Many of us can’t own white shirts. As soon as we put them on, we’re bound to get some sort of stain on them. Whether it be through carelessness or just making honest mistakes, some of us almost always tarnish our white clothing—especially if there’s any spaghetti sauce in the room.
Then there are other people who seem to never have a worry in the world. They can wear whatever white clothing they want without ever getting so much as an ink spot on them. We often envy those people who are able to walk in white with confidence.
Yet what if we can do this spiritually?
As followers of Christ, each one of us is invited to walk in white with our Lord, here and now.
As Andrew Murray put it, “A person’s position can often be told by his clothing. Royal robes are a sign of royal estate. Filthy or torn garments are a sign of poverty or carelessness. ‘White Robes’ indicate a holy character.”
We can have white robes, clean robes. But the natural question is, Why should we care?
Our God is clothed in white, and we need to be as well
As Daniel 7:9 says, “One that was ancient of days did sit: His raiment was white as snow.”
We understand this passage to be referring to Jesus. He is royal; He dresses in radiant light garments. They are too spectacular for us to fathom.
We are called to be like our Lord.
Jesus also tells us to obtain white garments. In Revelation 3:18, He says, “I counsel thee to buy of me… white garments.” God wants us to be like Him and wear white garments as He wears them (See also Matt 17:1-2, Psalm 24:3-4, Eccl 9:8).
But that leads right into another question.
How can we obtain white robes?
It’s simple, really. We obtain white robes when we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
It’s like when you’re a kid and you need nice clothes for an event. Your father would (presumably) pay for the proper garments to wear for it.
Well, it’s the same with God. When Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, we become Children of God. And God our Father makes sure we have what we need.
This is illustrated in the parable of the prodigal son. He returned home to his father, completely desolate and filthy, and his father (with great enthusiasm) declares, “Bring the best robe, and put it on him!” (Luke 15:22). (See also Isaiah 61:10)
How can we keep our robes clean?
It’s nice to have white garments and everything, but what if we get them dirty? If we are supposed to be spotless when we see Him, how do we keep our garments clean?
This is a good question with a simple answer: the blood of Jesus.
We can rely on the blood of Jesus to cleanse our robes as often as we need it. The truth is that none of us will be able to keep our robes clean on our own; it’s just too hard. Our robes can get spotted by sin (Zechariah 3:4; Isaiah 64:6), by the flesh (Jude 1:23), by carelessness (Revelation 3:1-4, 3:15-18), and by the world (James 1:27).
Yet we are given a way to be made clean again.
When Jesus died on the cross, He poured out His blood to wash away our sins. When we come to Him, we can put our faith in His blood and atoning sacrifice to wipe out every sin, every stain, and every last trace of defilement as we put our faith in His blood’s cleansing power.
Each and every day (or even every minute), we can believe for a fresh cleansing in His blood to make our robes white once more.
“…[T]hese are they that come out of the great tribulation, and they washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). (See also Rev 1:5, Heb 13:12, 1 John 1:5-9, Psalm 51:2,6,7)
Can we ever not soil our garments?
There is a way to clean our garments as frequently as needed, but the next question usually is, “Is there a way to keep them clean in the first place?”
Yes! While the thoughts of our hearts and our actions can defile us, we can trust in the blood of Christ to cleanse our hearts, which are the source of our thoughts and actions.
“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14).
Now that does not mean that we are perfect; far from it! We can make mistakes just like everyone else, but we can trust that God will continue to cleanse us and our hearts and enable us to walk in white with Him in this life and the next. (See also Heb 13:20-21, Eph 5:25-27, Prov 4:23)
Through faith in His blood, we can trust that He will cleanse and cause us to be diligent to keep our robes clean until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Through His cleansing, we can walk in white. (See also 2 Peter 3:14, Rev 3:4-5, 16:15, 19:7-8, James 1:27)
This is the reason for the whiteness, and this is its reward: heart fellowship with Jesus.