I heard a story ? purportedly true! ? about a very nervous young bride on her wedding day. Arrived way too early, she had to mark time in the hall next door that was all prepared for the wedding banquet. To quiet the nerves she walked along the tables sampling the dainties (too much!), and the champagne (way too much!). By the time she arrived at the head of the aisle she was a ?time-bomb? ready to explode? she did!?.

We, the Church, are Christ?s Bride. We are called and destined to be ?spotless and without blemish?, and ?holy and blameless?. How are we stacking up??The fact is, we the church are stained; fact is, the church always has been, and always will be, stained. The saving grace of Christ cleanses, forgives and makes us new, enabling and commanding us to live a new life in obedience to God?s good will and law. However, we do not stand as Christians, nor as the church, by our obedience, but by the saving grace of Christ alone? which we must always truly receive with faith and repentance, or we will be shut out of it. [* read Eph 5:25-27].

We will only ever be the spotless, holy bride of Christ by His grace. BUT WHAT GRACE!.. WHAT LOVE!?He freely gave Himself to agony and death to bring this about for us!

Therefore we must love Him, and what He wants ? according to His Word in the whole of Holy Scripture (Lk 24:25-27) ? with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, and love our neighbours as He has loved us.

We will always be Christ?s somewhat besmirched Bride, yet made holy and glorious in and through His mighty grace, clinging to Him for all we?re worth!

Blessings and cheers, Jonathan