Q. I have a pastor friend who says the rapture is a ways off. His reasoning is that Christ said He was coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle and the present day church is no where near that. Any light that you can shed on this verse would be greatly appreciated.
A. In the first place, Jesus never made a statement like that. But to be free from spot or wrinkle means to be free from any and all sin, holy and blameless. Your pastor friend apparently doesn’t believe that the Church was made pure at the cross (Colossians 2:13-14) even though it’s the only way for sinful man to become so.
Paul used the phrase “without spot or wrinkle” to describe the Church in Ephes 5:25-27. He said The Lord gave Himself up for us to make us Holy and washed us in the water of His word to make us a radiant Church without spot or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Notice it was the Lord who gave Himself up for us, and it was He who washed us to make us this way. He did it all.
We’ve been given a righteousness apart from the Law that comes from God through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe (Romans 3:21-22). Apart from the Law means apart from our behavior.
If your friend really believes the Lord won’t come for us until our behavior makes us worthy, then he’s saying the Lord will never come for us, because our behavior can never make us worthy.
However, to the man who does not work but trusts God, who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited to him as righteousness (Romans 4:5)