This week we are enjoying one of the most wonderful statuses of the church – the church as the counterpart of Christ, the bride of Christ; the work in the Lord’s recovery is His genuine work to prepare His bride.
A counterpart is one that closely resembles another; it is one that has the same functions and characteristics as another, and it is a complement, something that completes and makes up a whole to bring to perfection.
The church as the counterpart of Christ, the bride of Christ, has the same life and nature as Christ, the same functions and characteristics, and completes Christ, being His complement and counterpart.
In Gen. 2:18-25 we see a picture of how the bride of Christ comes into being; just as Eve was taken out of Adam and brought back to him to match Him, so in this age God is building a woman, the bride of Christ, to match Christ and be presented to Him as His counterpart.
In John 19:34 we see that the Lord’s side was opened on the cross, just as Adam’s side was opened in Gen. 2; out of the Lord’s pierced side immediately there came out blood and water, which is the cure for everything and the way to build up the church.
In Eph. 5:25-27 we see the great mystery, Christ and the church – Christ is the mystery of God, and the church is the mystery of Christ; together, Christ and the church are a great mystery.
Loving the Lord and being Washed by His Living Word to be the Counterpart of Christ
From Genesis to Revelation, the entire Bible is a divine romance; the Bible is a record of how God courts His chosen people and eventually marries them (see Gen. 2:21-24; S. S. 1:2-4; Isa, 54:5; 62:5; Jer. 2:2; 3:1, 14; 31:32; Ezek. 16:8; 23:5; Hosea 2:7, 19; Matt. 9:15; John 3:29; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25-32; Rev. 19:7; 21:2, 9-10; 22:17).
Where can you hear something like this, and what seminary teaches such a course? But this is what the Bible speaks of: a divine romance. We as believers in Christ need to have a habit of saying, Lord Jesus, I love You! We need to be fresh and romantic with the Lord.
Christ wants to be our first love, and we need to give Him the preeminence, the first place in everything; in our being, we need to enthrone Him as our King, Ruler, Master, God, and everything. We need to take Christ as our everything; He’s our first love, and we give Him the preeminence.
Out of our love for the Lord, the first love for Him, there will be the first works (Rev. 2:5, 7). When we love Him, we spontaneously do the first works – they just come out of us.
But if we don’t love the Lord, even as we do something for Him, we may not be at all happy we are required to do these things, and we may do them mournfully (see Mal. 3:14).
We always have to be on guard; if we are doing something for the Lord in the church life and there’s an, “Oh, no!” in us, we need to turn our heart to the Lord and not walk mournfully but walk in spirit with Him as our joy.
For us to be the counterpart of Christ in reality we need to love Him with our first love, and to love the Lord we need to have a personal, affectionate, private, and spiritual relationship with the Lord.
We need to tell the Lord, Lord Jesus draw me, we will run after You! The Lord draws us personally, and we love Him personally.
Then we tell Him, Lord, kiss me with the kisses of Your mouth! This is a very affectionate way to relate to Him, contacting Him in love. When we say, Lord Jesus, I love You! we actually allow Him to kiss us with the kisses of His mouth. It is hard for our heart not to be warmed up when we tell the Lord that we love Him.
We need to enter into our spirit, the chambers of the Lord where He dwells as the king, and spend time with Him in private; when we exercise our spirit and turn our heart to Him, we have a private and spiritual contact with Him.
Our Lord is our Maker, yet He’s also our Husband (see Isa. 54:4); He is our Bridegroom (Isa. 62:5), and He knows the love of our bridal days (Jer. 2:2), for He is a Husband to us (Jer. 3:14).
He betrothed us to Himself forever (Hosea 2:19), and through the ministry of the apostles we are betrothed to Christ, one Husband, to love Him with our first love (2 Cor. 11:2).
On one hand, for us to be the counterpart of Christ we need to love the Lord with the first love, and on the other, we need to be under the washing by His living word.
In Eph. 5:25-27 we see God’s desire, His purpose, and what is in His heart; the Christ who lives in us is the church-loving Christ, and when we touch Him, He loves the church and gives Himself up for her.
On the one hand He’s the Redeemer (He gave Himself up for the church), on the other, He’s the life-giving Spirit that sanctifies her, and finally, He’s the Bridegroom who presents the church to Himself glorious.
Christ is the life-giving Spirit, and He is embodied in the Word of God to be the washing of the water that cleanses us and washes us, preparing us to be the counterpart of Christ. Christ loves us, sanctifies us, and presents us to Himself as a bride without spot or blemish; our beauty as the bride is Christ Himself as our beauty.
When Christ is being wrought into us and expressed through us, we become a beautiful bride for Christ. How does this beautifying and sanctifying work take place? It is by the Lord’s speaking through His living and instant word that washes us.
The logos (written word of God) has to become the rhema (the Lord’s living, instant, personal word) to us. We need to daily read the Bible and the ministry, but we need to do this by praying over God’s word, so that God’s word may be converted into living word that washes us and sanctifies us.
It is the Lord’s living, personal, direct, present, and applied speaking to us that brings Christ’s elements into our being and eliminates our old and natural elements, to organically and metabolically transform us.
We need to tell the Lord, Lord, speak to me today! May there never be a day without the Lord’s personal speaking! May we have His speaking as His messengers, having His fresh message, and speaking God’s fresh word to the saints!
Lord Jesus, we love You! We want to maintain our romance with You by loving You with the first love. We give You the first place and we take You as our everything. Lord, have the preeminence in all things in our being and our living. We want to develop our personal, affectionate, private, and spiritual relationship with You, so that You may produce us as the counterpart of Christ. Speak to us today. Infuse us with Your element, with all that You are. Lord, may Your word be living to us, and may we have Your personal speaking every day. Make us the messengers in the churches who have the fresh, personal, direct, present, and applied speaking of God to us, so that we may be sanctified and beautified to be the counterpart of Christ, the bride of Christ!
Loving God and Spending Time with Him in His Word to be One with Him as His Spouse
When we as God’s people enter into a love relationship with God, we receive His life – just as Eve received the life of Adam (see Gen. 2:21-22).
It is this life, the divine life of God, that enables us to become one with God and makes Him one with us. This is the principle in God being related to His people both in the Old and the New Testament.
When God gave the law to His people, He didn’t want them to outwardly do their best to keep it, but He wanted to court them, woo them, and seek to win their affection. God gave us His word, the Bible, to win our affection, even to enter into an engagement covenant with us, His people, to betroth us to Himself.
The highest function of the law is to bring us, God’s chosen people, into oneness with Him – just as a wife is brought into oneness with her husband (see Gen. 2:24; Rev. 22:17).
The love between God and His people as seen in the Bible is primarily like the affectionate love between a man and a woman (see Jer. 2:2; 31:3); as we love the Lord and spend time with Him in His word to fellowship with Him, God infuses us with His element, and make us the same as He is to match Him as His spouse.
We need to not strive outwardly to keep God’s word as a law or commandments to us, but love the Lord as our Husband and thereby partake of His life and nature to become one with Him as His enlargement and expression, the counterpart of Christ.
Christ came as our Redeemer to give Himself up for us, the church (Eph. 5:25), so that He may redeem us and impart His life into us (John 19:34) – this is in the past, and it is a fact.
In the present, Christ is the life-giving Spirit to sanctify the church through separating us, saturating us, transforming us, growing in us, and building us up, to make us the counterpart of Christ.
In the future, Christ as the Bridegroom will present the church to Himself as His counterpart for His satisfaction.
We need to spend much time with the Lord in His word, being infused with His element to match Him and be His counterpart.
As we as God’s people love Him and spend time to fellowship with Him in His word, receiving His instant and personal speaking, God infuses us with His divine element, and He makes us fully one with Him to be His spouse, the same as He is in life, nature, and expression (Psa. 119:140, 15-16; Eph. 5:25-27).
We need to take God’s word, muse on it, speak to the Lord and to ourselves with the word, and taste and enjoy the Lord through careful considering His word; when we do this, we will breathe in the Lord, His element is infused into us, and we are sanctified and perfected to be the counterpart of Christ.
Lord Jesus, thank You for bringing us into a love relationship with You by means of Your life which is in us. May Your life in us transform us and build us up to make us Your counterpart, Your bride, Your spouse. Lord, we love you. We want to maintain our romance with You, being crazy lovers of Jesus. Keep us fellowshipping with You in Your word so that we may be infused with Your element and be made one with You as Your spouse, being made the same as You are in life, nature, and expression!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ed Marks for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Genesis, msg. 17 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Recovery of the Church (2017 fall ITERO), week 9, The Status of the Church – the Counterpart of Christ.
- Hymns on this topic:
# The Bible is a romance / In the most holy sense: / God and His chosen people / In love it so presents. / This Universal Couple / Throughout it is displayed; / God in Christ is the Bridegroom, / His saints, the Bride, portrayed. (Song on, The Bible is a romance)
# In a time beyond time, / In an age beyond the ages, / God and man will be one for eternity. / Hallelujah, what a story! / She was brought from gloom to glory! / And the longing from the start / For a bride, a counterpart / Is fulfilled inside the happy heart of God. (Song on, The Heart of God)
# The water in the word, the water in the word, / Washing by the water, the water in the word, / That He might sanctify her, cleansing her, / Cleansing by the washing of the water in the word. (Song on, The water in the word)
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