“And to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:27 NIV
Recently, I read a book that addressed the present condition of the church. A stumbling church that is full of flaws and imperfections. A church often judged by her own members and so far less than all she is “supposed” to be.
However, as I continued to read I was reminded of something absolutely wonderful. She is not finished. The work for her to be redeemed IS complete, all that is required for her to become a radiant and glorious bride has been made available through the Cross, but in the moment she is still being changed, she is still being transformed, day by day, one godly choice at a time. She is not hopeless. She is filled with the power to change, the power to be prepared, and to become everything Christ has purchased.
The thing that really ministered to my heart as I read was just how deeply she is loved. He does not look at her unfinished status, He sees all of the potential and beauty wrapped up in broken and struggling lives. He sees her as fully redeemed and as pure and undefiled as one who has never been tarnished by the world. He sees the unfinished church as finished and complete. His love is not for what she will become. He loves her even as she is working through all of her struggles and pain. He loves her to wholeness and He is the reason she will stand in beauty. His love for her in her pain causes beauty to rise from the ashes of broken and unfinished people, and for her wounded and shattered pieces to find that each piece fits perfectly into her life becoming whole and glorious.
My heart is encouraged today. If Christ can love you and I in our unfinished places, shouldn’t we offer that same grace to one another? I am grateful for a church that will, without a doubt, reveal her Redeemer. So, let’s not lose heart, but keep truth in our view.
Today, I am grateful for a Love that sees all of the present struggles in the church and is not disheartened because she isn’t perfect. He knows she will be exactly what He declared she would be when He comes for her, “glorious, without spot, and wrinkle.” Will it be because she perfected herself? No, it will be because the One who started the work in her will use every place of her struggle to reveal His glory. It is a good day. He is a great King.