Husbands, love your wives, as 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. -Ephesians 5:25-27
The focus of today is not on the fact that husbands should love their wives as is often taught in theses verses (I have no authority to speak on that), but the emphasis is on what Christ did for the church in order for us to be presented in splendor, without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless. These words gripped my heart, "He fell as a sinner (though he was innocent) into the hands of the living God. Consider the power of the love that motivated Him to intentionally plunge Himself into a fiery furnace that burned with relentless wrath, bearing in a few short hours an infinity of hellish misery." He was faithful to accomplish this terrible, unimaginable wrath to redeem us to be His bride. Not only did He accomplish the work the Father set out for Him, but also took the responsibility to clothe His redeemed. Isaiah 61:10 shares this truth, "He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,..." He presented us, His imperfect bride, with the most perfect wedding garment, a robe of righteousness!
Instead of recognizing the words as truth and rejoicing in this work of Christ, it is still easy to compare ourselves to others. I see the ugliness of pride and selfishness in my life and can only imagine that God is disappointed in me and my sin. Then, I compare myself to others and hope that I am not as defiled as they are. Yes, we should feel shame and repent over our sin, but after repentance our thoughts should be replaced. "Christ gave Himself up for our disgrace. His blood has washed away all our impurity. He has presented you to Himself 'in splendor'" As a little girl, I loved to played dress up with my friends. It was always fun to visit my friends, because they had the better dress up stuff. When we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we are not playing dress up with a borrowed wardrobe - It is yours! "He has made you holy - spirit, soul, and body in order to present you in splendor." The garments of righteousness have already been placed on you and today we can rejoice and celebrate that this is who we are in Christ. Not because of anything that I have done, but because Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her!