By J.B. Patton
When God’s people walked in His commands, doing what He told them to do, He spoke of them as a virtuous woman; but when they refused to obey His commands and would not walk with Him, He spoke of them as harlots. In Hosea 2:2,3, Israel is represented as a corrupt woman.
In Romans 7, we read the discussion of the question as to how the Jews could be married to Christ under His law. They (the Jews) reasoned that it was contrary to their teaching to be married to more than one husband at a time. But, Paul takes up this position and explains beyond a doubt that the old law to which they had been married was dead, and as the death of the husband gave the woman the right to marry again, so this would give them the right to marry the One who was raised from the dead.
Wherefore my brethren, ye also have become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead that we should bring forth fruit unto God (Rom. 7:4).
Christians are married to Christ and as a wife is subject to her husband, so Christians must be to Christ (Eph. 5:22-24). When we are buried in the waters of baptism, we have gone through the ceremony that marries us to Christ. To be in Christ is to be in the body of Christ. Inasmuch as the body is the church, when we are in Christ we are in His body which is His Church. We want you to remember that baptism brings us into Christ (Gal. 3:27). It brings us into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12,13); and the body is the Church (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22,23).
When a woman is married to a man and they become bride and groom, she becomes subject to him and will show that by carrying out her duty as a wife. One of the ways she does this is by wearing her husband’s name. She does not wear the name of a friend of the groom. It would not be right for a bride to wear any other name but the name of her husband. Can those who are married to Christ wear another name, and yet be faithful to their husband?
Will Christ, as a Bridegroom, ask His wife to submit to Him in false teaching since He is not a false teacher and everything He says is based upon the truth? The wife (the bride – church) is to submit to Him in what He (Christ) teaches. Christ has left instructions for the Church to carry out, and His Bride must do what He says in order to be faithful. If the church does not carry out Christ’s instructions, she has committed spiritual adultery. If Christ wants His Bride to be a praying, studying and worshiping church, she must be that to remain faithful. If Christ has given instructions on the Lord’s Supper, music, contribution, organization, and terms to be saved, then the church should love Him enough to obey those instructions.
Many claim to be faithful wives to Jesus Christ; however, the true test is in the lives and teaching of the claimants. It takes more than “lip service”, or going through a form of doctrine, to really be a dedicated member of the body of Christ (church). The church must abide in the doctrine of Christ only; in order to make certain of this, Christians are encouraged to “believe not every spirit but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 12, p. 373
June 21, 1984