Forever and Ever

by Pastor Dan
With each wedding I am asked to officiate, I think about how much time is spent planning for the ceremony versus the reception.  Now, please don’t misunderstand me.  I enjoy the celebration of the marriage, but it is the intensity of the vows that make the wedding.  As I was preparing for a wedding recently, I was reminded of the words in Revelation:  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.  Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’”  Revelation 19:7-9
When you look at the reception as a celebration of a newly married couple, you can see that there will be a long and wonderful time of celebration in heaven when we meet Jesus.  The words “forever and ever” are used to describe this.  This is great to think about; however, it was the vow that is made that overwhelms my thought process.  This vow came from a covenant made long before I was ever born; a covenant made in heaven for Jesus Christ to share His life through love.  This righteous act that Jesus made on my behalf, something I did not deserve and cannot purchase, was paid for me in full.  This act was made whether I became a part of it or not.  I did decide to take part in this vow, and it has become to me a celebration of preparation for the wedding day.  So while my reception will be forever, my preparation in this lifetime has now become a celebration with expectation.  Please note with me the seriousness of joining in this vow with a joyful expectation.
First, the passage says that “I have made myself ready.”  This means that I am taking full advantage of the opportunity afforded me through the free gift given to me.  It says “it was given to me.”  There is a joyous expectation of heaven because I get to begin the changing of my clothes while still on this earth.  In Romans, it says “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
The other things the Bible tells us to put on are the “new self,” “full armor,” “love which is the full bond of unity,” and “Armor of light.”  Did you notice that this clothing comes from righteous acts that you perform?  These are acts prepared by Jesus for you to do through the vow you have entered into in Christ Jesus.  Look at what the book of Romans tells us:  “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
May my act of worship today be a joyous expectation of the celebration that is coming when I meet Jesus face to face on that wedding day, and in preparation of that day, may my worship be praise through prayer, learning to know more about Jesus who longs to be in a relationship with me, and serving and sharing the love that made the original covenant valid.  Will you join me in preparing for the wedding day that is coming?