There are many pictures given in the scriptures that describe our relationship with Jesus, such as "the body of Christ," "the household of God," "citizens" of God's kingdom, and "the temple of God." Each one illustrates and emphasizes an aspect of this relationship. Another one that is full of meaning likens the relationship of the church to Jesus as His wife, or bride. The marriage relationship is the most intimate relationship known to mankind, so it should be no wonder that Paul draws on it to illustrate certain truths of our relationship to God. God's original design and purpose for the marriage relationship has been greatly affected by sin, and in many ways has almost been lost. But when we come to the Lord, the Holy Spirit works to lift us back into God's original purpose in marriage, so that the family will properly fit in with His purpose in the church.
There is a great day coming that every believer is looking forward to. God has been working toward it since before time began. It is called "the marriage supper of the Lamb." It is the final consummation of our relationship with Jesus, when we will be "married" to Him for all eternity. What a glorious thought! How can we begin to comprehend what God has prepared for those who love Him? Yet we are told that the Spirit is revealing these things to us day by day as we are able to receive them.
"And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, 'Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.' And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, 'Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' And he said to me, 'These are the true sayings of God.'" (Revelation 19:6-9)
Although the Holy Spirit begins to renew our minds in all areas, including marriage, immediately upon coming to the Lord, the work is not completed overnight. It takes time and obedience for the effects of sin to be dealt with and purity of thought to take root in our minds and lives. Paul says Jesus does this through the "washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:26). As the word of God comes to us in all the ways God chooses, when we recognize it as the word of God and receive it, it has a washing or cleansing effect. As our thinking is transformed, it opens the door for our lives to be transformed as we walk in the light that comes to us.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (Ephesians 5:25-32)
In the scriptures above, notice the parallel between the natural marriage relationship and the spiritual relationship of the church and Christ. Paul speaks of both almost in the same breath. Both are a mystery. The highest mystery is Christ and the church, and the lesser mystery is used to illustrate the greater. The reverse is also true. If we have a clear revelation of the relationship of the church to Christ, it can help to wash our minds and give us light to walk in for the earthly marriage relationship.
It is in this way we want to use the picture here, drawing upon God's purpose in Christ for the church to provoke our thinking and clarify God's purpose in marriage, and particularly the wedding day. The motive is to encourage a couple preparing for the wedding day to think about marriage in light of God's purpose. Doing so should make the day more meaningful to everybody. Rather than rituals or traditions that have no meaning to God, the wedding day can be a great opportunity to declare and experience more of God's purpose.
Of course the wedding day is only the beginning. The vision must be walked in through the coming years. But God desires a "clear sound" in everything we say and do, and the wedding day is a wonderful opportunity to give that testimony before men. Our encouragement is to that end.