Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fig Leaves are Filthy

2 Corinthians 4:16-5:5 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. (17) For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, (18) while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (1) For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2) For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, (3) inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. (4) For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. (5) Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

Gen 3:7, 21 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings… The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam & his wife, and clothed them.

Any attempt to cover our nakedness before God is hopeless if we are the source of such attire; a righteousness fashioned by man is no righteousness at all. But when God Himself both fashions the Garment (Christ), & dresses us in it, we are assured of never being underdressed at any occasion.

Compare & contrast these two statements from Isaiah:

Is 61:10 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- as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Is 64:6 We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

“Filthy rags” is a reference to works done outside of a communion with Christ, not the good works we are saved unto over the course of our sanctification in our relationship with Him. (Eph. 2:10, Phil. 2:13). Our works, even works supposedly done in His name, cannot ever save us; our salvation is entirely centered in His knowing us & thereby our knowing Him (Matt. 7:22-23, Gal. 4:9). Christ Himself confirmed the totality of our righteousness is sourced from He alone as He declared: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:29) Our “justification” to abide with God forever in paradise is wholly founded on belief, on faith, & specifically faith in Jesus Christ! Ground that into the depth of your soul, for it is the essence of Christianity…

Jeremiah 23:5-6 "Behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’”
We have no righteousness apart from the Savior. This is why the twenty-four elders of Rev. 4 “cast their crowns” back to Christ, saying "Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." They understood- He not only pre-positionally clothed them in in His righteousness, but, by a further extension of God’s grace, He lavished crowns upon their heads for their post-justification works. But even these works of righteousness cannot be seen as being done apart from Christ’s power, as Paul stated to the Corinthians earlier…

1 Corinthians 3:5-7 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. (6) I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. (7) So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.

Our righteousness is filthy only when it is singularly ours, because it is tainted with the sin of rebellion against God & His only begotten Son. Christ entitled Himself as “the Way” because He came & provided the only way, a way far more glorious than anything we could ever fashion in & of ourselves. When we try to find another “Way”- our own seeming goodness- we disparage & pour contempt upon Christ’s magnificent Person, perfection, & Passion.

Rev 3:5, 18 “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.”… “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.”

“The shame of (our) nakedness” is the stain of sin which is never removed, until we receive Jesus Christ as savior & Lord & therein become clothed with Jesus Christ’s perfect righteousness.

“Since clothed” He restricts to believers, what he had stated respecting the certainty of a future life, as it is a thing peculiar to them. For the wicked, too, are stripped of the body, but as they bring nothing within the view of God, but a disgraceful nakedness, they are, consequently, not clothed with a glorious body. Believers, on the other hand, who appear in the view of God, clothed with Christ, and adorned with His image, receive the glorious robe of immortality… The Apostle, therefore, makes mention here of a twofold clothing, with which God invests us — the righteousness of Christ, and sanctification of the Spirit in this life; and, after death, immortality and glory. The first is the cause of the second, because those whom God has determined to glorify, he first justifies. (Rom 8:30) This meaning, too, is elicited from the particle also, which is without doubt introduced for the purpose of amplifying — as if Paul had said, that a new robe will be prepared for believers after death, since they have been clothed in this life also. -John Calvin (quotes based upon KJV)

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