There is a saying that is very popular among those looking for the Lord’s return. It goes this way: Jesus is coming back for a spotless bride.
At face value it is true enough, but curiously, I have seen it applied in such a way as to suggest that we are the ones who make ourselves spotless, thereby implying that if we aren’t, woe be to us!
So, the best thing to do is to go back to the Scriptures where that idea originates. Interestingly enough, it is NOT from a book of prophecy like Revelation. No, it comes from the letter to the Ephesians. Let’s look at it.
Paul is writing about the roles of husbands and wives in Ephesians 5. The role model for the Christian husband is Jesus Christ Himself. Here is the passage:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27).
Yes, Jesus is coming back for a spotless bride. However, the bride is not spotless because of her efforts. Look at verse 26. It is Jesus Himself who does the cleansing.
And, why does He do that?
Verse 27 answers that question:
“That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.”
Notice, Jesus cleanses the Church, His bride, in order so that HE might present the Church to Himself without spot or wrinkle, and any such thing. The spotlessness of the Church as the Bride of Christ is entirely the result of what Jesus has been doing to prepare us, the Church, for Himself.
But, what about when we sin? Surely that is a “spot” or a “wrinkle”, isn’t it?
Ahh, but we must not overlook how God the Father has justified us. That means that He credits us, or counts us, as being as perfectly righteous as He Himself is. Clothed in the righteousness that is by faith in Jesus, we have no “spot” or “wrinkle.” We who believe in Jesus ARE a “spotless bride” because of Him, not ourselves.
Yes, Jesus took care of that at the cross. It’s a “done deal.”
Now, Revelation DOES mention the Bride, so let’s look at that.
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Rev. 19:7-8).
The fine linen we are clothed in is “the righteousness of saints.” Going back to justification by faith, we now know the “fine linen” is what we are clothed in because of what Jesus has done!
Yes, Jesus is indeed coming back for a spotless bride, and her spotlessness is the end result of what Jesus has done for us.
A Christian song says this:
Oh, how He loves you and me
Oh, how He loves you and me.
He gave His life, what more could He give?
Oh how he loves you.
Oh, how He loves me.
Oh, how He loves you and me!