|Hallelujah! - Our robe is spotless, because our robe is Jesus!|
And one hymn I particularly love at the moment is 'Jesus Thy Blood and Righteousness'. The tune it's set to in the hymnbook is particularly uninspiring, but the words are the exact opposite. And there's one verse in particular that loses me in wonder, love and praise every time I sing it.
This spotless robe the same appears,
When ruined nature sinks in years;
No age can change it's glorious hue,
The robe of Christ is ever new.
What could be better news for the Christian? As we go on in years, and as we see more and more of the measure of our sinfulness, our robe of righteousness divine isn't spattered by the mud, doesn't get frayed or torn or lose it's brilliant whiteness. And that's because it isn't ours. We don't stand before God robed in our righteousness, for that truly would be filthy rags. Not even in a righteousness which He's put into us, for we'd contaminate that as well. No, 'nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling; naked come to Thee for dress' - no robe of our own at all.
Instead, the robe we stand in is 'Jesus the Lord, our righteousness!' The 'robe of Christ' isn't merely a robe given by Christ, it is Christ Himself. We stand in Him, clothed in His righteousness. And that's why it's 'ever new'. 'This spotless robe the same appears', because this spotless robe is Jesus.
And no matter my sin, Jesus is still Jesus. No matter the mess I get myself into, Jesus is still Jesus. No matter how worn down I feel by the passing of years, Jesus is still Jesus.
So Christian, when you feel the weight and horror of sin in your life, don't despair of mud-stains ruining your salvation. Jesus is still Jesus. Your robe is spotless, because it's not your own - it's Jesus. Our standing before God doesn't ebb and flow depending on what sort of week we've had, because we depend not on ourselves, but on Jesus.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not downplaying the seriousness of sin. We do need to repent. As Luther put it, 'the entire life of believers should be repentance.' We do need to confess our sins. But in repenting and confessing we're acknowledging and turning from our sins to Jesus. Turning to Him in reliance on His work, on His blood, on His righteousness. Turning back to Him knowing that our salvation doesn't depend on how clean we can keep our robe, but wholly on Jesus.