John Angell James – As Christ Loved the Church

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. Ephesians 5:25

Observe the sublime and transcendently interesting1 fact that stands amidst the duties of domestic life, as stated by the apostle in the language quoted above, like the sun in the center of the planets — illuminating, impelling, and uniting them all. Every part of this most comprehensive and beautiful passage is inimitably striking. The design of the whole is to magnify Christ’s love to the church; [regarding] this, the moral condition of the church, previous to the transforming work of redeeming grace, is supposed to be that of loathsome impurity; yet, notwithstanding this, He exercises the most tender compassion for her welfare and is not repelled by excessive defilement.

To effect her redemption, [Jesus] does not merely employ the operations of His power and of His wisdom, but surrendered Himself into the hands of divine justice that, as a sacrifice of atonement, He might ransom the object of His regard at the price of His blood. [In this, He manifested] an affection stronger than death, and “which many waters cannot quench” (Song of Solomon 8:7). The ultimate design of this act of mysterious humiliation is to render her in some measure worthy of His regard and fit for that indissoluble union with Himself into which, as His illustrious bride, she was about to be received.

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