Exodus 29:29 “The holy garments of Aaron shall be for his sons after him; they shall be anointed in them and ordained in them.”
The ordinances and consecration of the priests of the Old Testament are shadows of truth regarding all those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ and who in the New Testament are called “a kingdom of priests (Revelation 5:10).” One such shadow or type is the holy garments that the priests were to wear. These were sacred garments, set apart for use in ministry. It was the only clothing that the priests were to wear, for they were the only garments acceptable to God. It was God, Himself, who had proclaimed them as holy.
That’s the way it is for all of us. Throughout Scripture, garments point to righteous acts. An example of this is seen in the symbolic white linen to be worn by the Bride of Christ, i.e., the church, in Revelation 19:8. Here we are told that “fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” You see, after a person becomes a Christian, after he or she is born again, one of the things that happens to them is that they receive new clothes, spiritually speaking. Before a person was a believer, he or she saw themselves as inherently good – at least as good as the next guy. That’s one of the things that keeps people from Christ before they become believers. Because they see themselves as “good” and therefore spiritually healthy, they have no need for the Great Physician, for as Jesus told the Pharisees who saw themselves (incredibly) as more righteous than Christ, “Only the sick need a Physician (Mark 2:17).” But then, when a person’s eyes are opened to the truth about the blackness of their own heart, they realize that their spiritual clothes are dirty, for “all their righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).”
You see, every so-called “good” thing that a person does who hasn’t been cleansed by the blood of Christ is tainted by sin. While it may look good to them and to others who see them, the motives are always less than God requires. Only that which is done to the glory of God actually brings glory to God, and an unbeliever never does anything to the glory of God. First, he or she never desires this, and second, even if they wanted to, it is not even possible. Only after a person is made righteous by the imputed righteousness of Christ are any of the subsequent acts of that person truly righteous in God’s eyes.
Man’s perspective without Christ is fatally flawed. The Bible tells us that when we measure ourselves by ourselves, we are not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12). It also tells us that no one is good but God alone (Mark 10:18). We don’t even know what “good” looks like, before we know Christ. Like the Old Testament priests, those in the New Testament “kingdom of priests” have to be clothed with a righteousness that has nothing to do with their own merit. It is something that is given to them as a gift of God. They are holy “garments” for a holy work of serving the holy God. As we are told in Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. (Revelation 22:14).” That washing is only made possible for those who have been washed in the precious blood of Christ.
Paul speaks of it in these words: “not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith (Philippians 3:9).” What an incredible gift is the righteousness of Christ. What a wonderful change for those who are only clothed in the filthy rags of the sinful “clothes” we all wear every day without Him.
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