photo © 2006 James Diggans | more info (via: Wylio)
“So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:28-32, NASB.
OK, this one is not really for the kids!
In all this talk about the theology of predestination, free will, grace and works, it occurred to me at a certain time that it isn’t really about correct theology.
When I am being intimate with my wife, I don’t think, is it I who make love to her, or is it she who makes love to me? WE make love TOGETHER. I woo her, and she responds with desire because she loves me and she knows that I love her. If she doesn’t respond it waits until another night. When we are intimate, we seek to give each other pleasure as much as it is in our power. Our most pleasurable centers, our most private desires, happen to be the place where we join physically in love. We don’t parcel out who loves who in that time because we love each other. We are focused intensely only on each other, we share deeply private intense desires together.
This is how grace works. Is it ‘predestination,’ is it God who initiates and chooses? Of course! Is it that we choose from desire to respond? Of course! We LOVE each other. We join in mutual desire and mutual attraction. Human sexuality and romance is a picture, a shadow, of this. Where our desire is seated most deeply and intimately is where this mystery plays out.
“There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Four which I do not understand: The way of an eagle in the sky, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the middle of the sea, And the way of a man with a maid.” Proverbs 30:18, 19, NASB.
The need to reduce this down to a formula, with references to The Canons of Dort in the First Head of Doctrine, Article 7 and various points about the Westminster confession and such, so horribly misses the point. These things are not points to be merely doctrinally correct about. They are beautiful living truths which we are intended to experience and seek out and live for and rejoice in. I am forever an advocate for the intellectual side of the faith, Christianity is not a faith for the lazy of thought. However, the heart of the truth of these matters is far deeper and simpler and more profound.
We are the bride of Christ and these are questions primarily of the heart, not of doctrinal correctness. These are questions which are whispered in the middle of pillow talk, not public debate in an attempt to correct and defeat all detractors. They are the working out of great and delicate and frighteningly powerful desire, of surrender of a complete nakedness of soul to One whom we trust and love and surrender to out of a crazy and sacred romance. I am the one who is loved by Christ, and I am the bride, so to speak, who responds with unabashed passion. This is the place where the answers to these questions play out.
Would it be right for you to love other women the same way that you love your wife?
The biblical answer would be no.
I am sure you love other women, but you do not love them the same way as you love your wife.
God also does not love everybody in the same way, it would not be right for Him to do so.
That’s right, Jesus loves the church that way. The church is the bride:
Thanks for your comments!