‘Husbands, love your wives even as Christ…loved the Church, and gave Himself for it. So that He might sanctify and cleanse it…; so that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church not having spot or wrinkle!’ Ephesians 5:25-27.
Calvin comments: “From husbands…, is required love…. This should be no ordinary love…. Let husbands imitate Christ in this respect, that He did not hesitate to die for the Church!…
“‘(So) that He might sanctify (the Church)’…to Himself…. This is accomplished by the forgiveness of sins and the regeneration of the Spirit….
“Christ so adorns the Church His bride with holiness, as a pledge of His goodwill…. Christ has reconciled to Himself the Church, so that it may be holy and without blame….
“Paul implies that the Church ought to be holy…. For he says ‘that He might present it to Himself’ — not ‘that He might show it to others’….
“Paul does not state what has been done, but for what purpose Christ has cleansed the Church…. Yet he does not deny that the holiness of the Church is begun already. But they do ill to establish perfection, where there is a daily progress!”
Calvin also says in his Institutes III:3:11 & IV:1:10,17 & 8:12 : “It is said God purifies His Church, so as to be ‘holy and without blemish’ (Ephesians 5:26-27)…. He promises this cleansing…, and performs it in His elect…. In regenerating His people, God indeed accomplishes this much for them. He destroys the dominion of sin by supplying the agency of the Spirit, Who enables them to come off victorious from the contest….
“No mean praise is conferred on the Church, when she is said to have been chosen and set apart by Christ as His spouse — ‘not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing’ (Ephesians 5:27)…. Christ ‘loved the Church, and gave Himself for it — so that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word; so that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church’…. Ephesians 5:25-27. Nevertheless, it is true that the Lord is daily smoothing its wrinkles and wiping away its spots…. Its holiness, is not yet perfect. Such, then, is the holiness of the Church. It makes daily progress, but is not yet perfect. It daily advances, but as yet has not reached the goal….
“The Church is not left destitute in any part, but always has as much as is sufficient…. To keep her in humility and pious modesty, He bestows no more on her than He knows to be expedient…. Christ daily performs in it…. For if He daily sanctifies all His people — purifies, refines them and wipes away their stains — it is certain that they have still some spots and wrinkles and that their sanctification is in some measure defective.”
Nevertheless, Christ loved the Church — and gave Himself for her! And for you?