The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 10 : The Revelation (Commentaries on the Revelation)

[Chapter 3-2] (Revelation 3:1-6) Those Who Did Not Defile Their White Garments

(Revelation 3:1-6)
 
The passage here says, “You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.” Walking in “white” means that they have defended their faith in the righteousness of God.
God walks with those who keep the chastity of their faith. He never leaves them alone, but is always with them and blesses them.
There are the righteous on this earth who walk with the Holy Spirit. God has written their names in the Book of Life and permitted them eternal life to live forever. By clothing the righteous in white and being with them always, God has made it possible for them to always overcome Satan in their struggle against him.
 
 
To Be the One Who Overcomes Satan
 
To be the one who overcomes Satan, we must first believe in the Word of redemption that the Lord has given us. As such, let us turn to the Word and see how the Lord has saved us with the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Let’s begin by looking at Luke 10:25-35. “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’”
We see two protagonists in this passage: Jesus and a lawyer. This lawyer, to boast of his faithfulness to the Law, asked Jesus: “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” What kind of impression do you get from this question?
The lawyer in question mistakenly thought that he could keep the Law by obeying it in the literal level. But God gave His Law to the mankind so that people would be able to recognize the sins of their hearts. The Law of God speaks of and discloses the sins that are fundamental to people’s hearts. In their hearts are found evil thoughts, immoral minds, murderous minds, minds that steal, minds that bear false testimony, minds of madness, and more. To point out the sins of the lawyer’s heart, therefore, our Lord asked him in return, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
Our Lord wanted the lawyer to recognize the fundamental presence of sin in his heart. But pompously asking Jesus “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?,” the lawyer instead boasted of his own righteousness. From his words, we can see what the lawyer thought: “I’ve kept the Law well so far, and I am sure to keep it until I die.”
But we must realize that the Law given by God can be kept only by God Himself, and that there is no one else, not even a single person, who can wholly keep His Law. Therefore, for a man to try to keep the Law of God only shows his foolhardiness and arrogance before the Lord. We must only recognize that we are sinners who can never keep God’s Law.
For all of us, how we read the Word of God is very important. When we read the Word of God, we must read with an awareness of the purpose that God has intended for us. If we read the Bible without this awareness of the Lord’s intention, our faith may flow in the opposite direction of His will. This is why there are so many different denominations, and why those whose faith is united with God are so often rejected.
When those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit read the Bible, they can understand exactly what the purpose of God is. But when one reads the Bible without believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by God, then this can only cause great misunderstandings, and such a person can never have biblically sound faith no matter how hard he/she studies the Bible.
 
 
What Does the Law Say?
 
We continue with the passage from Luke: “He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?’ So he answered and said, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”
Romans 3:20 says, “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” The Bible also tells us, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse (Galatians 3:10).”
The Law not just makes us, who were already born as sinners, into even greater sinners, but it also reveals only the shortcomings of our deeds. This is why “as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.”
Some people say that one can enter Heaven if he/she believes in God and observes the Law well, and that one must try hard to keep the Law. So these people, even as they believe in Jesus, spend their entire lives trying to keep the Law. But they are in fact under the curse of the Law. Those who have not been saved from their sins even as they believe in Jesus are unable to escape from the confines of their faith that tries to keep the Law in vain. They may believe in Jesus, but they will remain as sinners before God, and sinners before God can only face His fearful judgment. This is why Jesus, who is God, came to us as our Savior and became the Redeemer of sinners. To elaborate further, in other words, Jesus took care of all our sins by being baptized in the Jordan River.
Do you know that baptism is the mark of salvation that cleanses away all our sins? Jesus’ baptism was the only method that God established to cleanse away all our sins.
The Bible tells us, in Matthew 3:15, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” The word “for thus” here means, in its original language, “the most appropriate,” or “the most fitting.” In other words, it was most appropriate and fitting that Jesus would take upon all our sins on Himself through His baptism by John. The baptism of Jesus Christ, in short, took care of all our sins. Jesus Christ delivered us from our sins by being baptized and dying on the Cross. When people know this exact truth and fight the lies, God calls them as those who overcome.
 
 
Whom Must the born-again Fight against?
 
The born-again must fight against and overcome the legalism. In religious terms, the leaders of the Law may appear to be good, but deep inside they are challengers against God. Thus their words, while they may appear as virtuous, are in fact the words of Satan that keep their followers under the curse of sin. This is why the saints must fight and overcome these religionists.
The religionists claim that salvation comes by believing in Jesus, but they also claim that one can enter Heaven when he/she lives a virtuous life before the Law. Can such faith be called as the faith that leads one to be saved? Of course not!
So, the Lord used a parable to enlighten the legalist and us on this matter. The story goes something like this: A certain man who was going down to Jericho from Jerusalem was attacked by robbers who beat and left him half dead. A priest also happened to be on his way to Jericho from Jerusalem, and came by this beaten man. But the priest did not help him, and instead passed by on the other side. Another person, this time a Levite, came upon the victim, but he, too, pretended not to hear the poor man’s cries for help and simply went around him.
Then, a third person came by, this time a Samaritan. Unlike the priest or the Levite, the Samaritan actually bandaged his wounds, poured oil and wine, carried him to an inn on his animal, and took care of him. He even gave money to the innkeeper, saying, “Take good care of him. I’ll stop by on my return; if you end up spending more than what I gave you to heal him, I’ll repay you on my way back. So do whatever you can to help this man.”
Who among these three is good? The Samaritan, of course. This Samaritan refers to Jesus. What has saved sinners like us is neither the Law of God, nor its teachers, nor its leaders, far less our own strength, effort, or prayers of repentance. Only Jesus who came to this earth to cleanse away our sins is the real Savior. Jesus has “thus” (Matthew 3:15) delivered all the sinners. The baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross are the mark of the sinner’s salvation (1 Peter 3:21). All the sinners of this world are saved by Jesus’ baptism and Cross. Those who believe in the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River and His blood on the Cross as their salvation are wholly and completely delivered from all their sins.
Jesus has given us the strength to fight against and overcome the false doctrines of untruth. When people claim, “We believe in Jesus, but if you keep God’s Law and your deeds are good, then you will be delivered from all your sins,” they are only showing their obstinacy and propagating lies. If you add or subtract anything at all to the truth of our salvation by Jesus, then this would no longer be the truth. Jesus has given us the strength to fight against and overcome such false doctrines of untruth.
Today’s leaders of the Law talk loud before the people, as if they observe the Law well. But we often witness that they cannot act on their words when they face a situation where, though difficult, they must nonetheless observe what the Law demands of them. They realize themselves that though they want to do good in their hearts, they cannot do it because of the weakness of their flesh. By hiding their weaknesses and cloaking themselves in religious formalities, they deceive others and weigh them down with the same burden.
Just as the priest and the Levite did in the above passage, today’s legalists also carry a double standard of simply passing by the other side whenever their commitment requires their sacrifice. This is the powerlessness of man before the Law of God. People hide this by cloaking it in a beautiful garment called religion. But all those who hide themselves before the Lord cannot be saved. Only those who recognize their sinfulness by revealing their true selves with the measure of the Law can be delivered from all their sins by the Word of the truth of the water and the Spirit.
Only Jesus does not pass by the dying sinners and only He saves them by finding and meeting them. He shifted all our sins to Himself by being baptized in person, and He delivered the dying sinners from all their sins by paying their wages with the sacrifice of His own body. This is how Jesus has become the Savior for all the sinners.
 
 
Those Who Overcome Will Be Clothed in White
 
The passage here tells us that those who overcome will be clothed in white. This means that we must fight and overcome the liars within the Christian world. Even as we speak now, these liars are teaching people to believe in Jesus and live in goodness. Living in goodness, of course, is the right thing to do. But fundamentally, people’s hearts are filled with all kinds of filthy things, from murder to adultery, theft, and jealousy; and so saying to these people to live in goodness, though the saying itself is right, is akin to confining them to a mere religion and suffocating them to death. Telling the people whose sins are piling up to their throat to “live in goodness” is to push them into self-condemnation.
As such, what they really need is for us to help them to be delivered from all their sins by teaching them the truth of the water and the Spirit that can save them from their fundamental sins. This is the right lesson, and after this teaching comes the admonishment to live a life of goodness in God. To put it differently, the most immediate priority for those standing outside Christ as sinners is to make them righteous by preaching to them the gospel of the water and the Spirit first.
 
 
The Degrading of Christianity into a Worldly Religion
 
We must not be deceived by the worldly religions. Only when we fight and overcome the worldly religions that spread lies can we enter Heaven. Because we are incapable of keeping the Law of God, we need the grace of salvation that Jesus has given us, and only by believing in this grace can we meet the Lord.
But many in Christendom, although they believe in Jesus, are being dragged to hell, deceived and misguided by those who spread lies. They are deceived by the seductive notion that people can and must be good. But because we are fundamentally born with sin, we can never be good no matter how hard we try. As such, we can be saved only by believing in the gospel of the truth that Jesus has saved us by His water and Spirit. We can live a new life only when we recognize that we have become sinless by believing in this truth.
The Pharisees of the Bible and most of today’s Christians who are not cleansed of their sins by not believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are all the same—they are all heretics. The Pharisees believed in God, the resurrection of souls, and the afterlife as recorded in the Scripture. But they did not believe in Jesus as their Messiah. Moreover, they trampled on and ignored Christ’s baptism and His blood on the Cross.
Today, there are many Christians who are just like these Pharisees. They have a tendency to give more recognition to Christian doctrines than the Bible itself. This is why there are so many heresies sprouting out endlessly nowadays. In Titus 3:10-11, God tells us about the heretics saying, “Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.” Those who belong to heresies trust, believe, and follow their religious leaders more than the Bible, and as a result, they are all to be destroyed.
Now as before, there are many false prophets springing in this world. Through the Word of the main passage, God thus told us that everyone must fight and overcome these false prophets. He also said only those who overcome will be clothed in the garments of righteousness.
In Luke 18 is found “the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.” A Pharisee went up to the Temple, raised his hands, and prayed in pride: “God, I fast twice a week and I give tithes of all that I earn.” The tax collector, in contrast, could not even raise his face when he prayed: “God, I can’t do what he does. I’m a sinner with many shortcomings, who can’t fast twice a week and who can’t even give you tithe. Not only that, I’ve also deceived people, stolen from them, and have done many other evil things. I’m a worthless man. Have mercy on me, God. Have mercy and save me please.”
The Bible tells us that it was the tax collector who was justified by God rather than the Pharisee. This is shown well in the question, “who can possibly be forgiven of sin?” It is none other than those who realize their own shortcomings. Those who know that they are sinners, the souls that recognize that they are undoubtedly bound to hell were the Law or the righteous judgment of God to be applied to them—these are the ones who receive the salvation of redemption from Jesus.
Matthew 3:15 records what Jesus spoke just before He was baptized. “Thus” in this verse means that Jesus’ baptism was the most appropriate way to save sinners—that is, saving them by making their sins disappear with the baptism of Jesus, which handed over all sins to Him.
Do you believe in the fact that Jesus has “thus” saved you from your sins? The Lord took upon all your sins on Himself when He was “thus” baptized. He then carried all the sins of the world to the Cross and paid the wages of all these sins with His own blood. You must believe in this for your soul to live. When you believe this, your soul is atoned, and you are born again as a child of God.
Yet there are many in this world who deny this truth of the water and the Spirit, the gospel of salvation. This is why we must fight spiritual battles. I am not saying that we should do more wrong deeds to recognize our sin, but that we should be clothed in God’s grace by recognizing ourselves as someone who is fundamentally bound to sin and to be judged spiritually. You must accept the fact that Jesus is your Savior. Everyone who wants to be saved must believe in the Jesus of redemption who took upon all our sins on Himself and was judged in our place. Only then can there no longer be any sin left in one’s heart.
Is there sin in your heart right now? Those who think there is sin in their hearts must know the Law of God first. By God’s Law, the wages of sin is death. If you have sin, then you must die. If you die without being atoned for your sins, you will be judged and sent to hell. Because everyone in this world cannot help but sin, everyone cannot avoid but be sent to hell before the Law of God. This is why God, having mercy on us, saved us by sending His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to this earth, having Him “thus” (Matthew 3:15) take upon all the sins of the world on Himself with His baptism in the Jordan River, and judging Him on the Cross in our stead—all so that He could send us to Heaven.
We cannot be saved because of our good deeds. People may have different levels of hypocrisy, but everyone is a hypocrite nonetheless, and no one can completely reach perfect goodness. Therefore, people can be delivered from all their sins wholly only when they are forgiven of all their sins by believing in the salvation of Christ’s atonement. This is the core truth of the Bible.
Describing how he was before he met the Lord, Paul confessed, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice” (Romans 7:19). Why was Paul like this? Because the mankind is simply incapable of doing any good. Everyone knows that doing good is the right thing to do, but no one is fundamentally able to do so. This is something wholly different in degree and dimension from the desires of the flesh that even the righteous have. This is why people are saved only by believing in the gospel of truth that the Lord has given them.
How did the righteous and sinless God accept such unclean and filthy beings as we? God saved and embraced us because of our Lord Jesus. He took upon all the sins of the mankind with His baptism by John, the High Priest of the mankind, carried these sins to the Cross, and was judged in our place. Do you believe in Jesus? Believing in Jesus is believing in what He has done for us.
 
 
The Way to Stand before God
 
Cain and Abel were born between Adam and Eve, the first parents of the mankind. When Adam and Eve sinned, God killed an animal instead and clothed them in its skin. This teaches the mankind two laws of God. One is God’s law of justice, where “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and the other is His law of love, where sacrifices are used to cover the sinners’ shameful sins. Adam and Eve, deceived by Satan, sinned against God. Regardless of how they ended up sinning, they had to be put to death, for the wages of sin is death before the Law of God. But God killed an animal instead and clothed them in its skin. This was the foreshadowing symbol of the sacrificial atonement to come.
After committing their sin, Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. But these fig leaves could not last long, as they dried out in the sun, breaking and falling apart with their movement, and thus unable to cover their blemish. So on behalf of Adam and Eve who tried to cover their shame with fig leaves in vain, God killed an animal, made tunics of skin, and clothed them. Through the sacrificial offering, in other words, God covered all the shame of sinners.
This speaks to us of God’s love for us and His just salvation. Adam and Eve realized that God killed the animal instead of them, and that He Himself covered all their shame and saved them. They then passed on this faith to their children.
Adam had two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain, the first son, offered to God the produce of his own effort and strength as his offerings, while Abel’s offering was a slaughtered lamb in accordance to God’s law of atonement. Which one did God accept? These two offerings were one of the key landmark events of the Old Testament that showed the contrast between the offering of faith and the offering of human thought. God accepted Abel’s offering. The Bible tells us that God did not accept Cain’s offering of the fruit of the ground and of his sweat and labor, but instead accepted Abel’s offering of the firstborn of his flock and their fat.
“Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering,” says the Bible. God received Abel’s offering and his sacrifice in joy. From this Word, we must be able to read what God’s heart wants from us.
How would God accept us? Everyday we come so short before Him; how could we ever stand before God? There is only one way in which we can go to God, only one way that God has set for us. This is no other than through “offering”—not the offering of our “deeds,” but the offering of our “faith.” This is what God accepts.
What was the faith that Adam and Eve passed onto their children? This was the faith of “tunics of skin.” Put differently, it was the faith that believed in atonement through sacrificial offering. Today, this is the faith in the gospel of the water and the blood of Jesus: “I believe that all my sins were taken away by Jesus’ baptism and blood, and that He was judged in my place. I give this faith as my offering. I believe that the Lord took away all my sins when He was baptized. I believe that all my sins were passed onto Jesus. As God promised in the Old Testament, Jesus Christ made me sinless by being the sacrificial lamb and dying for me. I believe in this salvation.”
When we stand before God, believing that the Lord has thus saved us, God accepts the offering of this faith and embraces us. Why? Because just by His “sacrificial offering,” and nothing else, we have become sinless and righteous before God.
God accepted us because we gave Him the offering of our faith that believes in Jesus as our Savior. When God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice, in other words, He also accepted us in Christ. The reason is because all our sins were passed onto the offering. Because the judgment for our sins was handed on this offering, we have become sinless. This is the justice of God and His righteousness. This is also the love of God and His perfect salvation.
 
 
We, Too, Offer Abel’s Faith
 
The Bible tells us that God accepted Abel’s offering of faith with joy. What, then, is the offering of faith that God would accept from us today? When we believe in our hearts that Jesus is our Savior, and that He took care of all our sins and was judged for us, and when we give this faith to God, God accepts us by the offering of this faith. Regardless of how short our deeds have come, because all our sins were passed onto Jesus, and because Jesus was judged in our place, God the Father found our sins in His Son, not in us. God thus passed all our sins to His Son, judged Him in our stead, raised Him from the dead in three days, and have sat Him on His right hand.
God has saved all those who believe in this. He has accepted our offering of faith. Without Jesus Christ, we can never stand before God. But because Jesus became our assured Savior, we can go to God with the offering of this faith, and because of this offering, God can accept us. Is our faith in this truth whole? Of course it is!
We have now become actually sinless. Because our sins were passed onto Jesus, God clothed us, who have become sinless, in white garments. He made us righteous. As our Lord promised, “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life,” He will confess our names before His angels.
In God’s Church of Sardis, there were a few who walked with the Lord in white. None other that these were the servants of God, His children and saints.
God accepted Abel’s offering. And He also accepted Abel. But God does not accept offerings if they are not whole. God thus did not accept Cain and his offering. Why did God not accept Cain and his offering? He did not accept them because Cain’s offering was not the offering of life prepared with the atoning blood. The Bible tells us that Cain gave the fruits of the ground, the produce of his own effort, as his offering. Put simply, he offered his crops. These might have been watermelon, corn, or potato, or whatever, no doubt all cleaned and well prepared. But God did not accept this kind of offering.
This offering of Cain has an important meaning that today’s Christians must all understand to be saved. But few really knows the heart of God in today’s world, for many of them have no idea, not even in their dreams, that they are actually giving Cain’s offering to God.
When one stands before God, he/she must first recognize oneself as bound to death and hell because of his/her sins. Do you recognize this before God, that you are doomed and bound to hell because of your sins? If you do not acknowledge this, then there is no need for you believe in Jesus, for Jesus is the Savior of sinners. The Lord told us, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” Our Lord is needed by the souls that are suffering under the yoke of sin, not by those who do not realize their own sins and who claim to be sinless when they are yet to be born again.
Everyone is fundamentally a sinner. God therefore has to judge the mankind, and the mankind is bound to face this judgment of God’s wrath. You and I, in other words, are all doomed to be destroyed. But to avoid sending us to this hell of destruction, the Lord took away all our sins with His baptism in the Jordan River and received God’s judgment in our place. Because of this, the Lord could wholly save all of us before God. Therefore, only those who actually commit sin before God and acknowledge themselves as sinners need to believe in God, and to only these has God become the Savior.
 
 
Faith that Clothes Us in the White Garment of Salvation
 
As the Bible tells us, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood,” the life of a man is also in his blood. Because of our sins, we must surely die. Why, then, did Jesus die on the Cross? He died on the Cross because He took upon all our sins on Himself, and, because the wages of sin is death, Jesus shed His blood of life to pay the wages and died in our place. To bear witness to this truth, He was crucified, bled and died on the Cross instead of us.
As the Bible tells us, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities,” Jesus really died because of our transgressions and iniquities. His death, therefore, is our death, and His resurrection is our resurrection. Do you believe in this?
Jesus came to this earth to save us and was baptized to make our sins disappear. Jesus was also crucified. People despised Him, robbing Him of his clothes, spitting at Him, and slapping His face. Why did Jesus, who is God, face this humiliation of being slapped and spat at? Our Lord was despised because of our sins.
The death and resurrection of the Lord, therefore, are the death and resurrection of each and everyone of us. No religious leader of the world took care of our sins. Neither Mohammed, nor Buddha, nor anyone else in this world gave up his life for our sins.
But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to this earth and took upon our sins with His baptism in the Jordan River and made us sinless. And to deliver us from our death, judgment, destruction and curse, He gave up His own life.
Therefore, as the Bible tells us, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ,” our faith must be clothed in the garment of righteousness, atoned for our sins, by believing in the baptism of Jesus that took away all our sins from us. This faith in Jesus’ baptism thus includes faith in our death and resurrection.
God has made us His children by looking at this faith of ours that believes in His Son. This is the receiving. God receives us by looking at the offering of our faith that we bring before Him. He does not receive us by looking at our deeds, but He receives us as His children by looking at our faith in the Son of God as the Savior of all, who bore our sins, was judged in our place, and rose from the dead again.
This, my beloved brothers and sisters, is the true faith. We are saved not by our own deeds, but we are clothed in white garments by the works of Jesus Christ. No man’s deed can be 100 percent clean. For our hearts to become sinless, we must give up our own futile effort, and instead only believe in the Lord as our Savior. By believing this and this alone can we be clothed in white garments.
Our names will then be written in the Book of Life, and we will be approved by God before the angels. Jesus Himself will recognize us as the children of God, saying, “I have saved you; you are righteous because I have made your sins all disappear.” This is the exact meaning of the main passage from Revelation that we have been discussing so far. We can be atoned only when we come into the church of God, and the atoned are found only in His church.
God the Father has received us by looking at our faith in His Son. Though in our infirmities and shortcomings we cannot help but go astray on a daily basis and constantly fall into weaknesses, God looked at our faith in His Son, and because of this faith He has received us as He has received His own Son. Our Lord has saved us.
And He has clothed us in white garments. Faith in the sinlessness of our hearts is the evidence of our clothing in white garments. The Lord has promised us that, when we stand before Him with our hearts first clothed in white garments, He will turn our flesh into godly bodies.
In this world, there are God’s churches where the righteous and the servants of God can be found. There are those who are clothed in white garments in these churches, and God works through His churches and His servants.
Let us turn to Revelation 3:5 again: “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
One precondition that God gave us in the above passage is that He will clothe in white garments only “he who overcomes.” We must overcome. But those who, though they believe in Jesus, also believe that their daily sins must be forgiven by their daily confessions are not the ones who overcame Satan in their fight against him, but the ones who were defeated. People with such faith can never be clothed in white garments. They can never become the righteous.
Only those who overcome believe in the Lord’s perfect work of salvation. The Lord has already given you the faith that can overcome such false doctrines as the doctrines of sanctification or justification. God has also saved us with His true gospel, the gospel of the baptism and the blood, so that we may fight and overcome the false gospels that do not bring us the perfect salvation and be freed from Satan.
We must only hand over our sins in faith, concretely recognizing in our hearts that all our sins have indeed been passed onto Jesus. And we must believe that we died when Jesus died, and that His death was vicarious one in our place. We must also believe that Jesus rose from the dead to let us live again. When we have this concrete faith of truth, God, looking at our faith, approves us as the righteous.
This, put differently, is the meaning of the Word, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). People do not become God’s children just by saying with their mouths, “I believe in Jesus,” when in fact they do not even have any proper knowledge of Jesus at all.
The Word of God continues, “who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” That’s right. Becoming God’s children is possible only by faith. For this, we must therefore fight against and overcome the liars. Those who have received the remission of sin by thus overcoming the liars must walk with God by also overcoming the desires of their flesh. They must live, in other words, by the will of God.
What, then, is the will of God? God’s will is for those who have been clothed in white garments to unite together and serve His gospel. His will is for the righteous, though they may live apart, to gather together to worship, serve, and praise God, and to spread the gospel to sinners so that they, too, may be clothed in white garments. This life of working for the salvation of souls is the life of the people of God, the life of His servants.
When we live such a life, God not only clothes us in His “righteousness,” but He also gives us all the blessings of both the prosperity on this earth and the spiritual blessings of Heaven. By making us preach this gospel to those around us, He clothes them also in white garments. God has clothed all the righteous and those around them in white. God has allowed us to overcome in our fight against the untruth by believing in the Word of truth. And He has given the blessing of being clothed in white garments to the righteous who thus overcome in this spiritual struggle. Praise the Lord!