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Monday, February 18, 2013

5:40 AM

Revelation 3:5 - "The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life.  I will confess his name before my Father and before His angels."


This verse gives us a startling picture, the Lamb of God who is risen is clothing His faithful disciples in white garments.  It is startling because on the cross of Calvary we see that same Lamb, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, being crucified without any garments on, while the soldiers gambled for his clothes.  Now the promise I will clothe you in white.

The Lamb goes from being naked and enduring the shame of the cross to being a conqueror who clothes His followers in white garments.  He goes from having no clothes to having a vast array which He graciously gives to His children.  Transformation has occurred, Jesus has went from being the one who is seemingly conquered to be the One who is the ultimate conqueror.  He is the Lamb of God in both places, but now He is not only a Lamb, He is also a roaring lion.  He is the Conqueror, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Here in Revelation the King is speaking to the church at Sardis, a church that is unfaithful, a church that seems to be alive but is in reality spiritually dead (3:1).  He commands that church to remember and to repent.  In other words He tells them very directly to wake up but He is coming soon and they don't want to found asleep (3:3).  Then He says yet there is still a few people in Sardis, a few members of this church that have not fallen asleep.  They have not fallen into the ways of the world.  They have not delved into sin.  They are awake and alive and trusting the King each day.  God always raises up a faithful remnant of followers through redemptive history, and that is exactly what He is doing here.  He is saying to those at Sardis, you are awake, you are alive, continue to walk with me.

This isn't a calling to earn your salvation, it is a calling to live our your salvation.  He is saying to those faithful people continue to be faithful.  Because you have been saved, and because you have been covered by the blood of the Lamb, because you have been clothed in new garments don't soil those garments with the ways or the sins of the world.  Be an overcomer, be a conqueror.

Interestingly enough we aren't told how a person becomes a conqueror (v.5).  I think the reason for that is because the emphasis is on the Lamb of God who is giving out the white garments, not on the people.  He is the one who in His grace gives the new clothes, the white garments, the robes of righteousness as Isaiah 61 says.  He was the one who was stripped down and crucified, while the soldiers were gambling for His clothes.  Now however He is the one who is triumphantly clothing His children with new robes.  Change has taken place, Jesus has conquered, Jesus is alive.

The focus is on Him but still we must ask the question, "what does it mean t be 'one who conquers'?"  It simply means to be faithful.  To live a life of consistent obedience, to live a life of courageous faith.  Again not to earn our salvation, because we could never do that.  All of the good actioins in the world could not earn our salvation or take our sins away.  So we don't live out our faith and walk in obedience to earn salvation.  We do those things because we have been given salvation.  We do those things because we have been cleansed and because we have been given a new identity.  We live faithful lives in thanksgiving for what the Lamb has done for us.  We live lives of courageous obedience because the Lamb was slain but also because the Lamb is alive and now that Lamb is a conquering Lion.  We live out our faith because He lives within us.  We live as "ones who have overcome" so that we might glorify God.  So that we might glorify and lift up the Lamb that was slain for our sins, and so that we might not soil the garments that He so graciously has given to us.