There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth. (Proverbs 30:12)
There’s no glory in our ugliness—nothing to be proud about. We aren’t the cute little puppy abandoned along the side of the road. Just take him home, give him a bath and he’s as good as new. That’s not us at all. We’re the mangy mutt dumpster diving to eke out an existence. No one will naturally want to take us home. It may seem like an outdated concept, but we are to rightfully be ashamed of who we are.
And isn’t it ironic that as Jesus came to earth, he took on a very plain, and maybe even repulsive appearance (see Isaiah 53:2)? Forget the attractive illustrations we’ve all seen—that image of Jesus does not line up with Scripture. Just maybe, in the incarnation (the Son of God taking on a human body) and becoming “like” us, Jesus wanted to display what we all look like. Something that’s gross and revolting.
Yes, it is true that we were created in the image of God, but that image has been so tarnished and distorted that only God’s redeeming grace can restore us to what we were to be all along. There is nothing inside of us or about us that commends us to God. He must determine on His own to love the unlovely and do something about our wretched condition.
So, Christ sacrificed Himself for His bride, the Church, to cleanse her and wash her “so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). Now there’s true beauty—beauty that emanates not from us, but from the glory and work of Jesus Christ. This is beauty and glory and splendor to delight in, and it is only found in the One who has loved and placed His beauty on His own.