“…that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Eph. 5:27)
Why does Jesus require the act of baptism? He requires it so that the church can be cleansed of its former life of sin. He doesn’t do this for the church as a whole but the church as individual saints. Each saint is part of the church, and so all saints make up the church. Together, the saints are clean. This makes the church, which is the body of Jesus, glorious. Nothing done by the saints bring about this glorious state. It’s all the work of Jesus.
Without spot or wrinkle or any such thing is an impossible task for individual or corporate saints. It is the work of water, and the word, the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. It is an act of the grace of God. We are saved by grace which is a gift of God. Nothing we can actively do merits our salvation. It comes to us through obedience to the word. Understand, however, not even obedience earns grace. It just puts us in position to receive grace. The grace of God appears to all men, but not all are saved. Why? Because of disobedience.
The church is holy, that is, it is set apart by God for his purpose and use. Historically, God has done this in all his associations with mankind. The entire Jewish race was set apart in one sense. Different people in the Jewish nation were set apart for specific work God wanted to be done. Now, in the church, God has set aside a people to be his own possession. He will nurture them here on earth so that he can one day take them to his house. They are not being made spiritual people so that they can inherit the physical earth.
The church is not only holy but is also seen as blameless. This means the saints are blameless in the sight of God. The sins of the church, the collective saints, have been washed away in the blood of Jesus. In God’s eyes, the collective saints are without charges of wrongdoing. As long as they walk in his way and remain obedient to his word, his grace will cover their sins and iniquities.
The church of Christ is glorious because it is perfect, no spot, no wrinkles. It is glorious because it is holy, a spiritual house, occupied by the Spirit of God. It is blameless because it is covered in the blood of Jesus.
Task for Today: Make sure you are a part of this glorious church. Hear the good news and believe it. Repent of your sins, confess the name of Jesus as savior and destroy your old man of sin, bury him, and rise to walk in a new life, the life of the glorified church. God adds the saved to his church.