MEDITATIONS ON SPIRITUAL ADOPTION #18
THE GARMENTS OF SALVATION
March 31, 2010
Reading: Isaiah 61: 1-11
"He has clothed me with the garments of salvation" Isaiah 61:10
That day in September, 1967 is one that is forever inscribed in my memory-it was the day we adopted my eldest son. The sun was shining and my wife and I had a smile on our faces and great expectation and joy in our hearts. We were about to be introduced to our son for the very first time. We waited in the administrator's office while she went to get the newest member of our family. When she opened the door she held in her arms the most adorable little boy you have ever seen. After signing the final paperwork we walked out into the sun drenched day with our son in our arms and the sunshine in our hearts. The first thing we did was drive to Fred Meyer's and bought our son some clothes.
Although God does not shop at Fred Meyers He does clothe His newly adopted children in garments only He can provide-the garments of salvation. Isaiah speaks of God's children as "the posterity whom the LORD has blessed" (v 9). Yes, all who are in Christ are Abraham's seed (Gal ) and as such are the posterity of the Lord.
Would you prefer to be clothed otherwise? God's children are identified as such by the clothing they wear. It does not matter how you are clothed when He first adopts you He always outfits you with the garments of salvation. When we adopted our baby he was dressed in a beautiful canary yellow outfit but we still bought him new clothes. Whether God's newly adopted child comes clothed with a life of good works and pleasing personality or whether he has been convicted of bank robbery or murder, in God's eyes his clothing is nothing but filthy rags
"But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" Isaiah 64:6.
A wonderful account in the Old Testament (Zech 3:1-5) describes perfectly what God has done for us. Joshua, a High Priest, was standing before the Lord and Satan was busy accusing him. Joshua, instead of being clothed in his beautiful High Priestly garments, stood before the Lord in "filthy garments." Instead of listening to Satan's accusations the Lord told His angel,
"'Take away the filthy garments from him.' And to him He said, 'See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes'" Zechariah 3:4.
What very rich robes our heavenly Father has dressed us in. The Levite priests were clothed in "white linen robes" and, as priests to the Lord, we also are clothed in the purest and brightest of all white clothing, the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Ever since our first ancestors sinned God has provided clothing for His people (Gen ) and will do so until the end of time (). The only antidote for sin is the righteousness of Christ which is made available to us by the shedding of His blood. As heirs of the Living God we rejoice in our Father's declaration, "'This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,' says the LORD" Isaiah 54:17. The righteousness with which we are clothed is a gift from God (Rom ) and praise God for it because our righteousness, such as it is, is "like filthy rags" (Isa 64:6) or putrid bandages as those removed from the sores of a leper. The same word is used for menstrual garments. The message is that the very best we can produce is loathsome to God and is a stench in His nostrils. This is the condition we are in when God adopts us into His family. There is no litmus test He puts us through "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23. We are each one putrid in His eyes-loathsome when compared to His holiness.
While our new Father does not take us shopping at Fred Meyer's for new clothes, He does clothe us. The Psalmist put it in this manner:
"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness" Psalm 30:11.
Jesus promised to those who are called overcomers,
"He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels" Revelation 3:5.
This is how He presents His brethren to His Father-in white garments, pure white garments, with no smears or stains. One of the analogies the Spirit of God uses to describe the relationship of Jesus and the saved is that of Husband and spouse.
"And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints" Revelation 19:8, see also Ezekiel 16;10-14.
When the God who created the gorgeous plumage of birds and the brilliant colors of tropical fish, when the Divine Artist who painted the evening sky with its multitude of pastel colors and places the arc of color in the sky, when He designs and produces the garments for His children to wear, nothing can match their design and beauty. When viewed by God and through His eyes the white linen robes in which the saints are clothed are perfect in design and are a perfect blend of color with no flaws, no smudges and no blemish of any kind.
May God be praised for His magnificent workmanship seen in the garments of salvation with which He clothes each of His adopted children.
"Oh then, what matter of joy must it be to a sincere Christian to have the rich and royal garment of Christ's righteousness cast upon him! (Isaiah 28:16). A sincere Christian rests on the righteousness of Christ as on a sure foundation: "Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength" (Isaiah 45:24) (Thomas Brooks - 1608 -1680).
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing"