“For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2 NKJV
We have often talked about the rapture of the Church, and just how close to occurring many seem to believe that it is. The picture we are given in the New Testament of Christ returning for His Church is one of a bridegroom coming to receive his bride. In this passage from his letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us the Church is “betrothed” to Christ just as a bride to her future husband, and in other places in scripture this analogy of the Church as a bride waiting for her husband is repeated. We have been looking lately at the subject of the Church as a bride, and that in itself reminded me of some thoughts I have shared in the past concerning our future wedding with Christ.
Now I may have mentioned a time or two that I was blessed with three daughters, so as you might expect, I know a thing or two about a wedding, and all that goes into preparing for one. Especially noteworthy, however, is just what is involved in the bride preparing herself to meet her future husband on the day of the wedding. Although I thought I had some idea of what went on, it was enlightening to see just how many hours are expended in the process of taking a shower, getting the hair done, having the makeup applied, putting on the wedding dress, and finally arriving at the point where the bride is ready to meet her groom.
As I thought about the subject of Christ returning for His bride, I couldn’t help but think back to my daughters’ weddings and wonder if maybe we as members of the body of Christ should be a little more concerned with the state of our spiritual appearance than we possibly are? Could we honestly say we are as prepared to meet the bridegroom as we should be, or is there room for improvement? If Jesus were to return for His Church today, could we honestly say we personally were as spiritually attractive as we could be? As I thought about these things, I remembered that Paul uses an interesting word in this passage from his letter to Titus and it is the word translated “adorn”.
“[Exhort] bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all [things], not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.” Titus 2:9-10 NKJV
In the Greek, the word for adorn is “kosmeo” which means “to put in order, arrange, make ready, prepare, to ornament, adore, to embellish with honor, gain honor”. If the word sounds familiar, it is because this is where we get our English word cosmetic. So knowing this, when we look more closely at this passage, it would appear Paul is telling Titus, as well as all other believers, that we have a responsibility to examine ourselves closely to see if we are reflecting the doctrine of God in our personal lives so that others might see and find attractive the relationship we have with Jesus Christ.
Now I can honestly say that I have looked in the mirror often enough to realize I have, appearance wise, good days and bad days. I also can’t help but recall occasional articles that regularly appear in the media showing famous people with and without their makeup on, (and noticing just how obvious the difference is). To me, this gives this passage of scripture, and this particular verse, a whole new meaning. Yet there is another part of this admonition we need to notice, and that is what we are told that we need to adorn ourselves with is the “doctrine of God”.
In the Greek, the word for doctrine is “didaskalia”, which is translated as “teaching, instruction, that which is taught, doctrine, teachings, precepts”. Now how do we as believers “adorn” ourselves with the “doctrine” of God? Well I believe the obvious first step is to study and learn what God has revealed to us in His Word.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV
Just as a bride is “diligent” to apply her makeup correctly and attractively, so we too should be diligent to study the Word. When believers begin to study the Word of God and commit to memory the “teachings and precepts” that we find there, we begin the process of putting on our spiritual makeup. Why a process? Because it appears that what Paul is telling us here is that when we take the first step of learning what God has revealed to us through His Word, it has an effect on our outward appearance. How so? The obvious answer from this passage is that our actions, what others see us do and say, begins to change.
One thing I have noticed after raising three daughters is that no one ever puts on their makeup without looking in the mirror to see if it is being applied in such a way as to be attractive. If we look back at the first chapter of Titus, we see that Paul has written this letter to him because there are obvious problems in the Church. How obvious? Read how Paul chooses to describe them to Titus.
“For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. They profess to know God, but in works they deny [Him], being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” Titus 1:10-11,16 NKJV
Sadly it would appear that many were not examining themselves to be sure they were putting on their makeup the right way! How do you know if your makeup is on right? Your actions, what others see you do and say, will reveal your understanding and application of His teachings. Paul makes it pretty clear, however, that we can put our makeup on wrong. Just as you can look at someone and tell if they are wearing makeup or not, you can also look at someone’s actions and tell if they are “adorning” the doctrine of God. Paul’s advice to Titus concerning those who were having a little trouble with their “kosmeo” was this;
“Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,” Titus 3:1-6 NKJV
The bridegroom is coming. How does your spiritual makeup look? Could your appearance use a little touch-up? How often do you look in the mirror of the Word to see if you are adorned with the doctrine of God correctly and attractively? When others look at your actions and listen to your words, do they see a reflection of the Father? Without a doubt, the closer the day of the wedding came, the excitement and activity of my daughters, as well as everybody involved, changed dramatically. The anticipation and preparation had a profound effect on our daily lives. The bridegroom could return for His Church today! Examine yourself to see if you are truly ready for the wedding.