits patiently, gently and openly, inviting you to come home.
Lord, let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word! Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word. My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes. My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right. Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight. Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments (Psalm 119:169-176). In Jesus’ name, amen.