For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. Revelation 19:7-8

The idea of the church being a holy bride is also the picture Paul employs in Ephesians. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Christ’s role is described as making his bride holy and blameless and in the above verses, we see that “fine linen … was given her to wear.” The bride’s role (or the church’s role) is to allow God to cleanse and clothed his bride. It’s a reminder that we aren’t able to make ourselves acceptable to God, by our own efforts. We are reliant on Christ to make us clean in the sight of God.

However, our role isn’t passive, “his bride has made herself ready.” God provides but requires our willing cooperation. We wouldn’t appreciate a spouse who is domineering or controlling, who demands our loyalty and love. Likewise, God values our freedom of choice. Greg Laughery, author and director of L’Abri, describes divine love this way: “Loving someone so much that you give them the freedom to not love you in return may be the close(s)t we ever come to divine love.”

God loves us so much he gives us the freedom not to love him in return. Yet his desire is for us to be in relationship with him, cleanse and clothed, without stain, wrinkle, or any blemish.