“Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel…”
That is simply the difficulty in seeing physical body as beautiful to humans. When many of us inspect our own hearts, we see the ghastly sins that are so repugnant to God and are ashamed. It is often difficult to understand that God, who sees all our thoughts, intentions, motives, and secret dealings (1 Chronicles 28:9) is looking on His apparently wicked people as something beautiful and that he is pleased in. But beyond all this, as we are represented in scripture frequently, we are the Bride of Christ. This is not simply a quaint idea that we are simply loved by God, it is so much fuller than simply being loved. When Christ looks upon his bride he is ravished. Christ is so delighted in his bride that rejoices in her, that is, he praises her for her beauty, for her gloriousness. This is what our hearts must constantly call attention to. It is so easy to become overwhelmed with our waywardness. We must constantly come back to our savior Jesus, who washes us clean and makes us beautiful in his eyes.
What is it particularly that makes the bride of Christ beautiful? The church in America has a skewed perspective on what ‘being beautiful’ really is. So often we think what makes the church beautiful is its attractiveness, expressed in their relevance to society, its current ideals, its modern-progression. We are often consumed in presenting ourselves to God and the world as those who, in a way, are adorned with all sorts of worldly respects. It is as if our thoughts are, “the way that I am looked upon by God is by my ministry to the church and the world, and the way to be effective to the world in ministry is to keep up on what is current, trendy, exciting and provocative.” Much of the modern Christian mindset of accomplishing ministry is through new, edgy, creative, sub-culture targeting. There is an avant-garde attitude that flows through much of what is issuing forth from the coming church generation. Much of the focus is taken off the persons who are being ministered to and the display of Christ and is being placed upon the ways, means, relevancy and attractiveness of reaching the lost for Christ and growing the saved through Christ. The church in some ways is consumed with the means, not the ends. Content is subjugated for presentation. Its like having a professionally engineered web-page with nothing worth while being said at all on the web-page.
This mode of understanding our beauty is in direct contrast to the way in which the scriptures represent the source of our beauty. As the verse at the beginning of this post stated “Come, I will show you the Bride… having the glory of God“. What makes every believer beautiful in the eyes of Jesus is their display of the glory of God. When Christ looks upon his beloved people, he sees his most treasured possession, the glory of God. Nothing delights Jesus more than to see us reflecting that. All of Christ’s works and efforts wrought, in heaven and upon earth, were for this purpose – that we might be to the praise of his glory. “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:11. This is the picture that is presented to us in the closing chapters of the book of Revelation, a people adorned in the blood of Christ, that washes us clean, makes us pure, and provides us with a righteousness that belongs to God. We are the Bride of Christ, with a radiance like “a most rare jewel.” This is who we are and this is what you must know yourself as. Your beauty and worth is not tantamount to how this world sees you or what you think may please God. You beauty is directly connected to the righteousness of Christ. If you are not covered in the blood of the Lamb, then you are the most unsightly creature in all of creation, worthy to be cast out of God’s presence for all eternity. But if you hold dearly to the righteousness that is provided to you in the blood of Christ and to the promised glory that you will inherit on account of the death and life of Christ, then you are to be chreished above all other creatures in this world. To no other creature has God given this privilege, it is something that belongs alone to the people of God.