The Beautifying Stage
Being loved into greater loveliness is a gospel canon.
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25–27)
This is the loving sacrifice of the Bridegroom. It is the standared for husbands with their wives, and in fact, husbands and wives were made for sake of modeling in miniature the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32). It really is profound.
Christ gave Himself up, He gave Himself out of love, He gave Himself in order to nourish and cherish the church into loveliness.
It’s sort of like the months of beautifying for King Ahasuerus: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women (Esther 2:12). In a spiritual sense, the church is in the beautifying stage. What’s more, we are not being adorned with uncertainty about who will be chosen as was the case with Ahasuerus, we are being adorned because we have been chosen.
And more than given skin treatments, we are being fattened up, not starved. The sacrifice which Jesus made, which Jesus gave a meal to remind us of, is the sacrifice that makes our invitation to the great wedding meal effective. We are also being clothed, and the “righteous deeds” that belong with our garment (Revelation 19:8) include our obediences, our obediences includes rejoicings, and our rejoicings include proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes in communion.
We are given a supper (1 Corinthians 11:25) in anticipation of a supper (Revelation 19:9).