To the elect of God throughout the world, the glorious Bride, hidden now in Christ but soon to appear with Him when He comes again in great glory, bringing salvation to those who have been waiting and preparing for His return. May you be strengthened and continue to grow in your inner man, as you abide in Him, knowing the infallibility of His purpose and plan for us, and that from now until that Day, nothing can separate us from Him.
There is much that I am eager to share from the Gospel according to the Bride, looking at scripture and the Gospel message through the lens of the bridal paradigm. Indeed, if we are to no longer be conformed to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed, then our minds must be renewed. They must be renewed by the Spirit of God, but if we believe that a primary role of the Holy Spirit is to enable to bride to get ready, then the mind to be renewed will develop a corporate mindset, because the Bride is corporate, and therefore we need a bridal consciousness.
The writer of Hebrews writes “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” Heb 6:1,2 The suggestion here is to go beyond the basic foundational doctrines so that we can mature. And that is what I want to do. To go beyond the elementary doctrine, not forsaking them or changing them in any way, for the foundation stones our faith must be upheld, guarded and understood at all costs. Remove the foundation and you remove the very tenets of our faith, let us not be among those who distort the Word of God. But instead I am saying to build upon them, as the writer says “to go on to maturity”. But before we leave the elementary it will serve us well to remind ourselves the foundations upon which we build. In this section of the Gospel according to the Bride, I am focussed particularly on Baptism. As Christ is so also we must be. As Jesus was baptised, so also the Bride must be baptised. But before we go deeper into this area of bridal baptism, let us be encouraged to revisit the very core of our salvation experience.
Following on from last time, I made a distinction between the unregenerate and regenerate mind, or between the old mind and the renewed mind. The unregenerate mind will fail to comprehend the deeper more profound mysteries of the Cross, that of the New Creation, and consider only how Jesus died alone upon the Cross, bearing their sin so that they might be forgiven, escape judgement and receive eternal life. One problem with this, as we saw, is that guilt is not transferable, and the old man remains condemned, because in reality Jesus didn’t die so that the adamic man could continue to live, but that the new man might be brought forth as a New Creation. Since guilt then is not transferrable the life of the old man and unregenerate mind is one of a continual guilty conscious and endless endeavour to find justification through works. But guilt is a merciless task master and relentless accuser that gives no rest. That is why we must come to the place in our spiritual journey and realisation that this is exactly why Jesus did die, so that we may put to death our old man because he who has died has been freed from sin. And by this process of dying there is “therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. Rom 8:1
Our old man, our adamic man, will die whether we are in Christ or not, the question is not whether we shall die but whether we shall live, for in Adam all died, and all shall die because of sin, but all those in Christ shall live because He lives. So how can we face death alone, separate from Christ and not die? Herein is the majestic beauty and unfathomable mercies of God’s grace and eternal wisdom. That before Creation (Rev 13:8 1 Pet 1:19,20), God had provided the means for which we might pass through the veil, from judgement to justification, and from condemnation to new life. Like the ark of Noah which saved all eight of his family and required that they be within the ark for their salvation, in the same way, the body of Christ has become to us the ark of God for our salvation. It is necessary therefore that we enter fully into Christ, and this is through the act of baptism. To be plunged into Christ, immersed into His glorious state. And if we have been baptised into Christ, then we have been baptised into His death. We were in Him therefore when He was crucified.
The regenerate mind, the renewed mind, understands it was not just Christ who died for them but that they died with him because they were in Him. His crucifixion was our crucifixion, his death was our death. Does that mean then that I was still punished for my sin? Absolutely not, his punishment was our punishment. Isaiah writes “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Isa 53:5. The scriptures clearly point out that upon Him was the punishment that brought us peace. Let us understand with certainty, that it was Christ alone who bore our sins, As Peter writes “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Pet 2:24, also in Hebrews it reads “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Heb 9:28. Let us also be clear that when we died with Christ, it was in answer to, and the passing of judgement in response to the written code, law and regulations in which we stood condemned and sentenced guilty. In that sense the law was carried out, judgement was passed, and the penalty of sin paid for. But is was Jesus our Bridegroom King, come to redeem His bride, who demonstrated His complete and immeasurable love for us, that whilst we were still sinners, He died for us. Rom 5:8 And one final scripture from Colossians. “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Col 2:12-15
This is what it means to be born again. That through baptism, the spiritual act of being immersed, fully covered over by Christ, we enter into His death and burial so that the old man of sin is crucified, fulfilling the righteous requirements of the law. But had we not been in Christ, then we would surely not be raised again into new life. But because we are in Christ, we are also raised with him, leaving the adamic nature and body of sin buried, and rising into new life we are now freed from sin, and walk in newness of life as born again children of God, as a New Creation.
Hopefully all that I have shared here is not new but a reminder and encouragement to us of our salvation experience and all that we are in Christ. Hopefully we have been enlightened over the elementary foundations of salvation and baptism as it applies to us individually. Herein lies our challenge, to go beyond a singular mindset, and not see the New Creation as singular, but as corporate, because the Bride is corporate, she is the New Creation, the One New Man. We must be renewed utterly and throughout, to be rid of all notions of independence and separatism. Individualism yes, but only as part of the greater corporate reality of the Bride. Salvation is not complete without the Bride, salvation is about the Bride, and for the Bride. Salvation may begin with us as individuals, but salvation ultimately is corporate and Bridal. So we must be saved corporately, and therefore be baptised corporately. Here’s an example of corporate salvation in the book of Acts. As the crowd responded to the Pentecost sermon: “What must we do to? And Peter said to them “Repent and be baptized every one of you” Acts 2:37,38. Notice the we in “what must we do?” This was corporate repentance, corporate salvation and corporate baptism.
We shall continue next time, until then, Maranatha