Have you ever wondered what Jesus means when He says He’s coming back for a perfect Bride without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27-28). How can that be? How can the Church ever become so perfect? It seems impossible to our human understanding… possibly because we have a distorted idea of perfection, and a weak notion of God’s love. Consider this…
It is not our custom, but in the Middle Eastern weddings, there is a dowry to be paid. The father of the bride gives a dowry – a significant financial gift – to the groom. It guarantees the welfare of the new bride.
So, we are the Bride of Christ. Who, then paid the dowry? And what was the dowry? The Father paid the dowry for His Son’s bride; and the price He paid was the Son himself. You and I have been bought with a price — a costly price. He considers us so valuable that He paid for us with His own life.
So, that takes us to the issue of His Bride being perfect — without spot or wrinkle. Is that something He is waiting for? Is that something He is expecting us to work on? Is He waiting for us to shape up so He can take us as His bride? Notice the context of that phrase: Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Notice who is doing the action. Notice who bears the responsibility.
Let me share a recent experience to illustrate. We were ministering in a poor village in Egypt a few weeks ago. One of our visits was to Noor – a ten-year-old girl, full of life, but living in dire conditions. After talking with her for a while we asked if we could pray for her, and her mother asked if we would pray for the skin discoloration on the side of Noor’s face — we would call it a blemish. It was evident that the mother was somewhat ashamed by her daughter’s imperfection.
As we prayed for her I felt the Father’s love for her, and how He wanted to communicate how He sees her: “You are beautiful; you are perfect, full of light. I love you because you are mine!l
That is the heart of the Father toward us — His treasure — the Bride He has chosen for His Son.
Could it be that His saying that He is returning for a perfect Bride, without spot or wrinkle, is not an expectation of a future state, but rather a declaration of how He sees us? Even now!
We are — already — the righteousness of God in Christ. We are His workmanship. He sees us — already — as beautiful, perfect in every way.
Does that mean that we don’t have to do anything? No. We have a part to play. The Father has done His part, and the Son has done His part. Ours is to receive it and live into that reality — to live in accordance with the way He sees us.
Our problem is that we focus on our flaws, criticizing and judging one another (and even ourselves). We clothe ourselves and wear masks trying to hide who we really are. We compare ourselves with others and focus on our weaknesses and lack, and we put on “clothing” that is not becoming to a Bride, raher than receiving His love and affirmation and preparing ourselves as the beautiful Bride He has already chosen.
You are the Bride of Christ. You have been bought with a price. Your Father has paid the ultimate dowry, and His Son is eagerly awaiting taking you as His own for all eternity.
Dr. Chiqui Polo-Wood | All Rights Reserved 2015