My husband, Michael, and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in just a few days. After all of this time, he still calls me his bride. Many things have changed over the years, but he has not wavered in the way he cherishes and cares for me. I have no doubt that he would do anything he could to protect me and help me. I can tell you countless times that he has sacrificially taken care of me and put my needs above his own.
Jesus gave me Michael as a way of helping me to better understand the depths of His love for His bride. I am confident that Jesus gave us marriage to better understand our relationship with Him. Marriage is a glimpse or a symbol of the relationship between Christ and the church. Jesus’s union with the church is a picture of keeping grace through a commitment. The faithful believers, who make up the church, are dear to Jesus’ heart. He cherishes them, loves them unconditionally, and wants to protect them. Jesus’s heart breaks for all that hurts the church and for anything that takes their focus off of Him. He is willing to fight the battle which breaks us free. He is willing to fight so that we don’t just have a wedding, but a marriage that will last for eternity.
Marriage cannot be healthy if only one person is committed to it and the other is not. Just as Michael has cared for me, I too have cared and cherished him. In fact, there is no one else in this world with whom I would rather spend my time. Leading up to our wedding, we did many things to prepare for our big day, but we also spent many hours praying and preparing for what it would mean to be married for the rest of our lives.
In Revelation 19:8, John describes how the bride has made herself ready for Jesus by putting on fine linen. We are told that this fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. This is referring to the righteousness produced in the lives of the saints who make up the church. Christians often use the word sanctification to refer to the progressive work of God in the life of a believer, which makes them more like Jesus. Paul explains in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His creation-created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” All these good works or righteous acts of the church, which were prepared beforehand by God, are collectively seen as the fine linen that the church has put on, ready for Jesus. Thus, our righteousness collectively prepares us for the second coming.
We must strive to help each other in the church to carry out the good works God has prepared for each of us. Someday, we will be able to rejoice that the marriage of the Lamb has come and that His wife has made herself ready. Until that day, we must continue to prepare by helping each other as believers to do the good works Jesus has prepared for us. Don’t be discouraged or distracted, for our righteous acts are weaving together the fine linen that the church will wear and preparing us for a long marriage with God. The last battle will be over as we witness the union of Revelation 19:7 in our own lives: “Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself.”