We had been married less than a month but were serious about succeeding so we went to away to a weekend seminar. We lodged in the basement of some friends, on the floor, in sleeping bags.
In the middle of the night I began to stir. I was laying on my back at the time. So, I opened my eyes, and was startled to find my new bride’s face a ½ inch away from mine – nose to nose.
I jumped up with my heart hammering away. I asked, “What in the world are you doing?” She said “I was afraid that you died, and I was checking to see if you were still breathing.
I guess she didn’t want to lose a good thing! And marriage is a good thing. It provides mutual blessing for a couple, and a wondrous pathway towards understanding God.
Did you know that Jesus presented Himself as a bridegroom multiple times in the Scripture? (Matthew 9:14-17, 22:1-14; 25:1-12; John 3:29)
The collective church is even referred to as His bride and our future with Him in heaven is described as a marriage. For instance, “Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” – Revelation 19:7
Thinking of our relationship with the Lord in this way has helped me work through some difficult theological issues such as, “What does it mean to receive Christ as Savior?”
John 1:12 says, “But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children.” These two words “believe” and “receive” tell us how to become God’s child. They are synonymous and yet distinctly different.
To believe in His name is to accept as fact that Jesus is the divine Son of God who ably bore the penalty on the cross for our sin, and then rose again.
OK but what does it mean, “to receive Him?” It seems like it should read, “to receive the gift He offered” but it is focused on receiving “Him” instead.
Let’s process that question through a proposal grid.
When I decided to invite Sharie to be my wife. I took her on an outing to a local park. She thought me weird because I was wearing a big overcoat on a warm spring day. This was to conceal the box that held a beautiful engagement ring – the most expensive gift I had ever purchased.
I was excited and had every intention of giving it to her that day. I did not expect her to pay me for it or make a pledge to never hurt me in the future, or to commit herself to at least 30 years of marriage to merit it.
But I did have expectations. I hoped she would say, “Yes I will marry you!” And in that yes, would be an implied commitment to be with me, and to dwell with me and to do life together. Basically, I wanted her to receive me – to accept and embrace and commit herself to me.
But what if I should offer the ring, only for her to say, “Thanks! I’ll take the ring but forget about a mushy commitment. See ya!”
Fortunately, she wanted my ring and the me that went along with it!
I think of Jesus’ invitation in a similar way. When it comes to salvation, He doesn’t expect us to merit it or to earn it or to qualify through a commitment to be perfect. He knows how feeble we are.
But He does expect to hear us say, “Yes, Jesus I will be yours. I will go with you and dwell with you and be with you.” In other words, “I want the ring and I am committing myself to the mushy relationship that goes with it.”
There most certainly is a commitment involved – not to an ideal, or a moral code or an organized religious body but to the marvelous person of Jesus.
So, think of Jesus as being on one knee before you, cradling in his hands a jewelry box containing the gift of heaven, while on His lips are the words, “Will you receive Me?”
So – will you?
A PRAYER: Lord I long for more than dry religion. Give me a relationship with You.
Scripture references are from the NET Bible®