In Ephesians 5 we see the church as the Bride of Christ. This aspect reveals that the church comes out of Christ, as Eve came out of Adam (Gen. 2:21-22). The church has the same life and nature as Christ and becomes one with Him to be His counterpart, as Eve became one flesh with Adam (Gen. 2:24). Eventually, as Eve went back to Adam and was presented to him, so the church will go back to Christ and be presented to Him as His Bride.
Eve typifies the church as Christ’s Bride. Eve was built with a rib taken out of Adam. After building this rib into a woman, God presented her to Adam. What came out of Adam went back to him and became one with him. In the same principle, the church comes out of Christ and will go back to Christ to be one with Him.
The aspect of the church as the Bride implies love. Marriage is a matter of love, and the life of a marriage depends on love. If a husband and wife do not love each other, it will be very difficult for them to remain together. No doubt, Adam and Eve loved each other. Because of this love, they became one. Today there is a mutual love between Christ and the church. Not only do we have Him as our life and as our person, but we also enjoy this mutual love. Christ desires to make known His love to the church, and the church responds by telling the Lord how much she loves Him. Whatever we do for the Lord we do joyfully and willingly out of love for Him. When you love someone, you are happy to serve him. You serve not out of necessity, but out of love. As the church, we must bear the testimony that we love the Lord. Whoever contacts us should receive an impression that we love the Lord and, out of our love for Him, serve Him willingly. This is the aspect of the church as Christ’s Bride.
In 2:19 Paul says, “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow-citizens of the saints and members of the household of God.” As members of the household of God, we are God’s family, even God’s house. Both the Jewish and Gentile believers are members of God’s house, which is a matter of life and enjoyment. All believers were born of God into His house to enjoy His riches.
If we have a genuine love for the Lord, we shall spontaneously be the church in the aspect of God’s family. So many worldly people today are either orphans or wanderers. They are homeless. We in the church life are members of God’s family. Therefore, we are at home. The church is our real family. We appreciate the natural family life created by God. But we can testify that this family life is not as sweet as the family life in the church. How pleasant is the church as God’s family! If you stay away from the church life for a period of time, you will realize how precious the church is in the aspect of God’s family. Oh, we in the church are God’s family!
The house of God leads to the kingdom of God, indicated by the term “fellow-citizens of the saints.” All the believers are citizens in God’s kingdom. His kingdom is a sphere for Him to exercise His authority. In 5:5 Paul says that “every fornicator or unclean person or person of unbridled greedy lust, who is an idolater, has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” This refers not only to the millennium, but also to the church life today. The believers have been regenerated into the kingdom of God (John 3:5) and are in the church life, living in the kingdom of God today (Rom. 14:17).
As we have pointed out, we are also God’s kingdom. In the church we all are under God’s government, God’s authority and rule. We are not lawless. On the contrary, we are governed spontaneously in a pleasant and loving way. Although there are elders in the churches, they do not exercise control over the saints. Rather, all the saints are willingly under God’s rule. This is the church as the kingdom of God. If all the people in this country lived like this, the enemy would be completely subdued.
In the church we are under divine government. Because of an inward ruling, we cannot cheat others or take advantage of them. This inner ruling is the reality of the kingdom. Today in the church Jesus Christ is King. He is the King on the throne within us and among us.
(Seven Aspects of the Church, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)