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 earnests, the firstfruits, the early ripe clusters, the first dew-drops of this eternal inheritance, are given to the elect whilst 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 raiment 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 thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine 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 thee unto me in righteousness and in judgment, and in lovingkindness and in mercies; I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord" (Hosea 2:19, 20).