2 Corinthians 11:1-6
Would to God you could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.…
I. MINISTERS ARE ENTRUSTED WITH THIS GREAT WORK.
1. Consider this match betwixt Christ and His people.
(1) The first degree of it was the purpose of it, in the heart of God, from all eternity.
(2) Impediments are next removed. Justice says, there can be no match betwixt God and guilty man till I be satisfied. The law says, they are mine, and I will not part with them, till death part us. Truth says, God Himself made this marriage betwixt them and the law, and therefore they cannot be married to another, unless first death dissolve the marriage. But the designed Bridegroom removes these impediments by His obedience to the law, and by His death in our nature and in our stead (Galatians 2:20). The sinner dies to the law in Christ, and the law dies to the sinner (Romans 7:4). And so the parties being thus dead, the truth of God has nothing to object against the purpose of this new marriage.
(3) The contract is written and ready for the subscribing. There are two things in the contract —
(a) Christ's consent to match with poor sinners (Revelation 22:17).
(b) The dowry promised to the bride (Romans 8:32). A large maintenance and a good house (John 14:3).Yea, the contract is subscribed by the Bridegroom and His Father (Jeremiah 31:33). The contract is also sealed. "This cup," saith the Bridegroom, "is the new testament in My blood." All this before famous witnesses (1 John 5:7, 8). The whole is registered in this Bible.
(4) The courting of the bride in order to gain her consent. And this is managed in two places.
(a) Christ comes into her mother's house, to the public ordinances, and there He, by His ambassadors, courteth her consent.
(b) Christ comes into the chambers of the heart, and then there is a heart conference betwixt Christ and the soul, without which the former cannot prevail.
(5) The espousals. The soul being overcome, gives its consent to take Christ for a husband, renouncing all others. The soul makes choice of Christ. With the whole soul, the soul makes choice of a whole Christ. Makes choice of Him all, for all, and instead of all.
(6) The espousals are in this life, at our believing the marriage is consummated in glory (Revelation 19:7). Now there is a time betwixt the espousals and marriage.
(a) This time is for the trial of the bride. The old lovers will come back again, and endeavour to recover her affections which they have lost, and often do they succeed.
(b) This interval is that the bride may make herself ready by making progress in sanctification.
2. What hand ministers have in this match.
(1) They are proxies for the Bridegroom, sent as Abraham's servant, to seek a wife for their Master's Son (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
(2) They are witnesses, though not to the formal consent, yet to that which imports a consent. They see how their message is entertained.
(3) They are the attendants of the bride, to adorn her for her husband. It is by the word that the espoused soul is made clean and fitted for Christ, as the Greek word in our text signifies.
(4) They present her to the Bridegroom at the last day (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20).
3. Why the Lord employs men in this great and honourable work.
(1) It is in condescension to our infirmities. If God had employed angels, how could we have looked upon them?
(2) It is very agreeable in that the Divine nature is united with the human in Christ, that men should deal with men.
(3) That God may have all the glory.
II. THE GREAT DESIGN OF ESPOUSING SINNERS TO CHRIST IS THAT THEY CONTINUING CHASTE AND FAITHFUL MAY AT LAST BE MARRIED TO HIM.
1. What it is for the espoused to keep chaste.
(1) They must never be called by another name than their espoused husband (Hebrews 10:23).
(2) They must never go back to their former husband, for the soul that is really espoused to Christ, is divorced from idols, and lusts, and the law (Romans 7:2).
(3) Christ must always have their hearts.
(4) They must cleave to Christ over all the world's smiles and frowns. They must neither be bribed nor driven from Him (Song of Solomon 8:6, 7).
(5) They must be separated from the world: not only in their hearts, but in their practices (Revelation 14:4; Romans 12:2).
(6) They must be sincere and upright, Hypocrisy would spoil all. Our espoused Husband is a searcher of hearts.
2. The presenting to Christ of those that keep chaste.
(1) The time of it — it will be at the great day (Matthew 25:1-12).
(2) They, and they only, shall be presented. They that depart from Christ here shall be made to depart from Him there.
(3) The bride's attendants. Angels that were witnesses to her espousals, shall also be witnesses to her marriage. Christ's ministers shall say, "here are we, and the children Thou hast given us."(4) The place where the marriage shall be solemnised, that is the Bridegroom's Father's house, even in heaven.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.