Revelation 19:8 – “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
The fine linen, given to the saints of God at the Lord’s second coming, is described as “the righteousness of the saints”. In other words, this clean white linen is a picture of the saint’s right standing before the Lord.
Due to their righteous standing before the Lord, the saint can stand before Him cleansed without the filth of sin and the dirt of rebellion upon him. God can look upon the saint as being clean, pure, and without sin in His sight. This is why this symbolic linen is described as being white and clean.
The righteousness that we possess as we stand before God has a two-fold origin. First of all, we are told this righteousness flows from the work of Christ on the cross, and is a gift given to man by God that cannot be obtained through man’s good works. It is entirely a gift of God’s grace, and is given the title IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS. This simply means it is righteousness that is placed upon the account of sinful man. …
2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Titus 3:4-7 – “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
This is a very important aspect of righteousness in the life of the Christian. This type of righteousness which is placed on the believer’s account is received at the moment of salvation and is eternally permanent in nature. This righteousness SECURES OUR ENTRANCE INTO ETERNITY with Christ.
However, there is another aspect to the fine linen garments of righteousness for the believer. Please note in Rev 19:7 we are told that “His wife hath MADE HERSELF ready”. This is speaking of the wife clothing herself in the linen of righteousness. This is describing the second aspect of a believer’s righteousness, EXPERIENTIAL RIGHTEOUSNESS..
Romans 13:12-14 – “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
Here, we find the believer commanded to lead a holy life is told to “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ”. In the Greek language, to “put on” means “to clothe oneself.” Yes, the Godly works of the saints are pictured here as the clothing of Christ. Just as sin is pictured by dirt and filth that needs to be cleansed from off of us (Rev 22:11).
The Lord has made it abundantly plain that He desired for His people to remain unspotted from sin as they eagerly await His coming (in doing so they are SECURING REWARDS for themselves)…
2 Peter 3:11-14 – “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
1 John 3:2-3 – “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
Although these two types of righteousness may seem to contradict one another (one refers to righteousness obtained through grace alone, while the other involves works of righteousness on behalf of believers), but really they go hand in hand. We are graced with imputed righteousness so that we may seek experiential righteous in our lives. The Lord saves us TO serve Him. As a matter of fact, if we have undergone a genuine work of grace in our hearts, we are changed and we WILL serve Him as the result If our life never changed after our “salvation” experience, it is proof positive we have never really been saved through His divine intervention in our lives …
Ephesians 2:10 – ”For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
May we all faithfully serve Him as we eagerly await His second coming and the wonderful rewards awaiting us!
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: