[Continuing on my previous post regarding predetermination vs free will.]
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Continuing the story of the boy who refused the gift of the patron of the orphanage.
Let’s suppose that once he was an adult, he heard of a party that all the ‘big wigs’ were being invited to. He wanted to attend so he could begin making connections to improve his lot in life.
Yet, he didn’t have the right clothes to wear to such an event. He knew he would not even be allowed past the door if he wore his regular clothes.
He was despondent because he really wanted to improve his life, but he knew he couldn’t without the right connections. None of his social group knew the right people. How could he get in? How could he make those connections to improve his life if he was unable to get past the front door? It didn’t matter how hard a worker he was. It didn’t matter how much he was willing to try and learn. He didn’t know the right people.
Then he remembered the patron from the orphanage. He started wondering if he contacted this person if he would be willing to loan him an outfit so he could get into the upcoming event.
He then remembered that he had refused the patron’s gift in the past. For a moment, he was going to give up. But there was something in himself that refused to allow him to give up. He would go to the patron and apologize and ask for his help. Maybe he would forgive him and be willing to help him in his quest for the betterment of his life.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Now, let’s move this to the spiritual realm. Isaiah tells us that we are all filthy. Paul tells us in Romans 3:23 that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s righteousness.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
God gave us His son as a gift so we do not have to die as a result of our sins. This gift includes the ‘robe of righteousness.’ In the illustration of the wedding feast, the guests without the wedding garment were not allowed in. (Matthew 22:11-14).
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”
Christ’s gift of salvation comes with the robe of righteousness. This gift does no good if you do not put it on. Some will try to put on the robe with their old ‘filthy rags’ on. Think of the filthy rags as being the old ‘lusts of the flesh.’ Those old sins you do habitually. You are comfortable in these old clothes, even if they are not in the best shape. It’s like an old pair of tennis shoes. You bought new ones, but they are not broken in yet. So you continue to wear the old pair. The new pair still feels a bit stiff and unnatural.
For Christ’s robe of righteousness to fit us properly, we need to get rid of the filthy rags. Now, as we are wearing Christ’s robe, we do not want to continue any behavior that will get it dirty, like our previous rags were. Instead, we want to live as befitting the garment.
This is very similar to you wearing an outfit to go to a fine dining restaurant, where you dress up very nice. You would not play baseball in that same outfit. It would get it dirty and ruin it.
At first, when we first put on this robe, it didn’t feel very comfortable. It’s like breaking in a new pair of shoes. You don’t like wearing the new shoes and you tend to wear your old ones still and only wear the new ones occasionally, until you get them broken in.
This robe doesn’t fit right as long as you are still wearing your old filthy rags underneath. As you adjust to the robe, you realize that it would be more comfortable by tossing out the filthy rags and only wearing the robe.
The most important point to remember here is that you cannot change out of the filthy rags yourself. You need help in changing to get rid of the old rags. God sends His Holy Spirit to help with this.
As you grow to fit the garment (become comfortable with the new clothes), God’s Spirit will help you toss the filthy rags and keep the new garment clean. We are not to take the new garment off and on. It doesn’t work that way. The Bible says we cannot serve two masters (Matt 6:24). We cannot wear two garments all the time. We either wear the robe of Christ’s righteousness, living as He lived, or we wear our filthy rags (demonstrated in acting upon the lusts of the flesh).
I pray each of you will avail yourself of this precious robe. It’s the only garment allowed into the wedding feast (heaven). Soon the Bridegroom will come. I pray that He will find you wearing the proper garment so you can join in the wedding feast.