Presented In Splendor

Who would you die for?  That’s a tough question isn’t it?  Really, we don’t like thinking much about dying.  We’d much rather think about living.  But is there anyone you would be willing to lay down your life for should circumstance ever require it?  When I think of laying down my life for someone my thoughts immediately go to those closest to me.  I would lay down my life for my wife and my daughter without thinking twice about it.  I feel pretty confident that I would lay down my life for other family, close friends, and many of the members of the church here.   But beyond that it gets a little more complicated if you know what I mean.  Think about this passage of Scripture found in Romans 5:6-8:

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

This is a humbling and convicting passage for me to read because it does two things: 1) it exposes my lack of love and 2) it highlights God’s amazing love.  This love was demonstrated more fully as the Son of God looked out from the cross on those whose hatred towards him was so intense and still pleaded to the Father to “forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  I read in Scripture how those at the scene were chanting “Crucify! Crucify!”   Having allowed sin to creep into my own past I can identify the sound of my voice in those words.  But yet, he died for me. As I am writing this the words from a hymn we sing are playing over and over in my mind: “amazing love, how can it be, that you would die for me?”

Why did he do it?  Scripture shows us that he did it in order to reclaim a people who were once his.  God created man/woman in his very image, holy and divine (“of God”).  When man/woman sinned and lost that holy, divine image, God lost his people. But I praise God that He had a master plan to reclaim His lost people.  Titus 2:14 reminds us that the grace of God was revealed to us through His son’s death that he might “redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

Did you catch that?  God intends to restore a broken people to holy and complete people that once again bear his divine image in order that He might once again reclaim them as His possession.  2 Peter 1:3-4 connects the divine power of God restoring us to that holy and divine nature: “3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

In Ephesians 5 there’s a comparison made between the husband and the wife and Christ and the Church.  Within this text there are some very important things revealed about why Christ “gave himself up for her (the church)” (vs. 24).  I’ve emphasized them in the text for easy identification:

Ephesians 5:22-29 - “22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 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. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,”

Christ died so that he might SAVE the people.  The church is a group of people who have been SAVED.  What purpose did Christ have in that?  The purpose was to sanctify (ceremonially make clean/purify) and to cleanse you and I from our sins so that we might be without spot, blemish, wrinkle, etc… He intended to make us holy and to make us complete, mature, and perfect.  Why?  What was his ultimate goal?  So that he might present the church to himself in splendor!  Defined, that means that he might present the church to himself in an honorable and glorious fashion.  God’s purpose for you, for me, and for all of mankind is that we be ultimately presented back to him in a glorious state of splendor.  

What does this mean for me?

  1. I have great worth and value to God.  If found faithful, the Son of God will be pleased to present me to himself for all of eternity.
  2. God’s intention for my life is holy and divine living.  I need to let Christ be seen in me. (John 14:20; John 17:23; Romans 8:10; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17-19; Colossians 1:27; 1 John 3:24)
  3. If Christ died to cleanse and sanctify me, I need to consider my ways (my actions, thoughts, words, how I entertain myself, companions, etc…) and make sure I’m not allowing myself to become polluted again making vain his sacrifice.

Dedicate some time this week to meditating on the idea of being proudly presented by our Savior to God.  What an amazing thought!  Spend some time thinking about that and then spend some time reflecting on your life.  I believe God will give you the wisdom you need.