It seems, at least in my experience, that when the Lord is working on some part of your life that it shows up everywhere you look… and this moment in time is no exception. The Holy Spirit has taken me back once again to the Book of Revelation with a much deeper look at the bride of Christ throughout the entire book. In particular He has spent more time with me on the culmination of the Book, which in reality is the culmination of the entire Bible… the marriage of the Lamb.
Rev 19:7-8 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
This passage was taken literally by the Lord and then used by Him as the basis of His teaching that marriage was intended to be permanent (Matt 19:3-8; Mark 10:2-12). And Paul added that it was not only permanent but that it was a picture of the perfect union of Christ and His Church (2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:22-23). We see this represented in God referring to Israel as His own wife; it is the foundation of the prophecy of Hosea (Hos 2:7); Isaiah uses the same concept (Isa 54:5). But what stood out to me the other morning was the statement that His wife has made herself ready.
At the time of the Tribulation, God’s wife Israel will have prepared herself through the purifying she endures in the wilderness to which she flees (Rev 12:6), while at the same time at the Judgement Seat of Christ all the saints of all ages will have been purified and made like Christ (1 John 3:2, 3; Rom 8:29). And His bride will put off her old garments (self-righteousness) and put on her bridal garments (His righteousness) in preparation of being joined with her bridegroom forever… arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. What struck me in this passage is expression righteous acts and the fact that His wife has made herself ready.
Jesus saves us not by our own works but by His work on Calvary and therefore no one is ever saved by his or her righteous works; “deeds.”And yet it is clear that we have made ourselves ready. And the mystery is that somehow by His grace He will reward us for all the righteous acts (enabled by Jesus) we have done in His name, which equip us to stand in His presence, having every last bit of self-righteousness exposed, judged and cleansed by Him (2 Cor 5:10). And therein lies the mystery. We will have made ourselves ready by the “good works” which He has ordained (set in place before hand) that we should walk out in becoming the righteous acts of the saints. He saved us, enabled us and leads us through this life, up a path that is filled with future rewards we can never dream of, all culminated in our being made ready and arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright.
And that is simply… Amazing Grace!