The church is the bride of Christ
We’ve come to understand that the church is the bride of Christ. We have also come to know that the goal of the church is to be a beautiful and glorious bride prepared for one person—the bridegroom, who is Christ. So, in Ephesians 5.27 the Bible says so that Christ might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Becoming the bride of Christ comes with privileges and responsibilities
Becoming the bride of Christ comes along with privileges and responsibilities. One of the privileges is that he has put his name on you. So, you bear the name of Jesus Christ. It is not everybody who has this opportunity. When we appear on the scene, we are little Jesuses who have appeared on the scene.
Not only that, we have also become his treasured possession. We belong to Jesus; we are his bride, and his name is on us. When you are walking on the streets of Accra, there is a sign on you which says “Keep off; she belongs to me.” That is why David said even though he walks through the valley of the shadow of death he will fear no evil. When the demons and satanic powers see you, they see the label of God that says to keep off for you are his treasured possession. When you know this, you don’t fear anything. You walk with confidence because you are a carrier of his name and you belong to him.
It also comes with a responsibility. Because you bear that name, whatever you do brings glory or disgrace to him. You have a responsibility to honor the name that you bear with your life. So, if when Mrs. So and so does something it brings disgrace to her which doesn’t end with her but also to the name she carries, so it is with us. By our conduct, behavior and the way we live, we bring honor or disgrace to the name of Christ.
Two critical issues: moral and doctrinal purity
If we are to become a beautiful church and a glorious bride—the awesome and majestic bride—we need moral purity and doctrinal purity.
This means being pure morally or being morally pure. It has to do with purity of life and this should reflect in what you think about, what you do, and what you say. That is, it should reflect in your thoughts, conduct, and speech. God is expecting this from his bride. I remember the advice that the Apostle Paul gave to his son in 1 Timothy 4.14 saying he shouldn’t let anyone despise his youth but that he should set the believers an example in speech, conduct, faith, and purity. It is about reflecting the life of Christ on earth as his representatives. He trusts us so much that when he was leaving the earth, he appointed us to be his representatives.
So, the glorious bride of Jesus is the one who is morally pure. In other words, walking in moral purity makes the church a glorious one. A glorious church is not just the building or its environment but a church that is walking in moral purity. I pray that we shall not just come to church only to go back to immoral life, but we shall continually walk in moral purity.
An illustration from the Old Testament
Read 1 Chronicles 22.5-7.
David wanted to build a house for the Lord but God said it was his son who was going to do it. So David called his son and described the building to him. The house that David expected Solomon to build was supposed to be magnificent, exceedingly glorious, and beautiful. It was supposed to be a center of attraction that anybody could look at and recognize as beautiful. Solomon eventually built such a temple and people came from far and near to look at it. It was amazing and glorious.
In the New Testament era, when we talk about that temple, it is the church. If the Old Testament temple was to be magnificent and glorious and beautiful, then the New Testament church must be of even greater glory and magnificence. It is the moral purity of the church that will make it glorious and magnificent. A glorious church is one that is walking in moral purity and holiness. For the New Testament church to be of glory, fame, and greater awesomeness, it would take moral purity. People of God, we have a responsibility. We are building a church; we are building our lives and it must be beautiful, glorious, and awesome.
The whole world is watching to see how magnificent your building is and they have every right to do so. When people are passing by, they have every right to admire the beauty of this building and we cannot stop them from forming opinions it. In the same way, the whole world has every right to look at what we are doing to see if it is glorious. But what will make it so is the moral purity of the church. I pray that our lives would be centers of attraction; that others would look at us and admire it.
An example of a church that passed this test with distinction
In Acts of the Apostles 13, we find a church full of grace and charisma. In Acts 11.26 we find that it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. They did not go around announcing that they were Christians but the people looked at them and drew that conclusion. I pray that the beauty of Christ in us will show forth more and more so that as we interact with the world they will see Christ in us—the hope of glory.
Ephesians 5.27, 1 Timothy 4.12, 1 Chronicles 22.5-7