When the apostle John was looking for a way to describe the relationship between Christ and His church, the comparison he most often used was that of a bride and a groom.
That makes sense to me, because it speaks of things like love, faithfulness and trust. However, in Revelation 19, he points out a few other details which are worth noticing.
“For the wedding of the Lamb [Jesus] has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given to her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints)” (verses 7-8).
The line that caught my attention in that passage was the one that said, “His bride has made herself ready.” That sounds a little odd. I am used to hearing that there is not much for me to do. God has done the work of salvation through his son’s death on the cross, and all I have to do is accept that gift.
Now, all of that is true, but so is the fact that the bride is to make herself ready. How does she do that? Well, John spells that out for us by describing the bride as wearing this beautiful clothing, and then he points out, just in case we do not understand, that the “fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
Our actions count, but maybe not in the way you think they do. You see, our good and righteous acts do not earn us anything. Our good and righteous acts do not “make us the bride of Christ.” We are his bride because he has loved us and chosen us. However, our good and righteous acts are important because they beautify us to Christ and to others.
Over the years, I have conducted a lot of weddings. Each one is unique and each one is special, but they all have one thing in common: the bride always looks beautiful! The groom is about a 50/50 shot (some of them clean up well and others, not so much), but the bride always looks lovely.
A lot of thought goes into the dress that she will wear. Her hair is done just the way that she wants it. Often, her make-up and even her shoes have been chosen with great care. The bride is beautiful because she has made an effort to be so.
As Christians, we would do well to think about how we act and how we present ourselves. A little thought and care may go a long way.
After all, everyone smiles when they see a beautiful bride.