Friday, 28 October 2016
…that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:27
The full thought should be considered to understand the context –
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
Christ gave Himself for His beloved church in order to make her ready for Himself. He has given us His word to prepare us for our union with Him as well. All of the ceremony stems from Him and is directed by Him. It will even be that He will “present her to Himself a glorious church.”
This role of His is what is known as a paranymph. It is “a ceremonial assistant and/or coach in a ceremony. In ancient Greek weddings the bride and bridegroom were attended by paranymphs, and from this use it has been generalized to refer to attendants of doctoral students, best men, and bridesmaids in weddings and the like. It can refer specifically to the friend of a bridegroom tasked with accompanying him in a chariot to fetch the bride home.”
Christ is the One who will accomplish this fetching of the bride home, there to present her to Himself. But He is also the one who gave Himself for her, sanctified her, and cleansed her. In all matters, He is the One who has directed the affairs of the bride so that she will “not have spot or wrinkle or any such thing.”
The idea of a “spot” is that of sin. It is the Greek word spilos, and it is only found here and in 2 Peter 2:13. The spots on a garment would reflect impurity of that garment. The literal spot is used as a metaphor for moral imperfection, and thus sin. In Christ, our garments are made spotless; we are brought to a state of sinless perfection.
The idea of a “wrinkle” is that of the consequences of sin – getting old and dying. The word for “wrinkle” is rhutis, and it is only found here in the Bible. It is the sign of aging. This will no longer be evident. Our old nature in Adam will be removed, and we will be forever in a state of youthful vitality. No wrinkle of Adam will be detected.
Further, Paul continues by stating that there will not be “any such thing.” There will be nothing which detracts from the beauty of Christ’s bride. We will be wholly undefiled, perfectly radiant, and eternally set in our status as Christ’s precious bride. We shall be “holy and without blemish.”
No error or fault will remain in us when we are presented. This idea hearkens back to the sacrifices of the Old Testament where animals were to be “without blemish” when presented as an offering to the Lord. They were to have no marks which detracted from their perfection. So will the bride of Christ be when we are presented to Him. This is spoken of in Revelation 19 –
“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.
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 saints.” Revelation 19:7, 8 (KJV)
Life application: Christ has done His part for His bride, and He will continue to do so for her until the wonderful day when He presents her to Himself. As this is so, shouldn’t we be endeavoring to do the same? Let us strive for perfection which, even if it is unattainable in this life, is what our Betrothed would ask of us.
Lord God, You have done all the work to present Your church to Yourself without spot or blemish or any such thing. As this is true, shouldn’t we be acting as if this is the case? Shouldn’t we be preparing ourselves spiritually now for this marvelous marriage ceremony? Help each of us to prepare ourselves now to be a beautiful part of what is coming. Let us not squander our time as we await Your call for us to come to You. Amen.