The Bridal Robe

“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

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL AND wonderful picture is brought to our vision! The church, during the time of her espousal, is said to be clothed in the garment of Christ’s imputed righteousness. Our text reveals that the Lamb’s bride has made herself ready.

She has been permitted to ‘array herself’ in fine linen. She is no longer reckoned as righteous, but she is actually righteous. Since the days of her consecration, her espousal, she has been working into that robe that her Bridegroom gave to her, imputed righteousness, those beautiful stitches of gold (Ps. 45:13), and now her work is done. The wrought gold represents the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. (Gal. 5:22,23) How wonderfully the work she has been doing is described. With patience she has been working into her life, that which is described as a “raiment of needlework.”—Ps. 45:14


Let us briefly review the words of our text. The Lamb’s wife has made herself ready. She has been permitted to array herself in fine linen. All the time of her Christian journey she was clothed only in the garment provided by our Lord, his righteousness, and this she was to keep clean, spotless. But now she is allowed to array herself in the splendor of royalty, for God has now rewarded her for faithfulness. (I Cor.15:38) She has been laying up for herself treasures in heaven, and now is in possession of them, being arrayed, like her Lord, in glory and beauty. (Matt. 6:20) How can this be? All her righteousness before was but filthy rags. (Isa. 64:6) How can they become garments of beauty? The change has been effected by our Lord. This is a work of grace made understandable by the Apostle Paul.

We know that she could not be accepted by God in her former condition, for there is no one who is righteous, but we who believe on Jesus and follow in his steps, have his righteousness imputed to us. (Rom. 3:10,23) As Paul explains, “We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have … received the reconciliation.” (Rom. 5:11, Marginal Translation) Let us stress the importance of the imputed righteousness of Christ our Lord, for we will require it so long as we are in the flesh. But when we are changed into his glorious likeness beyond the veil, we will not be clothed in imputed righteousness when we wear the bridal robe, but we shall be clothed in the “righteous actions of God’s people.” (Rev. 19:8, Weymouth) In other words it will be a righteousness of our very own. We shall then be able to deal righteously, perfectly, with the poor, groaning creation in the age to come.

It is well that we note the difference between the righteousness in Christ and the righteousness of Christ when the Head and body are complete in the glory beyond. Also, it might be said that faith in Christ justifies us, but the faith of Christ sanctifies us. The former is borne out by Ephesians 1:15; Colossians 1:4; 2:5; and the latter by Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16-20. This is very easily understood when we consider that by faith in the precious blood of Jesus all our sins are freely forgiven, and if we have the faith of Jesus, the same kind of faith that he exercised, we shall walk as he walked.


These two degrees of faith are well illustrated in Romans 5:1,2. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” We must have faith in Christ before we can exercise the faith of Christ. Remember that while we, according to the flesh, are imperfect, God, in his mercy imputes Christ’s righteousness unto us. “Mentally, I am a slave to God’s law, but physically to the law of sin.” (Rom. 7:25, Goodspeed) Imputed righteousness is what God has granted us in order that he might deal with us, but the righteousness with which we shall be invested is what we shall have gained by faithfulness.

The apostle enjoins, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil. 2:12) The matter of ‘working out’ our salvation through the exercise of faith is further emphasized by the statement, “By faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”—Gal. 5:5,6, New International Version

Let us retrace our steps and see the remarkable grace of God. We know that we were sinners without God and without hope, but have seen the grace which God effected through Christ. As Paul relates, “What the law could never do, because our lower nature robbed it of all potency, God has done: by sending his own Son in a form like that of our own sinful nature, and as a sacrifice for sin, he has passed judgement against sin within that very nature, so that the commandment of the law may find fulfilment in us, whose conduct, no longer under the control of our lower nature, is directed by the Spirit.”—Rom. 8:3,4, New English Bible

We get by faith that which Israel was unable to get by the Law. Why? Because we Christians exercise the faith of Christ. How does the faith of Christ operate? By doing as Jesus did. He said, “I do always those things that please him.” (John 8:29) Thus exercising the same faith as Christ we will eventually become like him, transformed into his image. As Jesus exemplified complete confidence in, and loyalty to, his Heavenly Father by the course he pursued and the works he did, just so should it be with us, his followers. The Apostle James makes this apparent when he writes, “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24, NIV) And those things he does are to be in accordance with, and by virtue of, our faith.—James 2:17,18,22,26; Rom. 9:30-32

Summing up briefly, then, we are embroidering our bridal robe-to-be, by doing the things he did. Our glorious garment will be prepared for us when we reach that blissful shore. How inspiring, then, the words “She was permitted to array herself in fine linen, … the fine linen, … being the righteous actions of God’s people.”—Rev. 19:8, Weymouth

Dawn Bible Students Association
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