In the Beauty & the Beast, it is the beast who changes over the course of the story.  That’s how we would like wedding supper of the Lamb to go.  “Just As I Am” means that Christ ought to accept His bride without any change on her part while the Lion of Judah must be transformed into our image.

The Bible, however, shows a very different picture–one that describes a process of perfection that we must undergo to share in Jesus’ holiness.

I.  Ephesians 5:25.  Like God’s people of the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 7:6-8), there’s nothing special about us that the Bridegroom would choose us (1 Corinthians 1:26-28).  We are the nothings of this world, despised and rejected (Ezekiel 16:4-7), yet God loved us, and Jesus gave Himself for us (John 3:16-17).

II.  Ephesians 5:26.  We are not okay the way we are but dirty, sinful, and separated from Him.  Jesus perfects His bride, the church, through a sanctification process (Ezekiel 16:8-12).  This was made possible through His sacrifice on the cross and involves much discipline on our part (Hebrews 12:7-14).  The result, however, is that we share in His holiness if we are trained by it (Ephesians 4:20-24).

III.  Ephesians 5:27.   Once perfected, we advance to royalty (Ezekiel 16:13-14) as the King of Kings presents the church to Himself (1 Peter 2:9-10).  There is no doubt that the sanctified bride will be presented to the Lion of Judah (Revelation 21:1-4).  All that is to be determined is if you will be part of the bride.

We are given the opportunity to share in Christ’s character–holiness, but many do not work out their salvation with fear and trembling.  In describing how God’s people of the Old Testament did not go through the sanctification process, Ezekiel gives us a bleak picture of their end in Ezekiel 16:15-22.  May we remember where we’ve been, recall the price of our sanctification, and live our new lives as the bride of Christ.