The City of God – The Bride
“Come, I will show you the bride,
the wife of the Lamb”
John was invited to “come” and see the Bride. It requires the unveiling work of God to reveal to us her true nature and to comprehend who she is and what she is becoming.
Years ago, I was struck with the enormity of this scripture:
“Now ye are the body of Christ,
and members in particular”
1 Corinthians 12:27
There was and is an instant pang of grief borne of this powerful word. There was an awareness of my own blindness, my insensitivity to the sacredness of this truth: The true Church is HIS BODY. It is a Body of blood-washed souls, redeemed by the Blood of the Son of God! It is not some building, something that operates as a worldly corporation, or people bound by some doctrinal persuasion competing with others to grow their own entity. Nor is it the cloistered ones, the elite, those who walk in the pride and comfort of teachings and revelations of past days. Pharisee simply means “called out ones”. At one time there may have been something good, but the carnal mind will always take the things of God and make them abominable in the sight of God.
The true Bride of Christ is lovely, pure, and free from the conceits of knowledge, she is purified by obedience, and humbled in the seeing and touching of Him. She knows the depths of His mercies and grace. She is not haughty, and she readily forgives others because of the forgiveness she has received.
Even at this late hour, she is beginning to feel new drawings unto Him, a beckoning she cannot articulate, a need for deeper relationships. It is a call based on the nature of Christ within, the deep in Him calling out to the deep in her. While many may speak His name and do great works, and preach often, there is something resident within those who are responsive to His invitation. We see this in the Song of Songs, His beloved is looking for Him, seeking for Him in the broad streets of the religious city.
“By night on my bed I sought Him whom my soul loveth: I sought Him, but I found Him not…”
Song of Songs 3:1
She sought Him from the comfort of her resting place, but she could not find him.
“I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek Him whom my soul loveth: I sought Him, but I found Him not.”
Song of songs 3:2
She then arises and seeks Him in the broad ways of the city, but still, she cannot find Him.
“The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye Him whom my soul loveth?”
Song of songs 3:3
The watchmen of the religious city could not answer such a question as they were occupied with watching their city. They felt no compulsion to join her in the quest for Him; His nearness did not affect them. Their indifference could not dissuade her ardent search. Her intensity was fueled by love. “Saw ye Him whom my soul loveth?”
“But I passed on a little from them Until I found Him whom my soul has loved! I seized Him, and did not let Him go…”
Song of songs 3:4
Her pursuit of Him freed her from their influence. He was near but they did not know it. “I passed on a little from them…until I found Him”! Her search did not cease “until”. Religious activities, good doctrine, and even His words are no substitute for the person of Him. “Until” speaks of continuing without ceasing. We see this same burning passion within the apostle Paul.
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ”
There is something extravagant and unfettered in this love for Christ. Those with measured responses, and dry and passionless expressions, despise such lavish outpourings. Even the disciples were offended by Mary’s unrestrained worship as she broke open the alabaster box and poured out its contents upon the person of Jesus.
To be continued…
(An excerpt from a series
Titled the City of God)