Monday, March 28, 2011

Who Are You Wearing?

Commentary on the Sabbath School Lesson for 4.2.11

It happens every year…Reporters line the Red Carpet outside the Academy Awards Ceremony.  The fashion reporters from all over the country want to know who designed the outfit that each star is wearing…Armani, Dior, Channel…whatever.  Oscar night has become almost as important to designers as it is to people involved in the movie making business.  The designers loan their outfits (mostly gowns) to the stars as a form of advertising.  Although, I’m not sure what the designers get out of the whole thing because I don’t believe even the stars who are wearing the outfits could afford to actually buy the clothes they’re wearing.  And yet, it seems important to someone that we know the names of the designers, so the reporters and camera folk stand outside the auditorium and dutifully ask and photograph each star as he (or she) goes in.

That just seems like a huge waste of time and money, especially when really the only One any of us should be wearing is Jesus – His robe of righteousness.
“Christ is the sinner’s substitute and surety. He has obeyed the law in the sinner’s place, in order that the sinner may believe in him, and grow up into him in all things to the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus, and thus be complete in him. Christ has made reconciliation for sin, and has borne all its ignominy, reproach, and punishment; and yet while bearing sin, he has brought in everlasting righteousness, so that the believer is spotless before God. The time comes when it is asked, ‘Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?’ and the answer is, ‘It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again.’ He who has the spotless robe of righteousness, woven in the loom of heaven, in which isnot a thread that sinful humanity can claim, is at the right hand of God to clothe his believing children in the perfect garment of his righteousness. Those who are saved in the kingdom of God will have nothing of which to boast in themselves; the praise and the glory will all flow back to God, the giver of salvation.”[1] 
“[T]he spotless robe of righteousness, woven in the loom of heaven,…”    I can hear the infomercial now:  “What would you expect to pay for this robe? $100?  $200? Well if you act right now, you’ll pay only $29.99, and if you call and order right now, we’ll include free shipping.  But that’s not all!”  Ok, that’s all wrong, but the truth really is amazing!  Max Lucado describes the concept in his article, “Back Door”.
“I make no claim to being a good golfer, but I love to play golf, watch golf, and on good nights I even dream golf.
“So when I was invited to attend the Masters Golf Tournament, I was thrilled. A pass to the Masters is the golfer's Holy Grail. Mine came via pro golfer Scott Simpson.
“Off we went to Augusta National Country Club in Georgia where golf heritage hangs like moss from the trees. I was a kid in a candy store. It wasn't enough to see the course and walk the grounds; I wanted to see the locker room where the clubs of Ben Hogan and Paul Azinger are displayed.
“But they wouldn't let me in. A guard stopped me at the entrance. I showed him my pass, but he shook his head. I told him I knew Scott, but that didn't matter. ‘Only caddies and players,’ he explained.
“Well, he knew I wasn't a player or a caddie. Caddies are required to wear white coveralls. My clothing was a dead giveaway. So I left, knowing I had made it all the way to the door but was denied entrance.
“God has one requirement for entrance into heaven: that we be clothed in Christ.
“When someone prays, ‘Take away my [sinful] rags and clothe me in your grace,’ Jesus in an act visible only to the eyes of heaven, removes the stained robe and replaces it with his robe of righteousness.
“What did Jesus do for you and me? He put on our coat of sin and wore it to the cross. As he died, his blood flowed over our sins and they were cleansed. Because of this, we have no fear of being turned away at the door of heaven.”[2]
All we have to do is accept the gift.  Sounds easy doesn’t it? For us anyway…but we make it so much more difficult.  We try to become worthy of that robe.  We want to clean ourselves up when all we really need to do is put on the robe that Jesus is waiting to give us.  But we’re more like this advertisement for the Marine Corps:
“One ad for the U.S. Marines pictures a sword, and beneath it the words: ‘Earned, never given.’ If you want to become a Marine, be prepared to earn that name through sacrifice, hardship, and training. If you get it, you deserve it.
But if you want to become a Christian, you must have the exact opposite attitude, for the message of the gospel is: ‘Given, never earned.’
“You cannot save your own soul, and God will not save anyone who tries to earn salvation, but only those who will humbly receive it as a gift through faith in Jesus Christ. If you get it, you absolutely did not deserve it.”[3]

“The Old Testament word for worm is tola'ath. This little worm from the Middle East is something like the cochineal of Mexico. When these creatures are crushed, the blood makes a brilliant crimson dye used in the bright Mexican garments. In Palestine and Syria, the tola'ath similarly makes a beautiful permanent scarlet dye. It is very expensive and worn by the rich and noble. In a sense, the word scarlet means 'the splendor of the worm.'
“Saul is said to have clothed the maidens of Israel in scarlet (2 Samuel 1:24). Belshazzar promised Daniel scarlet clothing as a reward (Daniel 5:16). The scarlet producing worm is even used in a text prophetic of the Messiah. 'I am a worm (tola'ath), and no man' (Psalm 22:6).
“The glorious garments of our salvation have been procured as a result of Christ's death and suffering. He became the tola'ath crushed in death so that we may be robed in glory.”[4]
So, are you wearing Jesus?  Have you accepted His gift?  You need to; do it right now.
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.”  John 3:16 (The Amplified Bible)

[1] Ellen G. White, The Youth’s Instructor, Dec. 6, 1894.
[2] Max Lucado, "Back Door," Christian Reader (May/June 2000), p. 96
[3] Craig Brian Larson, editor, Preaching
[4] International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

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