This Week's Focus Passage

‘Blessed are they that wash their robes.’

Focus Passage: Revelation 22:14

‘Blessed are they that wash their robes.’

There is an announcement, followed by a statement of blessed truth, culminated by the final beatitude of this final book in the canon of Scripture; this book whose Author is the Christ Himself. His words to His readers and hearers are most encouraging, as well as fearfully immediate, and lastly, blessedly instructive. They easily warrant our frequent and serious perusal; Revelation 22:12-14:

Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.

For two millennia, the saints have been being encouraged by those glorious words of our Lord Jesus Christ, Behold, I come quickly. Although many there may well be that have been challenged by that to which Peter has referred in his second epistle; those mockers that have been saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. Yet Peter’s retort sufficed the saints then as it suffices us now, and shall until the fulfillment. He told his readers, But forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The promises of God are all yea and amen in Christ. Are there any of the promises made by Christ to His people that have failed? And did He not promise His eleven disciples before He left them, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world? And was not this promise intended for us as well?

After all, as our Lord continues to point out, He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end; what is time to Him? He has given His promise and He is the Faithful and True Witness. At least four different times in this closing book of the Scriptures He speaks of Himself as such. There is none so faithful as our Incarnate Savior. He promises through the pen of the sweet psalmist that He was coming. From the mouth of the pre-incarnate Servant of Jehovah, we hear Him testifying;

Then said I, Lo, I am come; in the roll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do thy will, O my God.—Psalm 40:7-8

The Son of God delighted to do the Father’s will through the incarnation, and He did it; He is Immanuel, God manifested in the flesh, come to save His people from their sins through His own blood. He promised and He came; He has promised to come again, and He shall keep that promise as well.

He is coming again; He is coming quickly. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. What are we then to be doing as we await His Parousia? He has left us this encouraging word; this final beatitude, Blessed are they that wash their robes—Hendricksen suggests that are washing their robes would be better—that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. Rather than spending precious time gazing into the sky, or studying someone’s foolish suggestions, supposed prophecies and what not, fearing that we may be ‘left behind,’ we have been given an assignment, as it were; that of washing our robes. Our study time should rather involve a serious searching out what our Savior has intended by washing their robes. This expression is found also in the seventh chapter of this book, and verse fourteen. Here it speaks of those that have come out of great tribulation. The inimitable language is that they washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Again, it appears to us in language that implies that it is a task given to the saints whether we read they washed their robes, or, they are washing their robes, or, have washed their robes, it seems to suggest that it is works done by the saints. How do we reconcile this with our understanding that salvation is not of works, but of grace through faith, and that the gift of God? This truth, of course, does not mean that we perform no works. Paul is emphatic in this when he has informed us through his epistle to the church at Ephesus that by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them. James has also spoken of the erroneous dichotomy made by some between faith and works. The works that God prepared for us to walk in are not the root of our justification in any way, but they are the fruit of our justification.

Paul has also told us in Philippians that we are to work out your own salvation, for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure. Thus, we are to be engaged in our sanctification; we are to be washing our robes. Yet is it only as we are washing them in the blood of Christ that sanctification will ever be achieved in us. It is a work afore prepared for us; the merit is in nothing other than the blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, while the angel challenged the disciples about looking into heaven, we are nonetheless, to be looking unto Jesus.

William Hendriksen is very helpful in this place, when he has said; ‘These saints whom John, in the vision, beholds, have washed their flowing robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb. In other words, they have placed all their trust in the saving blood of Jesus Christ. This blood, representing the complete atonement which our Lord has rendered, has cleansed them of the guilt and the pollution of sin. By means of the red blood of Christ they have been made white.’

—More Than Conquerors, p.114

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible .Church

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