In last Wednesday’s post, “Ready or Not, Here I Come! (Part 1), I addressed a concern I have about well-meaning Bible teachers and authors (I used to be one of them) telling Christians what they need to be doing to get themselves ready for His return.
I shared how in my search for answers I came to the conclusion (I believe with the Lord’s influence) that there is nothing more the bride of Christ has to do to be ready for His return (or physical death–whichever comes first), for she was made Heaven-ready the moment she believed in (into) Him.
I also explained that, while we are Heaven-ready already, this does not give us a license to act ungodly (see Titus 2:11-13). In retrospect, I would like to add that the deepest desire of the Christian’s new heart (whether he or she realizes it or not) is to express Christ’s love and life, not to sin:
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Rom. 6:17-18 NASB)
Today we are going to take a closer look at what the Bible says about Christ’s bride making herself ready for His return:
Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Revelation 19:7-8 NASB)
The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is usually my study translation of choice, but not in this case. The wording here could easily be misinterpreted because it implies that Christ’s bride “makes herself ready” for her marriage to Him by clothing herself with “righteous acts,” i.e., performing righteous deeds. This flies directly in the face of grace.
I was disappointed to find that all but 15 percent of the English translations of this passage at BibleGateway.com referred to righteous acts or deeds performed by Christ’s bride as being the necessary ingredient for making herself ready for her marriage to Him.
The 21st Century King James Version (KJ21); the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC); the Blue Red and Gold Letter Bible (BRG); the 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV); the Jubilee Bible 2000 (JUB); the King James Version (KJV); the Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV); and The Message (MSG) were the only translations that described the fine, bright, and clean linen as the “righteousness” rather than the “righteous acts” of the saints. Since you are probably more familiar with the King James Version than any of the others listed, let’s look at this passage in that translation:
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. (Rev. 19:7-9 KJV)
What exactly is the “righteousness of saints”? I believe we can find the answer by looking at a Scripture from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church:
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:21 NASB)
Jesus became sin on our behalf so that we could become the righteousness of God in Him. The “righteousness of saints” is the very righteousness of God. This verse does not say that believers in Christ possess the righteousness of God; it says they are the righteousness of God!
When did we become the righteousness of God? When we believed in Jesus. We were made righteous not by our righteous acts, but the one righteous act of Christ (offering Himself on the cross) on our behalf:
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. (Rom. 5:17-18 NASB)
If you are a believer in Christ and you are having trouble accepting the truth that you are the righteousness of God, asked Him to give you revelation concerning this seemingly-too-good-to-be-true news (it’s the best news ever!).
And speaking of the best news ever, MercyMe recently released their newest album, Lifer, which has a wonderful song titled, “Best News Ever” on it. Go ahead, take a listen, and by all means, let go of every wrong notion you have ever entertained that you aren’t Heaven-ready already!
Dear reader, I would like to close by asking you a few questions:
- Do you believe you are Heaven-ready already?
- If yes, go ahead and celebrate! Singing, shouting, and dancing are permissible.
- If no, why don’t you believe you are Heaven-ready already?
Until next time,
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