The White Dress

It’s a prolific idea, both in Christian circles and non – that a bride is allowed to wear a white gown on her wedding day if she’s pure and, well, if she’s not…then she’s stuck with ivory.

By all conventional standards, I deserve the white dress. I am a virgin and, in God’s strength, I’ll be a virgin on my wedding day. But today, I’m here to tell you that that is not why I can wear the white dress. I don’t deserve the white dress simply because my body is pure. The white dress has been made available to me because my soul has been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

As my fiancé wrote in a letter he gave me prior to my going wedding dress shopping, “I have been thinking about the importance and significance of your wedding dress. There is no doubt that many can make their white dress grounds for pride or simply a distraction from the true meaning of what the Lord is showing the world at each marriage. The beauty, glory, and holiness, of the church, washed by the blood of Christ, ought to be seen in each bride’s wedding dress. What a joyful and noble reason to pick out a magnificent dress!”

IT’S ABOUT MORE

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus magnified the Law. He said, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:21-22). He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).

Now if all we had to do was not murder and not commit outward acts of adultery, I’d venture a guess that we’d be in good shape. But in these passages and more, Jesus takes holiness to a whole new level. You and I have never murdered and we’ve probably not committed adultery either, but I’d bet my bottom dollar that you’ve been angry before and that you’ve experienced lust for another person a handful of times. I know I certainly have. …And it’s a problem because “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).

So great…now I’m guilty of breaking the entire Law of God, and so are you.

“But what about that white dress?” you may ask. “Aren’t you still going to wear it since you’re saving sex for marriage?”

Yes, I’m going to wear it. But not because of anything I’ve done or am doing. I am going to wear it as a proclamation of the Gospel of grace – the Good News that shows a Savior Who bore my sin and died that I may live…a Savior who knew no sin and yet became sin itself, so that, in Him, I could become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

ANOTHER WHITE DRESS

I want my white wedding dress to point to a greater white garment. Revelation 6:11 speaks of “white robes given unto every one of [the saints] (by “saints,” it means those who believe in Christ) …that they should rest.” Isaiah 61:10 says, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with a robe of righteousness…as a bride adorns herself…” In both of these passages, it is clear that the white garment is about God and His work. Believers don’t start out with ivory robes and then earn these white ones by doing good works. Instead, we are given white robes by God, in mercy, for the sake of Jesus Christ.

When you see a bride in a long white dress, I hope you don’t merely think, “good for her; she did it right.” Instead, I hope you are reminded of the long white dress that Christ gives to all who believe. I hope you pour out thankful praise to the Bridegroom who clothes you in perfect purity.

TO THOSE WHO WONDER

If you’ve fallen into sexual sin in the past and since repented and now wonder if you can still wear white on your wedding day, my answer to you is yes. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,” you have been cleansed by Christ’s blood (Romans 10:9). Your sins have been removed from you, and you have been made new (Psalm 103:11-13; 2 Corinthians 5:17). You can wear the white dress, dear friend. After all, if you believe in Christ Jesus as Lord, you already do.

“You father the orphan, Your kindness makes us whole and You shoulder our weakness and Your strength becomes our own. Now You’re making me like You, clothing me in white, bringing beauty from ashes, for You will have Your bride…Free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame and known by her true name…And it’s why I sing Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips.” – Ever Be (Bethel)

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