February 20, 2012 – Marriages, White Clothes, and Muddy Tracks in the Snow
7 Let us rejoice and shout for joy [exulting and triumphant]! Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb [at last] has come, and His bride has prepared herself. 8 She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen, dazzling and white – for the fine linen (signifies, represents) the righteousness (the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God) of the saints (God’s holy people). – Revelation 19:7-8 AMP
The marriage supper of the Lamb is often one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted passages in the Bible. The timing of the event is disputed among educated theologians and lay people alike. There is no consensus of opinion as to whether this marriage between Christ and the church will occur before or after the Rapture or before, during, or after the Tribulation. I know my own personal beliefs in this matter, but will not go into the timing subject today. My focus today is on those participating in the marriage supper itself.
The color white in the Bible symbolizes many things. Purity tops the list. White also symbolizes light, righteousness, and holiness. The modern day wedding often includes a bride dressed in white. Today’s passage says that the bride of Christ, the church, will be dressed in white. But there is much more to the white in this passage than a fine linen garment.
Yesterday on our mountainous hillside of rural America we had a six inch snowfall. It literally fell all day long. It would have made a great backdrop if it would have come on December 24th, but we were not so blessed with snow this past Christmas. We all still loved it. Our family absolutely loves the snow. But this morning my wife Marlo rose early and grabbed her camera before she did anything else.
Why did Marlo get her camera? Why did she seek those outside snapshots before anything else? She went around taking pictures for a couple of reasons. First, she knew it wouldn’t last long, as temperatures today as supposed to be above freezing. Second, she wanted to get pictures of the fresh snow before they bore the trails of our children’s footprints. She wanted to capture the moments of purity rather than the muddy tracks that would be left behind a few hours later.
A snowfall can metaphorically describe the walk of many Christians. When you first receive your salvation, you are purified and put on your fresh white clothing. Then, without the proper guidance and lacking a heartfelt desire to draw closer to Him, the cravings of your flesh soil your new garments, just like those muddy tracks in the snow. Before you know it, the filth of the world permanently stains your new clothing. Your new faith, like the snow fading away, gives off a whole new appearance.
But today’s passage specifically says that the clothing of the saints is dazzling white fine linen. It says that the white linen represents righteousness, which is defined as upright, just, and godly living, as well as deeds, conduct and right standing with God. Now there are literally millions of churches and Christians alike who will contend that the body of believers is God’s saints. But how many Christians do you actually know who fit the bill here? How many Christians do you know who live lives pure before God in thought, word, and deed? Are you one of those Christians looking out at the world shaking your head, or are you one of those Christians in the world, looking toward God, wondering where you missed the boat? The truth is that Christianity has been reduced to a religion that, like freshly fallen snow, looks really good on the surface.
Look around your church and your own life. If you live Christianity on the surface, what would others see if your surface melted away? Would they see someone whose faith is unshakeable, who would stand firm in their faith regardless of the circumstances, or would they see muddy tracks in the snow? Would they see someone who lived a godly life, or would they see a stained white garment that no bleach on the planet could clean?
Let’s be honest. No one can live Christianity on a fresh snowfall. Fresh snow is hard to walk on because you are not walking on solid ground. True Christianity is about being firmly planted. We are supposed to be firmly planted on that Rock which is Jesus. Now there are times when we all must get our hands dirty and maybe even have to clean out from under our fingernails when issues arise. But when we are firmly planted in Him, we’ll never stumble.
When we have our faith firmly planted in Jesus, there are no muddy tracks. If you’re standing on the Rock, you’ll never get mired in the mud. As the old hymn goes, all other ground is sinking sand. Jesus gives us the white linen to wear. The problem comes in that we must all choose what to do with it. We can live for Him and keep it clean until He comes for us at the Rapture. We do it by living godly lives and never compromising our faith. Or we can choose to stain it forever. And the more of the world we stain it with, the harder it will be to leave that ungodly life behind. When that happens, you’ll be left wondering why your white clothes don’t look so white anymore.