The Groom Rule
Ephesians 5:31-32 ESV
“Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church.”
The other rule that you need to adhere to is the Groom- Gown rule. God has chosen marriage as a picture to express the relationship between Christ and the Church. Marriage is a picture of the outworking of the gospel in heaven. Let us look at the character qualities of the bride and the groom as we consider your courtship journey. This picture is what I call the groom-gown rule.
To begin with, the groom is a representative of the Church’s groom, Christ Jesus. In the Jewish culture, the groom was the one that kept the people waiting, unlike our Kenyan culture, where the bride keeps people waiting for hours on end. When shall we see this day as a nation! The groom’s role was to make sure that the wedding happened when it needed to happen. He has the privilege of choosing the bride he would marry. He was the reason for the festivity. What do we learn from our coming groom, Jesus Christ? Three things:
1. The groom is like a cleansing agent
John 17:17-19 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (18) As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. (19) And for their sake, I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, (26) that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (27) so that he might present the Church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Christ prayed to the Father that He would sanctify them in the truth. Jesus is the word, and the word is the truth. Jesus is asking the Father to sanctify them (make them set apart and more like him) in him! For that reason, Jesus also consecrates himself for these disciples and many more who would believe in him, so that their sanctification may have both basis and expression. The husband’s role is to love and sacrifice himself for his wife as Jesus did for the Church. Jesus sanctifies and cleanses the Church with the washing of the water with the word. Why? So that the Church may be full of splendor, without wrinkle and blemish.
As a single man, planning for a wedding, there are things you need to uphold in that courtship or dating process. Your pursuit of a Christ-like existence should be more than your desire to please and make your girl happy. It is your pursuit of sanctification that will spur and stir your girl’s longings for sanctification. As the leader, you need to look forward to presenting her holy and blameless before the Lord, even if the wedding cancels due to death or conflict or whatever other reason. It is critical because the same things you upheld in the dating or courtship relationship are going to form the fiber that will hold your marriage and impact those who come behind us. Our masculine focus is to present the girls holy and blameless before the Lord. Our role as cleansing agents is to emulate, by the power of the Spirit of grace, the man Jesus Christ who loved his Church, and in his time here, he was without sin, though tempted in every way.
2. The groom is faithful as a good steward
John 17:4, 12, 26 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Jesus shows so much confidence in his final prayer to his Father. He says that he has accomplished the work given to him, in regards to establishing the Church. He says he has kept the disciples in the Father’s name and guarded them well. His faithfulness is not just past but present continuous- I made known to them, and I will continue to make known the love with which you have loved them. He never pursued his agenda; neither did he take advantage of the ones he was leading. They belonged to the Father as much as they belonged to him.
Are you a faithful man? God has given you this girl so that through the relationship, you can express the loyal character of your Savior. Jesus never acted unfaithfully before the Father on account of the disciples. Jesus remains faithful in our walk of faith to-date. Are you faithful with the girl God has brought your way? Can you say that you are a good steward of this gift given to you? Would it be found as valid, your claims of faithful stewardship, or are you wanting? If you guarded her the way Jesus defends us, then you would not be the first one to intrude her privacy and steal her purity and virginity. That is cheating and not taking care. Remember, it is not your property until it is rightfully approved by the Father above in Holy Matrimony. How are you expressing this kind of faithfulness brother? There are characters in us that will need to be cut off, to be the grooms Jesus is to the Church.
3. The groom’s ultimate desire is to have the bride accepted before the Father
Jude 1:24-25 ESV Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
I know you are not the Lord. But there is a way we can aspire to make it our responsibility for that wedding, to present our girls before the presence of God with great joy. Why joy? Because there is no fear where there is love. The work of the Holy Spirit within us is to lead us into sanctification, so then we are joyfully when the bride comes to take us home. So he works in us both to will and to act according to his good pleasure. To a certain extent, it is our role as gentlemen to keep the girls form stumbling on our account in our relationships. Let it be said of us by the Master of all that we walked down the aisle with confident joy because of the work we allowed the Lord to accomplish in our hearts.
Gentlemen, we have a responsibility, and that is not to the flesh but the Spirit. We need to have it together as we prepare for the big day in our lives. Observing the groom rule now means more confidence from the bride once she becomes a wife.