REVELATION 3Revelation of Jesus | Revelation of JohnT: REVELATION 3:1-22SARDIS 3:1, 2 THE DEAD CHURCHPROTESTANT FORMALISM AND INTOLERANCECALVINISM, ENGLISH “REFORMATION”PAPAL RESPONSE3:3-6 HOLD FAST AND REPENTPHILADELPHIA 3:7 REVIVALMISSIONARY AND ADVENT MOVEMENTS3:8, THE KEY OF DAVID, THE OPEN DOORTHE DAY OF ATONEMENT, 2300 DAYS3:9-13 I AM COMING QUICKLYLAODICEA 3:14 THE TRUE WITNESS3:15-17 LUKEWARM3:18 BUY FROM ME GOLDWHITE GARMENTSEYE SALVE3:19-21 I STAND AT THE DOOR3:22 HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAYS


WHITE GARMENTS

Jesus also counsels the Laodiceans to buy “white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness may not appear” (Revelation 3:18). A sense of nakedness was the first noticeable result of sin—“Then the eyes of both of them [Adam and Eve] were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings” (Genesis 3:7). Sinners have been “sewing fig leaves” ever since, attempting to hide or gloss over their sins. And God has been offering His garments ever since. “For Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin and clothed them.” Obviously the death of an animal was required to supply the skins, and this was the first sacrificial symbol of the death of Christ, who provides His righteousness to cover the “filthy rags” of our own feeble attempts to be righteous.[1] This is what theologians call justification—the Lord declares us righteous (even though we have been and still are sinners) because of what Christ has done in living a perfect life and taking upon Himself the guilt of our sins.[2] In addition to justification God also offers sanctification, which is a change of character so that “the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4). Both justification and sanctification are gifts from God that are received through faith-- we have no power to make ourselves righteous or holy.

In the Book of Revelation white garments symbolize both justification and sanctification,[3] but it is sanctification that seems to be particularly lacking during the Laodicean period. The Apostle Paul states that “In the last days perilous times will come” and then lists the sins that prevail in our modern world.[4] Tragically, he indicates that these sins are also in the church—they are found among those who have “a form of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-3).

The modern church has focused so heavily on justification that sanctification is almost considered dangerous, that it will somehow lead to righteousness by works. But holiness is the inevitable result of true justification and is integral to salvation—“For this is the will of God: your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). “God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

The key phrase in these texts is “by the Spirit.” Paul asks the pointed question, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Galations 3:3). Obviously not—“For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live…if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through the Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:13, 11). According to this text, one of the most important things that the Holy Spirit does when He fills us is to enable us to “put to death the deeds of the body”. This is what sanctification is all about, and this is one of the greatest needs of the Laodicean Church (see 3:22 Hear What the Spirit Says).

Continue to next section: EYE SALVE



[1] “But we are all like an unclean thing. And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

[2] For example, “But to him who does not work but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works” (Romans 4:5,6).

[3] The “great multitude” who “are before the throne… arrayed in white robes…. come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (justification, Revelation 7:13-15). During the Sardis “dead church” period there were “a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments and they shall walk with Me in white….He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments” (sanctification, Revelation 3:4,5). John saw the martyrs who “had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held…then a white robe was given each of them.” (sanctification, Revelation 6:11). “For the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” (sanctification, Revelation 19:8).

[4] "Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgivng, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2Timothy 3:1-4).