Hope is the fabric of our wedding attire. Most such ceremonies have a dress theme, especially for the ladies. Those intent on pleasing the bride and groom do not show up in clothes of their own choosing; instead, they strive to present themselves according to the established theme.
Their preparation is considered part of the entire wedding effort even though it precedes the actual ceremony. The wedding party dresses with full expectation that the wedding will occur, but just because they come prepared does not mean the wedding always happens. They rightly hope for what ought to occur, but which is not yet a forgone conclusion.
As the analogy goes, the attire does not cause the wedding. If anything it anticipates what is to come. The bridesmaids and groomsmen all stand at attention in their common thread waiting expectantly for the wonder of the bride.
In that regard, wedding clothes are symbolic of biblical hope.
As noted in our ongoing study through Claiming Christ, rightly placed hope is foundational to a Christian’s love and faith. Equally so, misplaced hope hinders our ability to follow Jesus as he instructs. It is kind of like showing up to the wedding with the wrong clothes; something Scripture says that God will not look kindly upon.
The Bible tells us that no one hopes for what he already has, because hope is an expectation grounded beyond the immediate moment; it is future-looking. That is why, when applied to salvation, hope makes our longing anticipatory rather than reflective. As Paul articulated regarding his longing for the resurrection, and all that accompanies that glorious event, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect” (Phi 3:12).
Our hope of salvation has its basis in Jesus and his anticipated return. Much like our understanding of the Kingdom of God, salvation has a sense in which it is present as well as future. The present aspect is found in the present indwelling of the Savior who currently sits at the right hand of the Most High. But he has not consummated that ceremony, as he waits for the time appointed by God the Father. And so we look forward to the promised salvation.
As our study conveyed, that is why the Bible offers the assurance of salvific faith to those who are “in him”; those whose lives fit the biblical description of having the Savior of our hoped for salvation actively dwelling within.
Perhaps that is why Scripture commends wedding garments of white to those saints who “clothe themselves”. Not that we get to pick the attire, but we do get the opportunity to demonstrate whether or not we are willing to dress per instructions from on High.
All this to say that valid Christian hope ought to keep our desires and actions focused upon Jesus, more even than upon our ideas of salvation and how it all will unfold. The religious leaders in times past made the mistake of putting their hope of eternal life in the word of God (small “w”), but Jesus said they missed the intended object of that word and were not able to recognize the Word of God (capital “W”; see Jn 5:39-40).
A Christian’s hope of salvation exists in the Provider of that salvation: Jesus. According to his memo, all wedding party participants are expected to dress in the theme of his righteousness, represented by the color white. Such attire is not a last minute exercise; rather it takes a lifetime of submission, devotion, and according to Jesus’ words a “putting into practice”.
Those who will be considered as “in him”, are those who get dressed in white, have made the choices to keep lamps full of spiritual oil, and eagerly anticipate entrance of the Groom (aka biblical hope).
What is going on in your dressing room?