A collaborative post by Peter Ski, Preeti Rachel Rajkumar, and David Bolton
for “The WORD in 3D”.
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“I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 11:2-3
Have you lost the simplicity and purity in Christ? Has your relationship with Christ become complex? Can you quiet yourself and enjoy Christ within you? Can you just turn your heart to Him and love Him, with the Love that He has showered you with?
Us with the Lord is simplicity. Us with the Lord is purity.
But there are so many things that bring in complexity. You may have to go to a certain place, do certain things, or be with certain people to enjoy Him. Or there may even be distractions that keep you from enjoying Him. There is the television, social media, hobbies, chores, work, family, and countless other objects that obscure our sight of Christ.
The enemy desires to corrupt, or spoil, the simplicity and purity that we have toward Christ. The enemy desires to lure us away from Christ. It doesn’t matter if we are lured away by good things or by evil things, we are still lured away from Life to Death.
The unspoken struggle, in these verses, is between the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (or the Tree of Death). In our spirit is the Tree of Life, Christ. In our flesh is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the serpent. We are the soul – the mind, will, and emotions in between the spirit and the flesh. Don’t walk according to your flesh; walk according to your spirit. In your spirit, there is simplicity and purity. It’s the place where you can turn and enjoy your Lord.
We maintain simplicity and purity by keeping our eyes on Christ, who is within us. You don’t need to go to a certain place to enjoy the Lord. You don’t need to do a certain set of actions to enjoy the Lord. You can enjoy the Lord while washing the dishes. You can enjoy the Lord while servicing customers at work. You can enjoy the Lord while sitting in prison. You can enjoy the Lord while watching a movie. What’s important is that your heart is always turned towards Him and His People.
Our Lord is jealous for His Bride. Paul expressed to the many believers, “I betrothed you (all)…as a pure Virgin”. Here Paul is speaking to the many believers in Corinth as one Virgin betrothed to Christ. We don’t just enjoy Him on our own, but also corporately.
It’s essential that we be turned to the Spirit when we get together. If we speak and act from our flesh, we will spread death among the saints, instead of Life.
So what does that look like? Hopefully, you meet with saints, with whom you are free to share your portion of Christ openly and as the equally precious member of the Body that you are. During the meetings, turn your heart to enjoy the Lord. Turn your thoughts away from things other than Him. Check within before you speak. Don’t force yourself to be spiritual. As He puts words and actions on your heart, obey Him. But, always check with Him. He will be like a fire inside you, when He desires to minister through you. Do and say whatever He commands, whether it’s praying, hugging, listening, teaching, serving, etc. Enjoy the Lord as you listen to the other saints. Value them. Honor them. Love them.
‘Waste’ your time on the Lord.
In this passage, Paul writes to the believers at Corinth that he desired to present them to Christ as a pure virgin bride. As their spiritual father (1 Cor.4:15), he was anxious to protect them.
In context to what Paul was saying, the espousal held a very important place in the ancient Jewish wedding ceremony that he was familiar with, much like the engagement we have today, but with a far greater sense of commitment. Here the couple entered into a covenant through a contract (ketubbah), which was a legal document that bound them in marriage. Once sealed, it was final, and could be dissolved only through divorce. So the espoused couple were legally married in all aspects except for the physical consummation that took place later. Then the groom returned home to prepare it for his bride. He could be gone a long time, sometimes over a year. Once ready, he came back for her and took her home for the wedding feast. During the waiting period, the bride was expected to prepare herself and preserve her chastity. If her groom’s return was delayed, there was the danger of giving in to temptation. But someone serious in her commitment would remain faithful to the end.
Similarly, we, the “called out ones”, or the ekklesia, have entered into a covenant with Christ that was sealed in blood, Heb.13:20, and are chosen to be His future bride. Paul used this figure of speech to describe the relationship between Christ and the ekklesia, Eph.5:22-23. We are presently in an engagement with Him, while the marriage feast is an event still to come, Rev.19:6-9. During this time of waiting, we are to prepare ourselves and remain unwavering in our commitment to Him.
Satan’s convincing lies and suggestions corrupted Eve’s pure mind and led to her fall, alienating her from her Creator. Paul feared that the same would happen to the Corinthian believers who seemed to put up with those spreading false doctrines.
We become vulnerable to Satan’s deceiving power if we let our minds focus on anything other than Christ. This leads to the loss of single-minded love for Him and to unfaithfulness – a costly price to pay while in a covenant! Our safety lies in fixing our thoughts on our Lord and placing our affection on things above, where He is. We cannot be earth-bound. Like this old hymn reminds us– “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, then the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” This is possible only through His transforming power at work in us, while we learn to submit to Him constantly, both individually and corporately as the ekklesia. As a result our minds are renewed day by day and our thinking patterns become Christ-centered. Our desire increases to remain true to Him who loved us enough to lay down His life for us; Who continues to love us unconditionally.
The devoted bride watched and waited for her groom’s arrival and she made herself ready in anticipation. Her days were filled with thoughts of him and all her activities were connected to that one central theme-the day of his return. So great was her commitment! The very thought that our Lord is coming back for us any moment now must fill us with a similar anticipation and keep us focused on getting ready to return with Him to the place He has prepared for us (John 14:3).
“And they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”
There is an intensification of the Spirit’s working in these last days in the calling out and perfecting of a pure virgin Bride for Christ. All of history is heading up to a climax, and the centerpiece of this Grand Culmination will be the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
This calling of the Bride is personal, being a call to many individual “virgins”, as in “the parable of the ten virgins” (Matt.25:1-12). It is also, and ultimately, corporate, being a call to the one, collective “bride” of Christ (Rev.19:7). The work of the Spirit to present the Church “a pure virgin to Him”, then, is both individual and corporate, personal and collective.
In this portion, I would like to paint a brief picture of what a “pure virgin” bridal heart looks like. This is what the Spirit is seeking to fashion within the individual members of Christ’s Body, and also, supremely, in its collective expressions.
A “pure virgin” bridal heart is one that is consumed with a singular passion for her Beloved. She is utterly enamored with Him, and Him alone. Her entire desire is to be with Him, to be daily in His presence. She longs to behold His countenance and to gaze into His eyes. She yearns to hear His voice and to hearken to His words. She delights to be by His side, to feel the strength of His hand and the comfort of His embrace. She longs to be His delight, to lavish her love upon Him, and to be the object of His purest and most ardent affection. She lives to be His helper, to complete Him and to be His companion in His high calling, purpose and work. She wants above all else to intimately know Him, and to be intimately known by Him. This is her unquenchable desire; this is her sole delight; this is her undying passion.
A “pure virgin” bridal heart seeks no other sense of identity than that of belonging to her Beloved. She has become one with Him and her former identity has been swallowed up into His consummate Identity. To her, “HE is all.” She takes His Name as her greatest honor. She finds her highest delight and dignity in living for the honor of His Name in all she is and does. She has laid down all lesser identities that she might be crowned solely with His all-excelling, consummate Name.
A “pure virgin” bridal heart yields to the compassionate, conjugal headship of her Beloved. She finds her source of strength, rest and hope in Him. His perfect love casts all fear from her heart. His matchless wisdom fills her mind with confidence and rest. His indomitable strength inspires her spirit with boldness and joy. She moves to the beat of His heart. She responds to the glance of His eye. She looks to His lead. She follows Him in the dance. She sings to His tune. Her melody becomes His harmony, and together they become “the Song of songs.”
This is the heart of the “pure virgin” Bride. This is the heart the Spirit is fashioning within you and I. Supremely, this is the collective heart being formed within the unified expressions of His Bride as the end of the age draws near. In the end, the overcoming Church will be known, above all else, by:
One consuming Passion… One consummate Identity… One conjugal (corporate) Head…
A pure virgin to Christ.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and His Bride has made herself ready.”
Together we say: (a collaborated prayer)
Lord Jesus, keep us as one Virgin Bride with our eyes purely set on You, to love You and to enjoy You, in simplicity. We pray that our love for You may be demonstrated through our obedience and commitment to follow You wholly, and that we be found faithful and watching when You return. Help us to turn aside from all that distracts and defiles us, that we may be that pure, spotless Bride that You desire, prepared for the marriage supper of the Lamb, and for all eternity with You. Amen!
Please take time to visit and explore the contributing authors’ respective blogs for more Christ-honoring content by them:
Peter Ski at Enjoying Christ
Preeti Rachel Rajkumar at A Disciple’s Quest
David Bolton at Christ-Centered Christianity
For more information about this initiative, please see the “The WORD in 3D” – About page.
Now, let’s hear what …You say!