Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word. ~~Ephesians 5:25b-26 NIV
Focusing on cleanse or cleansing as stated in the New International Version means “to make clean, to purge, to purify” according to the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
I’m taking a Bible study at my church called Restore My Heart by Denise Glenn. This study compares the traditional Jewish wedding to bride of Christ. Those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior are considered to be His bride. The more I understand the Hebrew culture, the more the Word of God comes alive. The symbolisms used from Hebrew culture lined up with scripture paints a beautiful portrait of what is to come. Something we can only imagine until the day Christ returns for His glorious church. While we’re waiting for Him, there is work to do.
For a Jewish bride to prepare for her wedding day, she enters a mikvah or a special bath. According to Glenn, it is a “ritual bath, ritual immersion in ‘living’ water, i.e. running water as opposed to stagnate water. Fundamentally, mikvah is not about ‘uncleanness’ but about human encounters with the power of the holy.”
The first step in this process is the bath where the bride will soak for a time. Then after bathing, the woman stands and cleans herself in a shower scrubbing every part of her body thoroughly. Finally after being thoroughly cleaned, the bride enters the mikvah, which is always in running water or “living water.” The immersion in living water symbolizes an immersion into life and not death. Most synagogues have small pools with moving water. However, a river is the most natural source of running water.
In the mikvah, the bride enters into the water, relaxes her body, and then immerses herself completely in the position of a fetus. Next she rises up from the water and recites a blessing. She repeats this process several times. This symbolizes the leaving of the old life behind and entering into a new life as a wife.
That’s the illustration I see now when I read the above scripture. Christ cleanses us thoroughly, deep cleaned and scrubbed down from the inside out. Then He washes us. The meaning for washing is “to take a bath like a baptism.” An immersion of the whole person, not just parts of the body.
Glenn wrote, “The baptism that Christ offers me is purification by complete immersion in His life and in His word.”
As we’re here waiting for His return, we experience the spiritual mikvah. We are being cleansed and washed in His Word anticipating His return for a glorious bride.
Engrafted by His Grace--