2007-08-04 - Clothing the Naked Bride
Isaiah 61:10, "I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels."
Scripture often calls the Church of Christ, and even its individual members, the bride of Christ. It is common to see Christ represented, in Scripture, as the bridegroom - for example in Psalm 19:5 - and the church represented as the bride. One of the wonders of grace is that both salvation and righteousness are given in Christ. As we are told in Isaiah 64:6, all our righteousness is as filthy rags. We cannot stand before the Lord in our righteousness. Part of the wonder and blessings of forgiveness in Christ are that we are given His righteousness.
Having no righteousness of our own, church leaders have often represented our position before the Lord, if left to ourselves, as naked. We even see this in Revelation 3:17 where the church of Laodicea, who thought themselves rich, were really "wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked." Being outside of Christ is as being spiritually naked. We come to the Lord confessing our spiritual poverty, and looking to Him to take our filthy rags righteousness and give us the wedding garments of the marriage supper of the Lamb. He gives us His righteousness. He gives us the garments of salvation, but He also gives us the splendor of His pure righteousness, so that we are clothed in holiness - as a bride adorned for her bridegroom. It is a beautiful picture that Scripture presents.
This is why the prophet here can "delight greatly in the Lord." He looks forward to Christ, and prophetically sees that one day he will be arrayed in such a manner that he will be - as one writer puts it - "recommended to God's favor." That's really the turning point. Those who rest in Christ are now in God's favor, because when He sees us, He no longer sees us in our sin and rebellion, but He sees us clothed in Christ's righteousness. It is the renewal of the image of God in us that was marred by the fall of Adam into sin. We become decked out, as it were, as a bride adorned for her bridegroom. In Christ, we are espoused to God, and we are pleasing in His sight. We are not pleasing because of our righteousness, but by a far greater righteousness. We are arrayed "in a robe of righteousness," which is nothing other than the righteousness of Christ.
God's mercy is a wonder. His offer of forgiveness for sin is to all who come seeking mercy in Christ. It so much more than just a ticket out of Hell. It is new life. The wonder is that in coming to Christ, broken as we are, He makes us whole. He completes what we lack, in our spiritual nakedness, by giving us His robe of righteousness.
Soli Deo Gloria,