Christ is: Cleansing the Church
“Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 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.”
The love of Christ for the church is incredible. He loved her enough to die for her. And, as He waits for the day when His betrothed will become His bride, He is displaying that love by cleansing the church. His work in cleansing the church continues every day until she is presented as a “glorious” bride!
We need to look no further than the letters to the churches in Revelations to see an example of Christ’s cleansing work. The churches have their own strengths & weaknesses. When Jesus begins talking to them, He starts with these two words, “I know”. He knows the good & the bad. He sees the triumphs of grace and the corruption of sin. He knows His betrothed, and He loves her still!
When speaking to the churches, Christ praises them. He looks for what is good in His bride – whether it service, love, faith, or patience – and speaks of it. He is also unafraid to tell the church where there is sin, for He cares about that too. Sin in the church only does harm, and Christ does not want His bride to be hurt! He cares enough to both encourage the church and to call her out on her sin. But, even when pointing out sin, He does not leave her hopeless!
The cleansing of Christ calls for change. He shows a way to triumph over sin, and (amazingly) even offers rewards for those who do! These overcomers get a glimpse of their future inheritance, one that is far better than the sin that is weighing them down. With this eternal perspective, Christ’s call for repentance can be answered without hesitation or regret.
This cleansing work is not limited to the churches spoken of in Revelation. Our Lord is hard at work, cleansing your local church and mine. He knows what is happening in every gathering right now. He cares. He uses His word to call us to repentance. He shows His promises to spur the church on to further sanctification. In this way, He cleanses.
One day, all of the sin, backbiting, bitterness, & disunity in the church will be gone. On that day, Christ will present to Himself a bride dressed in fine linen. And that linen, the ‘wedding dress’ of the church, will be crafted from the righteous acts of the saints. Christ’s work of cleansing will be done, displayed for all to see. His bride, the church, will be spotless & beautiful. What a marvelous triumph of grace that will be!
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” Revelation 19:7-8