February 20, 2012 Posted by Roger Overton
As I write this, I’m about two months away from my wedding day. I am engaged to a beautiful, godly woman and eagerly looking forward to spending the rest of my life with her. As we’ve been heavily involved in wedding planning and preparing not just for the wedding celebration, but also the spiritual marriage to come, it’s occurred to me that this period of preparation points to some important theological truths.
As the church universal, we are to be Christ’s bride (Revelation 19:7, 21:2, 9-10). As we read in Ephesians 5:22-33, marriage is in part an allusion to the relationship between Christ and His church. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church, and so Christian marriage is supposed to point what Christ has done for His redeemed.
How do these truths apply to those of us that aren’t quite married yet? I think it’s safe to same I’m in the “already, not yet” stage. That is, I have made a commitment to marry a particular woman. Though we are not yet married, in many ways I should already be seeking to love her as Christ loves the church. I am already responsible in many ways for leading our relationship well and seeking our growth in knowledge, wisdom, and holiness.
This is similar to the theological principle of “already, not yet.” Christ has already demonstrated His love for His bride by giving Himself up for her, and yet the marriage has not yet happened. The bride must be made ready before the marriage and subsequent celebration. We live in an in between time. A time when the promises of old have begun to be fulfilled in Christ’s first coming and will be entirely fulfilled in His second coming.
The take away is this: my fiancée and I are in a time of preparation for marriage. We have already done away with single living, but are not quite married. We are learning how to serve each other. I am learning how to love and lead. We are preparing for the wedding not just with decorations, music, and schedules, but we are also preparing our lives for unity. In this way, though not married yet, we too point to the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. And it is my prayer that our relationship, even now, speaks well of the glory to come.