Christ Is Our Standard of Love

autumn-love

 

Adam gave up a part of himself for Eve. He was put to sleep and, from his side, a rib was taken. That rib was never given back. But Christ didn’t give up just a part of himself for his bride. He gave up his whole self for her. When reading the New Testament, one should understand that Christ goes to the cross for his bride. He is laying down his life for her. He gives up himself for her.

Think about that as you read the passion of the Christ. Hear his agony and see his grief in the garden; look upon his brow as the great drops of blood fall to the ground. Feel his pain as he turns to his best men during his hour of agony, but they are asleep. Stand next to him as he goes on trial after trial due to his enemies.

Walk out of the garden and meet one of his own who has conspired and betrayed him. Feel the stripes laid upon his back; start with the first and stay until the last as his back is torn open. See the blood so much that you can no longer tell the source from which it spouts. Listen to the mockery and ridicule and false accusations.

Consider the great contradiction of the perfect Lamb of God being called a liar, insurrectionist, and sinner. Walk with the Christ as he tries desperately to carry his cross but falls under its weight. Stand at the foot of the cross as he is hoisted in the air, suspended between heaven and earth—body mutilated, mind in a daze, feeling neglected, still mocked, still jeered, and finally pierced.

And as you see the blood and water flowing from his side, understand this. He did all of this—he loved in this way; he gave himself up—for her. The New Testament is clear—Christ loves the church, and that love moved Christ to die for her.

How, then should we live?

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

—Acts 20:28

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

—1 John 3:16

If anyone thinks that a man leading a woman is wrong, see Jesus and the church. If any man thinks that his position gives him some power to abuse his wife, see Jesus. He is to love her as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. If a man is not willing to do that, he does not deserve a wife.

The church was for Christ that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

—Ephesians 5:26–27

 

~Eric

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