Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Eph. 5:27d “. . .not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing;. . .”
At “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (RV 19:9), Christ’s Church, His bride, will be astoundingly beautiful. She will have no “spot,” no stain, blot, wart, or pimple. Her skin will be perfectly free from any visible blemish.
The bride will have no “wrinkle,” the evidence of decay. As years pass, fat disappears from the skin, and the years plow furrows across the brow. In Heaven, these trenches of time shall be gone. Sickness, trouble, strain, and weariness produce premature wrinkles. These wrinkles, and all others caused by mourning (MT 9:15), will be out of place in the bride’s chamber. At the wedding, every “wrinkle,” whatever its cause, will be smoothed out. Skin will be perfect. Cheeks will bear the bloom of youth, brows the calm of tranquility.
No “spot,” “wrinkle,” “or any such thing”–nothing shall mar our beauty. Each trial, sickness, exhaustion, and sin of earth will be but a faint memory. Bearing no trace of our former defilement, the Church will be entirely pleasing to behold. Once Jesus prepares us for the wedding, there will be no way to add to our beauty. Improvement will be impossible. One might as well try to enrich refined gold, paint a lily, perfume a rose, or enhance the “Mona Lisa.”
Eph. 5:27e “. . .but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
No wonder we shall be beautiful! Our character shall be set totally free from sin, the cause of all misery and ugliness. All the grief caused in Adam’s fall will then be at an end. This scenario is what God had in mind for His people when He first predestinated us (EP 1:4). For this wonderful moment we were saved. We are ordained to be the crowning monument to His grace.
Jesus plans for the whole Universe to admire His Bride. “He is proud of her beauty, proud of her appearance, proud of all that pertains to her; and he wants to show her to the family, to all His creatures” (Lloyd-Jones). We will be displayed to all hosts of eternity. Principalities shall behold this marvelous sight. They will scrutinize us, looking in vain for a blemish. Angels will truly be flabbergasted by the sight, for we have blemishes aplenty now.
Christ is totally enamored, utterly fascinated, with His bride. He works with her today, and looks forward to spending all His tomorrows with her. Following Christ’s example, each husband should concentrate fully on his wife.
Husband, focus attention solely on your wife. Become obsessed, single-eyed, toward her. For today and every tomorrow henceforth, be a one-woman man. “The husband does not look at other women, because his bride is the one he has selected, separated, sanctified for himself. That is how Christ looks at the church. That is how a husband should regard his wife” (Lloyd-Jones).
Men, do not cast a longing look at the body of another woman. Billy Graham advises, “Do not take a second look.” When speaking with a lady, look into her eyes, not at her body. She is an equal before God, not a sex object. Never make romantic inuendos toward, sexual jokes about, or flirt with, other women. God give us the resolve of Job, who said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1 NASB).
Eph. 5:28a “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.”
Husbands “ought” to love their wives “so”–as Christ loves His bride. Jesus views the Church, and loves her, as His body. Similarly, a husband is to see himself as a head, with his wife being the body. The two are intimately united. Each must regard the other as part and parcel of one’s own being.
The relationship of husband and wife is not merely an external connection. It is more than two people living together under a marital contract. It is not even enough to think of spouses as partners or friends. Marriage entails all these things, but also involves something deeper, something much more wonderful. It is the fusing of two people into a relationship so close that Paul compares it here to the connection between a head and its adjoining body.
Spouses must view each other, not as persons external to self, but as ones who are part of the other’s own total self. Spouses must have a deep, abiding respect for each other. Neither is to look down on the other. One is head, one is body, each needs the other, neither can exist alone.
Husbands and wives must come to grips with the importance of this truth if they would have the kind of marriage God intends for them. A Christian marriage is based on certain fundamental truths. Romantic passion is good, but not sufficient to stabilize a marriage. Emotional love, like icing on cake, fizz on soda, and whip cream on shortcake, can sustain only briefly.
There must be bedrock, foundational truth to which love can fall, but then go no lower. Thinking properly about the relationship provides a marriage the safety net it needs. There have to be Biblical truths which prop up the relationship. The romance and emotion bounce up and down on this bedrock, oft rising higher, but never falling lower.
When hard times come, and stresses and strains of life come, relationships based on feelings and impulses fall through, for they lack solid foundation. Things degenerate, passion wanes, resulting in panic, and divorce court.
The Christian seeks to avoid these reactions by holding to Biblical underpinnings. Divorce is not considered as an option. If confronted with the possibility, one may hire a lawyer for personal protection, but asks the attorney to stall, to postpone, to buy as much time as possible. Seek counselling at the first sign of trouble. If necessary, use a legal separation to buy time.
A Christian must make every effort to save the marriage. Why? Because we understand the husband is head, the wife is body, and the removal of a head from a body is a decapitation. Our word “divorce” is based on two Latin words meaning “apart to turn.” Head and body cannot do this. You cannot detach head from body without harm, even death. Similarly a husband and wife cannot detach themselves from each other without serious damage.
This explains why divorce is extremely nasty. It is unnatural. Divorce is like a death, but you never bury the dead. Divorce supposedly ends a marriage, but is never truly finalized, especially where children are involved. Divorce leaves devastation in its wake. My heart absolutely breaks for the many in our congregation who bear the deep, scarring, wounds of divorce.
To avoid turning apart, let both husband and wife accept the Biblical foundation for marriage. Husband, wife is your body. Wife, husband is your head. Do not abuse each other. Be thoughtful and careful. Abuse often begins in the innocent looking seed-bed of neglect. Mickey Mantle, my boyhood sports hero, injured his leg at age 19. Doctors told him to undergo therapy, but he disregarded them. This neglect caused years of pain and shortened his career.
Husbands and wives, do not neglect each other. Do not take each other for granted. Spouses, come home. Your house is not a dormitory where you return only to sleep. It is not right to get married and then go on living as if you are single. Find work to do together, exercise to do together, recreation to do together, volunteer service to do together, church work to do together. You belong together for you are knit together by God as head and body.