When God created the first man, Adam, He did not want him to be alone. Adam's very being demanded a counterpart, someone who would be compatible to him. He needed a suitable helper, one who would satisfy his longing for companionship.1 He needed someone who would fit completely together with him and be his natural complement.
After Adam had named all of the cattle, the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, it was clear that no other creature was suitable for him. So God made a creature, woman, who would be comparable to him.2 She had qualities suited to Adam in every way. They were a matched set: her gifting, intelligence, and sensitivity complemented every aspect of Adam's personality. She was what he needed to be whole, to make up for all of his lacks. She knew that she was equal in value to him and this gave her worth, making her worthy of Adam. They deserved each other and the evidence of this was the unity they had together. There was no separation between them, no strife, or jealousy. They were completely one. Their oneness reflected the very nature of their Creator.3
Yet that oneness was short-lived. We all know the tragic story of the Fall and have experienced its devastating effects. Today men and women are divided from each other as never before. This division is dramatically weakening and undermining the very social fabric of our society.4 In this country single-parent families are becoming the norm. The statistics are staggering: families are decaying socially, economically and morally, frightening even the most positive thinkers of today's world. We can no longer find the image of God in the male-female relationship. So where can we turn to find it? Where is that oneness in human relationships that could show us how man and woman were created to be with each other?
It seems like we should be able to find some semblance of the image of God in the ranks of the church, since she is supposedly being prepared to be a bride for the Son of God. The apostle Paul refers to Him as the "last Adam."5 Just as He made the first Eve to be a bride for the first Adam, God intends to have a new Eve to be a corporate bride for His Son.
How are people formed into this bride of Christ? How are they made worthy of the Son of God? What makes them suitable or compatible to Him? Are they made worthy of Him based solely on the love He showed them by shedding His blood on the cross? If it is only based on His love (on what He did for us), then why is His love not able to heal the division in the church?
The strife, jealousy, selfishness, greed and immorality6 that go on within the church make Christianity undeserving of Him. They are not of comparable stature to Him. Divisions over doctrine, possessions, war, and homosexuality, not to mention the role of women in the church, disqualifies the entire Christian church from being a suitable helper for the Master.7
Yahshua the Messiah, the Son of God, is in complete unity with His Father in heaven. This oneness is the very nature of God.8 He cannot possibly dwell in division,9 so how can He possibly marry a divided bride? Why do you think He prayed that our love would be perfected in the same unity that He had with His Father?10 It is because He wants with all of His heart to have a suitable helper to rule and reign with Him forever! He knows that He will not be able to marry us if we are any other way.
We know the great love that He had for us. In turn, He desires that we would love like He loves.11 We are betrothed to Him, waiting for His return in order to be married to Him. A worthy bride is one who has a relationship with Him. Isn't this what we've always been taught, that we are to have a "personal relationship" with Him? Therefore, it cannot be cheap, nor can it be selfish, or on our terms. If it is, we are not be worthy of Him, for His love and His motive is completely pure towards us.
Our Master said we must do something if we are going to be worthy of being His bride.12 The first thing we must do is love Him with all our heart.13 But how can we love Him with all our heart without obeying Him? He said that unless we obey Him in what He has commanded us, we don't love Him.14 So how can we obey Him without doing something? Can you imagine a man marrying a woman if he is not sure that she loves him? It doesn't make any sense that He would entrust Himself to someone who does not love Him. How awful it would be if Yahshua, the Son of God, who gave up His life in order for us to have eternal life, was stuck with someone who didn't love Him with all her heart!
Our Master said, "Anyone who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me."15
He said this because He is not going to marry a bride who is not worthy of Him. If she loves anything more than Him, He will not marry her. Those who will not give up everything in order to have His love are not worthy of Him. He will not marry someone with whom He has no relationship.
Are we talking about works salvation? No! We all know that we could never do anything by our own efforts to get eternal life. It is by grace alone that our God saves us, and that through faith. Faith and grace are both gifts from Him. But once we are saved, we begin having a personal relationship with our Master Yahshua, our lover and our friend. We become immersed into His life — a life of love with our brothers and sisters. We no longer have to live for ourselves.16 This life of love and unity is what the world must see as a demonstration before the end can come.17 The world must see this bride being made ready. If not, the end will never come. He will stay in heaven until His bride is ready.18
The entire purpose of Christ's redemptive work on the cross was to remove the barrier of sin that separated God and man. Our Master died to save a bride, one who is loyal and faithful to Him, one who loves Him wholeheartedly with no resistance to Him, one who is entirely submissive to Him. How could it be that He would give His Spirit as a pledge of the inheritance of eternal life19 to one who loves someone else more than Him, one who will give more of their time and energy to husband or wife, son or daughter, house or farm, business or possessions?20 He cannot pledge Himself to a bride who does not want love like He wants love, that does not love like He loves, could He? Such a bride would be unworthy of Him, undeserving of Him. A relationship like that could not be a true marriage. He would be unequally yoked to His bride if she had a different standard than He did.
Who today sees our Master in this way? Who sees Him as worthy enough to give up everything in order to have Him? His worth must be revealed to a person in order for that person to love Him more than anything or anybody else. The reason people don't love Him in this way is because His glory or worth hasn't been revealed to them. They don't really see in their heart the value or weight of our Master's death on the cross. Anyone who sees the love that was expressed for him through our Master will not be able to do anything else but surrender everything in order to have His life and His love. He would want to be one with Him in the way the Master prayed in John 17:21-23. He would want to give up everything like the man who discovered a pearl of great price and when he found it, went out and sold everything he had to purchase that pearl.21
But our Master's love is only revealed to our heart22 through the gift of faith,23 and faith only comes from hearing the Word of God.24 The Word can only be heard from someone preaching it who has been sent.25 That one must have enough weight, enough glory to reveal our Master's glory through the preaching of the gospel. When the gospel is preached by a person26 who has denounced every hidden and shameful thing27 (who, like our Master, seeks only the glory of the One who sent him), then God is able to give faith to the hearer.28 This leads the hearer to repentance and repentance is what makes him compatible with Christ. Someone must bring him to repentance;29 he cannot get there by himself.
Faith gives people the ability to believe the gospel. Faith reveals the worth of the Son of God, and anyone who sees the Master's worth will obey the gospel.30
Those who obey the gospel are worthy of eternal life,31 which is a life of loving your brothers and sisters in the Body in the same way He loved us.32 In the Body our love is perfected as we live together in unity.33 That love proves that we are His disciples,34 that we are being made ready to marry Him.35
The greatest thing that can happen to a person is to love and be loved. We have to see by faith how He loved us so that we can respond by loving Him. This is the beginning of a relationship with Him. This is how we are reconciled to the Father — by falling in love with His Son, adoring Him, wanting His life. This is the response we should have when faith comes to us. This is not doctrine, it is life, and life is what He came to give us.36
When faith came to us, we received the power and the motivation to remove every hindrance and follow Him. We were able to love Him enough to give up everything in obedience to His commandments.37 That is why He could righteously come and live inside of us through His Holy Spirit.38 It is by the power of His Holy Spirit that we are being made ready to be His bride, His suitable helper.39 When we are compatible with Him in every way, He will come back, for He will have a bride who is of equal stature with Him. She will love like He loves.