The Bare Soul
March 4, 2012
Revelation 19:7 - Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.
A wedding day is a marvelous event. We have all been dazzled by the beauty of a bride on her special day. There is a glow and a warmth as the soon to be married is flush with beauty and adorned in her best to receive her bridegroom. The expectancy of her entrance is often announced by the familiar tune of Mendelssohn's Wedding March. When we all stand at a traditional wedding when this song begins, we are expecting the appearance of a bride in all her glorious beauty. Often, the father of the bride is proudly escorting his daughter down the aisle in a lavish setting. How tragic would it be if all the guests turned to see the bride without an escort, appearing in a t-shirt with dirty blue jean shorts and flip-flops! The stark contrast between her and the rich setting of the event is not lost on the observers. While those drawn together to witness these nuptials are in their very best, the bride has chosen to appear otherwise. Furthermore, the absence of her fatherly escort is painfully clear to the guests. Her attitude comes through clear and strong as she saunters up the aisle to join her groom: It's not what I look like on the outside. If he really loves me, then he won't care how I'm dressed!
While this may seem like an exaggeration regarding how a bride would show up to her own wedding, it is a suitable analogy for the attitude of much of the present day bride of Christ toward her future Husband. Our lead verse tells us about a bride who has made herself ready for the Lamb of God---or more clearly--Christ the Bridegroom. We are reminded over and over in Scripture that Jesus Christ redeemed us by His blood to purchase for Himself a people who would be holy (Revelation 5:9). However, to look at much of the church today, one would wonder if they have received this message---or if the church even cares! We continue to see concerning trends of compromise toward sin in the 21st century Western church. The post-modernist viewpoint has changed the Christian landscape remarkably in the past 50 years. Many of today's youth in denominational as well as non-denominational bible churches see no problem with homosexuality as a "life choice." Even more frightening, is how this is being reflected in our state legislatures regarding the attitude of homosexual marriage. At the time of this writing, seven states plus the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage. Beloved, the devil mocks the church because we have allowed the spirit of this Babylonian age to take our society into captivity. How Satan must laugh when God's holy plan of marriage between a man and a woman is mocked continuously by evil! What was once a holy institution has become a defiled, base form of idolatrous hedonism as our society embraces homosexual unions. However, this is only an outward manifestation of a much deeper problem.
The perversity of these unholy unions are only one expression of the infidelity within the hearts of all men. Not only does the world join themselves in unrighteous relationships, but the church is increasingly turning a blind eye to sin and embracing similar associations. The reason is simple---sin within the church has reduced God's absolute standard to one of relativity. No longer does the bride of Christ call out sin within its congregations as it once did. How is it we suppose we will not be influenced to believe like the world when we are acting like the world? So-called Christians carousing with friends, drinking and drugging is not righteous living, beloved. Neither is spending a Saturday night at the casinos living like Christ. Or, how about sitting in front of a television set every night watching the filth coming out of Hollywood? Is this not loving the world rather than the Savior? It is no wonder the Millennium Kids and GenX'ers believe in relativity and an "anything goes" attitude. They have seen it modeled for years!
In many ways, the church is like that careless bride who expects Jesus to accept us "just as I am." However, many will say to Him on that day "Lord" and He will say I never knew you (Matthew 7:21-23). He is returning for a bride that is spotless, beloved. Not just through His work in justifying us through His blood, but through our obedience. Only then can he sanctify us for His purposes. If we recall the words of Peter, he likewise tells us to prepare ourselves for Christ's great appearing. He states: "Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless" (II Peter 3:14). A cavalier attitude like the careless bride in the previous analogy may very well mean that the Holy Spirit has forsaken us as our escort to Jesus. Furthermore, we may find Christ is not waiting for us at the altar as we might have hoped.
Is the church, Jesus' bride, ready for the marriage of the Lamb? Our opening verse states it has nothing to do with our righteous standing by justification before the Lord. However, it does state we have the responsibility to have "made herself ready." This means holy living, beloved. This means obedience and consecration so we might be sanctified by His power. Is the bride ready for her wedding day? Are we "rapture ready" to meet the bridegroom? Thank God He has not come in our present state! Jesus desires a bride who has made herself ready for Him by perfecting holiness and sanctification. For without these things, no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). May we, the church, get busy removing the idols from our hearts and tearing down everything that would set itself up against the King of Kings. Then, beloved, He will come for a spotless, consecrated, sanctified bride.
Heavenly Father, May we not shun the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. May we surrender ourselves in humility, understanding Christ desires a faithful bride that is not marked by this world. Even as unholy marriages mock Your perfect order, so also the church mocks Your command to make ourselves ready by loving the world. May we allow the Holy Spirit to escort us through this life through our obedience to present us to our Bridegroom who longs for us with purity of intention. May we come to the altar and die to ourselves that we might be made alive to Christ. May we give ourselves in thought and action toward that blessed day. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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