Garments are often mentioned in the Scriptures and, in many cases, seem to indicate a person’s spiritual nature as it is seen by God and man. Our physical clothing is observed by others and represents something of our self-perception or the image we wish to portray. Each individual reveals himself to God and the world around himself not only by the material garments he wears but by the nature he portrays in everyday life.
From this perspective, we begin life with unclean clothing. Although we understand that babies are innocent before God, they have the sin nature, nevertheless. Their inborn disposition is self-willed, covetous, and independent. The seed of all evil is in them. As they grow older, it becomes more and more evident, and eventually they become personally accountable to God. Then when one is born again, he is clothed with the beautiful garments of righteousness by faith in the Lord Jesus.
Isaiah foresaw the gospel age when he wrote, “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” (Isa. 61:10). He saw the provisions in God’s closet, and it was cause for rejoicing. Just as one’s physical clothing is put on, so every person puts on his spiritual clothing. He who, by the grace of God, chooses the high road of salvation voluntarily puts on the ways of Christ. He seeks to conform himself to the image of the holy.
The spiritual ornaments and jewels Isaiah foretold are the graces with which the Holy Spirit intends to adorn every Christian. Nine fruits of the Spirit are mentioned in Galatians 5, but He has many individual gifts prepared for those who yield themselves to Him. No one should feel that since he has found salvation with its peace and rest that he has acquired all the ornaments and jewels God has in mind for him. Those jewels are attained by doing with eagerness what one’s hand finds to do. Such a one will find his involvement in the kingdom grow, and so will his sense of fulfillment.
The world also offers its clothing. The clothing of sin, while often disguised and moderated by careful effort, cannot be totally hidden. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak (Matt. 12:34). The sinful heart will bring forth sinful fruit. Some will shamelessly flaunt their proud and lustful nature. Others will mask their inner emptiness by outward adornment. The unclean spiritual garments of the sinner will be uncomfortably contrasted in the presence of the purely garbed saints. Likewise, they who wear the holy garments we speak of will be uncomfortable in the company of the ungodly.
For the Christian, praise and thanksgiving is an integral part of his life. Knowing and accepting our unworthiness is one of the keys to donning this beautiful garment. Even when not everything in our life’s circle is to our liking, there is still ample reason to praise God. This can only be a reality, though, when we have found victory over our inborn selfishness.
Praise and thanksgiving go hand in hand. Both are born of faith and honesty. By faith, we know that God does all things well. It enables us to appreciate His doings and thank Him for them. An honest heart realizes that many benefits have been granted us that we have not designed or earned. Like Jacob, the aged patriarch, we can say, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant” (Gen. 32:10). Such humble honesty is a cornerstone of thanksgiving and praise.
The act of praising God by expressing our admiration of His virtues is most satisfying. The secret closet of prayer must not only hear groanings of repentance, intercessory pleadings, and petitions for help; it is brightened by the sincere expression of our belief in His truth and faithfulness. To tell God how much we appreciate His goodness and recall to Him how His frequent help has blessed us satisfies the call to worship He has planted deep in our being. Prayers of faith undergirded by heartfelt praise become effective prayers.
Outward praise that is not born in the secret closet experience is weak. The child of God who has satisfied his soul with honest worship will radiate the presence of God as he walks into everyday life. It is his garment.
The pure, spiritual clothing that adorns the saints honors God, attracting those who encounter them to something they can scarcely identify. Conversely, when Christians allow sin and carnality in their lives, it diminishes the winning effect the Father intends to use to glorify Himself and to offer hope and conviction to the sin-sick soul. A sincere spirit coupled with consistent, Christian living, unspotted by the world, speaks for itself
On the great day of judgment, our spiritual garments will be taken into account. Our clothing, or character, is the result of faith and obedience graced by the blood of Jesus.
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands…And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9,13-14).
“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame” (Rev. 16:15).
Messenger of Truth, 2018, No. 23