The New Testament presents the church as the bride of Christ composed of regenerated sinners who have been eternally forgiven. Those of us who compose this bride are not only forgiven but also made ready for the heavenly Bridegroom who will at the time of His choosing return to take His bride to Himself for eternity.
Having forgiven us as repentant sinners, God is at work seeking to make us ready for the coming of Christ, the church’s heavenly Bridegroom. Our readiness requires a perfect cleansing from sin and a spiritual dressing in a righteousness that is befitting that Bridegroom.
In the present time, God seeks to make us Spirit-filled followers of the heavenly Bridegroom. In doing so, He envisions us becoming increasingly Christlike in thought, word and deed.
Given our bent toward sinning, this process necessarily requires regular confession of our sin and acceptance of God’s forgiveness. This side of heaven, none of us will ever be able to omit that part of the Lord’s prayer that pleads, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12).
The same Spirit that enables a perfect readiness for the heavenly Bridegroom also enables a growing love for Christ and assures ultimate completed and absolute love for Him. When this happens, Christ’s prayer will be fully answered — a prayer which He voiced during His incarnate ministry, saying to the Father, “I have declared to them Your name and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them” (John 17:26).
While we await that heavenly future, we are to be Spirit-equipped helpers of the heavenly Bridegroom. In the meantime, as His hands, we are to be doing His work. As His feet, we are to be going where He sends. As His mouth, we are to be praising Him and telling His good news to others.
All of this should characterize our Christian journey until that day when we are welcomed into our heavenly abode and take our seat at a heavenly wedding supper as members of the bride of Christ.
While growing up in church, we often sang the hymn that ends with the stanza, “Finish then, Thy new creation / Pure and spotless let us be / Let us see Thy great salvation / Perfectly restored in Thee / Changed from glory into glory / Till in heaven we take our place / Till we cast our crowns before Thee / Lost in wonder, love and praise.”
What an exciting, beautiful and eternal wedding feast that will be!
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