EVERYTHING IS IRONED OUT
There are preachers and teachers out there saying Christ is looking for a Church without spot or wrinkle before He comes back. There is no truth in this. Those who believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth for the redemption of their relationship with Father God and the salvation of their eternal souls from Hell are without spot or wrinkle. Once Jesus said, "It is finished." - all those who believed in His complete work of salvation have eternal life. In addition, Christ is not looking for anything. The return of Christ FOR His own (1 Thess. 4:13-18) is imminent. This means it could happen at any moment; that there are no signs preceding the event. There are only signs to the closeness of His return like the full number of gentiles coming into the Kingdom, which only God knows and the closer the world travels toward events at the beginning of The Tribulation.
I think one of the key verses, if not the main verse, that gets misused about God coming back for a spotless Church is Ephesians 5:25-27.
- "...husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault."
Even within Paul's letter to Ephesus we see the Holy Spirit emphasizing - It Is Finished - through an analogy of a husband's love for his wife. At the end of this passage our present state and future state are magnified - "Instead, she [The Church] will be holy and without fault." The words "will be" make the presentation of The Church before Christ as without spot, wrinkle or any other blemish still future. Also the word "Instead" claims - instead of us having a spot, wrinkle or blemish - we are now made clean through the sacrifice of our Savior, Christ Jesus. Our perfection is not manifested now in these bodies. No. The corruptible must put on incorruptible in order to survive the next chapter of existence (1 Corinthians 15:53).
Meanwhile, we turn to the production viewpoint. The fruit of a tree is the barometer of it's health and so it is with Christians individually, corporately, regionally, nationally and globally (Matthew 7:20). The difference should be we work/perform as unto The Lord (Colossians 3:23). Peter admonishes the Believer -
- "we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him." (2 Peter 3:13-14)
The word "spotless" here in the original Greek is aspilos, which means physically or morally unblemished. It reminds me of another verse - "Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob." (Psalm 24:3-6)
Our deeds for Him need to be worked on while we still have time to work on them (Hebrews 3:13). Once the Lord comes FOR His True Believers, I imagine soon afterward The Lord will sit on The Bema Seat and judge our deeds we did for Him whether good or bad. If they survive His Holy fire of testing it will be a beautiful reward that we then can lay at His feet. If our deeds are burned up we will suffer loss. See 1 Corinthians 3:13-15. Then what is written in Revelation 19:6-8 will come to pass - The Church will be "permitted to wear the finest white linen".
- "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice and honor him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She is permitted to wear the finest white linen." (Fine linen represents the good deeds done by the people of God.)
So, The Church, spiritually is without spot or wrinkle. We are the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus our Lord (2 Corinthians 5:21). We await Christ's promise to return - "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:3). In the meantime, Paul encourages us through his letter to the church in Phillipi to "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling," (Philippians 2:12). In Other Words, Christ is NOT LOOKING for a church without spot, wrinkle or blemish. Your spot(s) and wrinkle(s) have been Ironed Out - now just concern yourself with service for the King however imperfect it may seem right now, the benefits later will be simply Heavenly.