And all our deeds of righteousness are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)
There is nothing that compares to the presence of the Lord. When we seek Him in praise and worship or in our prayer closet, the realness and weightiness of the very awesome manifestation of Jesus is an incredible experience. Entering His gates with thanksgiving and expectancy seeking His face and His presence, is the most important part of our faith. The Lord’s presence is able to change a situation in the blink of an eye; worship creates an environment where the Shekinah Glory or His manifest presence begins to saturate the atmosphere. Our very desire to have an intimate relationship with Jesus, draws Him near us.
“Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people].” (James 4:8 Amplified)
I’ve been at worship services where I could actually see the glowing light of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Anybody who has ever been in the tangible presence of the Lord will tell you, there is nothing like it. Nothing that could ever compare to the complete peace, love, joy, power and awe that overtakes a person in the very presence of Jesus Christ.
He is a real person. He is not just a puff of wind or a goose bump we feel. The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are all real beings. God is a spirit and He is love. Unconditional love radiates from the Father. Virtue flows from Jesus Christ. Remember the woman with the issue of blood who stepped out in faith and touched his garment and virtue left our Lord and went into this woman healing her body. (Luke 8:43-47). This woman had been to many physicians, but only grew worse in her infirmity. But one touch from a desperate woman who recognized that Jesus was indeed God, restored her health.
The Holy Spirit is the one who helps us understand the Bible. He is our helper or partner in this world. We who are born-again are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Believing that Jesus died on the cross for us and took upon himself the sins of the world, this is the powerful truth of the gospel. He became our righteousness, in so doing we now are clothed in His righteousness.
“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Revelation 61:10)
There is no doubt in my mind that when the Lord comes for His bride, the church, that we will be required to be dressed in our wedding clothes. Those wedding clothes, according to this scripture, are the garments of salvation. He has covered us with a robe of righteousness. The key is that it is not our righteousness but His righteousness. There’s a big difference between our filthy rags of self-righteous acts and the righteousness that Christ gives us through salvation. Righteous acts in and of themselves are not bad, but instead when we are not truly born-again self-righteous acts can deceive a person into thinking he or she is right with God because of their pious deeds.
Parable of the Marriage Feast
Jesus often spoke in parable’s concerning what the kingdom of heaven was like. In the parable of the marriage feast in Matthew 22, Jesus spoke of a king who had prepared a feast for his son. He sent out his servants to invite the people to come. But the people who were invited would not come. They were too busy and apparently did not realize how important this gathering was going to be. Those who were invited did not take it seriously, they had better things to do with their time or maybe they were too busy working. This marriage supper represents the moment when Jesus comes again and snatches us up with him for a great wedding feast.
So after those who were invited refused to come or were too busy to come the remainder of the people seized the servants and treated them badly and even killed them. The king was angered by this and destroyed the people and burnt their cities. The king then sent his servants out to gather both the good and the bad from the streets to come to the marriage supper. The wedding was filled with guests. When the king came to greet the guests there was a man there who had no wedding garment on, even though the king had provided the wedding garments for the people. This man was not dressed appropriately. When the king asked him why he came into the feast without the provided wedding garment, the man was speechless or without excuse. The king ordered his servants to throw this man out into the outer darkness.
So who does this man represent in his inappropriate attire? I believe he had on the filthy rags of his own self-righteousness instead of the garment of salvation and the robe of righteousness that the king had provided. The king is representing Father God who has sacrificed his only son, Jesus to die for us and cloth us in His righteousness. The man who tried to come into the wedding feast without the garment of salvation was rejected because he did not accept the free gift of salvation but instead thought his own good and righteous deeds would be acceptable.
This parable shows the importance of being genuinely saved and not just religious. A religious spirit emphasizes our works, and what we can do for God in our own strength. More often than not a person with a religious spirit is not a loving and kind individual but instead full of judgment, anger and hate towards others. They don’t truly know Jesus nor do they have a real relationship with him.
“You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins.” (Isaiah 64: 5-7)
Those who are genuinely saved and are ready and waiting in their wedding garment of salvation and robe of righteousness will be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Those who do not have the proper attire or who are not saved will be noticeable and stand out because the filthy rags of their own self-righteousness will not be enough to stand before the king and join in the wedding feast.