My dog hates getting a bath much more than I do giving him one. What he fails to realize is that since he is an inside dog, he needs to stay clean. Even though our home is not perfect, a smelly dog living inside is simply unacceptable. He needs inside attire.
I cannot tolerate an odorous pet in my home, but God cannot accept sin in His presence. The Bible describes God as Holy and that He dwells in a “…holy heaven…” (Psalm 20:6) In order for us to be with God in this holy heaven, we cannot have lives stained with sin. We need heavenly attire.
Numerous times in Scripture, God mentions the importance of garments. In Exodus 29, He gives precise instructions about proper priestly clothing. Moses recorded these detailed directions, then ensured that Aaron and his sons complied by wearing them when performing their priestly tabernacle duties.
In an illustration in Matthew 22, Jesus refers to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Here, many guests arrive after receiving a wedding invitation only to find they are not welcome to attend. The reason is that unlike typical ‘invitation only’ events, this banquet required both an invite and special apparel. Some could not stay because they did not have on the required wedding garments. They made it to the door and likely had on their Sunday best, but got turned away because they had on the wrong threads! For us to enter a holy heaven, we also have a required dress code. Without robes of spotless white, we cannot enter in.
Many people, when asked what they think they need to do to go to heaven, offer a works scenario. They wrongly assume that if they perform enough good deeds on earth that is what God expects. In a way, it is as if they want to wash their own garments to rid them of stains. By scrubbing their own lives, as they do their actual clothes with Tide, they suppose that God will pronounce them blameless.
Self-righteousness, however, will not suffice before God’s throne. Our goodness, He calls “…filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6) Christ was the only good person that ever lived. He was sinless. It is only by accepting His sacrifice on behalf of our sins that we can receive the correct ‘wedding raiment.’ By becoming His child, God Himself clothes us with His righteousness. He doesn’t merely clean us up on the outside; rather, gives us brand new hearts. Then, we will wear white robes paid for by the precious blood of His son. We must eschew any notion of showing up before Him in garments of our own making. No amount of self-laundering or good works will ever be enough; to show up before His throne presenting only self-righteousness would be like appearing before God in rags!
On a regular basis, I look at my dog and say to him, “I cannot stand smelling you anymore.” Whether or not he wants one, he complies with his bath. God looked at each of us and said, ‘I cannot stand having your sin separate us anymore.’ To remedy this sin problem, God provided The Way for us to be with Him forever.
Everyone has an invitation to heaven. God is “…not willing that any should perish…” (II Peter 3:9) By accepting Christ and receiving His gift of salvation, we can appear before Him clothed in spotless robes of His righteousness. Because of Jesus, we need not worry about what to wear to His wedding banquet. Clothed with Him alone means we will be ushered in. He provides our heavenly attire.
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands…” Revelation 7:9
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27