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Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy: Let's get dressed for heaven
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Larry Sheehy - photo by Special

    The Holy Spirit seems to have loved the use of analogy in inspiring the teachers and writers of Scripture. In the New Testament, the marriage union is used to represent the relationship between Jesus and his people. The Bible’s applications of this parallel can help us prepare for the coming of Christ. If we want to be followers of Christ, we need to understand that “the Way” of Christ involves a change of our nature and a change of relationship to sin.
    The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome that “one who has died (to sin) has been set free from sin” (Romans 6:6-7). To those in Corinth, he taught, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
    But what if the “old self” hasn’t been crucified, the “body of sin” hasn’t been “brought to nothing” — if one is still a slave of sin and isn’t living as a new creature? Then the new can’t come because the old is still alive and well. Could it be true that this person should reexamine his understanding of what it means to be a Christian and part of the bride of Christ?
    We need to be cautious about judging the motives of those who want to follow Jesus. However, the person who wants to follow Jesus needs to first “count the cost.”
    “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’” (Luke 14:28-30).
    There are few, if any, more significant pictures of the relationship between God and the people of God than that of marriage. According to Paul, “This mystery (i.e., the 'one flesh' union of husband and wife), is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32).
    The church, the bride of Christ, must be prepared for his coming. And our bridal clothing will be according to our deeds (Revelation 19:6-9). John’s vision of the marriage of the Lamb pictured the Bride (Christian saints) making herself ready by clothing herself in “fine linen, bright and pure, for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”
    In Revelation 3:4-5, Jesus said to the church at Sardis, in what is today western Turkey, that even though some of their members were unfaithful, “Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.”
    Are you preparing for the coming of the Bridegroom?

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