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The Clothing You Need to Enter Heaven

The Clothing You Need to Enter Heaven

Ever since the first two people walked on earth, man has sought to clothe his body. In the case of Adam and Eve, it was only after they sinned that they felt this need for clothing. "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves." (Genesis 3:7) Prior to their sin, Adam and Eve felt no shame over their physical nakedness.

Likewise, when man sins against God today, he feels a sense of shame. That is, if he has any sense of right and wrong. And this feeling of shame leads man to try to clothe his soul before his Creator. Let's face it. We know we have blown it, and we sense that we need something to cover our sins. It's incredible to see all the religious gymnastics man puts himself through trying to provide a covering for his soul.

Many of the religious practices in the world today are simply man's attempt to make himself right with God. Man has this strong sense that he must somehow "right his wrongs" by doing enough good to hopefully appease his Creator. And so we try to clothe ourselves with the fig leaves of our righteous acts.

It's almost a subconscious reaction. And it's a natural response when we sin against our Creator. We want to "make up for it." We assume that if we do more good than bad, God will overlook the sins we have committed. That is our assumption anyway. But it's not the way God forgives sin. Nor is it the way God receives sinners.

If you begin in Genesis and go all the way through Revelation, you find a number of consistent themes. And one of the prominent messages has to do with the clothing man needs to enter heaven. Our soul must be clothed in something far better than we can place on ourselves. We need God to clothe us in something pure, perfect, righteous, and eternal. After all, how else could our sin be covered, and our soul saved?

Isaiah 61:10 declares, "I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness."

Zechariah 3:3,4 tells us, "Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, 'Take off his filthy clothes.' Then he said to Joshua, 'See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.'"

But it is the New Testament where this message is really driven home. It points to the righteous clothing which only Christ can place upon our soul. And He does it through faith, as we trust Jesus to forgive our sins.

The apostle Paul beautifully described "a righteousness from God." (Romans 3:21) This righteousness provides the clothing man needs for his soul. While man is racing around trying to make himself righteous before God, the Lord has a covering for sin which man could never produce in a million years. The clothing God provides for man was earned at the cross, and is freely given to those who repent and believe the good news.

Paul writes, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the Gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'" (Romans 1:16,17)

Paul goes on to describe God's clothing for sinners this way: "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:21-24)

And if that's not clear enough, here is yet another example of Paul driving home the Gospel: "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." (Philippians 3:8,9)

Paul had formerly been a cruel persecutor of Christians. But everything changed after his soul was clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Paul was granted forgiveness and eternal salvation, and he was chosen by God to share this good news with others.

It is this "righteousness from God" which clothes the soul of a believer, and this is why God accepts us into His family. It's not because of the works we do, but rather, it is due to the work Christ accomplished on the cross. Jesus earned our spiritual clothing by dying for our sins "once and for all." (see Romans 6:10, Hebrews 9:28, 1 Peter 3:18)

And when we get to the book of Revelation, we see once again just how critical this clothing is for our eternal well-being. The apostle John was shown in a vision how it is going to play out at the end of time, and how believers are going to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ on that great and glorious day.

"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: 'Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.'" (Revelation 7:9,10)

John's vision continued with this remarkable description: "Then one of the elders asked me, 'These in white robes - who are they, and where did they come from?' I answered, 'Sir, you know.' And he said, 'These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'" (Revelation 7:13,14)

Do you see it? Do you now understand the only way to be clothed in Christ, and worthy of entering heaven? It has nothing to do with your personal worthiness. It has everything to do with the perfection which covers your soul the moment you trust Jesus as your Savior. We are unworthy, but He is worthy. Christ is perfect. And His blood is the only thing that can make our robes as white as snow.

Trusting in Jesus results in the blood of the Savior being applied to your soul. This results in a white robe for each believer. And be assured of this my friend; you will absolutely want to have a white robe when you find yourself standing before the Lord on the last day. Those in white robes enter heaven. Those who remain spiritually naked before God do not get into the heavenly city. It's as simple as that.

If money could buy this all-important robe, Jesus would have never said in the book of Revelation, "You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so that you can see." (Revelation 3:17,18)

Today is the day to repent of your sins, and believe that Jesus died in your place on the cross. He freely gave His life for your sins and mine. This is the Gospel message, and it truly is the most wonderful news in the world. It sets a person free to start living for Christ as a forgiven child of God. And what a privilege it is to bring pleasure to God by doing those things which He commands.

Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." (John 14:15) But remember. Your obedience does not make your robe white. The only thing that can produce such beautiful clothing for the soul is the blood of Jesus. It's just like John saw in his vision. "They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Rev. 7:14) And unless your robe is washed today, or at least before you die, you will stand naked before your Creator on Judgment Day.

Does that make sense to you? Do you see your need? And do you see your Savior? If so, just reach out and believe. Trust Jesus. Rest in Christ and His work on the cross, and God will instantly clothe your soul in this "righteousness from God." That is the clear teaching of the Bible. And it's the only way to become a Christian, and to enter heaven when you die.

Believe and receive. And then trust and obey, as one who has been clothed with a robe which God will never take away from you. Can you think of anything in life or death that even comes close to the importance of getting dressed for heaven?

You have dressed your body thousands of times over the years. But have you ever asked God to clothe your soul with the white robe that only Jesus can give you? Think about it. And then respond in faith to God's gracious offer.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

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