As we rapidly approach the final showdown, God is pouring out on His Church a new revelation of the church’s identity as the Bride of Christ, and Jesus, the soon coming Bridegroom. True believers inside and out of traditional, institutionalized, organized, denominationalized Christianity are turning their attention from their particular denominations, creeds, pet doctrines and other themes and justifications of division to behold the beauty of the Lord and to focus on the intimate relationship He desires to have with His espoused Bride at this time in history. This can be witnessed by the “house church” movement, and the effort on the part of the denominations to stem the exodus of true believers known as the “cell group movement,” and the proliferation of “home groups.” In each case, believers are intuitively resisting formal religious structures and striving for relational Christianity.
What does this Bride look like?
For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:30-32).
Paul calls it a “great mystery” and indeed it is hard to imagine a mystery greater than how millions and millions of human beings, including countless males, are joined to Christ in a one-flesh relationship comparable to the relationship that exists between a man and his wife.
But whether we can understand it or not, the New Testament indicates that this is exactly the relationship the Lord Jesus Christ desires to have with His church, which is also referred to as His “body” (Romans 12:4, 5; I Corinthians 12:12ff; Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 4:4-16; Colossians 1:18). This relationship is to be consummated at a future wedding ceremony referred to as the Marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7). Until that time, Paul refers to the church as being “espoused” or engaged to the Lord (II Corinthians 11:2).
Who She is NOT
There are groups within Christianity that teach that “the Bride” is a small, elite group of exceptionally spiritual Christians to the exclusion of believers who have not attained the same spiritual level. This, of course, is nonsense and any group who teaches thus can rightly be classified as a “cult.”
(Generally speaking, those who hold to such teachings point to themselves as the “overcomers” or the “Bride.”) The fact of the matter is, the Bride is the Body, and the Body is all believers. While it is true that there are widely divergent levels of spiritual maturity among believers on this side of glory, it should also be remembered that the mystery of the Body was discussed in most detail to the church with demonstrably the least spiritual maturity of any addressed by the apostle Paul.
On the other hand, there are those who believe that anyone who belongs to a denomination (a man-ordained “church” organization), or anyone who has been “sprinkled” as an infant by a man-ordained “minister” who works for a denomination is “in the kingdom” and a member of the Bride of Christ. This of course is the same mistake going the other way.
According to the New Testament truth, only believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are members of His Body, and therefore espoused to Him and deserving of the title “Bride.” These are said to be “born again” by the Spirit of God and baptized by the same Spirit into His Body. This wonderful salvation event occurs only as a result of, and in response to, faith on the part of a sinner who makes a conscious decision to trust Jesus Christ as his or her Savior. It has never been, nor can ever be, imparted to an individual through a rite, a ceremony, a ritual, a sacrament, adherence to a religion, a belief system, a life style, a decision to try harder to live a good life, or membership in a church or denomination of any sort. It is imparted only by God and only to those who seek it directly from Him through faith in His Son. It is not a religious thing. It is a relational thing. The person who is accepted by God and born again knows it(I John 5:13) and cannot be argued out of it by anyone.
So what does this group look like? Yellow, brown, black and white. Young and old. Tall, short, heavy, thin. Rich, poor, educated and ignorant. Spiritually mature, and spiritually infantile. Every denomination and division (read “schism” or “faction”) is represented, as well as every creed and statement of faith; there together stand Calvinists, “Arminians,” high-church members, house church members, non church members, Catholics, protestants, interdenominational believers and nondenominational brethren; Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, perhaps a Mormon and a Jehovah Witness or two. In short, a group of people, many of whom would have nothing to do with each other here on earth due to prejudice, doctrinal bias, or social snobbery will all bow together at the feet of the Lord they have trusted for salvation and will be joined together with them, flesh to flesh and bone to bone to their Savior.
The awakening of the Bride and the end of denominations
There will be no Baptist seating area in the Kingdom. Nor will there be a German, French, or Chinese section, American flags, or any other special arrangements to pacify the prejudices and narrow-mindedness of sinful and carnal mortals (I Corinthians 3:3!) We will live there the way we have been called and commanded to live here, but with much better success! (To dwell with saints in Heaven above, oh it ‘twil be glory, but to dwell on earth with saints here below is quite another story!)
And so, as the day approaches there is a growing awareness among believers that such divisions are not to be permitted to keep true believers from coming together and fellowshipping. The Bride is rising up and stepping forth to take her place on the end-time stage. She is learning to simply step over the denominational, doctrinal and theological hedges, fences and walls that have kept her divided, dazed, and confused for nearly two millennia.
As a young woman entering puberty, she is growing increasingly self-conscious and aware of something stirring in her. She is beginning to look at herself in a new way, and seeks the fellowship and companionship of her peers. She is beginning to have a mind of her own, and it is focused on her Lover, her Prince Charming, her Friend (Song of Solomon 5:16). She is rapidly outgrowing the traditional Christian paradigm, which is a lot like religion. She will have none of religion. She is interested only in relationship. She is coming together. Born again believers all over the globe are beginning to see that they have an innate organic relationship, and all denominational, theological, and doctrinal matters are becoming increasingly irrelevant to them. They just want to be together to share their love for their Lord and their anticipation of His soon return to receive them and consummate the relationship at the Marriage of the Lamb.
Because they are comprised of both believers and unbelievers, denominations and other Christian religious institutions and organizations will continue to exist along side end time Believers as they begin to walk in the truth of the Bridal paradigm. As the Bride (consisting of true believers) begins to grow increasingly radical in her passion for her beloved, it is quite likely that the leaders of the denominations and other institutions (which — it cannot be emphasized enough — are irrelevant to the Bridal paradigm aside from the fact that some members of the Bride may still be found within them) may very likely raise up persecution against the Bride out of jealousy. This remains to be seen. Such would be an interesting fulfillment of Song of Solomon 5:7.
Regardless, movements such as the house church movement, which encourage relationship rather than ritual, transformation rather than theology, and love rather than liturgy, will continue to bring all true believers together as the Lord stirs in their heart and creates a new hunger within them which can only be satisfied by more of Him, which can only be experienced through His corporate Body, which is the true Church spoken of in the New Testament.
For more information about how this is happening, see the links under The Bride on the links page of this website.
How to Join…
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Bride of Christ, you need only:
1. Confess that you are sinner and that a righteous God would indeed be within the bounds of righteousness if He condemned your soul to eternal destruction in Hell or anywhere else for all of the times you have disobeyed not only some Holy law of God you didn’t know about, but your own conscience.
2. Ask God to save you for Jesus’ sake. Jesus was the Holy Son of God who came to the earth in the flesh and lived a sinless life. He never sinned, not even once. He was taken and PUNISHED by sinful men, and He accepted it willingly so that He would be able to intercede on your behalf and allow God to accept the punishment that was poured out on Him (who didn’t deserve it) as fulfillment of the punishment you deserve. There are many theological themes and terms to express this exchange. One of the most common is “justification.” It has been said that “justify” in the Biblical sense means God looks at me “just as if I” had never sinned. This is easy to remember and important to believe if you desire to walk “justified” before God, because we are “justified by faith.”
3. Believe in your heart that God is faithful and true to His word and that He has saved you for Jesus’ sake.
4. Confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ, the Risen Savior, is now your Lord and has complete ownership of your life. You are alive only because of Him and only for Him.
5. Now you can pray boldly to God in Jesus’ name and ask Him to give you the Holy Spirit without measure so that you can understand His Word, the Bible, know His will for your life, and hook you up with the Bride. To help you do that, see the links on the Links page, or find a Christian who is devoted more to the Lord Jesus Christ than to a denomination, creed, or doctrine and who is eagerly anticipating His return. God will bless your fellowship and begin to lead and direct you in ways you never imagined.
Congratulations! See you in the Kingdom!