Our recently engaged daughter spent last Saturday looking for a wedding dress. Such a search can be full of excitement and joy. However, as my wife has watched the TV show, “Say Yes to the Dress,” I’ve seen enough of it myself to know that the experience can be a frustrating ordeal at times as well.
Brides often take a few other family members or friends along to help them find a dress in which they will look beautiful on their special day. They appreciate and value the input of these trusted advisers, even though there can be varied opinions.
More than anything else, these brides are often most concerned about what the groom will like. A woman tends to want her husband-to-be to see her walking down the aisle on their wedding day thinking, “Wow! What a beautiful bride I have!”
The Bible pictures the church as being the Bride of Christ. Each of us who knows Jesus as our Savior is included in that imagery. It should be our desire to appear before Him in such a way that He will be pleased, seeing the purity and spiritual beauty of His bride.
Yet we know that in ourselves we fall short of that ideal. So what can we do?
The good news is Christ has taken it upon Himself to clothe us with His own righteousness. Through His sacrifice on the cross, He has made a way for us to become spiritually clean and beautiful.
The Apostle Paul describes it this way: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).
No matter how we may have dirtied up our lives from past sin, the grace of Jesus can forgive us and clean us up.
But this truth about the righteousness of Christ doesn’t absolve us of our responsibility concerning this matter. We aren’t to live just any old way, getting as filthy as we want, and trusting Christ to cover it all up.
The Bible teaches that we are to seek to be a holy, pure, and godly people. We are to seek to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27). And we’re not to make any provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts, but rather put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14).
Many believers show too little concern for actually trying to be the kind of bride our Groom wants us to be. We don’t think anything about it if we happen to indulge in some sin and get ourselves a little dirty.
But can you imagine a bride not caring if she spilled something on her dress, or if she had some big blemish pop up on her face before the wedding?
We should also keep in mind that the goal of Christ isn’t just to make us appear to be righteous, but to actually transform us into godly people. He wants to purify our hearts and empower us to have victory over temptation and sin. He wants to impart more of His pure character and qualities into our lives.
So let’s say “yes” to the clothing of Christ’s righteousness. Let’s say “yes” to keeping ourselves unspotted from the things of this world that would soil our souls. And let’s seek to be the spiritually beautiful bride our Savior calls us to be.
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.