Revelation 21:2 says, “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” This preparation is carried out by our cooperation with God’s operation; see:
New Jerusalem is Prepared by Our Cooperation with Christ Dwelling in Us.
When does the preparation occur? First Corinthians 15:52 tells us, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.” This is a sudden change, at the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15). This change is the transfiguration of our mortal bodies, which will take place when the Lord Jesus Christ is revealed from the heavens (Philippians 3:20-21). Our transfiguration is part of the preparation of the bride.
Multiple verses, including 1 Corinthians 3:6-7; Colossians 2:19; 1 Peter 2:2; and 2 Peter 3:18 have “grow” or “growth.” Growth is a process, not “in the twinkling of an eye.” Our growth includes “being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14), “being transformed” (2 Corinthians 3:18) and “being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). Our being renewed, sanctified, and transformed in our soul is part of the preparation of the bride.
Both the transfiguration of our body and the renewing, sanctification, and transformation of our soul follow the regeneration of our spirit. Thus, regeneration is also part of the preparation of the bride.
“We ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan in ourselves, eagerly awaiting sonship, the redemption [transfiguration] of our body” (Romans 8:23). While we are eagerly waiting this final step of preparation, we are also cooperating with the Spirit in the current on-going preparation. In Romans 8 our cooperation includes “walking according to the spirit” (v. 4), “minding the things of the Spirit” (v. 5), “putting to death, by the Spirit, the practices of the body” (v. 13), and being led by the Spirit (v. 14).
Preparing the Bride by Washing (1) (and the following posts in this series)