This past Sunday afternoon I was playing my guitar and singing the song "God of Love." Ryan Boys (a former RD) wrote it as a doxology following D.A. Carson's remarkable sermon on the intratrinitarian love of God at the 2003 Truth & Life Conference. I love the song, because it expresses an otherworldly reality and an eternal sentiment that is rarely thought of or spoken of. God loves His Son. Here are the first two stanzas:
Father of love
Love for Your Son
Love in endless ages past
And for all time to come
Father of love
Love shown in us
A blameless bride bought for His side
Promised to the Son
On Sunday afternoon, I started thinking about the second stanza, and from a different angle than I usually have. I began asking myself the question, "Is God's choosing of a bride for Christ a model for parental involvement in their children's engagements and marriages?"
God chose Christ’s bride for Him. God foreknew us and chose us before the foundation of the world that we might be holy and blameless before Him. And He bought us as a love-gift for His Son. He gave His precious and only Son as a dowry for us, and He washed us clean and made us pure by the blood of Christ and the continuing sanctification of the Holy Spirit so that we will be a pure bride, not a prostitute. One day we will celebrate with our husband Jesus Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9).
It wasn’t that God wanted to control Christ and hinder His joy that He picked a bride for Him. I don't think it was because the Father didn't trust the Son. It was because He loved Him. Jesus Christ did not choose His own bride. God chose the bride for Him. The marriage between Christ and the church was an arranged marriage. My culture thumbs its nose at any thought of parental control or influence, especially in regards to the issue of marriage. This is true to some degree even in the church of God, the bride that ought to find no greater joy than in the fact that she was chosen by Christ’s Father to be wedded to Him!
The love between the Father and the Son, the wisdom of the Father in His choosing, and the Trinitarian humility of the Son in His submission are perfect and complete. The Father exercises an endless love for His only Son, and the Son exhibits unceasing devotion to His glorious Father. The Father in His infinite wisdom hand-picked a bride for His beloved Son, and the Son in His ultimate humility accepted the Father’s gift with delightful submission. There was no authoritarianism on the part of the Father. There was no need for it. There was no complaint on the part of the Son. There was no reason for it.
Mature believers acknowledge that men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, recognizing that Christ’s relationship with the church is the model for marriage. Bible-believing Christians affirm that fathers are to raise their children as God raises us, recognizing that God’s relationship with His children is the model for parenting. It is time for us to re-examine the relationship between God and His Son in all its facets and to very seriously ask ourselves if our practices of engagement and marriage reflect the model that God the Father has displayed for us in His choosing of a bride for His Son.