The Lord Jesus offers His hand in marriage to you. Will you receive it by faith and repentance? There is a sense in which everyone is called to this wedding. The gospel is to be preached to all creatures. God freely and lovingly invites all to this wedding. The invitations are out. All are welcome to come to Christ.
But to come to this wedding, you must be born again. You must know something of the marks of the Spirit’s saving grace in your soul. You must know what it means to respond to God’s overtures of salvation with true repentance and saving faith. You must learn of your need of the Bridegroom as your only hope of salvation. You must know something of your own depravity and something of Christ’s marvelous deliverance from it. And you must want to live for Him in gratitude if you are going to sit at His table wearing His wedding garment. You must be prepared for this table by being stripped of your righteousness. You must long for the day of your eternal marriage with Christ.
I can’t tell you how this world is going to end. But I can tell you that there will be a wedding, the wedding of all time, and you’re invited! And the gospel demands a response from you—your R.S.V.P. As Paul says in Ephesians 5, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (vv. 31–32). The gospel demands that you repent of your sin and cleave to this only Savior by true saving faith.
Those who do repent and trust in Christ can sincerely confess that their greatest hope is the hope of being with Christ and beholding His glory. David sings of this hope in Psalms 16:11 and 17:15: “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore…. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake with thy likeness.” All who share this faith and cherish this hope can sing:
The King there in His beauty,
Without a veil is seen:
It were a well-spent journey,
Though seven deaths lay between:
The Lamb with His fair army,
Doth on Mount Zion stand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Emmanuel’s land.
O Christ, He is the fountain,
The deep, sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I’ve tasted
More deep I’ll drink above:
There to an ocean fullness
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Emmanuel’s land.
Let me conclude with three practical lessons we can apply from this truth of Christ, the centerpiece of heaven, to whom we may one day be married in the greatest wedding of all time.
- Since Christ is the jewel in heaven’s crown—for He is what makes heaven heaven—strive to make Him the center of your life here on earth. You can get to heaven without money, education, beauty, or friends. But you cannot get there without Christ. Only those who are now engaged to Christ will one day be married to Him in heaven. So put all your energy into focusing on Christ in His person, names, natures, states, offices, and benefits.
- As a bride prepares herself for her wedding, we must do likewise. The more we yearn for our marriage with Christ, the more we shall seek for that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. But the less we think of it, the less we will follow the Lord Jesus in this life. During an engagement, those who are betrothed to each other are not allowed to court other people. We must not flirt with sin but push it far from us and say, “I will keep myself pure for the Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Remember that death will soon usher you into glory to forever be with your heavenly Husband. In John 14:2–3 Jesus says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Death for believers is our gateway into His throne room, to see the beautiful face of our Lord and Savior and Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Thus through all our lives and on our deathbeds we can sing:
Whom have I, Lord, in heaven but Thee,
To whom my thoughts aspire?
And, having Thee, on earth is nought
That I can yet desire.
Though flesh and heart should faint and fail,
The Lord will ever be
The strength and portion of my heart,
My God eternally!
The Beauty and Glory of the Last Things
By Joel R. Beeke