I have chores that need doing, but I couldn’t let this thought go a moment longer without getting it out.
The women’s small group at my church is currently going through a study on the topic of Heaven, written by Randy Alcorn. Last night we were discussing what it would mean to be in God’s presence for all of eternity, what forms worship would take and the concept of the Church universal being the Bride of Christ. It is this last subject to which my thoughts have been turned.
Revelation 19:7-8 reads:
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (NKJV)
There was a question in our study that had to do with the linen. Why is it that this pure, bright clothing is made of the righteous acts of believers, instead of the righteousness of Christ Himself. (This is where I get excited, and I’m practically bouncing in my seat!)
Jesus bought the cloth to clothe believers in purity. As the song says, He paid it all, and to Him all we owe. He has washed us as white as snow. That’s how He views us. So, in keeping with the Church-as-Bride theme, it’s like He went out and purchased a bolt of the purest white satin. Only He could afford to pay the cost for such precious, beautiful cloth. He unfurls it before us, and it shimmers in the bright light which emanates from Him. There has never been anything more wonderful.
Then, He hands the cloth to us. He has purchased it, but the design of our gown is entirely of our own making. Will it be strapless and simple? A halter-top? Poufy and Cinderella-ish? Perhaps for some, that’s stretching the analogy too far, but the point is this:
Yes, Jesus paid it all. Now He wants us to do something with it.
It’s not enough to just sit around with a bunch of white cloth draped over our heads. Does such a thing reveal the mercy of God, that He would cover us so? Yes, a praise to Him for it! He is asking us to participate, though. He is asking us to take the mercy which has been so amazingly extended to us and do something with it for all the world to see. What we do doesn’t save us, but the effort that we put into taking that mercy and fashioning it, by cooperating with His guiding Spirit, into lives worthy of Him shows that we have some small grasp of what this mercy is all about.
As the author of our study put it (and I am paraphrasing), every prayer, every act of mercy, every effort to reconcile relationships….each of these things is a thread which contributes to sewing that beautiful bolt of cloth into the most gorgeous dress ever to be seen.
Maybe none of this makes sense to you, but I find it exciting. God actively invites us to take part in the process. That is amazing to me.