We Must Be Ready. But How?
Revelation 19:7 states, "Let us rejoice and give honor unto him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."
Our salvation is not accomplished by anything we can do, or be. Our redemption is through the blood of the Lamb, shed for our sins. Our only responsibility in regard to our salvation is to admit our own sinfulness, realize our total lack of any ability to change ourselves, and accept His gift of salvation by faith. Jesus Christ procured salvation for us. We cannot earn it. We must repent of sin, and then accept salvation as a gift.
So what does John mean by stating the Lamb's betrothed wife has "made herself ready"? John is not referring to salvation, which is our justification before God, but rather to the fact that Jesus has sanctified us -- set us apart in holiness unto Himself, and that we have a responsibility to daily live in a manner that brings glory to Him. Using another analogy, once a vessel is taken out of the mud and is cleaned up, it must not be placed back into the mud. As vessels made pure by the blood of the Lamb, we therefore do not place ourselves back into the mud of this sinful world. Our role in regard to being set-apart is to keep ourselves from being spotted or tarnished by the world. Once we are made clean, we choose to continue to walk in purity.
Although we live in this world, we belong to another Kingdom. The Bride represents the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, the King of Kings. While still in this world, she is an ambassador of His Kingdom! Are we proud representatives, or would we rather others did not find out who we are? Do we represent the Kingdom of God in a positive, pure manner, or would we rather try to become like the world around us? Do we seek to "fit-in," or do we reflect Christ to the world?
When we love someone, we are not only willing to do what the one we love asks of us, but we look for ways to show our love. In other words, we act in a manner that shows our devotion and commitment. In fact, our priorities change, because we drop all attitudes and activities that could get in the way of our relationship with the one we love. A betrothed bride is no longer available, but has been chosen, separated to a place of honor. This places an onus on us. We have a responsibility to conduct ourselves so as to maintain an honorable reputation, both for ourselves and for the one we love.
The Bride constantly asks the question, "What would Jesus do?" She wants to stand for all He stands for! She seeks to do what He would do, to the best of her ability and resources.
She also does not willingly, or knowingly, place herself in compromising situations. Why? She does not want to give reason for others to question her integrity. Many Christians do not place enough emphasis on living lives that reveal the fact they are set-apart. They want to fit-in. Unfortunately, if we get too close to the dirt of this world, we become soiled and wrinkled, and we begin to act and look no different from those who are ungodly. If we appear no different than everyone else, where is our strong testimony? How will others see there is a better way? Jesus said we are not to hide our light, but shine brightly so others can see the light. We are to stand out, so that others can see the difference.
The Bride learns to evaluate rightly. She is lovingly dogmatic when it comes to standing up for what is good and right. She chooses to not participate in anything which is dishonorable to Christ, to herself, or to those around her. She does not give-in to negative peer pressure, or to societies morals. Rather, she lives according to God's morals and principles. God's morals and principles for living are not just an alternative life-philosophy. They are the eternal principles of righteousness.
So where do we find these principles for living? Have we been given a clear set of instructions? Yes! We have the Bridegroom's love letter to us, the Bible! Does it address every situation we face in our lives? Yes! In fact, it gives us these principles in such a clear manner, we are able to see their application. Some folk feel the Bible is a book that is not easily understood, so they approach it defensively. They feel it contains ideals that are too lofty to attain. In our own strength, and by ourselves, we can never live up to all the principles of Scripture. But we are not alone, and we have a source of strength. The Holy Spirit is able to teach us, strengthen us, and assist us. In fact, the Bride must listen to the Holy Spirit, because He is one of two Friends of the Bridegroom. He has been sent to specifically assist us in our preparations so we are ready to stand in purity before Christ.
So how do we listen to this Mentor? Read the Bible, pray, and pay attention when we are prompted. The Bible gives us the instructions. Prayer keeps us in active interaction with Christ -- helping us share with Him, providing an avenue to "talk things over." The prompting of the Holy Spirit guides us in how to apply Scriptural principles in a practical manner. Also, the Holy Spirit is always cheering us on in our relationship with Christ. That is His role in regard to the Bride! He is there to do everything possible to make sure we know the Bridegroom loves us, and to assist us in living lives worthy of Christ.
The Bride must love the LORD first and foremost, wholeheartedly, with mind, soul, and body. How do we love Him? Spend time with Him, especially alone in personal interaction. Any betrothed couple in love wants to spend time with each other! Share our lives with Him. Talk everything over with Him. Make Him our conscious companion wherever we go, and in whatever we do. Christianity is not merely a religious belief system. It is a living relationship with Jesus Christ! Jesus does not want an arm's length relationship with us. Since he has chosen us to be His Bride, He desires a close relationship! The Bride knows her Bridegroom intimately because she has a living, ongoing, loving, interactive relationship with her Betrothed!
Jesus said some interesting things which tell us how we are to live. Love one another. Do nice things for one another. Be helpful when others need assistance, or cannot provide for themselves. Be generous with what we have in order to meet other's needs. He even told us to love our enemies! Be kind to those who are unkind to us! Why? That shows His love through us, and actually draws them up short! Why would anyone treat them kindly when they are going out of their way to be unkind or mean? It makes them think! As much as possible, be peacemakers. Avoid unnecessary, unproductive arguments. Interaction is good so long as the one we are sharing with is at least willing to discuss, even if they hold an opposing opinion. But arguments never accomplish anything except animosities and hard feelings. Seek to treat others the way we want to be treated - with respect. Stand firmly for truth and justice even if no one else does. But at the same time show mercy, grace, and extend forgiveness. Hold people accountable, but also raise the standard. Do not be a push-over or a door-mat. Stand, lovingly, but firmly for what is true and proper. Do not take unfair advantage of others. Never seek revenge. The LORD will ultimately mete out His judgment on the ungodly and disobedient. Obey the laws of the land, because they are in place to protect us from harm. Pray for wisdom, discernment, and strength. Do not entertain evil. Do not adopt alternate philosophies of men, or involve ourselves in occult practices. These are just a few directives we find in Scripture.
Where in Scripture do we find a specific set of guidelines for the Bride? Read Jesus' messages to the Seven Churches of Revelation chapters 2 and 3. They are very revealing! Then follow His advice by listening to the Holy Spirit guiding us in how to put these requirements into practice.
If we actively apply the LORD's revealed principles of love to our lives, we will qualify to be His Bride, ready for our heavenly wedding. John continues in the passage in Revelation 19, verse 8."And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints." She qualifies to be given her wedding dress! She has "made herself ready."
Submitted by: Maureen Metcalf, Author of "The Final Schedule Revealed: In the Fall Feasts and Festivals",http://teshuvatrumpet.org
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