THOUGHTS FROM REVELATION

DRESSED IN WHITE – A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE ON ‘CHRISTIAN PERFECTION’

Jesus promised that ‘he who overcomes will … be dressed in white’ [Revelation 3:5]. In this promise we see clear confirmation that those who ‘overcome’ are identical with those who believe.

The white clothing of all who believe in Jesus Christ is mentioned several times in Revelation [3:4,5,18; 6:11; 7:9,13,14; 19:14].  This white clothing is the result of being ‘washed’ by the blood of the Lamb [1:5; 7:14]. It is available only from Jesus Christ [3:18]. It is God’s gracious gift, and is yet another way of referring to the multi-faceted salvation given to those who truly believe. Here the sin that sullied us has been laid on Christ – he bore it in his body on the cross [1Peter 2:24]; and here the perfect righteousness of Christ has been credited to those who believe in him. Only those so clothed have access to Christ’s kingdom [read Matthew 22:11-13].

About this cleansing, this perfection, this righteousness of Christ credited to all who believe, the Scripture affirms:

‘… he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness …’ Isaiah 61:10.

‘… you are clean … You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you’ [John 13:10; 15:3].

‘But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God’ [1Corinthians 6:11].

‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’ [2Corinthians 5:21].

‘Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word’ [Ephesians 5:25,26].

‘But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation …’ [Colossians 1:22].

‘And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ [Hebrews 10:10].

This is the perfection, the purity, the holiness of all whose life is, by faith, hidden in Christ [Colossians 3:3,4]. It is already the possession of believers, and it will be their possession on the Day of Judgment.

This white clothing covers our ‘shameful nakedness’ – our sin and guilt before the holy God [3:18; compare Genesis 3:8-10,21]. It is not the result of our human effort, our human striving, our human commitment and dedication, our human merit, our human achievement, but is given to all the redeemed on the basis of the ‘blood of the Lamb’ [7:9,14]. Indeed it is an essential component of our redemption.

Because it is sheer gift, totally unmerited by us, this Christian perfection, the perfection of Christ credited to all who believe, has no variation, no degrees, no levels. All are dressed in white. As we are taught in Romans 3:22-24: ‘This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.’

All who believe in Christ are ‘dressed in white’ – pure white. No ‘off-white’. No ‘ivory’. No ‘antique white’. No ‘ghost white’. No ‘old lace white’. Nor any of the one hundred and fifty different shades of white.  Just pure, pure white.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2015