The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.
No bride shows up to her wedding unprepared. No bride puts on torn, wrinkled or soiled garments to meet her bridegroom. Every bride wants to look her best for her groom. Her appearance is the canvas that communicates the future she envisions; a beautiful life adorned with the fulfillment of every dream. I remember preparing for my own wedding in 2000. I left no detail to chance. I fussed over the venue, the officiant, the bulletin, the dress, shoes and accessories, the bridesmaids, the food; you name it and I was all over it. The day had to be “perfect.”
I am divorced now. After all the energy and attention, I put into that one event, the marriage didn’t last. It frayed and swayed before lumbering to an ugly end. The wedding dress ended up in a heap at a Goodwill store; the marriage license has since been reduced to shredded paper and the promises made all lie shattered and forgotten; vague memories of some distant, unrecognizable past.
Jesus has lovingly chosen the church to be his bride. We are getting ready for another wedding, a heavenly union that will last forever; no throwaways here. Jesus is coming for a bride that is pure and spotless. He is coming for a bride that is ready for an eternal commitment. Fortunately, we do not have to get ready for this event on our own. The Holy Spirit is there to help ready the bride for the bridegroom. It doesn’t matter how torn, wrinkled or soiled your garments are, there is cleansing through the blood of the lamb.
But Paul writing in Romans communicates an urgency. The day of salvation is at hand; the groom is coming and the bride must ready herself for the marriage ceremony by removing the deeds of darkness and putting on the shining armor of right living. The bride's focus must no longer be on the event alone, but on the eternal marriage to the bridegroom who has lovingly chosen her.
Beloved, are you ready for the groom? Too many of us in the church today, have misinterpreted grace as a "license to sin" (Romans 6:1). Too many of us are parading around in torn, wrinkled and soiled garments as we await the groom. Paul makes it clear, because of God’s grace toward us, “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh (Romans 13:13).” Paul is not addressing non-believers but rather, believers like us.
The groom is coming and he has left no detail to chance. He has purchased your freedom with his blood and is ready to wash your garments so you will be pure and spotless at the day of his appearing. Will you let him? Will you receive him? Will you yield to him? This is one marriage you can count on because his promises are as beautiful as they are perfect.
Dear Lord, I want to be a bride who is pure and spotless. Forgive me for taking your grace so lightly. Cleanse me of every sin that hinders, known and unknown so that I will be ready for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.