Were you one of the two billion people estimated to have watched the royal wedding in London, England, yesterday? Perhaps you know someone who was among the million people lining the parade routes. Three generations have been raised on Disney classic films featuring fairytale princesses, so it is no wonder that this event has attracted world-wide attention!
As I watched, I marvelled not only at the pageantry and excitement, but also at the beauty, poise, and radiance of the bride, dressed in such a simple but gorgeous gown.
I compared yesterday's exhilaration and drama with the magnificent wedding that will unfold at the end of time, when our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is united with His bride, the Church:
Revelation 19:7;21:2b – Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready … prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (NIV)
Ephesians 5:25-27,32 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church. (NIV)
I have always marvelled at this description of the Church as the bride of Christ, and how the reality of sin that has beset and still besets the Church clashes so horribly with the Scriptural portrayal: radiant, holy, and blameless, without stain, wrinkle, or blemish.
Such a description is possible only because of the forgiveness and righteousness of Christ, which we put on like a beautiful wedding garment in place of our filthy rags — when we receive the living Spirit of Christ. We need to heed the warning which the king in Christ's parable gave among the guests invited to attend his son's wedding:
Matthew 22:11-12 – But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. "Friend," he asked, "how did you get in here without wedding clothes?" The man was speechless. (NIV)
We dare not presume upon the forgiveness and righteousness of Christ, and go on our selfish, merry way, disregarding His expectations of Christ-like behaviour. When we put on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are also enabled to put on the garment of praise and clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. God's forgiveness is wonderful, but what changes do we need to be making in our lives? Our calling is to put on wedding clothes — radiant, holy, and blameless, without stain, wrinkle, or blemish.
Prayer: Lord, we thank You for visible, earthly reminders of that glorious Day when You will be united forever with Your bride, the Church. As members of Your Body, may we aim to live as You would have us live, clothed in the robe of Christ's righteousness, with lives that are radiant, holy, and blameless, without stain, wrinkle, or blemish. Amen.