In the previous chapter we discussed the nature of the church, as well as the obligation to join and remain with her. We shall now speak of the communion true members of the church have with their Head Jesus Christ and each other, and also how they must exercise this.
The Relationship Between Christ and His Church
The Lord Jesus not only gives many and excellent benefits to His church, but He and His Church mutually belong to each other, are united with each other—and exercise communion with each other, all of which is wondrous beyond comparison. These three elements comprehend all true felicity.
All true believers are the property of Christ, and Christ is the property of all true believers. This is indicated by the possessive pronouns “mine” and “his,” which so frequently are employed in the Song of Solomon, as well as in many other texts. “My beloved is mine, and I am His” (Song 2:16); “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled” (Song 5:2).
This is first of all based and founded upon a gift. The Father has given them to the Son. “Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me” (John 17:6); “Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession” (Ps 2:8).
The Father has likewise given the Son to believers. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given” (Isa 9:6); “And gave Him to be the head over all things to the church” (Eph 1:22).
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Secondly, this is based and founded upon purchase, for Jesus obtained them at great expense. He purchased them with His blood; He has paid the price and they are thus His property in full conformity to the law. “For Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood” (Rev 5:9).
Thirdly, this is based and founded upon victory. Believers were once in the power of Satan, being in his snare and taken captive by him at his will. By His death, the Lord Jesus has conquered and bound the devil, delivering the elect from his power and translating them into His kingdom. “That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb 2:14-15); “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: but when a
stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils” (Luke 11:21-22).
Fourthly, this is based and founded on marriage. In a marriage covenant both parties become the property of each other by way of mutual surrender. This is also true of this relationship. “Yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest Mine” (Ezek 16:8). In Hos 2:19-20 reference is made to this marriage covenant. We read there, “And I shall betroth thee unto Me for ever.” This covenant can therefore never be broken, nor can the partakers of this covenant ever be separated from Him. “Yea, I shall betroth thee unto Me in righteousness.” It has the Father’s approbation and is His delight. As a consequence of Christ’s suffering and death they have been translated into a state wherein they can approach unto God, whose justice has truly been satisfied, and become His children in Christ. “And in judgment”; that is, to keep them as the apple of His eye and to take vengeance upon all who offend them. “And in lovingkindness, and in mercies.” This entire transaction is marked by love, friendliness, goodness, and beneficence. “I shall even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness”; that is, I shall do so in truth, faithfully, and with certainty, and thus never leave you nor forsake you. “And thou shalt know the Lord.” I shall enlighten the eyes of your understanding, I shall reveal Myself to you, and cause you to see and to taste all My beauty.