It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.Revelation 19:8(NASB)
The Church, which is Christ's body, is the bride.. and Christ, Who is the Lamb of God is our holy, heavenly Bridegroom. Indeed, the excitement and happiness that surrounds an earthly wedding, is a dim shadow of the wonderful joy and glorious thrill that will take place at the marriage the Lamb.
We are told, that it was given to the bride to clothe herself in fine, clean, bright linen.. and then we discover that the bride's fine linen dress, is the righteous acts of the saints.
We do not want to arrive at our wedding ill-clad. We do not want to be presented to Christ as wretched and miserable.. poor, blind and naked. We do not want to have a blot or blemish on our wedding garment, and so it is important that our linen is bright and clean, and we do this through our righteous acts, which are carried out in the power of the Holy Spirit during our life time. Good works that are carried out in the flesh are never considered righteous. A believer's works of the flesh is a blemish on our clothing and will be burned-up at the judgement seat of Christ
Paul reminded the Corinthian Christians that as believers we are betrothed to the Lord. And as God's apostle to the gentiles, Paul wants to present the Bride to Christ as a pure, chaste virgin, with unblemished attire. It is during our earthly life that we are engaged to the Lord and it is during this time of espousal, that we are to carry out acts of righteousness, which God Himself has planned and prepared for us to do.
When we carry out good works in the power of the Spirit, which the Bible calls: 'the righteous acts of the saints' we are clothed in Christ's righteousness. These works are recorded as righteous acts and will be rewarded. However, every work that is carried out in the flesh, is a carnal act that is carried out in our own strength. This stains our garment - and will not be recorded as a righteous act.
Before we are presented before the Lord, we will all have to stand before the judgement seat of Christ to give an account of the righteous acts we carried out by the will of God.. in the power of the holy Spirit. However, the works-of-the-flesh, which we attempt to do in our own strength, according to our own will and ungodly desires, will never be reckoned as acts of righteousness .
Any acts of righteousness, will be rewarded with gold, silver or precious stones and will become part of our wedding attire. However, any worldly activities or acts of the flesh, will be burned up and not become part of our wedding dress.
Every man or woman who has trusted in the cross of Christ for the salvation of their soul, becomes part of the Bride.. the moment they are justified by grace through faith in Christ. Faith in Christ's work on the cross is sufficient for each one to be saved by grace and covered in the righteousness of Christ.. through time and into eternity.
However, from that point forward we are called saints.. who are to live our life by grace through faith in Christ. From that point we are to carry out righteous acts in the power of the Spirit. We are not to live according to acts of flesh or works of the law, which produce fleshly, legalistic actions. Such works will be rejected at the judgement seat of Christ. They will not be credited to us as righteous acts. They will not become part of our wedding garment.
We are justified by faith but we are also to be sanctified by faith, as we die to self and live for Christ. And it is works of righteousness that are carried out in this life that will add to our bright, clean linen garment. As believers, we are blessed to be covered by Christ's righteousness but we are instructed to clothe ourselves in fine, linen, bright and clean - which are the post-salvation, righteous acts of the saints. May we die to self and live for Christ so that we may produce acts of righteousness - to the praise and glory of God.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ by faith. Help me to carry out the work that You have prepared for me to do in Your strength and not in my own power. I pray that I may live a holy and sanctified life, that honours You in thought word and deed - by giving up myself to Your service and doing only those things that are directed by You - for Your praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.