Okay — it isn’t an earth-shaking statement for anyone with a more that passing acquaintance with Christian doctrine and vocabulary.
But have you ever really thought about it? What that means? First — it is vital to understand that the “church” is not the building or organization — it is the people of God. Disciples. It would be accurate to say: “YOU are the bride of Christ”.
The relationship begins with a type of “faith” and love. You decide that “this is the one”. This one is the only one. This is where I put my trust, my hope, my future.
In the disciple’s relationship with Christ:
The relationship begins with faith — a trust and love that says: This is it. All of life will from now on be committed to Him. I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and there is no life apart from Him.
In marriage that faith leads us to…
A submission of one’s personal interests to that of the other. You are “the one” and I want to make you happy — to serve you — to advocate for your interests in all I do.
In a discipleship relationship with Christ….
Our faith leads us to obey Him and put the Kingdom of God first and foremost in all we do. I submit to His authority, love, and grace.
In marriage the decision to submit is followed by….
The ring. The cheesy proposal on the Jumbotron. The getting on one knee in the restaurant. The saying of “I do”. Holding hands. Public statement of the decision.
The disciple makes their confession or witness of faith:
The decision is public. Others are told about the new commitment. A willingness to say, “I am a Christ-follower”.
There is a ceremony. A point at which the courtship ends and the relationship begins. The official pronouncement in words and deeds.
The new disciple:
The ceremony is only the beginning. You are now MARRIED, but the marriage has to be developed and built over time. The relationship grows and changes throughout various seasons of life.
Baptism is only the beginning. You are now MARRIED, but the marriage has to be developed and built over time. The relationship grows and changes throughout various seasons of life. You are saved (justified) but you continue to grow in Christ (sanctification).