This article was originally published in November 22, 1905 Signs Of The Times.
What That Preparation Must Be
To us has been given the message of Christ’s soon coming. At the ascension of our Lord, angels stood beside the disciples, and with them watched the Saviour as He passed into the heavens. Then they turned to the disciples with the word, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.”
Are we preparing for this great event? Are we preparing to meet the Saviour in peace, or are we absorbed in worldly business and pleasure? In the judgment, the question will not be, What profession did you make? but, What have you done for Me? What fruit have you borne to My glory? Now is the time to prepare for the coming King.
As John saw the multitude standing around the throne of God, the question was asked, “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” The angel answered, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” At infinite cost a fountain has been prepared for our cleansing. If we now wash our robes of character at this fountain, God will give us a place in the mansions that are being prepared for those who love Him.
His Robe of Righteousness
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.”
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.” 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.” 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.” When on earth He said to His disciples, “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” 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.
What the Judgment Will Reveal
Sad will be the retrospect in that day when men stand face to face with eternity. The whole life will present itself just as it has been. The world’s pleasures, riches, and honors will not then seem so important. Men will then see that the righteousness they despised is alone of value. They will see that they have fashioned their characters under the deceptive allurements of Satan. The garments they have chosen are the badge of their allegiance to the first great apostate. Then they will see the results of their choice. They will have a knowledge of what it means to transgress the commandments of God.
There will be no second probation in which to prepare for eternity. It is in this life that we are to put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness. This is our only opportunity to form characters for the home which Christ has made ready for those who obey His commandments.
The days of our probation are fast closing. The end is near. Solemnly there come down to us through the centuries the warning words of our Lord from the Mount of Olives: “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Beware lest it find you unready. Take heed lest you be found at the King’s feast without a wedding garment. “In such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.” “Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”