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The Divine Romance—Revealing the Deeper Significance of the Book of Romans

In my most recent post, I concluded by introducing the consideration of how we may become the precious materials for the building of the New Jerusalem today.  That is, we may become this miraculous structure of treasure by daily partaking of God the Father’s divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4), daily enjoying God the Son’s life-secreting (1 Cor. 15:45; John 6:63), and daily experiencing God the Spirit’s transforming work (2 Cor. 3:18; 4:16).

In this post I’ll present the thought that the preparation of Christ’s bride, consummating in the New Jerusalem is taking place today through all the steps of God’s complete salvation revealed in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Hence, Romans fully unveils the process God is taking in man to prepare His eternal bride (Rev. 21:2). To grasp this divine thought, we need to step back and see where Romans fits, in light of the entire Bible.

God’s Heart’s Desire to Gain a Counterpart Revealed in the Holy Scriptures

To grasp the significance of a book, it often helps to survey the book, giving particular attention to its beginning and ending in order to grasp its purpose. This principle can be applied to the Bible, for by surveying its first two chapters, Genesis 1–2 and its last two chapters, Revelation 21–22 we can see what God is seeking.

Genesis 1 and 2

Genesis 1 reveals God’s purpose in His creation which is to gain a group of people with His image to express Him and with His dominion to represent Him (v. 26):

Gen. 1:26 And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of heaven and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

Genesis 2 then shows us God’s procedure to fulfill His purpose resulting in a marriage, that is, God’s gaining a couple, portraying, in type, God’s deep longing to be married, to have a counterpart to match Him for His satisfaction in love (v. 18).

Gen. 2:18 And Jehovah God said, It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper as his counterpart. 21 And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 And Jehovah God built the rib, which He had taken from the man, into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 And the man said, This time this is bone of my bones / And flesh of my flesh; / This one shall be called Woman / Because out of Man this one was taken.

Revelation 21–22

Revelation 21–22, as the conclusion of the divine revelation, mirrors Genesis 1–2. It shows, not the creation of a single couple, but the marriage of a universal couple—the Lamb, the Husband (Rev. 21:2, 9) and the New Jerusalem, His bride (v. 2).

Rev. 21:2 And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 9 And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. 10 And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

The Progression of this Divine Romance throughout the Scriptures

Between these two ends of the Bible, this divine romance is progressively unfolded.

The Divine Romance in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament, this divine romance is repeatedly mentioned (Isa. 54:5; 62:5; Jer. 2:2; 3:1, 14; 31:32; Ezek. 16:8; 23:5; Hosea 2:7, 19). It is most vividly portrayed in the poetic book, Song of Songs, where the great King Solomon (typifying Christ) comes as a country man to court his lover, a country girl. Through their progressive relationship, the country girl is transformed into the Shulammite (feminine form of Solomon), as his duplication, to match him for their marriage (S.S. 1:1-4; 6:13).

The Divine Romance in the New Testament

This divine romance is also repeatedly mentioned in the New Testament. In the Gospels, Christ, as the Bridegroom, came (Matt. 9:15), putting on lowly humanity to court His bride (John 3:29). In His love, He willingly died, shedding His sinless blood to redeem, to purchase the church (Acts 20:28; Rev. 5:9), and through death, released His concealed, divine life to produce the church (Eph. 5:25; John 19:34; cf. Gen. 2:21-23) as His bride. In the Epistles, Christ, in His resurrection, as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45), is sanctifying the church, beautifying her by the continual washing of water in His word (Eph. 5:26). Finally, in Revelation, Christ, at His second coming, will present the church to Himself, a glorious bride for their wedding day (v. 27; Rev. 19:7). Then Christ, with all God’s redeemed people, as His wife, will live an eternal marriage life in the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth for eternity (vv. 21:2, 9-10; 22:17).

Considering Romans in Light of this Divine Romance

You might ask, “How can Christ, who is holy and divine, marry ones, such as us, who are fallen and human? What are the steps Christ needs to take to make us the same as He is in His life and nature, to be a fitting wife to match Him? And how can the individual Christ reproduce Himself in such a way as to gain a corporate counterpart? The answer to all of these questions can be found in the book of Romans.

The subject of Romans is “the gospel of God—to make sinners sons of God to constitute the Body of Christ, which is expressed as the local churches.” Considering this subject in light of the divine romance in the holy Scriptures, one cannot help but be filled with the utmost appreciation, for how the only wise God (Rom. 16:27) is taking Satan-corrupted, sinful people, like ourselves, and making them the bride of Christ to marry His Son. He is progressively bringing fallen, sinful human beings (3:23), through the steps of His complete salvation (5:10) to constitute them the Body of Christ (12:4-5), expressed in local churches (16:1). Through such a process today, God will fulfill His eternal purpose and Christ will gain His bride. It is only by experiencing the detailed steps of complete salvation that Christ can say of us, “This time this is bone of my bone / And flesh of my flesh; / This one shall be called Woman / Because out of Man this one was taken” (Gen. 2:23).

A Summary

The deep thought of the Bible, unveils the divine romance, God’s heart’s desire from eternity to gain a loving counterpart to match Him for His eternal satisfaction and expression. In eternity, God made a purpose to create man in His image (Gen. 1:26), as the proper vessel (2:7) to receive His divine life (v. 9) in order to become the same as God in His life and nature as His counterpart (vv.20-23). To carry out His purpose, to gain such a God-created, yet Satan-corrupted man (Gen. 3), requires the eight sections of the book of Romans as the procedure in God’s complete salvation to reach the goal of this divine romance. In the introduction to this book Paul presents the incarnated, crucified and resurrected Son of God, the perfect God-man, as the prototype for God’s many sons (Rom. 1:3-4; 8:29). Then God goes about to take fallen, condemned sinners (3:23), justify them (v. 24), sanctify them (6:22), and glorify them (8:30). He transforms them in practicing the Body life (12:1-5) expressed practically as local churches today (16:1, 4-5, 16). This is the procedure by which He will gain His built up people as His corporate counterpart, filled with His life, issuing in the praise to the only wise God (v. 27).

May we progressively enter into every step of such a complete salvation that it may ultimately be said concerning us,

“Let us rejoice and exult and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Rev. 19:7)

As a word of acknowledgement and recommendation, I can say that my understanding of the divine romance in relation to the Book of Romans came from the Life-study of Romans, Message One by Witness Lee, available on-line at www.ministrybooks.org. His footnotes in the Holy Bible, Recovery Version, particularly Exodus 20:6, note 2 and Song of Songs 1:1, note 1 and the related Life-Studies on these books have also been a great help to me.

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

3 Replies

  1. I am interested you have identified the theme of the divine marriage. You might be interested in http://www.romansthedivinemarriage.com

    best wishes

    TSH

    1. Tom,

      Thank you for your reply and referral.

      To my knowledge, most Christians consider Romans as a basic book on the Christian life and church practice. I am not aware many who appreciate Romans as a book revealing God way to fulfill His eternal plan to gain the bride for the Lamb (Rev. 21:9). Since the wife of Adam, who typifies Christ (Rom. 5:14), had to be bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh (Gen. 2:23), it is clear that Christ could only marry a bride that is the same as He is in life and nature (but, not in the Godhead). This deeper thought, makes me appreciate how Romans takes sinners (3:23) under God’s condemnation (1:18-3:20) and through the steps of God’s complete salvation makes them the many brothers of the Firstborn, who are conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). This makes redemption, justification (3:24), salvation in Christ’s life (5:10), sanctification (6:19, 22), transformation (12:2), conformation (8:29) and glorification (v. 30) more precious to me.

      By cooperating with the indwelling Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9-10) and by participating in the proper Body life (12:1-16:27) we can be in the practical process of preparing for our eternal marriage to Christ. What a salvation! Praise the Lord for the book of Romans!

      Best regards

      TMS

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