Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Garments of Grace

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10

Today's verse is such a wonderful testimony to the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Australian Anglican theologian, Graeme Goldsworthy, defines imputed righteousness this way:
The gospel is saying that, what man cannot do in order to be accepted with God, this God himself has done for us in the person of Jesus Christ. To be acceptable to God we must present to God a life of perfect and unceasing obedience to his will. The gospel declares that Jesus has done this for us. For God to be righteous he must deal with our sin. This also he has done for us in Jesus. The holy law of God was lived out perfectly for us by Christ, and its penalty was paid perfectly for us by Christ. The living and dying of Christ for us, and this alone is the basis of our acceptance with God.
Christian, do you greatly rejoice in the Lord? Does your soul exult in your God? And does your joy and exultation come, in part, in the realization that you are now clothed in garments of grace?

Forever removed is the sin-stained raiment in which you were born and in which you once found your comfort and joy, as you relished in your sins of omission and commission, drinking in iniquity like water. Instead, my brethren, you are now and forever clothed in garments that were not sewn by you--garments you did not purchase with your own righteousness--but rather garments purchased by God and for God, through the shed blood of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sadly, my brethren, there are heretics who have gone out from us, but were never truly of us (1 John 2:19)--false teachers who seek to confuse and lead astray believers and unbelievers alike by denying the precious and vital doctrine of imputed righteousness. They scoff at the gift of the garments of grace and, instead, boast in their poorly stitched costumes, which they claim are clean and white because of their own righteousness. Tragically, unless and until they repent and believe the gospel and are clothed in the righteousness of Christ (His glorious garments of grace), the stitching of their filthy, sin-stained, garments of self-righteousness will continue to unravel and rot, until they appear before the Judgment Seat in unholy and damning tatters.

These heralds of Hell, representatives of the Liar, are plying their antichrist wares in putrid pulpits and atop boxes in the open-air, denying the finished work of Christ by denying His imputed righteousness. Some say the evangelists among us, those who are still among us and have not gone out from us--evangelists who climb onto boxes to herald the truth of the gospel in the open-air--should engage these false teachers in open-debate. I say the better course of action is to declare the truth louder, farther, and wider than they spew their lies.

And herald this great truth we must, my brethren, for the glory of Christ! Having brought the unregenerate to the knowledge of their sin, through holding the Law of God in front of them like a mirror; our proclamation of the good news must include the explanation of the beautiful garments of grace. We must tell people what it cost our Lord and Savior to clothe the Christian in His garments of grace. We must tell people that the only garments acceptable to the Father when we all one-day stand before His Throne, the only wedding clothes allowed at the great wedding feast of the Bridegroom and His bride, will be the perfect and pure garments of the Father's beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, my brethren, rejoice! Exult in your God, for He has clothed you in His garments of grace--woven in mercy, stitched in love, sewn in sovereignty. And herald this great and majestic truth louder, farther, and wider than ever before--for the love of Christ and love for the lost.