In the book of Revelation, chapters 2-3, we read the message Jesus gave to the churches. He told John to write these messages and send them to seven churches. In two places, He mentions white garments:
To the church in Sardis:
"But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." Revelation 3:4-5To the church in Laodicea:
"I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see." Revelation 3:18The thing that strikes me about these Scriptures, is that the people have something to do with the purity of their garments/robes. Those in Sardis who "have not soiled their garments" will walk with the Lord "in white." They will not be blotted out of the book of life. Whether or not their garments are soiled is up to them. If they keep their garments from being soiled, they will have the privilege of being clothed in white, walking with the Lord.
He tells those at Laodicea to buy from Him "white garments" so that they may clothe themselves and the shame of their nakedness will not be revealed. Once again, its up to the people whether or not they will pay the price for the white garments, and whether they will clothe themselves in them.
"And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also." Revelation 6:11Further on, we see a multitude clothed in white robes:
"After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."...Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Revelation 7: 9-10, 13-14Once again, "they have washed their robes and made them white." The resulting blessing is awesome:
"For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. they will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to the springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." Revelation 7:15-17.How great would it be to have the tabernacle of God spread over you? Every tear wiped away? Serving God before His throne night and day, with Jesus Himself as your shepherd, leading you to the springs of the water of life!
So how exactly do we get these white robes? Does this mean we earn our salvation? That we are only clothed in white when we live perfectly without sin? If that were entirely true, then we wouldn't have needed Jesus to come and pay the price for us would we? No, righteousness couldn't come by keeping any law. But it does mean that we pay the price, whatever price, to keep His word and our testimony in Him--even unto death. Even during times of great tribulation we remain faithful to Him, washing our robes in the blood of the Lamb if we sin.
Consider what Isaiah said,
" For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." Isaiah 64:6
"I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels." Isaiah 61:10.These outward garments represent our deeds, and our own attempts at righteous deeds are like filthy garments. Yet God looks at the heart, not our actions alone. He clothes us in garments of salvation. He wraps us with a robe of righteousness. Yes, we have a part to play in confessing our sin, washing our garments in His blood, exposing them to the light and not trying to hide or justify ourselves, but God looks at our hearts, not just our deeds:
"Yet even now," declares the Lord, "Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments." Joel 2:12-13Repent from your heart--turn away from evil in your heart--not just in outward appearances.
In the beginning, after the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden, they were ashamed of their nakedness. God made garments of skin for them and clothed them. Then He kicked them out of the Garden so they wouldn't eat from the tree of life and live forever. It was a sad time. (Genesis 3:21-24). But the day is coming, for those who wash their robes, to have access to the tree of life once again!
"Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14.Take the Lord's advice and go to Him, buy white garments from Him. Keep them washed in His blood. It's worth any price!
"Your lips, my bride, drip honey;
Honey and milk are under your tongue,
And the fragrance of your garments
Is like the fragrance of Lebanon."
Song of Solomon 4:11
The bridegroom to the bride