“Go and declare in the hearing of the people of Jerusalem: ‘This is what the Lord says: “I have fond memories of you, how devoted you were to me in your early years. I remember how you loved me like a new bride; you followed me through the wilderness, through a land that had never been planted.

[Jer 2:2 NET]

Salvation is a gift, the choicest and richest gift which the hands of a Triune God, whose name is Love, can bestow. It is a portion, an inheritance, an estate, a treasure, an eternal reality. The full possession, the entire enjoyment, the complete acquisition of this predestinated weight of glory, is indeed reserved until a future state; but the pledges, the firstfruits, the early ripe clusters, the first dew-drops of this eternal inheritance, are given to the elect while upon earth.

The everlasting enjoyment of the presence and glory of Christ is often compared in Scripture to a wedding. Thus we read (Rev. 19:7) of “the Lamb’s wife,” and of “the marriage of the Lamb.” So the Church is said to be “brought unto the King in clothing of needlework,” as the bride, in Eastern countries, was brought by the father to the bridegroom. But we read of “espousals” also, which always preceded the celebration of the marriage. “I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your espousals.” “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” So Joseph was “espoused to the virgin Mary, before they came together,” that is, before they became man and wife. Now this espousal was a necessary prelude to marriage, though it was not the same thing. And, therefore, a betrothed virgin was punished as an adulteress by the Levitical law, if she was unfaithful to her espoused husband. To be betrothed had the nature of marriage in it, though it was not the same thing as marriage. The parties did not live together, and were not put in possession of each other.

Thus, it is in this life that the spiritual betrothment takes place, and the spiritual marriage in the life to come. “I will betroth you unto me in righteousness and in judgment, and in loving-kindness and in mercies; I will even betroth you unto me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord” (Hosea 2:19, 20).

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