White Robes of Righteousness, Part II

From the Scriptures, we read that God desires His people to be perfect, without spot or blemish: “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” 11 Peter 3:13, 14.

“Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27.

“Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 214.

“Those who, through faith in the merits of the blood of Christ, have clean hands and a pure heart, will receive the white robe, the crown of righteousness, and the life that will run parallel with the life of God. There is no limit to the blessings that we may receive in answer to sincere, fervent prayer. The love of God to fallen man is measureless, and if our Father sees that we will not be lifted up with the blessings he has power to bestow upon us, but will receive them with humble and grateful hearts, he will abundantly grant unto us our requests. He says: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ [Matthew 7:7, 8.]” The Signs of the Times, December 23, 1889.

Soul Made White

“He [the Lord] desires us to seek for a pure, clean soul, a soul washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. It is the white robe of Christ’s righteousness that gives the sinner admittance into the presence of the heavenly angels. Not the color of his hair, but his perfect obedience to all God’s commandments, opens to him the gates of the Holy City.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 920.

“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” Revelation 3:3, 4. Although Sardis specifically was asked to not defile their garments, this also pertains to all of God’s people. He is requesting that we walk with Him in white, to overcome, and to be clothed in white raiment. If we do this, our names will be retained in the book of life. Praise the Lord! The Lord’s white raiment is retained without one spot, defilement, or blemish. This is Christ’s righteousness and eternal life.

“Angels of God are weighing moral worth. They are watching the development of character in those now living, to see if their names can be retained in the book of life. A probation is granted us in which to wash our robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. Who is doing this work? Who is separating from himself sin and selfishness?” Ibid., 960.

For Eternity

The Laodicean Church is described in Revelation 3 as being lukewarm, having need of nothing, feeling that they are okay. However, God tells them they are wretched and naked. (Verse 9.) They are not clothed with the white raiment of Christ’s righteousness. In verse 18, Jesus Himself appeals to them, “Buy of me . . . white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed.” These verses say much more, but we are dwelling only on the subject of raiment—not to be naked, but clothed in Christ Jesus. Christ continues, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Verses 21, 22. God is pleading with His people, with the church of Laodicea, to listen, to hear Him. “I love you,” He is saying, “and I desire you to be with Me for eternity.”

“The gold of faith and love, the white raiment of a spotless character, and the eyesalve, or the power of clear discernment between good and evil¾all these we must obtain before we can hope to enter the kingdom of God. But these precious treasures will not drop upon us without some exertion on our part. We must buy¾we must ‘be zealous and repent’ [Revelation 3:19] of our lukewarm state. We must be awake to see our wrongs, to search for our sins, and to put them away from us. . . .” Our High Calling, 351.

“Again and again has the voice from heaven addressed you. Will you obey this voice? Will you heed the counsel of the True Witness to seek the gold tried in the fire, the white raiment, and the eyesalve? The gold is faith and love, the white raiment is the righteousness of Christ, the eyesalve is that spiritual discernment which will enable you to see the wiles of Satan and shun them, to detect sin and abhor it, to see truth and obey it.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 233.

Those who are lukewarm are not in a hopeless state. There is a chance to remedy their state. “The Laodicean message is full of encouragement; for the backslidden church may yet buy the gold of faith and love, may yet have the white robe of the righteousness of Christ, that the shame of their nakedness need not appear. Purity of heart, purity of motive, may yet characterize those who are halfhearted and who are striving to serve God and mammon. They may yet wash their robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Review and Herald, August 28, 1894.

“Now He [Jesus] stands at the door of the heart as a heavenly merchantman; He says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.’ [Revelation 3:20.] ‘Open unto me; buy of me the heavenly wares; buy of me the gold tried in the fire.’ Buy faith and love, the precious, beautiful attributes of our Redeemer, which will enable us to find our way into the hearts of those who do not know Him, who are cold and alienated from Him through unbelief and sin. He invites us to buy the white raiment, which is His glorious righteousness; and the eyesalve, that we may discern spiritual things. Oh, shall we not open the heart’s door to this heavenly visitor?” Bible Echo, January 15, 1892.

“The gold that Jesus would have us buy of Him is gold tried in the fire; it is the gold of faith and love, that has no defiling substance mingled with it. The white raiment is the righteousness of Christ, the wedding garment which Christ alone can give. The eyesalve is the true spiritual discernment that is so wanting among us, for spiritual things must be spiritually discerned.” Review and Herald, April 1, 1890.

“The counsel of the true Witness is full of encouragement and comfort. . . . Purity of heart, purity of motive, will characterize every one who is washing his robe, and making it white in the blood of the Lamb.” Ibid., July 24, 1888.

“Let thy garments be always white.” Ecclesiastes 9:8. Solomon understood living in the Lord and lived to His glory during the last years of his reign. For years he had lived in sin, and he had learned that it was all vanity. He returned to the Lord in his old age, appealing to God’s people to keep their garments white, which is for eternity¾part of heaven and Christ’s righteousness.

The Dark Days

It would perhaps be helpful to review briefly the dark days of the 1260 year period mentioned in Daniel 11:29-36. We cannot here discuss the details of the horror for God’s people or the innumerable martyrs during this period of the papal rule, but read verse 35: “And [some] of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make [them] white, [even] to the time of the end: because [it is] yet for a time appointed.” Yes, some fell. The faithful were tried and purged of sin and worldliness. Purification followed; they were cleaned and made “white” until the time of the end. The 1260 years ended in 1798.

All of God’s faithful faced tribulation and purging. Praise God! They were clothed in white robes of Christ’s righteousness.

“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” Daniel 12:10. Here again it is mentioned that during the 1260 years (see verses 7, 9) many would be purified and made white by trials and tribulation. They were wise and understood.

Twice Daniel mentions the details of the 1260 years: God’s people understood the trials and the purging; they were tried, purged or purified, and made white. Was it worth it? Millions of God’s faithful understood and were made white.

John the Revelator, speaking of Jesus, said: “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they [were], should be fulfilled.” Revelation 6:9-11.

John also reveals during the fifth seal how God’s people were martyred, slain for the Word of God. They pled, “How long” will this continue, in verse 10. Ultimately, they all received a gift white robes and rested in the grave for a while, waiting for the resurrection to be robed in white for eternity.

Now is the Time

Now that we have arrived at and passed the “time of the end”¾1798 and on¾it definitely appears that the “end of time” has arrived. Mrs. White, through the Holy Spirit, pleads with God’s people that now is the time: “It is now that we must keep ourselves and our children unspotted from the world. It is now that we must wash our robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. It is now that we must overcome pride, passion, and spiritual slothfulness. It is now that we must awake and make determined effort for symmetry of character. ‘Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.’ [Hebrews 3:15.] We are in a most trying position, waiting, watching for our Lord’s appearing. The world is in darkness. ‘But ye, brethren,’ says Paul, ‘are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.’ [1 Thessalonians 5:4.] It is ever God’s purpose to bring light out of darkness, joy out of sorrow, and rest out of weariness for the waiting, longing soul.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 215, 216.

In the final hour, just before probation closes, a trying situation will occur among God’s people. “The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out¾the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths. . . . The remnant that purify their souls by obeying the truth gather strength from the trying process, exhibiting the beauty of holiness amid the surrounding apostasy.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 911.

Now that God’s people, after much preparation, have washed their robes of character and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, they are ready for the final hour. The remnant are waiting, watching, and longing for the Lord’s appearing. They are without spot or stain of sin and exhibit the beauty of holiness.

Finally an announcement is made that the marriage of the Lamb “is” come, and His wife, the church, hath made herself ready, and that she is clothed in fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints. “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Revelation 19:7, 8.

Now that the saints have fully acquired the fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of Christ, and made herself ready, Jesus is coming to gather the remnant of His wife, the church, to that eternal home.

“God is the husband of His church. The church is the bride, the Lamb’s wife. Every true believer is a part of the body of Christ. Christ regards unfaithfulness shown to Him by His people as the unfaithfulness of a wife to her husband. We are to remember that we are members of Christ’s body.” Ibid., 985.

“The church is the bride, the Lamb’s wife. She should keep herself pure, sanctified, holy. Never should she indulge in any foolishness; for she is the bride of a King. Yet she does not realize her exalted position. If she understood this, she would be all-glorious within.” Ibid., 986.

“The church is the bride of Christ, and her members are to yoke up with their Leader. God warns us not to defile our garments.” Ibid., 986.

Humanity in Heaven

John the Revelator saw something that was pleasing to his experience with the vision. “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.” Revelation 7:9. He saw God’s people from all the ages before the throne. They were clothed in white robes with palms in their hands.

“The palms signify that they have gained the victory, and the white robes that they have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Thank God that a fountain has been opened to wash our robes of character, and make them as white as snow.” Ibid., 970. What a victorious people dressed in white!

“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.” Revelation 7:13.

One of the elders (verse 11) asks, “Who are those dressed in white?” “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.” Verse 14.

Yes, God’s dear people from earth are finally in heaven before God’s throne, victorious, dressed with white raiment, washed in the blood of the Lamb. They are clothed with God’s garments of white righteousness, holiness, purity, and godliness forever. In this final hour, pray that we may wear the robe of righteousness made white as snow by the blood of the Lamb.

‘“Those with whom Christ dwells will be surrounded with a divine atmosphere. Their white robes of purity will be fragrant with perfume from the garden of the Lord. Their faces will reflect light from His, brightening the path for stumbling and weary feet.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 135.

Heaven is Waiting

God the Father, Jesus Christ our Redeemer, the heavenly angels, the 24 elders around the throne of God, and even the symbolic horses of Jesus’ second coming are all white as snow. Now, heaven is waiting for humanity to possess the garments of heaven¾the clean, white raiment.

“Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” Revelation 16:15. This shame happened in the Garden of Eden; may it not happen in this final hour. May we reveal the character of God and His righteousness to the world with our white raiment of true primitive godliness, total purity, holiness, and righteousness with the character of Christ perfectly reproduced in us.

“God places before him [the ambitious man] the highest objects of ambition a spotless white robe, a crown studded with jewels, a scepter, a throne of glory, and honor that is as enduring as the throne of Jehovah. . . .

“Jesus presents a white robe, a crown of glory richer than any that ever decked the brow of a monarch, and titles above those of honored princes. The recompense for a life devoted to the service of Christ exceeds anything that the human imagination can grasp. Christ does not call upon men to lay aside their zeal, their desires for excellence and elevation, but He would have them seek, not for perishable treasure or fleeting honor, but for that which is enduring.” That I May Know Him, 91.

“The life of God in the soul is Christ in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life. This springing up into life will refresh all who connect with you. If your character is such that God can approve, it will be a complete Christian character filled with grace that is not assumed, but that has a natural growth. If your affections are obedient unto Christ your motives pure, there will be in your life, in your every day deportment, lessons of instruction to all around you. You will be living epistles known and read of all men. Your connection with God will lift you above every thing that has a debasing tendency, your pure and uncorrupted life will be ever pointing your . . . associates upward to God and heaven saying to them you must seek peace and purity and happiness from above. Jesus is the source of your comfort strength and fortitude, amid vexation, trials and grievous temptations. . . . They need to wash their robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.” The Signs of the Times, February 7, 1878.

The songs of our hearts should be those of George Jackson, “A Heart Like Thine,” and Elisha A. Hoffman, “Are You Washed in the Blood?”

I want, dear Lord, a heart that’s true and clean;
A sunlit heart with not a cloud between.
A heart like Thine, a heart as white as snow;
On me, dear Lord, a heart like this bestow.
When the Bridegroom cometh will your robes be white?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Will your soul be ready for the mansions bright,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb;
There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean,
Oh, be washed in the blood of the Lamb!
Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

May it be our desire in this final hour to be clothed in the white raiment, the robe of Christ’s righteousness, which we will wear and possess for eternity in our characters.

[All emphasis added.]

A real estate broker in Collegedale, Tennessee, for 15 years, Bill Humeniuk decided to retire early so he would be able to spend more time in Bible study and working for the Lord. Five years ago, he started Advent Hope Ministries, Inc., which is primarily a “Bibles for Africa” project. He may be contacted by e -mail at: adventhope@hughes.net or at: http://www.biblesforafrica.org.