Ephesians 5:25
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her
Sermons
Husbands and WivesW.F. Adeney Ephesians 5:22-33
Ideal MarriageD. Thomas Ephesians 5:22-33
What Husbands and Wives Owe to ChristR.M. Edgar Ephesians 5:22-33
A Glorious ChurchJ. W. Atkinson.Ephesians 5:25-27
A Holy and Glorious ChurchJ. Slade, M. A.Ephesians 5:25-27
A Man Cannot Love His Wife Too MuchEphesians 5:25-27
Christ's Love for the ChurchEphesians 5:25-27
Christ's Love for the ChurchT. B. Baker.Ephesians 5:25-27
Christ's Love for the Church, and Our Duty as Members of ItJ. N. Norton, D. D.Ephesians 5:25-27
Christ's Love to His ChurchJ. H. Evans, M. A.Ephesians 5:25-27
Christ's Love to the ChurchJ. Eadie, D. D.Ephesians 5:25-27
Christ's Treatment of His ChurchW.F. Adeney Ephesians 5:25-27
Conjugal LoveGeorge Swinnock.Ephesians 5:25-27
Lord Lawrence and His WifeEphesians 5:25-27
Marriage and HolinessEphesians 5:25-27
Marriage and the Heavenly BridegroomNewman Hall, LL. B.Ephesians 5:25-27
Sanctified MarriageEphesians 5:25-27
The Bride of ChristJ. Vaughan, M. A.Ephesians 5:25-27
The Church Loved, Washed, PresentedJ. W. Atkinson.Ephesians 5:25-27
The Final Glory of the ChurchC. Bradley, M. A.Ephesians 5:25-27
The Final State of the RedeemedT. Manton, D. D.Ephesians 5:25-27
The Glory of the ChurchJ. H. Bayliss.Ephesians 5:25-27
The Love of Jesus for His ChurchC. H. Spurgeon.Ephesians 5:25-27
The Pattern of LoveC. H. Spurgeon.Ephesians 5:25-27
The Presentation of a Glorious ChurchW. Jay.Ephesians 5:25-27
The Union Between Christ and the ChurchT. Croskery Ephesians 5:25-32
The Duties of HusbandsT. Croskery Ephesians 5:25-33
As the duties of wives are comprehended in the single duty of subjection, the duties of husbands are comprehended in the single duty of love. The injunction is significantly repeated three times, as if to indicate that it was essentially needed to correct or qualify his sense of sovereignty or superiority over her. Consider three points.

I. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A HUSBAND'S LOVE.

1. It is peculiar in its nature, unlike the love of parent or child, friend or neighbor. "He is to love his wife even as himself."

2. It is single, exclusive, and undivided in its object; for the husband is to devote to his one wife all the affection of his life. "Rejoice with the wife of thy youth" (Proverbs 5:18, 19). This fact is the condemnation of bigamy and polygamy.

3. It is to be considerate and tender, excluding all bitterness. "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them" (Colossians 3:19). Husbands are "to dwell with their wives according to knowledge" (1 Peter 3:7); that is, with a due consideration to their condition as "the weaker vessel," and with a disposition to hide or bear with their weaknesses or infirmities. It is to be a love that will make it unnecessary for the husband ever to command his wife. The gospel counterpart of "Wives submit yourselves to your own husbands," is not "Husbands, command our wives." but "love your wives."

4. It is to be mutual. The wife's love is presupposed, though elsewhere it is expressly commanded (Titus 2:4). The husband is to love her as she loves him. The rightful confidence and sympathy of married life are impossible without mutual affection. All marriages of convenience or self-interest are thus condemned. Love must be the basis of marriage.

5. It is to be constant and lasting, notwithstanding all the weaknesses or failings of the wife.

II. THE METHODS IN WHICH THIS LOVE IS TO FIND EXPRESSION.

1. In providing for the temporal support of a wife. The husband is to "nourish and cherish" his wife. He that provideth not for his own is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:3).

2. He must consult her happiness and pleasure; for "he that is married is to care that he may please his wife" (1 Corinthians 7:33).

3. He must protect her life, her honor, her good name; for she is "the weaker vessel." He must "give honor to the wife" (1 Peter 3:7).

4. He is to seek her spiritual welfare. He is to pray for her and with her, remembering that she is an heir with him of the grace of life, "that your prayers be not hindered."

III. THE REASONS FOR THIS COMMAND.

1. The original law of marriage. "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the twain shall become one flesh." The union implies such an identification of interest, property, and relationship to the world as to make them almost one person.

2. The wife is the husband's other self. She is not only one flesh with himself, but she is his very body. "No man ever yet hated his own flesh," except the fanatics of ascetic devotion.

3. The help, comfort, and blessing she brings to him. She is given to him as "an helpmeet;" she is his companion. "Yet she is thy companion and the wife of thy covenant" (Malachi 2:14). The heart of the husband "safely trusts in her" (Proverbs 12:4).

4. She is the weaker vessel. A spirit of chivalry ought to surround her with the shield of protecting love.

5. She is "the glory of the man (1 Corinthians 11:7) - his honor and ornament and delight.

6. His union with her is typical of the blessed union that exists between Christ and the Church. All the love and self-sacrifice and service Which Christ expended upon the Church supply the type of a husband's duty to his wife. - T.C.







Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church.
I. THE CHOSEN CHURCH, THE OBJECT OF THE SAVIOUR'S LOVE.

1. Observe what this Church was by nature. Sinful.

2. Nay, more, this Church of Christ is made up of persons who are actually defiled by their own transgressions.

3. The kind of love which Jesus bestows on His Church is that of a husband.

(1)Special.

(2)Constant.

(3)A husband loves his wife with a hearty love, with a love that is true and intense. It is not mere lip service.

II. THE WORK WHICH LOVE SEEKS TO ACCOMPLISH IN ITS GRACIOUS DESIGNS. Since the Church is not fit for Christ by nature, He resolved to make her so by grace. When the text says, "He gave Himself for it that He might sanctify and cleanse it," is there not allusion here to the double cure of sin? But what is the outward instrumentality which Christ uses? The text says, "With the washing of water by the Word." The Word of God has a cleansing influence.

III. THE LOVED ONE AS SHE IS PERFECTED. "Glorious." What must a glorious Church be? There is one lamp; well, that is very bright, very pleasing: you like to have it in your room; but think of all London illuminated to the very top of the cross of St. Paul's, and what an idea you then have of brightness. Now, one glorified Christian is a lamp. Think, then, of all heaven, with its domes of glory lit up with ten thousand times ten thousand companies of blood-bought spirits, whom Jesus Christ has taken up — a glorious Church! One flower is very sweet. I smell its perfume. But I walk into some vast conservatories, into some gentleman's garden, acres in extent, and there are beds of flowers, the blue, and scarlet, and yellow. I see the verbena, the calceolaria, and the geranium and many others, all in order, and in ranks. Oh, how glorious is this! Those undulating lawns, those well-trimmed hedges, those trees so daintily kept, all growing in such luxuriance. One flower is sweet, but a garden! a garden! who can tell how sweet this is! So, one glorified saint is one of God's flowers, but a glorious Church is Christ's garden. A drop of water may be very precious to a thirsty tongue, but a river full of it! Children are pleased, when for the first time in their lives they sail across some little lake, but how surprised they are when they come to the deep and rolling sea, which seems without shore or bottom. Well, so pleased am I at the very thought of the glorious Church. But do observe what is said of her. She is to be "without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." "Without spot" — that is much; but you see spots can be taken off. The face is washed, and the spot comes out. The garment is thoroughly cleansed, and there are some chemicals and acids applied, and the spots can be got out.

IV. And lastly, THE LOVED ONE IS TO BE PRESENTED. It is said, He is "to present her to Himself." Every day Christ presents His people to His Father in His intercession.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. In stating and defining this love, I will take notice —

1. Of the general nature of it.

2. The degree.

3. The effects.First: The general nature of love is the delectation and complacency of the heart in the party loved, from whence followeth a desire of their good, and a seeking and promoting of it to the uttermost of our power. So the husband must love the wife, that his heart may cleave to her, and take delight in her; as it is said: "The young man had a delight in Jacob's daughter" (Genesis 34:19).Secondly: The degree.

1. There is a common love which belongeth to believers of either sex, as brothers and sisters in Christ (John 13:34).

2. It is alone, which in some respects exceedeth that we owe to our parents and other near relations (Genesis 2:24).

3. It carrieth it higher yet. They ought to "love their wives as their own bodies; for he that loveth his wife, loveth himself" (ver. 28).

4. As Christ loved the Church. The husband for his pattern of conjugal love is referred to Christ, partly for the degree of his love, and partly for the kind of it.Thirdly: The effects of it.

1. Delight in her presence and company; not suffering himself to be separated from her for any long time, unless it be for necessary cause. Those that find more pleasure in converse abroad than at home certainly do not heartily love one another, though no filthy and prohibited act should ensue from this liberty which they take.

2. The second act or effect of love is, to direct and instruct in all things that belong to this life and a better, for therefore he is called "a head"; and the office of the head is to guide the body.

3. In providing all things necessary for them that conduce to health, food, and raiment, and that according to the decency and decorum of their estate; for herein they imitate the care and providence of Christ, who hath provided all things for His spouse; food for their souls, garments of salvation to cover their nakedness, healing grace to cure their distempers. So must the husband do for his wife.

4. In a care to preserve and defend her. As Abraham of Sarah (Genesis 20).

II. Let us now see by what reasons this is enforced.

1. The order of the creation. We pleaded that before for the woman's submission, that she was made out of man, after man, and for man. We plead the same argument now for the husband's duty of love to her; for the apostle urgeth this in the same chapter (1 Corinthians 11:11, 12).

2. It is a relation of love, instituted by God for that very end and purpose.

3. Reason will tell us how much the husband is bound to love her that hath in a manner forsaken all the world, father, and mother, and all her relations, to cleave to her husband, and to share with him in all conditions until death, although she were free before the contract. Surely common gratitude will suggest that a recompense of true affection is due to her for this; otherwise men are unthankful, unholy, and without natural affection, which is the worst character can be given to them.

4. The interest and comfort of the married estate will also persuade it. While love is kept up, all things go on sweetly; but as soon as love faileth, presently everything is out of order and out of joint; for when once they begin to disaffect the persons of each other, all matrimonial duties are stabbed at the heart.

Use 1. To reprove that which is contrary to this love, bitterness and harshness of carriage: "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter to them" (Colossians 3:19). The gall was taken out of the sacrifices offered to Juno, as Plutarch witnesseth. This is seen —

1. Partly in a froward disposition, when men are offended for light causes or small provocations, and, like fine glasses, broken as soon as touched.

2. In sharp words and contumelious language, which leaveth such a grudge and such averseness in the mind as is not easily forgiven. Certainly such bitter speeches must needs destroy all love and breed an unquiet life.

3. Churlish deeds also show this bitterness.(1) When the husband taketh from her all command in the family, handling her rather like a slave than a consort and companion.(2) Denying necessaries.(3) The height of bitterness is when passion and anger proceed to blows.

Use 2. To persuade to this love.

1. Choose one that is amiable. Prevention is better than cure.

2. Marry not till you be sure you can love entirely.

3. Love not as bare husbands, but as Christians.

4. Avoid giving offence.

5. Exercise patience.Make conscience of your duty, and God will give you strength. Secondly: Now I come to Christ's love; in which we have —

(1)The person that loveth, viz., Christ.

(2)The persons loved — "The Church."

(3)The fruit of His love — "He gave Himself for it," to a painful and ignominious death.There are solemn notions by which Christ's death is set forth — a ransom and a sacrifice.

(a)A ransom: "And gave His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).

(b)As a sacrifice, a mediatorial sacrifice: "When thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin" (Isaiah 53:10; Ephesians 5:2). Great love it was, if we consider —

1. The giver, Jesus Christ, God over all, blessed forever, to whom nothing can accrue from us: "It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11). When He foresaw what it would cost, and what He should give, He said, "It is enough."

2. The gift — He gave Himself: "We are not redeemed with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the Son of God" (1 Peter 1:18).

3. "For us," whom He after calleth into a Church (Romans 5:6-8). Oh, let us be blessing God for this love, and show our thankfulness both in word and deed.(1) In word (Revelation 5:9). The angels, who are the spectators, ever blessed God for it; and shall not we, who be the parties interested?(2) In deed, by giving up ourselves to Him (Romans 12:1).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. CHRIST'S LOVE FOR HIS CHURCH. Love which has in it no element of evil is always a very beautiful, tender, and impressive thing. Whether it is the love of the babe for her doll, or the love of the older children for the babe, or the blessed love of the mother for all her children, it is still the same exquisite, joy-giving sentiment. It is a rose of the same loveliness and fragrance whether it bloom amid the splendours of royal gardens or in the cottager's door yard; it is the nightingale which sings in the night the same song for prince and peasant. Who can read without increased tenderness in his heart the story of the mother who, overtaken by a terrible storm in the Alps, sat down at last in the snow, bared her own tender bosom to the storm, and wrapped her cloak carefully around her babe? The storm raged on, and the poor mother, stripped of her heavy outer garments, died; but the babe was found alive, and greeted its deliverer with a smile. There are deeds of power which elicit more boisterous applause, but there are none which more invoke what is holiest in our nature than these exhibitions of conspicuous love. But, conspicuous and beautiful as these examples are, we feel when we read this text, and others to the same effect, that Christ's love for His Church is something transcendent — something unparalleled. We sometimes think the night is glorious, and so it is, with the moon shining in her full splendour; but when the sun rises the moon fades away into the intenser light. So does the love of Christ outshine all other love. The text makes concerning this love but this simple record, He loved the Church, "and gave Himself for it." The record is brief, but it is enough; we know from it that the love was infinite. The Alpine mother did much, and suffered much for bet babe; but there was a little possibility, and, therefore, a little hope, that some good monk would come that way and save both her and her babe alive; and even had she formally resolved on death for the infant's sake, it would have been but a finite sacrifice. The father did much for his boy when he dashed into the burning house to rescue him; but that was frenzy, the transient ecstasy of love, and it was for his own boy, not for a stranger, much less an enemy. But Christ's love for His Church was a deliberate plan, not entered upon in an hour of frenzy, but in calm counsel in the eternal sunshine of heaven, and it was executed through slow-going years of persecution, that the very men who lacerated Him with whips, and thorns, and nails, might be washed in the blood they shed, and come thereby to the "fellowship of the firstborn."

II. THE CHARACTER OF THE CHURCH WHICH CHRIST THUS LOVED. The Church is described in the text by the general word "glorious": and more particularly by the terms "cleanse and sanctify it with the washing of water by the Word"; and "not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish." The Church of our Lord Jesus Christ on earth has a glorious character.

1. She has a glorious origin — is a child of heaven. She "was not born of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Her Father is a Spirit, and this child has, in this respect, her Father's character. Her beauty is not material, like the beauty of a flower; it is spiritual, like the beauty of the archangels. Her power is not material, like that of the mountain oak, which, though it defies the tempests of a century, wanes at last from decay; her power is of God, and is like God, not in extent, but in kind: it is spiritual power, and defies all time and change.

2. She has a glorious history. Sometimes it has been a history of persecution, and sometimes of victory; and it is difficult to tell which virtue is most conspicuous, her fidelity in persecution or her meekness in triumph.

3. Now at length the Church is glorious in power — in the power which comes of wealth; in the power which comes of learning and literature; in the power which comes of numbers, and of numbers organized; in the power which comes of many edifices and splendid architecture; in the power which comes of elegance, and wealth, and refinement in private life. God grant that this power may not decay through disuse, nor make itself a curse by being perverted I

4. The Church is glorious in her universal adaptations.

III. THE DESTINY OF THIS GLORIOUS AND MUCH LOVED CHURCH. My text says, "That He might present it to Himself." The figure used is evidently that of an oriental wedding. The bridegroom has a friend, called a paranymph, whose duty it is to find him a bride, to secure an introduction, to prepare for the nuptials, and to be in close attendance on the wedding night. St. Paul evidently has in his mind the figure of a marriage. But Christ is to be His own paranymph, "that He might present it to Himself." This is a favourite figure with Christ and His disciples. He is the Bridegroom and the Church the bride. Just when the nuptials are to be celebrated we do not know, but the entrance of this glorious Church upon her glorious destiny as the Lamb's wife is to be an event before which all other nuptials shall be as the glimmer of a candle in the light of a midsummer sun. John had a glimpse of the sublime scene in his wondrous vision on Patmos; and as the angel opened out this scene of unparalleled magnificence, this destiny of infinite sweep and indescribable glory, it was more than the spirit of the enraptured seer could endure. He perhaps saw himself in that Church; he, one day a poor fisherman on the shore of Tiberias, now an exile from his native land, he should be there; the shout of the archangel and the trump of God should salute his ear: the rider of "the white horse," the Man of the nameless name, with eyes "like a flame of fire" and "vesture dipped in blood," should come even to him; he should be at His wondrous marriage supper. It was more than he could endure. He fell adoring at the angel's feet; the visions had so intensified the glory of the angel himself that John thought it had been God. But the angel said, "See thou do it not. Worship God." This, then, is to be the glorious destiny of this glorious Church — she shall become the bride of the Lamb. The purest thing on earth shall marry the King of kings and Lord of lords. The bride shall live with her Husband, and be under His protection forever.

(J. H. Bayliss.)

I. THE FACT. "Christ loved the Church." I would begin by remarking that the Church of God — the reality of a true Church — is a thing quite unknown to the world. The world talks about Churches, the glory of a Church, and the beauty of a Church; but it does not know what a Church is; it has no true perception of what a Church of Christ is. If there be any gleaming of light upon the point, so far as it sees it, it dislikes it, hates it, despises it. We fully acknowledge that the Church of Christ is just like its Author; it has "no form nor comeliness" in the eyes of the world, and "no beauty that men should desire it"; and so, like Himself, it is "despised and rejected of men." It has no outward splendour; it has no earthly glory; it has nothing in it, wherefore men should gaze, look at it, bow before it. But who can describe, notwithstanding, its true glory, and the love that Jesus has to it? He loved it in all eternity. Language seems altogether to fail in describing the love that Jesus has to His Church. It seems exhausted. Does an eagle "bear her brood upon her wings"? — not only to teach them, and not only to nourish them, but to protect them, so that the arrow that toucheth them must touch her, and come through her, before they can be destroyed. This is the figure that sets forth His love to His Church. Does a father "pity his child," when others can hardly bear with him, "remembering that he is but dust"? It is the very figure that sets forth the love of Jesus to His Church.

II. THE PROOF He has given of His love. He "gave Himself for it."

1. Who it was that gave Himself. No mean person, no ordinary individual, no common being; but the Son of God.

2. What it was that He gave. It was not His mere tears, nor groans, nor sighs: though the Lord Jesus was "a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." He gave Himself — His whole self. He gave His Deity, He gave His humanity; He gave the whole of His Person as God-Man; all that was in man to suffer, and all that was in God to merit. And this He gave freely.

3. And now observe, for what it was that He gave Himself. We find it in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians — He "gave Himself for our sins." Two or three remarks, and I close. Here is a door of unutterable consolation opened to us, in the midst of a world of desolation. I see the blessed Jesus giving the most unspeakable proofs of His love. But another door opens: it is the door of solemn inquiry. If the Church of God is so dear to Him, what do you and I for the Church of God?

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)

I. THE LOVE OF CHRIST TO HIS CHURCH. "Christ loved the Church." What else than love could have selected, pardoned, purified, and redeemed the Church? What other feeling could have stooped to such guilt, and raised it to such glory? As a Divine love to a creature so far beneath Him, what matchless condescension there is in it! It is a love of the sinner, but it attempts no compromise with his sin. "Christ loved the Church," and He walked in that Church in the radiance of love. Thoughts of love nestled in His heart; words of love lingered on His lips; deeds of love flew from His arm; and His steps left behind them the impress of love. It threw its soft halo over His cradle at Bethlehem, and it fringed with its mellow splendours the gloom of the cloud under which He expired on Calvary. It gave edge to His reproofs, and pathos to His invitations. It was the magnet that guided Him in all His wanderings. It bound Him to the cross and held Him there, and not the iron nail that pierced His hands and His feet. It thrilled in His bosom, and glistened in His eye. Yes: "Christ...love," said the dying philosopher, "Jesus Christ — love — the same thing."

II. THE SACRIFICE AS THE EXPRESSION AND RESULT OF LOVE. In the stead of the Church He died, to deliver her from death, the sentence which so righteously lay upon her.

III. THE NEARER PURPOSE OF HIS LOVE AND DEATH. That death not only affects our state, but also tells upon our character. He died to sanctify the Church. Not only does He originate the change, but He sustains it; for He "abides" within us. What He commences, He still fosters and perfects.

IV. THE ULTIMATE END AND RESULT. With what delight and satisfaction will we not now contemplate the ulterior purpose of these preliminary arrangements — "That He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." How noble such a destiny — perfect restoration and felicity. The nuptial figure is still continued, and the allusion is to the presentation of the bride to her husband. That presentation does not take place till he can look upon her with complacency.

(J. Eadie, D. D.)

What a broad scope of thought is embraced in these few words! The Church militant, labouring, suffering, upon earth? the Church cleansed, purified, glorified, in heaven! The apostle, at a single glance, seemed to see it all. And —

I. First, I remark, that we should love the Church.

II. Again: We should not only love the Church but labour for it. The word itself suggests the idea of unceasing effort and self-sacrifice. But it is not enough to love the Church and to labour in its behalf, we must likewise be willing —

III. To suffer for it. There is no great difficulty in avoiding unpleasant differences with the world, if we do nothing to thwart and oppose it.

IV. Once more. Every true child of God should be willing, if need be, to fight for the Church.

(J. N. Norton, D. D.)

I. THE CHURCH'S POLLUTED CONDITION WITHOUT CHRIST.

II. CHRIST'S LOVE TO THE CHURCH.

1. The antiquity of it (Jeremiah 31:3).

2. An active and operative love (Galatians 1:4).

3. A real and sincere love (Hosea 2:4).

4. An entire and undivided love (John 17:26).

5. A lasting and constant love (John 13:1).

III. THE EVIDENCES OF THIS LOVE.

1. He established and perfected the Church before God (1 Thessalonians 3:13).

2. By bringing her into a state of union with His person (1 Corinthians 6:15).

3. He thoroughly justifies her by His blood and His righteousness:

4. He animates her by the grace of His Holy Spirit.

5. His love constrainedly operates in her heart.

6. He does it by the instrumentality of His word.

7. The administrations of His appointed ministers.

8. In remarkable providences, at some times.

9. By painful afflictions at others.

10. But especially by His Spirit, in, and by all things.

IV. THE EFFECTS OF THIS WONDROUS LOVE.

1. Glorious from its nature and worth (Malachi 3:17).

2. Glorious from the estimation in which God holds her (Deuteronomy 32:9).

3. Glorious from her connection (John 17:22, 23).

4. Glorious, because she is free from spot, wrinkle, and the slightest mark of blemish.This appears from —

1. The wisdom which directs — Christ.

2. The righteousness which justifies — Christ's.

3. The perfection of her sanctification — Christ.

4. By her complete and eternal exemption from every charge of all her enemies, even by Christ.Inferences —

1. How completely this demolishes all ideas of human merit.

2. And secures to Jesus Christ all the glory of our salvation.

(T. B. Baker.)

Adhering to the arrangement of topics in the text, we will speak first of the wife's duty of obedience and then of the husband's duty of love.

I. "Order is heaven's first law." Every portion of the universe knows its own place, and fulfils its proper function. There can be no happiness amongst mankind without due subordination. A state of society is impossible without this. So the apostle says, "Submit yourselves one to another in the fear of God." On the knowledge of each one's true place and the rendering by each of what is due to others, the welfare both of nations and families depends. St. Paul, after laying down the general principle of mutual submission, illustrates and enforces it in the case of wives. They are to "submit themselves to their own husbands as unto the Lord." This submission is based on the fact that God has made man the head of the woman. Whatever may be said — and much may be said justly of woman's rights — this fact of the man's headship remains, and ever will; established both by nature and revelation, by God's works and God's Word. There are features in which woman is very superior to man. The fact remains — that man, as such, is generally the stronger both in body and will. This indicates where authority should reside. Where two or more persons are concerned occasions arise when there must be precedence. Both cannot go first when only one can go at a time. What shall be the law? Among nations and in families authority and power must go together. For what is authority without power to enforce it? The inspired apostle urges as an additional argument that man was created before the woman, but that woman sinned before the man. "I suffer not a woman to usurp authority over the man. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived; but the woman, being deceived, was in the transgression" (1 Timothy 2:12, 13). The true glory of all things is the accomplishment of the end for which they were designed. The highest honour of every living creature — of men and of angels — is that each occupies aright his own proper sphere — develops his own proper functions — and does not aim at being something else, and doing what appertains to another. Woman, therefore, dishonours and disfigures herself when she attempts to occupy the place of man — aping his dress, his occupations, or his authority; just as a man would make himself contemptible if, laying aside his proper dress and functions, he were to array himself in womanly garments, affect feminine manners, and occupy his time in the details of the household, and the cares of the nursery. The ivy has its beauty, as it gracefully twines around the oak; but were it to become stiff and rigid, and ape the robustness and strength of the tree to which it clings, while it would never become an oak, it would lose all its own special charms. Let it still cling there — following the oak's growth, leaning on it, finding its stability and life in it, while it clothes the oak's strength and ruggedness with grace and beauty. This submission does not mean subservience, the denial of a woman's individuality, the having no opinion or wish of her own, and properly urging it. No true man would value his wife for ceasing to be herself. Instead of a companion and counsellor she would only be his echo or his shadow. And this submission will be a delight, when rendered, not only from a consideration of the laws of nature, or the express precept of the Bible, but from that love which is the best bond and guarantee of order; that love without which the marriage relationship should not be formed; that love which renders obedience a luxury, and which itself is the fulfilling of the law. On the other hand, if husbands love their wives as Christ also loved the Church, authority will be divested of all austerity.

II. If the husband is to maintain his just authority, so also is he, and in the first instance, bound to make Christ's love for the Church the model of his own. Other motives are superadded. Love to a wife is love to one's self, and neglect or unkindness towards her is as unnatural on the part of a husband as if he inflicted injury on his own body. "He that loveth his wife loveth himself." If the standard of the wife's obedience is high, equally so is that of the husband's love: in both cases it is Christ — obedience as to Christ; love, as that of Christ. The relation of Christ to the Church as the heavenly Bridegroom is seen in His love to the Church, His gift to the Church, His treatment of the Church, and His ultimate purpose towards the Church.

1. The love of the Heavenly Bridegroom to the Church. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church." Love is the foundation, the cement, the glory of marriage. There is no true marriage in the absence of it. So, the love of Christ is the origin and the abiding cause of His connection with the Church.(1) Consider the generosity of Christ's love. He loved us first. He loved the world and came to save it. He loved each one of us and besought us to be reconciled to God. He loved us when we were without beauty. Though the marriage relationship should not be based on mere external charms which may deceive and must soon decay, yet beauty is often in the first instance the attractive cause of a pure and abiding affection. But Christ loved us when we were deformed and defiled by sin. Vile compacts are sometimes made under the name of marriage, merely for mercenary and worldly ends; and a husband is chosen not for himself but for his position; or a wife, not to make her happy but to enjoy her estate. But the love of Christ was manifested, not to the rich, the prosperous, and the happy; but to the fallen, the condemned, the ruined, the wretched.(2) His love is persevering. He long went on to woo us while we persisted in rejecting Him. His love does not grow weary, suffers no reaction, has no intervals of indifference, is not diverted by other objects, does not cool with years, but is unchanging, undying, everlasting.(3) His love is tender. "No man ever yet hated his own flesh but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church." The love of Jesus is a love which is not content with doing great things, but which delights also in tenderness in regard to little things. How often a husband who may bestow large gifts on a wife, grieves her by the lack of delicate sympathy and gentle care for her comfort in the trifles which make up life.(4) His love is fervent. Sometimes people are warned against loving each other too much, lest they should become idolaters, and thus have the object of such inordinate affection taken from them as a punishment. Nonsense! The Bible never says this. Alas! the general state of society does not require us to say it. The danger is on the side of deficiency, not of excess. Children! love your parents with devotion. Parents! love your little ones with fervour. "As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you." Who can fathom this? Well might the apostle speak of "the breadth and length and depth and height of the love of Christ which passeth knowledge." The love of Christ, thus generous, persevering, tender, and fervent, is to be the model of our own. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church."

2. The Bridegroom's gift. "Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it." Gold and jewels and costly array are given to a bride. But what are all these in comparison to the bridegroom himself, when the marriage is one of affection? So Christ gave Himself; a donation which infinitely transcends all the universe besides. In personal fidelity and devotion husbands should love their wives, "even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it."

3. The Bridegroom's treatment of the Church. "That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word." The greatest glory of the universe is God, and our greatest glory is our resemblance to God. Christ can do no greater work for us and in us than promoting such resemblance. This He does by the sanctifying influences of the truth through the operation of the Holy Spirit, which is compared to the cleansing of the body by water. "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean." So giving himself to his wife, the husband should ever watch over and promote her health and comfort of body, her peace of mind, her purity of heart, her religious, spiritual, and eternal welfare: "even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it."

4. The Bridegroom's ultimate purpose. "That He might present it to Himself, a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."Let us learn these practical lessons:

1. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church. As the Church is subject to Christ so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

2. Christians, the Bride of Jesus, do not frustrate His gracious purpose by wilful sin. Seek the cleansing of His atoning blood and the daily baptism of His Holy Spirit.

3. Obey Christ "As the Church is subject to Christ." Obey His laws, honour His authority, imitate His example.

4. Delight in Christ. Think of His love. Respond to it. Exult in it.

5. Anticipate with holy rapture the heavenly espousals; and "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called."

(Newman Hall, LL. B.)

Philip Henry's advice to his children with respect to their marriage was — "Please God, and please yourselves, and you will please me"; and his usual compliment to his newly married friends — "Others wish you all happiness. I wish you all holiness, and then there is no doubt but you will have all happiness."

Rev. Robert Newton, the Wesleyan pulpit orator, and his bride, began their married life by retiring twice each day to pray with and for each other. This practice they kept up, when opportunity served, to the end of life. When an old man, Mr. Newton remarked, "In the course of a short time, my wife and I shall celebrate the jubilee of our marriage; and I know not that, during the fifty years of our union, an unkind look or an unkind word has ever passed between us."

A gentleman informing Rowland Hill of the sudden death of a minister's wife happened to say, "I am afraid our dear minister loved his wife too well; and the Lord in wisdom has removed her." "What, sir!" replied Mr. Hill, with the deepest feeling, "can a man love a good wife too much? Impossible, sir! unless he can love her better than Christ loves the Church."

The following appears in the "Life of Lord Lawrence," published by Messrs. Smith, Elder and Co.: — "Lord Lawrence married after his return to England, at the end of a long and tedious illness, and he was warned that it was death to go back to India. His answer was, 'If I cannot live in India, I must go and die there'; and the newly married couple sailed accordingly. The marriage proved a very happy one. Mrs. Lawrence constantly acted as her husband's adviser and amanuensis, she seldom left his side, and her company became almost indispensible to him. A story is told of them, long afterwards, when they had come back to settle finally in England. Lady Lawrence had left the room; and twice in the course of a few minutes her husband asked what had become of her. 'Why, really, John,' said one of his sisters, 'it would seem as if you could not get on for five minutes without your wife.' 'That was what I married her for,' he answered, simply."

A pearl of dew will not hold the sun, but it may hold a spark of its light. A child by the sea trying to catch the waves as they dash in clouds of crystal spray upon the sand cannot hold the ocean in a tiny shell, but he can hold a drop of the ocean water. And in this sense the apostle exhorts, "Love, even as Christ also loved."

I. THE LOVE OF CHRIST. In human love we perceive much to be admired, but in that of God there is a something which eludes our grasp when we endeavour to fathom it, and battles our conception as we try to find it out. God only knows the love of God.

1. The Divine love is sovereign and supreme. All the attributes of God are glorious, but one shines above the rest and seems to gather up into itself all the others, viz., love. God is love.

2. The practicalness of Christ's love. It was not a mere sentiment; it led him to give Himself — the most precious gift that could be offered — for man. Christ was not only a preacher, but a sacrifice; He not only talked, but died.

II. THE SUBLIME DESIGN of Christ's love. Christ loved the world before ever there was a Church in it, and determined out of the very ruins of the Fall to build up for Himself a Temple worthy of being inhabited by Himself. You remember when Edward I received a wound one day from a poisoned dagger, his wife, Eleanor, sucked out the poison, venturing her own life to save her husband's. Even so, when humanity had been stung by the foul and deadly serpent, sin, Christ came forth and volunteered to extract the poison, although the effort cost Him His life. He sacrificed much, in order to show His love for the race who had rebelled and become polluted by sin. And herein is the mystery of godliness.

1. Christ loved the Church because He had determined to effect upon it a mighty transformation. He saw the possibilities of human nature, and the resplendent future to which it was heir by His grace.

1. Cleansing.

2. Presentation to Himself.He has sought His beloved, and redeemed her from the bondage of sin — redeemed her by no less a price than that of His own most precious blood. He has espoused and called her His, even here, and now, watching over her with fond affection, and supplying all her wants. But the grand presentation day will dawn by and by — the glorious manifestation of the Church, which is His bride. And as on earth there is often jubilation and pomp attending the nuptial feast, so shall the marriage of the Lamb be the signal for untold joy and unutterable splendours amongst the ranks of the heavenly host. And, moreover, as the earthly bride is exalted to the same dignity, and enjoys the immunities and wealth of her husband, so the Church will share the honours and glories of her Husband and Lord. Impossible! do you say, that such can be the destiny of the often poor, despised, and persecuted Church? Ah, brethren, it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. The day of presentation has not yet come — the day of maturity, perfection, and bloom; but come it shall! When the gardener buries the cold, rough, apparently dead bulb in the damp mould, you might in your ignorance be tempted to say, "There, now, that is cast aside, and will never be heard of more." You have not, however, long to wait, ere a magnificent flower springs from the unsightly bulb, a flower fit for presentation, perchance, in the palace of royalty itself. Thus has it been, and thus will it be, with the Church. Full often she has been cast down, and trodden under foot, and despised by the nations, who thought they had buried her in oblivion. But no, she has ever sprung again into renewed life and beauty, like the fair flower of which I spoke, and the time of her presentation will be by and by. Nothing can hinder it. He who hath formed His people for Himself controls all adverse as well as auspicious influences; and having set His heart upon His chosen, they shall be His for evermore.

(J. W. Atkinson.)

I. THE CHURCH IS GLORIOUS EVEN NOW.

1. Glorious in its foundation (Ephesians 2:20).

2. Glorious in its progress, Although the storms of persecution have beat upon it, yet doth the building rise. Like the ark on the wild waters, it hath safely outridden the fury of every storm till now, nay, hath only been landed on its firm Ararat of rest by the very force of the revolutionary wave.

3. Glorious in its ever-growing empire.

4. Glorious in power in the power which comes from wealth, in the power which comes from learning and literature — in the power which comes of numbers, and of numbers organized — in the power which comes of many edifices and splendid architecture — in the power which comes of elegance, and wealth, and refinement, in private life.

II. THE CHURCH WILL BE MORE GLORIOUS YET on the day of presentation.

1. Glorious in position, immunities, and honour. Though now often poor, despised, and persecuted, she shall then be proclaimed the Lamb's wife, and be lifted up to sit with Christ on His throne.

2. Glorious in holiness and purity.

(1)Perfect. No "spot."

(2)Youthful. No "wrinkle."

(3)Without trace of earthly infirmity. No "blemish."

3. Glorious in bliss. If pure it must also be happy; for only the pure can be truly glad. Heaven is a very gladsome and blessed place. Its trees are green forever. Its rivers and seas are clear as crystal. Its music is an eternal symphony. Its light is brighter than the sun — it is the light of purity and bliss.

(J. W. Atkinson.)

I. HOW CHRIST LOVED HIS CHURCH.

1. A love of choice, and special regard.

2. A love of unselfishness.

3. A love of complacency.

4. A. love of sympathy.

5. A love of communion.

6. A love of unity.

7. A love of immutable constancy.

II. HOW HE PROVED HIS LOVE.

1. He gave Himself to His Church by leaving heaven and becoming incarnate that He might assume her nature.

2. He gave Himself throughout His life on earth by spending all His strength to bless His beloved.

3. He gave Himself in death; the ransom for His Church.

4. He gave Himself in His eternal life; rising, ascending, reigning, pleading; and all for the Church of His choice.

5. He gave Himself in all that He now is as God and Man, exalted to the throne, for the endless benefit of His beloved Church.

III. HOW WE SHOULD THINK OF IT. It is set before us as a love which should influence our hearts. We should think of it —

1. In a way of gratitude, wondering more and more at such love.

2. In a way of obedience, as the wife obeys the husband.

3. In a way of reverence. Looking up to love so great, so heavenly, so perfect, so Divine.

4. In a way of holiness. Rejoicing to be like our Holy Husband.

5. In a way of love. Yielding our whole heart to Him.

6. In a way of imitation. Loving Him, and others for His sake.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

"Let all things be done in love," saith the apostle. If all thy actions towards others, then, much more all things that concern thy wife, should be done in love. Thy thoughts should be thoughts of love; thy looks should be looks of love, thy lips, like the honeycomb, should drop nothing but sweetness and love; thy instructions should be edged with Jove; thy reprehensions should be sweetened with love; thy carriage and whole conversation towards her should be but the fruit and demonstration of thy love. Oh, how did Christ, who is thy pattern, love His spouse! His birth, life, and death were but, as it were, a stage whereon the hottest love imaginable, from first to last, acted its part to the life. It was a known, unknown love. Tiberius Gracchus, the Roman, finding two snakes in his bed, and consulting with the soothsayers, was told that one of them must be killed; yet, if he killed the male, he himself would die shortly; if the female, his wife would die. His love to his wife, Cornelia, was so great, that he killed the male, saith Plutarch, and died quickly.

(George Swinnock.)

I. In describing THE FUTURE CONDITION of the Church, the apostle has evidently in his mind two previous states of it — its original state when lying dead in trespasses and sins, and its subsequent earthly state, when separated from the mass of the ungodly and partially redeemed.

II. He points out THE CAUSES TO WHICH IT IS TO BE ASCRIBED. Of these he mentions four.

1. The first is the love of Christ. He "loved the Church."

2. The next is the sacrifice of Christ. He "gave Himself for it."

3. Hence the apostle goes on to bring before us the Holy Spirit as a third source to which the Church must ascribe its future holiness.

4. And how does the Holy Spirit carry on this cleansing process? The text shows us, and its answer to the question reminds us of the fourth means of our sanctification — the Word of God. "The washing of water," is "by the Word."

III. We have to go on now to our last point — THE GREAT END FOR WHICH ALL THESE MEANS OF HOLINESS ARE BROUGHT INTO OPERATION. It is, we are told, to "sanctify and cleanse" the Church. But why is the Church to be thus sanctified? What is the ultimate object aimed at in this cleansing? All terminates in this one blessed end, that Christ, in the great day of His triumph, may "present the Church unto Himself a glorious Church." Nothing dishonours, brethren, but sin; nothing but sin is really shameful. Now take sin from the soul, and you have removed from it everything that can degrade it. We may go farther — the chief glory of God is the holiness of God. His purity is His brightest attribute. His power and immensity strike us more, for our minds are debased, we have lost the perception of that which is most elevated in its character — moral greatness; but go up into heaven, or rather read the language of heaven as we find it in the Bible — power and majesty are both extolled in it, but this is the one great subject of adoration in heaven, in the very world where all the Divine greatness is most fully manifested — the purity of Jehovah; and this the song which, next to the song of salvation, rises most constantly in its splendid courts — "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts." No wonder then that the Church will be "a glorious Church"; the likeness of God will be put on her the image of Godwill shine in her; that attribute of Divinity, which is the perfection of Divinity, will be her crown.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

That love is the initiative of everything. We did not love Him; but He loved us. We did not choose Him; but He chose us. Just as afterwards, in the copy, the man is not loved first, but the woman. The man's love is the cause; the woman's love is the consequence. The woman's love is reflected love. But His love was intense. It had no beginning, and it had no bounds. It was so great that He actually loved us to the death. Christ, then, having loved us, and chosen us, and died for us, and given us life, preceded next to make us fit and worthy for the high position to which He destined us. For this end two things were necessary. First, we must be relieved of our old guilty defilement. Our souls must be "washed" from the past. The Jews had what they called "the bridal bath." So Christ did away with the previous guilt, and its consequence, and our sins were as though they had never been — for they were expunged! "When I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live...Then I washed thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil." Of this "washing" the laver of baptism is the emblem. It prefigures it; it assures us of it; it is intended to be its channel. But it is evident that the forgiveness of past sins, and the removal of their stains, is not all that is necessary for the Church — that it may be "the bride of Christ." There must be also real and actual purity and holiness. Now comes the final purpose. What is it all for? Loved; chosen; pardoned; rid of all past guilt; washed; sanctified; clothed; beautified: — what is the Church? "Glorious." "A glorious Church, not having" — that is, "not having " as God sees us in Christ — "not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." "Glorious" she is — for the glory which God has given Him — which is the Holy Ghost — Christ has given us! "Glorious" she is — for she reflects the face, and the unity, and the glory of her God! "Glorious" she is — from rays of light of heavenly beauty upon her! "Glorious" she is — for God is glorified in her! "A glorious Church!" And why — again we ask — why so glorious? That Christ may "present her to Himself" — Himself to Himself — who made her for Himself, that Himself might enjoy her forever and ever.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

In this verse we have the last end of our redemption by Christ, the perfection and consummation of our sanctification in the life to come. In setting forth of which take notice —

1. Of our nearness to Christ, "That He might present it to Himself"; that is, assume or take us home to live with Him, and abide always in His presence.

2. The effect of this union and nearness, which is —(1) Generally expressed, "A glorious Church." It is an allusion to the spouse of a king, or a royal marriage (Psalm 14:13).(2) Particularly explained, or wherein the glory of the Church doth consist.(a) Negatively, "Not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing." A spot is in the garments, a wrinkle is in the flesh; and then follow the general words, "Or any such thing." Neither with filthy garments, nor with shrivelled flesh, nor blind, nor lame.(b) Positively, "But that it should be holy, and without blemish," perfectly pure, and exempt from either blemish or blame, for the word signifieth both; and the allusion is to a spouse that excelleth in beauty and comeliness. That the final end of our redemption is that we may be presented at the last day glorious in pretty and holiness.

1. Of the final end of our redemption; and there —(1) Of His love, that Christ could not satisfy Himself with doing us good here, but He would provide for our glorious estate hereafter.(2) That our glory in heaven is the fruit of Christ's death, who procured this eternal inheritance for us. It is not merited by our holiness, but purchased by Christ.(3) It implies that none but those who are purified by the blood and Spirit of Christ have interest in this privilege.

2. That we enter into this everlasting estate by being presented to Christ; for in the text it is said, "That He may present it to Himself," that is, as the bride to the bridegroom, that the marriage may be consummated. In the Scripture there is a three-fold presentation spoken of —(1) One made by believers themselves (Romans 12:1).(2) It is ascribed to the apostles, or Christ's messengers who have a charge; and when they have done their work, present us to God as the fruit of their labour (2 Corinthians 11:2).(3) This presentation is applied to Christ Himself. Now two ways is Christ said to present us —

(a)To Himself;

(b)To God.

3. I observe in the text, that those who are presented to Christ, and by Christ to God, is His Church, and is a glorious Church.

4. I observe that the principal glory of the Church lieth in its purity and holiness. "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory" (Jude 1:24). It must needs be so; for —(1) This is God's glory: "Glorious in holiness" (Exodus 15:11).(2) Sin is the cause of all our misery; and therefore when we are completely holy, our misery which we incurred by the fall of Adam is then at an end. It was sin which was the cause of separation from God (Isaiah 59:2; Psalm 17:15).(3) Then we are dispositively fitted for the full enjoyment of God. Our glory is begun by holiness, and is still increasing to a further glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).

5. This purity and holiness shall then be exactly complete.While we are in the world, neither is the whole Church perfect, nor particular believers. Now, let us go on to the uses.

1. To exhort you often to think of this estate. Oh, that our hearts were exercised more about these things!

2. Let us improve it.(1) To glorify God and Christ, who intend so much glory to us.(2) Let the foresight of this estate comfort us against our abasement in the world. We are now obscure, afflicted, poor, disgraced in the world.(3) Improve it to holiness. See that this work be begun, for heaven is but the perfection of what is begun in this life; and when it is begun, never give over till you attain this perfect estate. The more eminency in holiness you get, the more glorious you are.(4) Improve it to the love of God's people; a necessary lesson in these days, when they fly from others that are in trouble, as the rest of the herd from the wounded deer (Psalm 15:4).(5) Improve it to thankfulness to Christ; for we have all our holiness from Christ; from first to last, He is the Author and Finisher; He purchased and procured the Spirit of sanctification for us (Titus 3:5, 6). And also this glorious estate; He gave Himself not only to sanctify His people, but glorify them. Heaven is the fruit of His blood and love. "Who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Revelation 1:5). First He purchased it for us, and then communicateth it to us.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. As regards the earthly state. Here the holiness of the Church is but comparative and imperfect: and this in two respects; because there is a mixture of bad and good, of godly and ungodly, of true believers with the insincere and hypocrites; and because even the good themselves, even the best, are but partially good, are never entirely cleansed from all defilement of sin, though they are redeemed from its penalty, and delivered from its tyrannical dominion.

II. We thus come to treat of the second state of the Church in the course of its holy progression, that to which the faithful are removed on their departure from this world. Very few are the notices of this intermediate state, between death add the judgment day; but we are taught to look upon it as a place of entire deliverance from trouble and sin.

III. There is, indeed, another state, in which the Church will be yet further advanced in blessedness; having been made perfect in holiness, it will be made perfect in happiness and glory: and this will be the consummation of the promise in the text, "That He might present it to Himself a glorious Church.

(J. Slade, M. A.)

I. The first regards THE PRESENTATION OF THE CHURCH — "That He might present it to Himself." Now, in the Scripture, my brethren, we find a three-fold presentation of believers spoken of.

1. The first of these presentations is what we call personal; and this is made by themselves. Of this the apostle speaks when he admonishes the Romans, saying, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." In the experience of every believer there is a solemn scene in which he has acknowledged God's claims; has asked, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" and has said, with resolution and zeal, Lord, I am Thine; save me. Other lords besides Thee have had dominion over me; but henceforth by Thee only will I make mention of Thy name. To Thee I dedicate Myself. My understanding is Thine, to know Thee; my will, to choose Thee; my heart, to love Thee; my conscience to fear Thee; my memory, to retain Thee. Thine are mine eyes, to behold Thy glory; mine ears, to hear Thy voice; my tongue, to show forth Thy praise; and my feet, to walk in Thy ways. Thine is my time, and my substance, and my influence; and if I had the innocency of Adam in paradise, the meekness of Moses, the faith of Abraham, the patience of Job, the fervour of Paul, the perfection of angels, they should be equally, they should be mere Thine, than these poor imperfect offerings which I now present.

2. The second of these presentations we call official; and these are made by ministers. This is what the apostle means when in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians he says, "I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." And again, in his Epistle to the Colossians, he says, "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." Ministers have a charge. It is, to endeavour to bring souls to Christ.

3. The third we call Divine. And this is here intended. And the presentation here unquestionably regards a future day that day for which all other days are made; and which is more than once so emphatically called "the day of Christ." This presentation is a very peculiar one, for you see, it is by and to the very same Being. "That He might present it to Himself." It is by Him — He presents it; and it is to Him. How is this? By Him; for He shall present them. But when it is here said that He will "present it to Himself," it implies some present distance or absence — a want of some present recognition and acknowledgment. And so, while they are at home in the body, they are absent from the Lord. Indeed, there is now a connection and a communion between them; but the distinction is rather this: He is now with them — hereafter they will be with Him. And then, you see where they will be presented with this exceeding joy: "before the presence of His glory": that is, His glorious presence. You see also in what state they will be presented with exceeding joy before His presence. He will present them "blameless."

II. This brings us to the second part of our subject; which is, THE GLORY OF THE CHURCH. "A glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing." Here Paul tells us, that the Church then presented will be glorious; and he also reminds us wherein that glory will principally consist. We must review both these. You are ready to ask perhaps, "Is not His Church glorious now?" It is. It is not a glorious Church indeed in the eyes of the world, for the world knoweth them not; they are often, like their Lord, "despised and rejected of men": but they are glorious in the eyes of the Lord. But though the Church is now "glorious," and "more glorious than the mountains of prey," yet its glory is partially prevented and obscured now. It is so by the thinness of its numbers. Its glory is now partially prevented and obscured by intermixtures. The lilies are among thorns; the tares are among the wheat. It is now also partially prevented and obscured by their outward condition. They are now often poor; then they shall "possess all things." Above all, the glory of the Church is now partially prevented and obscured by moral infirmities. Wherein this glory of the Church will then principally consist. And according to the apostle it is this: "He will present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." Here we may remark four things very briefly.(1) We see they have their imperfections now.(2) You see how these imperfections are metaphorically expressed. They are held forth as spots, and wrinkles. You cannot notice spots in black; and you never do notice spots in coarse and repulsive visages. No; spots suppose comeliness and loveliness upon the whole. Spots are consistent with beauty; but yet they detract from it. There are deficiencies which are compatible with sincerity, and the life of God in the soul. Wrinkles are one of the common symptoms of age or weakness.(3) We see that from all these blemishes and defects they are to be effectually, completely freed, when they are "presented before the presence of His glory, with exceeding joy." Yea, "without spot or wrinkle," says the text, "or any such thing." Oh! the power of Divine grace!(4) Then you will see, lastly, what it is that achieves and finishes their glory. Why, it is this — that they will no more have any "spot or wrinkle, or any such thing." What makes the difference between angels and devils? Holiness makes the angel; the want of it the devil. Devils may have possibly, and I am persuaded they have, knowledge or talent; and Voltaire and Byron would be fools by the side of some of them. Wicked men have often now more knowledge and science than good men; but they do not make a good use of it. And what is the consequence? Why it sinks them the lower in disgrace, and degrades them the more.

1. Let us dismiss these explanatory notes by first asking whether you will be found among the saints, in this glory everlasting?

2. Christians, well should the prospect that we have been imperfectly opening, animate and comfort you.

3. Then it should soothe you under the removal of those who sleep in Jesus. Jesus said to His disciples, who were sorrowing, "If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice because I said, I go to the Father, for My Father is greater than I."

4. Then, lastly, how are we bound to the Saviour who has destined such glory for us, and is now preparing us for it!

(W. Jay.)

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