This article appears in the Spring 2016 Issue of Higher Things® Magazine. You can subscribe to the print and online editions at http://higherthings.org/magazine.
Rev. George F. Borghardt
She’s absolutely beautiful to Him—the most beautiful woman in all of creation. She’s perfect in every way: no spots, no wrinkles, no blemishes. There isn’t a single flaw with her. He sees none.
She is His Bride. He is her Bridegroom. He loves her. She is loved by Him. He does all that He does for her. She receives His love and loves Him in return.
He lives for her—completely, totally, and perfectly. Everything He does, He does for her good. He is perfect and counts that righteousness as hers. He is without sin and takes her sins upon Himself.
He doesn’t just love her with words. He loves her with actions. He takes the punishment she deserved before God. He is beaten for her faults. He loves her in the giving up of His life for her. He dies. She lives forever.
He left His mother and Father to save her—completely and totally. He rescues her from all that she’s ever done wrong. He washes her. He forgives her. He nourishes her: His Body to eat and His Blood to drink for the forgiveness of her sins.
In Him, she is a great wonder in heaven. Her wedding dress isn’t just white, she’s “…clothed with the sun, and the moon itself is under her feet” (Revelation 12:1). She shines with the brightness of His light.
He is holy. She is holy in Him. She is perfect. She is forgiven in the blood and water flowing from His pierced side.
The Bride wasn’t always this way. She wasn’t just unfaithful to Him, she was promiscuous. She tried out other bridegrooms. She adorned herself for them instead of for Him. She listened to their whispers about how she could fix things herself, believe in herself, just stay positive and everything would be okay.
The more she ran from Him, the more scandalous she became. No amount of makeup or cream could cover her blemishes. Her outside began to match her insides: trampy and evil.
And yet He still saved her. He washed her. He forgave her. He fed her. He would be her Bridegroom, she would be His Bride. He would hear none of her objections.
She struggled. She fought. Satan chased her—he always chased her. She couldn’t be free from his constant attempts to seduce her and drag her into the death and hell that God made for him, but not for her.
Her Bridegroom calls her holy. She looks at herself and sees only her sin. He calls her His beloved. She sees only her unfaithfulness. He calls her perfect. She sees only her flaws, mistakes, and bad decisions.
On the Last Day, all that happened on their Wedding Day—all that was finally finished on Good Friday—will be shown to have been true for her all along. She has been made holy and pure by the scars on His hands and side. And she will see Him, shining bright in all the glory and light of her gracious Bridegroom God.
Today…she struggles. On the Last Day she will not, ever again. On that Day, He will come for Her. He will rescue her. He will save her from all her enemies, for she has overcome her enemies in the blood of the Lamb and in the Word of all that her Bridegroom did for her.
Jesus is that Bridegroom. The church is His Bride. She isn’t going to be holy only on the Last Day. She is holy today. She isn’t going to be spotless only in eternal life. She is perfect, right now, in His Blood and Body and water and Word. The Last Day isn’t when she becomes what she is. She already is what He finished for her. The Last Day is when she sees the full reality of all that He promised.
The church is beautiful to Jesus—the most beautiful woman in all of creation. She’s perfect in every way to Him: no spots, no wrinkles, no blemishes. There isn’t a fault with her. He sees none. She’s perfect in every way to Him. It will be true on the Last Day. And it is true, now, by faith in the Bridegroom.
God has called you out of darkness
Into His most marv’lous light;
Brought His truth to life within you,
Turned your blindness into sight.
Let your light so shine around you
That God’s name is glorified
And all find fresh hope and purpose
In Christ Jesus crucified. (LSB 646:2)
Rev. George F. Borghardt is the Senior Pastor at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinios. He also serves as the president of Higher Things.