Vol. 8, No. 6
Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*
~ Page 16 ~
What is more beautiful than a wedding? The soft glow of candlelight, colorful flowers and romantic music are just the prelude to a lovely ceremony that joins a man and woman as husband and wife. What a fitting word picture God gives us when he describes Christ's church as a beautiful bride.
John gives us a glimpse of the vision that he saw in Revelation 21:2: "Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." We learn from Hebrew 12:22-23 that this holy city of Jerusalem is the "the general assembly and church of the firstborn." So, in what ways is the church like a beautiful bride?
First, the bride has to prepare herself for her husband. John also wrote in Revelation 19:7-8, "Let us be glad and rejoice and give him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints."
At a wedding, all eyes are on the bride as she gracefully marches down the aisle in her beautiful and carefully selected wedding gown. Can you imagine going to a formal wedding where the bride comes down the aisle in torn blue jeans and a sweatshirt? That would be totally unacceptable! Equally unacceptable in God's eyes is a member of his church who is not clothed with the spiritual garments that John calls "the righteous acts of the saints." Isaiah put it this way: "My soul shall be joyful in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments and as a bride adorns herself with jewels" (Isaiah 61:10). People are watching us, so we must show by our conduct and conversation that we are always ready to meet the Bridegroom.
Second, the bride is dearly loved by the bridegroom. Paul made the comparison of Christ and the church to a husband and wife in Ephesians 5:25: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it." In verse 33, Paul also gave a command to the wife to respect her husband. A wife who realizes she is truly loved by her husband will have no trouble respecting him and submitting to his authority. Since Christ loved us so much that he willingly suffered and died for our salvation, we as the bride of Christ should respond to such great love with gratitude and submission to Christ.
Third, the bride should be faithful to her husband. Many times in the Old Testament, God describes his people, the nation of Israel, as a wife who has committed adultery. The 16th chapter of Ezekiel gives some pretty graphic descriptions of Israel "playing the harlot" with other nations and other gods. In Jeremiah 2:32, God lamented, "Can a virgin forget her ornaments or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten Me days without number."
Adultery is the ultimate betrayal. How it must hurt God when we turn from him to engage in some worldly pleasure. As the bride of Christ, we must be faithful to him, not just on Sunday, but every day. Commitment to Christ is not a weekly talk, but a daily walk.
Last of all, the bride can anticipate a great wedding feast. An important part of any wedding is the reception. That's when everyone can enjoy the festivities and celebrate the union of the bride and groom. The Bible describes a great wedding feast in Revelation 19:9. "Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb." Jesus gave his invitation in Revelation 22:17: "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." What a wonderful wedding feast in heaven that will be, and it will last for all eternity. The good news is that we are all invited. It is a marriage made in heaven, and I'm sure the bride will be radiant!