Garments of Splendor

Garments of Splendor

Garments of Splendor.

“Clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.” (Romans 13:14, NLT)).

a. Two Coats (a traditional song, performed by Patty Loveless, from her bluegrass album Mountain Soul):

“Two coats were before me, an old and a new; I asked my sweet Master, Oh, what must I do; The old coat was ugly, so tattered and torn; The other a new one, had never been worn.

(chorus) I’ll tell you the best thing I ever did do; I took off the old coat, and put on the new.

The first man was earthly, and made from the ground; We bore all his image, the whole world around; The next was my Savior, from heaven so fair; He brought me this new coat, you now see me wear.

(chorus) I’ll tell you the best thing I ever did do; I took off the old coat, and put on the new.

Now this coat, it suits me, and keeps me so warm; It’s good in the winter, it’s good in the storm; My savior has dressed me in a garment so rare; He brought me this new coat, you now see me wear.

(chorus) I’ll tell you the best thing I ever did do; I took off the old coat, and put on the new.”

b. Once upon a time there was a man invited to a royal wedding feast. The king was hosting the feast for the marriage of his son and his bride. The generous king provided clean and beautiful wedding robes to all those invited to the feast.  The robes were spotless, they were robes of splendor. This man who was invited came to the door of the feast dressed in his normal working clothes… dirty, sloppy, torn, ill-fitting. This man was impudent, and arrogant, and decided not to put on the robe. For his own reasons he didn’t want to cover his dirty clothes. He didn’t think the wedding feast was important enough to go to the trouble of removing his daily garments. The man decided to reject the host’s hospitality, which insulted the king greatly. The king met the man at the door and confronted him. “What are you doing? Didn’t you take seriously my invitation to this great feast? You haven’t covered yourself in my new clean wedding garment!” The king threw the man out and sent him away. The king would not let this man into the feasting hall. The rebuked man knew there was nothing he could say in his defense. So the man, through his own choice, was exiled to the darkness outside the feasting hall, away from all the obedient party-goers who put on the clean wedding robes. (Matthew 22:1-14).

c. Faith has a uniform. Following Jesus is like putting on a whole new wardrobe, a new set of clothes. We are now wearing Christ, we have a new identity, a different look, a new style that reflects our heart’s desire. Following Jesus means we are now clothed in a different line, we have a new fashion designer. We have changed wardrobe consultants, and we are now covered in a new garment, a robe of righteousness. We have put on God’s goodness as our garment, and righteousness as our covering. Our new uniform reflects a right standing with God, as well as a pursuit of what pleases God out of our response to His love. Our new wardrobe now reflects God’s nature and character as He transforms us from within. We are now clothed in Christ, displaying the very virtues of God, reflecting a state of righteousness offered through the grace of Jesus. Our uniform has an identity. We want to identify ourselves with Christ. We want our clothes to reflect our faith. With our new spiritual threads, our high praise echoes Isaiah: “I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10).

d. Before we put on, we have to take off. We need to strip ourselves of the old Adam as we put on the new Adam. To put off our old garment is to repent, to confess our old nature to God. Our new clothes represents repentance, our confession, our desire to strip off the old and put on the new. God’s grace is the only power strong enough to enable us to take off and put on.

“Fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural order. It is time to put off anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, blasphemy, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful behavior and all its wicked deeds. So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust and evil desires. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3).

“You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with His label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.” (Colossians 3:7-8, Message).

e. After we have stripped off, what do we put on? God does not leave us in the dark, since Scripture repeatedly suggests what to put on:

“Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor!” (Isaiah 52:1, NIV).

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; and to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV).

“I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban.” (Job  29:14, NASB).

“Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him.” (Colossians 3:9-10, NLT).

“I will clothe her priests with godliness; her faithful servants will sing for joy.” (Psalm 132:16, NLT).

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Romans 13:14, NKJB).

“Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ And turning to Jeshua he said, ‘See, I have taken away your sins, and I am giving you these fine new clothes.’ Then I said, ‘They should also place a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the Lord stood by.” (Zechariah 3:3-5, NLT).

“Let us rejoice and be glad, and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” (Revelations 19:7-8, NASB).

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27, NKJB).

f. When we put on our new set of clothes, we need to keep growing, making sure the outside is matching up with the inside. We need to make sure our new identity matches up with our growing faith. It’s easy to simply obey a set of rules, to simply put on holy appearances, a righteous exterior, a superficial goodness. Jesus gave some stern rebukes to those religious leaders who were hypocrites, actors wearing a stage costume of righteousness. Putting on Jesus means we have a genuine character on the outside, nurtured by the Holy Spirit, which matches up with the maturing faith on the inside. A mere costume of goodness is not sufficient, because we know that “people judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). “I didn’t want some petty inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules, when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ – God’s righteousness.” (Philippians 3:8, Message).

g. What does our robe of righteousness look like? When we clothe ourselves in Jesus, what is our spiritual fashion statement?

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:10-12, NIV).

h. Or, put another way,

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”  (Colossians 3:10-12, Message).

One Reply to “Garments of Splendor”

  1. Steve, this is so good. All I have to do is throw away my filthy old clothes and put on His Beautiful Clothes. No striving. Easy. Daily. Putting on His Righteousness, new every morning.