Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure (1 John 3:2, 3).
Every bride will tell you that she didn’t just saunter down the aisle in her regular clothes. And worse, not her pajamas! Her long-awaited wedding day and subsequent marriage required much preparation: deciding to marry the person in question; engaging in premarital counseling; and selecting the bridal party, venue, menu, invitations, and other items.
An earthly wedding and marriage are potentially beautiful and are clearly not microwave experiences, but require detailed preparation. If this is true, what about preparing for eternity as the bride of Christ? The magnitude of eternity requires that we pause, reflect, and, most of all, get and stay ready.
It is often said, “There is no such thing as an ugly bride.” But is that true of the bride of Christ? Are we being diligent in our preparation to make ourselves beautiful for His return? Are blemishes of sin making us unsightly? Our marriage to Jesus suggests we are a new creation; old habits, lifestyles, and status have changed. In Christ Jesus all things have become new. Revelation 19:7-9 gives us advice and a sure promise:
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
As the bride of Christ, we have so much to prepare for, so much that awaits us!
The Alpha and Omega, who is true and faithful, has promised us that one day the New Jerusalem will come from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride who has made diligent preparation for her husband. Imagine the newness of all things and being enraptured by the holy God, whom our hearts have long waited for. Imagine the sublime existence when God himself, and not another, will wipe away all our tears. Goodbye to the separation of death, to sorrow, to crying, and to all versions of pain.
Most important, imagine the grandeur of the foursquare city of God, Holy Jerusalem, described in Revelation 21:10-26. The city will be splendid with the glory and light of God. John writes that her high wall has twelve foundations named after the twelve apostles and is adorned with all manner of precious stones. The city also has twelve gates, each a different pearl with an angel and the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The streets of the city are made from gold.
To top it off, there will be no temple in the New Jerusalem because God himself will be there, and the brightness of the Lord will render the sun and moon of no effect. This is an experience, existence, and place not to be missed. What a glorious time it will be when the redeemed who overcame will be with the Lord permanently, inheriting all things!
This glimpse of eternity should motivate us to be the new creations we are called to be in Christ Jesus, to prepare ourselves to be His bride. We have been issued a royal invitation like none other, described in the parable in Matthew 22:1-14.
In the story, guests reject two wedding invitations, issued by a king. They were told about the sumptuous provisions made for them: “Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage” (Matthew 22:4). In the end, those who rejected the invitation were deemed unworthy and were destroyed by the king’s army.
Committed to having guests at his son’s wedding, the king sent his servants to issue invitations to all in the byways and highways, and they accepted. Sadly, one person who came ignored the protocol of wearing an appropriate wedding garment and was put out of the wedding.
This parable bears stark resemblance to the royal invitation issued by Jesus to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb at the end of the age. Right now, as in the parallel parable in Luke 14:15-24, many people are making countless excuses, like business and family commitments (vv. 18-20). Do such excuses sound familiar?
If any one of us sees that our old creation lifestyle numbers us with the fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters, liars, and all other versions of unrighteousness who will have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 21:8), we must stop and make a radical change. Can we hear the knock of the Savior on our heart’s door to become His new creation? “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). What will our response be?
Let’s be reminded of Jesus’ words about complete commitment to Him (Luke 14:26-28). It takes great sacrifice and cost to follow Jesus as a new creation. But indescribable rich rewards await those who do.
Are we ready to meet our Beloved, or are we an ugly bride with sin-stained lifestyle? Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us and promises to return for us so we can be there with Him forever (John 14:2, 3). If we diligently prepare ourselves, we’ll be the spotless bride He’s coming for.