Ephesians 5:27 MEANING

Ephesians 5:27
(27) That he might present it to himself.--The original is more emphatic--that He might Himself present it to Himself. This presentation belonged usually to the "paranymph," or "friend of the bridegroom, to whom St. John Baptist compares himself in John 3:29 (where see Note); St. Paul himself assumes that office in 2 Corinthians 11:2, "I have espoused (or rather, betrothed) you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Here, however, all is of Christ. He, as Paranymph, comes down to seek and to save His Bride; He, as Bridegroom, receives her in His heavenly home.

A glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle . . .--Properly, (that He might present) the Church as glorious, not having a spot (i.e., a stain on its purity), or a wrinkle (i.e., a defect in its beauty and freshness of life); but that it may be holy (not merely consecrated to holiness) and without blemish (as He is without blemish). On these last words see Note on Ephesians 1:4. They are most commonly sacrificial, corresponding (see Colossians 1:22) to the sacrificial use of the word "present." Here, however, they are seen clearly to have reference to the nuptial metaphor by what goes before.

In all this we have a picture which properly belongs to the Church in glory, and which is fully drawn out under the same metaphor as Revelation 19:7-9; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9-10; for only in it can the description be fully realised. In capacity and promise it belongs to the whole Church militant; in reality, but in imperfection, to the Church invisible on earth; in absolute perfection to the Church triumphant in heaven.

Verse 27. - That he might present to himself the Church glorious. The ultimate end, to which ver. 26 is introductory. Christ both gives and takes the bride; he presents her to himself - the day of his espousals being in the state of glory (Revelation 21:2), and all the training of this life being designed to fit her for that condition. She becomes glorious at last through assimilation to himself (2 Corinthians 3:18; John 17:22). Not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. The idea is that of a body perfectly free from blemish, typical of a soul perfectly delivered from sin - of a character perfected in all grace and goodness. But that it should be holy and without blemish. The same truth expressed in positive form, which in the preceding clause is expressed in the negative. Nothing could more clearly denote perfection of character - the full development of the character with whatever of variety may arise from differences in natural gifts and constitution, or convey a more glorious idea of the destiny of redeemed humanity. To be, as it were, the bride of Christ is a high destiny in point of condition; but it would be miserable if character did not tally with condition; this agreement, however, is secured, for the Church is to be holy and without blemish.

5:22-33 The duty of wives is, submission to their husbands in the Lord, which includes honouring and obeying them, from a principle of love to them. The duty of husbands is to love their wives. The love of Christ to the church is an example, which is sincere, pure, and constant, notwithstanding her failures. Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify it in this world, and glorify it in the next, that he might bestow on all his members a principle of holiness, and deliver them from the guilt, the pollution, and the dominion of sin, by those influences of the Holy Spirit, of which baptismal water was the outward sign. The church and believers will not be without spot or wrinkle till they come to glory. But those only who are sanctified now, shall be glorified hereafter. The words of Adam, mentioned by the apostle, are spoken literally of marriage; but they have also a hidden sense in them, relating to the union between Christ and his church. It was a kind of type, as having resemblance. There will be failures and defects on both sides, in the present state of human nature, yet this does not alter the relation. All the duties of marriage are included in unity and love. And while we adore and rejoice in the condescending love of Christ, let husbands and wives learn hence their duties to each other. Thus the worst evils would be prevented, and many painful effects would be avoided.That he might present it to himself a glorious church,.... There is a presentation of the church by Christ to his Father at his death, when he gathered the elect together in one, brought them nigh, and reconciled them to God, and presented them to holy, unblamable, and unreproveable in his sight; and now in heaven, where he represents their persons, appears and makes intercession for them; and at the last day, when he will deliver the whole number of them complete and perfect, in consequence of his suretyship engagements: but this is a presentation of them to himself; and is either in this life, when they are brought to him in raiment of needlework, clothed with his righteousness, and washed in his blood, and he beholds them all fair, and without spot; or at the first resurrection, and during the thousand years' reign; as well as in the ultimate glory, when the open marriage of the Lamb will be come, when his bride will be arrayed with line linen, clean and white; and have the glory of God upon her, and appear in glory with Christ, and will be a glorious church indeed:

not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; the bodies of the saints will be like to Christ's glorious body, and will shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father; and in their souls they will be completely conformed to the image of Christ, and enjoy uninterrupted communion with him, and have perfect knowledge of him; they will be always in his presence, and he will take unspeakable delight and complacency in them, which his presentation of them to himself is expressive of; the church will then be free from all spots and blemishes; from all hypocrites and formal professors; and all heresies and heretics; from all declensions and infirmities, and from all sin and iniquity: the allusion seems to be to the customs and practices of the Jews, in their espousals: if a man espoused a woman on condition that she had no spots in her, and afterwards spots were found in her, she was not espoused; for spots or blemishes, as in priests, so in women, render them unfit; as the one for service, so the other for marriage; and they reckon up eight several spots or blemishes, for which they may be rejected (q): but Christ's church has no spots or blemishes, nor anything like them; and will never be rejected by him, but will be always pleasing in his sight:

but that it should be holy and without blemish; as it is, being justified by his righteousness, washed in his blood, and sanctified by his Spirit.

(q) Misn. Cetubot, c. 7. sect. 7, 8. Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.

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