Have you ever considered that God has an eternal purpose? Many people ask the question “what is God’s purpose for my life?”, but very few ask the question of what God’s purpose is. Why did God create us? What is God trying to accomplish today? What will be the end-result of God’s plan? To know this would radically change the direction of our lives. We would no longer ask what our purpose is in life, but rather would seek to align our lives with whatever God’s purpose is.
The first awkward question in considering this is, does God have a purpose? Ephesians 3:11 gives us a definite answer to the first two questions:
“According to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord”
“Eternal purpose” includes God’s purpose in eternity-past, present, and future. God has always had a “good pleasure…purposed in Himself” (Eph. 1:9). He is not a purposeless God, and praise Him that He has revealed this purpose to us in His Word!
Now is time to consider what His eternal purpose is. Now I don’t mean to say that God’s purpose can only be looked at in one way. His purpose is multifaceted and his wisdom in it is multifarious, but I will try to look at it from one angle in this post: the divine romance.
Most people don’t look at the Bible as a romantic book. They may see it as a book of good teachings, a pattern for living a moral life, or even as telling a great story of God’s saving man from hell, but few see it as a romance. The Bible actually starts and ends with a wedding. In Genesis we have man marrying a woman, and in Revelation we have the Lamb marring the bride. So the Bible is full of romance between God and His chosen people.
To get a clear picture of this, we must look back at the creation of man. Then we must trace this theme of romance from Genesis to Revelation, seeing this as the continual pattern and the ultimate goal of God. I hope I can impress you with this.
In Genesis 1 it says, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” and “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him”, and the very first thing that God says concerning this creature in His image is “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper as his counterpart” (Gen. 2:18). This is very insightful. The only thing in God’s magnificent creation that is like Him and in His image needs a counterpart. Though God is all-sufficient, glorious, and infinite, He has revealed to us that He does not want to be alone. He desires a counterpart to be His own bride! Now I may have drawn a conclusion too soon, so I’ll have to go on and show you this throughout the Word.
“For your Maker is your Husband” (Isaiah 54:5)
“for I am a Husband to you” (Jeremiah 3:14)
“I was their Husband” (Jeremiah 31:32)
“You will call Me my Husband” (Hosea 2:16)
“I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:2)
“The marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7)
This are just a few of the instances where God reveals Himself as a Husband to His chosen people. But I don’t just want to end at this cool fact that most people already know, rather I’d like to explore just how deep this revelation goes and how it can affect our Christian life today.
Adam as a Type
In Genesis 2 we have an interesting account of how Adam gets the counterpart he needs. Most people know the classic story of Adam naming all the animals, but few see that he was actually looking for his counterpart. Genesis 2:20 ends with “but for Adam there was not found a helper as his counterpart.” So God, instead of creating man a counterpart from the ground, puts him into a deep sleep and builds a suitable counterpart from his own rib. This is fascinating to me. Why didn’t God just make the woman out of the ground like He did with Adam? There is something that the Lord is trying to reveal to us here!
Who is God’s counterpart? Ephesians 5:22-23 reveals it to be the church. How does God obtain this counterpart? Genesis 2 foreshadows how! Adam was put to sleep and out of His very own being, his wife was built. Romans 5:14 and 1 Corinthians 15:45 show that Christ is a type of Adam. Type in the sense of a foreshadowing of a person. And sleep in the Bible is often synonymous with death, as was the case in John 11:11 with Lazarus. Christ died on the cross for us, and after his death (or deep sleep), blood and water flowed forth from His side (Jn. 19:34). See the similarities yet?
Just as Adam was put to sleep, something was removed from his side (rib), and from that his counterpart was produced, so it is with Christ. He was put to sleep on the cross, blood and water flowed forth from His side (representing redemption and sanctification), and His bride from this flow is produced!
Now the blood is well covered in Christianity and most everyone knows that the blood is for the church’s redemption, but what about the water? Well, in Ephesians 5:26, it is made quite clear: “That He (Christ) might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.”
If you still aren’t convinced about this picture in Genesis 2 relating to Christ and the Church, I have just a few more verses to solidify this point:
“For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31 and Genesis 2:24(Genesis is quoted in Ephesians here)).
“This mystery is great, but I speak with regard to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32)
So Paul directly quotes Genesis 2, speaking about Adam and Eve, telling us explicitly that, though mysterious it may be, this is about Christ and the church. So the account of Adam getting his bride is a type or picture of Christ gaining His bride. This is incredible.
Why does this matter though? What does Genesis tell us that we didn’t know before? I knew prior to learning this that Christ redeemed me, is sanctifying me, and that there’s some sort of wedding thing in the end. We must see that there is much more revelation here. Consider this: why were the animals presented to Adam not considered suitable to Him? We chuckle at this question, because no sane person wants to marry something that is not of the same as itself! Once Eve was made, Adam affirmed this by saying “This time this is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called woman because out of man this one was taken” (Gen. 2:23). Adam needed something that was like him, and so does Christ. This is why we need the cross! We are fallen sinners, totally contrary to God and even His enemies. We need to be made righteous and holy to be a proper bride. This is why Christ died. “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25).
Making Herself Ready
One more silly question: why didn’t God build Adam a little girl? Would a baby make Adam a suitable counterpart? I hope everyone is saying “absolutely not!” Adam needed a full grown woman as his wife. So does Christ! That is why the water is needed. We are currently in a process of growth and transformation (or at least we should be). We are being washed in “the water in the word” which is just His Spirit (John 6:63 & Ephesians 6:17). Christ does not want to marry an infant, but rather a full grown woman. This is also why He died, “that He might present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkly or any such things, but that she would be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27).
In the end this bride will have completed this process! She will be fully grown and mature for her bridegroom. Revelation 19:7 says “Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” This is marvelous!
We need to realize that God in eternity past wanted a counterpart, a wife. He died on the cross that He might redeem His church and present her to Himself as a glorious bride that resembles Himself. We must not forget that the very God who created us and governs the entire universe desires to have us as His bride! This is what God is doing today. He is preparing His bride for the marriage in the end.
Let us say “amen” to His working within us and allow him to bring us on to full maturity. Let us root ourselves in the Word so that we may be washed and sanctified in our daily lives. Let us pray to the Lord as our husband and tell Him how much we love Him and desire to marry Him! Hallelujah our Lord wants to marry us!
I will try to keep these shorter next time, but I got really excited about this one… I hope to share a couple more aspects of God’s eternal purpose in future posts, but I hope you enjoyed this. Please feel free to comment below and let me know what you think!