Where Does Our Righteousness Come From?

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Where Does Our Righteousness Come From?

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

The Original Garment

By the wedding garment in the parable is represented the pure, spotless character which Christ’s true followers will possess. To the church it is given “that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white,” “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.”[1]

The fine linen, says the Scripture, “is the righteousness of saints.”[2] It is the righteousness of Christ, His own unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal Saviour.

The white robe of innocence was worn by our first parents when they were placed by God in holy Eden. They lived in perfect conformity to the will of God. All the strength of their affections was given to their heavenly Father. A beautiful soft light, the light of God, enshrouded the holy pair. This robe of light was a symbol of their spiritual garments of heavenly innocence.

Man’s Attempted Righteousness Always Fails

Had they remained true to God it would ever have continued to enshroud them. But when sin entered, they severed their connection with God, and the light that had encircled them departed. Naked and ashamed, they tried to supply the place of the heavenly garments by sewing together fig leaves for a covering.

This is what the transgressors of God’s law have done ever since the day of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. They have sewed together fig leaves to cover the nakedness caused by transgression. They have worn the garments of their own devising, by works of their own they have tried to cover their sins, and make themselves acceptable with God.

But this they can never do. Nothing can man devise to supply the place of his lost robe of innocence. No fig-leaf garment, no worldly citizen dress, can be worn by those who sit down with Christ and angels at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Only Christ’s Garment is Sufficient

Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God’s presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul. “I counsel thee,” He says, “to buy of Me … white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.”[3]

This robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us.

 

All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6).

 

Everything that we of ourselves can do is defiled by sin. But the Son of God “was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” Sin is defined to be “the transgression of the law.”[4] But Christ was obedient to every requirement of the law. He said of Himself,

 

I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart. (Psalm 40:8).

 

When on earth, He said to His disciples,

 

I have kept My Father’s commandments. (John 15:10).

 

By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.

 

Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah.

Editorial Note: This article was adapted from the book Christ’s Object Lessons, Chapter 24, “Without a Wedding Garment,” p. 310-311.

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Notes.

[1] Revelation 19:8; Ephesians 5:27.

[2] Revelation 19:8.

[3] Revelation 3:18.

[4] 1 John 3:5, 4.

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About the author

Ellen G. White

Ellen G. White (1827-1915), a cofounder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. She was more than a gifted writer; she was appointed by God as a special messenger to draw the world's attention to the Scriptures and help prepare people for Christ's second advent. Read her writings at ellenwhite.org.