Manifold

There existed from eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all distinct persons in one God. In order to put on full display His manifold wisdom to all rulers and authorities in the heavenly places the Father devised a plan for a mystery, namely that the Church, made up of godly offspring which He sought for Himself (Mal. 2:15) would be united to the Son as His Bride.

Now God could have just spoken those offspring right into existence like He did everything else, but remember the purpose of this plan was to put on full display all the many aspects and multi-colored-ness (that is what manifold means) of His wisdom (Eph. 3:10). So to set the stage for this display, He made the earth, a tiny speck of a focal point within an unfathomably vast universe. It too, could have all existed at the snap of a finger but God took a week to carefully layer each element of the setting of this Grand Redemptive Drama. Every piece of creation would play a part in the story: water, darkness, light, a canopy of water reserved for a judgement to come, land and rocks and plants and trees, the sun, moon, and stars, fishes, birds, and beasts, all with speaking roles, proclaiming God’s wisdom (Gen.1, Prov. 8:22-31). 

But the main feature on this set would be a man and woman. Now remember, the Father was seeking godly offspring so He could have just made multitudes of them all at once, but instead He started with 2, two very distinct persons, with very distinct roles, that would be united in one flesh to become one person with one purpose: to bring glory to God by displaying His manifold wisdom. 

God would use the man to display His authority and the loving, sacrificial headship of the Son for the Bride to come, yet unbought. He would use the woman to display the mystery of the bride He was fashioning for His Son, something wholly unlike Himself in form but with the glorious characteristic of helper, just as described in the person of the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:18, John 15:26). Just as Christ’s Bride, the church, would submit to the Son, the woman would submit to her husband, the man (Eph. 5:22). God’s manifold wisdom on display.

This next part still stuns me. All the godly offspring God was seeking would come from those 2 people. The fact that God uses me, a woman, to create and nurture, eternal souls for His glory, is a marvel. Even more of a marvel is that God chose to become a man and be born of a woman, Himself. Why did He do that?

Because part of the plan to put His manifold wisdom on display included that first man and that first woman turning their backs on God’s perfect design and rebelling against Him. Thereafter, every person born would be born in sin, a spiritually dead soul, destined for eternal destruction (Rom. 5:12).

But God, being rich in mercy, and because of the great love He had for this Bride, came to earth to buy her back, to pay the price for her redemption, and to make a way by His own blood to make her holy and lovely again. So great was the sin of the Bride that the atonement required was the life of the Son Himself. But by grace God grants His chosen offspring the faith to believe that the sacrifice of His Son met that requirement fully and that His resurrection from the dead means God’s plan is not thwarted, there will be the Wedding Feast of the Lamb when all the hosts of heaven will finally see the fullness, the brightness, the many-colored-ness, of God’s wisdom on display (Eph. 2:1-10).

Revelation 19 describes this scene for us. All the hosts of heaven are rejoicing and giving God glory “for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.” It’s a big deal when the bride is already to come down that aisle. All the months of preparation for this moment fall into place. The next verse even describes what she is wearing. “It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” 

The bride’s garment is a gift from God. He had designed it before He even made the world. Every good work the church is adorned with was planned in ages past and made possible through the sacrifice of the Lamb. Then God even gifted the Bride with the Helper, His very own Holy Spirit to work in her both to will and to do the good works that now adorn her (Phil. 2:13). God’s manifold wisdom on display.

As a fallen woman, some of those good works seem a lot harder than others for me to put on. Submission is one of those, as is a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Pet. 3:4). This is just as God pronounced after the fall in Genesis 3, my natural inclination is bent to rule over my husband, but instead God is keeping him as head over me, even though he too is sinful and doesn’t do that perfectly. That’s why we both need the Helper. It is only through the Spirit’s working in us that what we display to the world can even resemble what will ultimately be on full display in heaven. And that is why God alone will get all the glory for the readiness of the Bride. He made her, loved her even when she turned her back on Him, laid down His life to ransom her, works in her to make her holy, and clothes her with His righteous deeds.

Today, marriage, even the concept of manhood and womanhood, is under cosmic attack. The easiest way to undermine God’s purposes for each is to cause us to forget them. Remember wives, marriage is not about you. Your happiness, personal feelings of fulfillment, or even doing whatever works, are not the main goal. There’s something infinitely greater at play in your union. To lose sight of that is to lose sight of the Gospel itself.

All glory be to God both now and forever!

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