That he might present it to himself - It was usual to bring the royal bride to the king in the most sumptuous apparel; and is there not here an allusion to Psalm 45:13, Psalm 45:14; : The king's daughter (Pharaoh's) is all glorious within, her clothing is of wrought gold; she shall be brought unto the king (Solomon) in raiment of needlework? This presentation here spoken of by the apostle will take place on the last day. See the note on 2 Corinthians 11:2.
A glorious Church - Every way splendid and honorable, because pure and holy.
Not having spot - Σπιλος· No blemish on the face; no spots upon the garment; the heart and life both holy.
Wrinkle - Ῥυτιδα· No mark of superannuation or decay. The word is commonly applied to wrinkles on the face, indicative of sickness or decrepitude.
Holy and without blemish - In every sense holy, pure, and perfect. Now it was for this purpose that Christ gave himself for the Church; and for this purpose he continues the different ordinances which he has appointed; and, particularly, the preaching of the word - the doctrine of reconciliation through faith in his blood. And it is in this life that all this purification is to take place; for none shall be presented at the day of judgment to him who has not here been sanctified, cleansed, washed, made glorious, having neither spot, wrinkle, blemish, nor any such thing. How vain is the pretension of multitudes to be members of the true Church while full of spots, wrinkles, blemishes, and Many such things; fondly supposing that their holiness is in their surety, because not in themselves! Reader, lay thy hand on thy conscience and say, Dost thou believe that this is St. Paul's meaning? See the notes on Ephesians 3:14, etc.
That he may present it to himself - In the last day, when he shall receive the church as his spouse to heaven; Revelation 21:9. Perhaps the word “prepare” would better express the sense here than “present” - that he may prepare it for himself as a holy church. Tyndale renders it, “to make it unto himself.”
A glorious church - A church full of honor, splendor, beauty. The idea of “shining,” or of being “bright,” would convey the sense here. Probably there is still here an allusion to a bride “adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2; compare Psalm 45:9-14); and the ideal is, that the church will be worthy of the love of the bridegroom, to whom it will then be presented.
Not having spot - Not having a stain, a defect, or any impurity - still retaining the allusion to a bride, and to the care taken to remove every blemish.
Or wrinkle - In the vigor and beauty of youth like a bride in whom there is no wrinkle of age.
Or any such thing - Nothing to deform, disfigure, or offend. To this beautiful illustration of the final glory of the church, the apostle was led by the mention of the relation of the husband and the wife. It shows:
(1) The tendency of the thoughts of Paul. He delighted to allow the associations in his mind, no matter what the subject was, to draw him along to the Redeemer.
(2) the passage here shows us what the church will yet be. There will be a period in its history when there shall not be any imperfection; when there shall be neither spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing. In heaven all will be pure. On earth we are preparing for that world of purity; and it cannot be denied that here there is much that is imperfect and impure. But in that future world, where the church shall be presented to Christ, clothed in the robes of salvation, there shall not be one unholy member; one deceiver or hypocrite; one covetous or avaricious man; one that shall pain the hearts of the friends of purity by an unholy life. And in all the million that shall be gathered there out of every land, and people, and tongue, and age, there shall be no envy, malice, backbiting, pride, vanity, worldliness; there shall be no annoying and vexing conflict in the heart with evil passions, “nor any such thing.” How different from the church as it now is; and how we should pant for that blessed world!
Religion Ensures Family Happiness—Family religion is a wonderful power. The conduct of the husband toward the wife and of the wife toward the husband may be such that it will make the home life a preparation for entrance to the family above.1 AH 94.1
Hearts that are filled with the love of Christ can never get very far apart. Religion is love, and a Christian home is one where love reigns and finds expression in words and acts of thoughtful kindness and gentle courtesy.2 AH 94.2Read in context »
Each Has Individual Responsibilities—The two who unite their interest in life will have distinct characteristics and individual responsibilities. Each one will have his or her work, but women are not to be valued by the amount of work they can do as are beasts of burden. The wife is to grace the family circle as a wife and companion to a wise husband. At every step she should inquire, “Is this the standard of true womanhood?” and, “How shall I make my influence Christlike in my home?” The husband should let his wife know that he appreciates her work.1 AH 114.1
The wife is to respect her husband. The husband is to love and cherish his wife; and as their marriage vow unites them as one, so their belief in Christ should make them one in Him. What can be more pleasing to God than to see those who enter into the marriage relation seek together to learn of Jesus and to become more and more imbued with His Spirit?2 AH 114.2Read in context »
Affection may be as clear as crystal and beauteous in its purity, yet it may be shallow because it has not been tested and tried. Make Christ first and last and best in everything. Constantly behold Him, and your love for Him will daily become deeper and stronger as it is submitted to the test of trial. And as your love for Him increases, your love for each other will grow deeper and stronger. “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. 7T 46.1
You now have duties to perform that before your marriage you did not have. “Put on therefore, ... kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering.” Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.” Give careful study to the following instruction: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.... Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” Colossians 3:12; Ephesians 5:2, 22-25. 7T 46.2
Marriage, a union for life, is a symbol of the union between Christ and His church. The spirit that Christ manifests toward the church is the spirit that husband and wife are to manifest toward each other. 7T 46.3Read in context »
Like every other one of God's good gifts entrusted to the keeping of humanity, marriage has been perverted by sin; but it is the purpose of the gospel to restore its purity and beauty. In both the Old and the New Testament the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people, the redeemed ones whom He has purchased at the cost of Calvary. “Fear not,” He says; “thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you.” Isaiah 54:4, 5; Jeremiah 3:14. In the “Song of Songs” we hear the bride's voice saying, “My Beloved is mine, and I am His.” And He who is to her “the chiefest among ten thousand,” speaks to His chosen one, “Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee.” Song of Solomon 2:16; 5:10; 4:7. MB 64.1
In later times Paul the apostle, writing to the Ephesian Christians, declares that the Lord has constituted the husband the head of the wife, to be her protector, the house-band, binding the members of the family together, even as Christ is the head of the church and the Saviour of the mystical body. Therefore he says, “As the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives.” Ephesians 5:24-28. MB 64.2
The grace of Christ, and this alone, can make this institution what God designed it should be—an agent for the blessing and uplifting of humanity. And thus the families of earth, in their unity and peace and love, may represent the family of heaven. MB 65.1Read in context »