THE CHURCH IN GOD’S PLAN—WITHOUT SIN
When we read Ephesians 5:25, we find the same meaning. "Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her." In this passage we need to notice three points:
First, Christ gave Himself up for us because we are the church. Romans 5, which speaks of Christ dying for sinners, is in reference to redemption. Ephesians 5, however, does not deal with the problem of sinners but with the issue of the church. The context of Ephesians 5 is not that Christ came to die for us because we were sinners, but that He gave Himself up for us because we are the church.
Second, Christ gave Himself for us because He loves us, not because we have sinned. According to 1 Corinthians 15, Christ died for our sins, but Ephesians 5 says that Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. He gave Himself because of love, not because of our sin. To die for sin is one thing, but to die for love is entirely different. To die for sin deals with the problem of sin—this is redemption. But Christ’s giving Himself for us is a matter of love. Sin is not involved in Ephesians 5. This aspect of His death is related to love and has nothing to do with sin.
Third, Christ gave Himself for us in order to give Himself to us, without any question of our sins. This verse may be translated, "Christ also loved the church and gave Himself to the church." Adam imparted his bone to Eve; Christ has imparted Himself to us as well. We have Him within us because He died; He has already entered into us. Because He died, we now have His very life within us. He Himself has been imparted to us.
Let us consider this for a moment. Is this not wonderful? From God’s point of view, the church has never sinned and has never been related to sin. It is true that God knew that man fell and needed to be redeemed, but marvelously, along another line, He did not see sin at all. In other words, there is a portion in us which has no need of redemption. This is the portion which we have received from Christ. It does not need to be redeemed because it transcends sin. (We obtained this portion, of course, after we were redeemed.) This portion is the church.
The Scriptures reveal how God has used many women to typify the church. Genesis contains, in addition to the story of Eve, the story of Rebecca and Asenath. Rebecca’s marriage to Isaac typifies the church being offered to Christ. Asenath’s marriage to Joseph and her bearing sons in Egypt typifies the church being chosen out of the world unto God. Exodus speaks of Zipporah being married to Moses in the wilderness. This typifies the church in the wilderness. Joshua speaks of Achsah, who after being married, asked for the upper springs and the lower springs. This typifies the church receiving the inheritance. Ruth’s marriage to Boaz typifies the redemption of the church. Abigail’s marriage to David typifies the church enlisted as an army for warfare.
The Old Testament speaks of many women who typified the various aspects of the church; the church was chosen from the world, redeemed, taken through the wilderness, enlisted for warfare, given the inheritance, and offered to Christ. All of these types in the Scriptures refer to the church, but of them all, the type in Genesis 2 is unique. There is no other type similar to it because Eve portrays the church as it really is in God’s mind and the place it has in His eternal plan. All the other types occur after man’s fall; only the type of Eve precedes the fall. All the other types involve the matter of moral responsibility; this one alone is free of it.
The Eve that God made came out of Adam, not out of a redeemed sinner. She was made before sin occurred. In like manner, the church comes out of Christ; it is not a matter of sinners receiving grace and being saved. Eve came out of Adam and was wholly for Adam; even so, the church comes out of Christ and is wholly for Christ.
(The Glorious Church, Chapter 2, by Watchman Nee)