No Groom? No Bride!: Emphatic About the Name!

What would the union between a man and a woman be without the bridegroom? This is a ridiculous question, is it not? Obviously, it would not be a union at all, and the woman not a bride. There is no stand alone marriage where a woman may marry herself or a man himself and it rightly be called “marriage”. This is not a relationship – or if it is, it is not a sane one or a logical one, no it is insane and illogical. It is a stupid and senseless thought!

But what of a Christless church? A church without Christ is no church! We are the church because we have believed in Christ by the grace of God, and we have thereby been united to God. Christ has wed us, sinners saved by grace, and therefore, we are not our own but His. Christ died for the church; His love demonstrated towards us as particular, separate from any other love – a love with the intentionality of God’s purpose preeminent over the generic love with which God upholds a sinful world. And so we husbands understand that the love that we have for our brides is a particular love juxtaposed against our love for any other woman in the world – we chose her out of the mass, and so Christ called His bride out of the world.

It is a thing burdensome and alarming to me that many who would clothe themselves with the name of Christ are so quick to remain destitute of Him in their language, thoughts, actions, and opportunities. There was a time when we were much concerned over the ignorance of the Holy Spirit. But it seems now that we are oft to speak of God in general, and of the Spirit of God (albeit with much abuse), while being silent with the name of Jesus Christ. I wonder if many of us who would claim the name of Christ for our own have not fallen under the heading of Titus 1:16, “They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works.” Nevertheless –

Christian musical groups are inclined these days to sing of many things, including the greatness and vastness and wonder of God, and of amazing grace, and the renewal of the Spirit of God, while these same albums are devoid of the mention of the name of Christ.

Christian pastors, counselors, and chaplains who are given public opportunities to bear witness to the name of Jesus Christ have dropped the proverbial ball and settled (compromised) to speak of God, and of spirituality, but not of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, lest by that name they might actually offend someone.

Christian family members are more and more adamant that their relative be silent about Christ; and they excuse it by means of danger; and when the relative holds true to the Scriptures and actually loves Christ preeminently to the exclusion of their families wishes, they are dubbed hard-headed, uncompromising, insane, and “different” – titles I would gladly wear for Christ.

And the Church – well, three out of one hundred share the name of Jesus Christ in a given day! Is this the church? What would the state of a marriage be if we only spoke passionately or kindly of our spouse three percent of the time? The fact of the matter is that this is not only a bad marriage in need of much repair, but hardly a marriage at all, and if it is a marriage, it is certainly not expected to be a very romantic covenant.

It is a terribly damning thing for we who comprise the church to be silent about our bridegroom, who loved us and chose us and redeemed us from sin and utter ruin! We would be worse than the whorish wife of the prophet Hosea, for at least, though she slept around, yet she bore him children, but we are childless – we not only whore against God, but we are silent about Him, about the name of Christ – that name wherein is embedded the salvific mission and purpose of God, that name by which we were called into His glorious light and love. Will we bear the children of another “god”, speaking and living in such a way that bears the fruit of sinful adolescence and Christian immaturity? The fact of the matter is that if there is no Groom, then there is no bride!

The name of Christ concerning which we have grown seemingly silent is the only name in heaven or on earth by which a man may be saved. Only by being grafted into that name are we safe from God’s holy fury against our sin. John the Baptist knew this name quite well and rejoiced in the bridegroom – “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete,” John 3:29.

John’s joy was complete because the bridegroom had come to claim His bride – and he was part of her (the Church). Moreover, John, rejoicing in Him, did not conceal the name of Jesus Christ from the world – “He must increase but I must decrease,” John 3:30.

Let us speak of God – Father, SON, and Holy Spirit! Let us rejoice in our bridegroom, being overwhelmed by the salvation in His name that we may overflow with the truth and praises of His name that every sinner may be overcome for the sake of His name. Let us not conceal the name of Jesus Christ, but like the Baptist cry out, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” In JESUS’ NAME. Amen.

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