He that has the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which stands and hears him…
I. THE PRIVILEGE OF CHRIST. Christ, as is proper to Him, is the Head and Husband of the Church. A bride hath but one bridegroom; a wife but one husband (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18; Hosea 1:11). Christ has this right by virtue of redemption. As the Israelites had a right to marry their redeemed captives (Deuteronomy 21.), so Christ, having redeemed us from the law (Romans 7.), hath thereby a right to espouse us to Himself.
II. THE PRIVILEGE OF THE CHURCH. The union between Christ and the Church is not imaginary, but real (Genesis 2:23, 24, cf. Ephesians 5:30-32). And, therefore, as in marriage, to show the nearness of it, the name of the husband is given to the wife (Isaiah 4:1), so the name of Christ is given to the Church (1 Corinthians 12:12).
III. THE FURTHER OPENING OF THIS DOCTRINE.
1. How this contract and marriage is made up. By the mutual consent of both parties(1) Christ gives His consent.
(a) By so securing our nature that there might be congruity and correspondence (Hebrews 2:11).
(2) By giving us His Spirit, which is His love token (Ephesians 1:14; 1 John 3:24).
(3) The Church gives her assent by faith; the hand whereby we wed and handfast ourselves to Him.
2. The dowry and jointure — "All things" (1 Corinthians 3:21-23; Ephesians 5:30; Romans 8:32). Whatsoever the husband hath the wife hath.
(1) His own righteousness. We, who have no righteousness of our own, being married to Christ, shine with His beams (1 Corinthians 1:30; Ezekiel 16:8, 9 Revelation 19:7, 8).
(2) The graces of sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30; John 1:16; Ezekiel 16:9-13). Herein Christ goes beyond earthly bridegrooms, who cannot impart their beauty to their brides (Ezekiel 16:14).
(3) Acceptance of our services (Isaiah 62:5).
(4) Comfort in our infirmities.
(5) Access to Christ.
(6) Heaven itself (Psalm 45:15; Revelation 21:9-11; Hosea 2:19).
3. The duties of the bride.
(1) Thankfulness to Christ for so great honour and love (1 Samuel 18:18: Psalm 45:10; Ezekiel 16:3).
(2) Constant and faithful love to cleave to Him with all our hearts.
(a) Forsaking Him not in any afflictions.
(b) Admitting no strange love.
(3) Answerable carriage (1 Peter 3:3, 4).
(4) Longing for the marriage day (Revelation 22:17).
(5) Always preparing for the marriage.
IV. THE MINISTERS PRIVILEGE AND DUTY.
1. TO offer and persuade the marriage to the Church.
2. To fit and prepare the Church for Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2).
3. To hold fast the Church to Christ, being jealous over her for Christ's sake (2 Corinthians 11:2, 3).
4. If the Church break her marriage covenant, to labour to reduce her affections again to Christ (Jeremiah 3:1).
5. To rejoice to hear the bridegroom's voice, and to make way for Him.
Parallel VersesKJV: He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.