1. CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS ATTRIBUTED
a. When is a soul ready to be clothed with the garment of the righteousness of Christ? Zechariah 3:1–4.
“When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 111.
“[Joshua] the high priest cannot defend himself or his people from Satan’s accusations. He does not claim that Israel are free from fault. In his filthy garments, symbolizing the sins of the people, which he bears as their representative, he stands before the Angel, confessing their guilt, yet pointing to their repentance and humiliation, relying upon the mercy of a sin-pardoning Redeemer and in faith claiming the promises of God.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 468, 469.
b. What are the prerequisites for sanctification? Acts 3:19.
“It is Christ’s cleansing blood that takes away our sins, when we come to Him with contrition of soul seeking His pardon. He imputes His righteousness, He takes the guilt upon Himself.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E.G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 935.
2. THE PRICE OF CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS
a. What must we do in order to buy Christ’s righteousness? What parable indicates that professing Christ and following Him does not necessarily mean that the soul is clothed with the garment of Christ’s righteousness? Matthew 13:45, 46; 22:1–14.
“The guests at the gospel feast are those who profess to serve God, those whose names are written in the book of life. But not all who profess to be Christians are true disciples.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 310.
“In the lives of many of those whose names are on the church books there has been no genuine change. The truth has been kept in the outer court. There has been no genuine conversion, no positive work of grace done in the heart. Their desire to do God’s will is based upon their own inclination, not upon the deep conviction of the Holy Spirit. Their conduct is not brought into harmony with the law of God. They profess to accept Christ as their Saviour, but they do not believe that He will give them power to overcome their sins. They have not a personal acquaintance with a living Saviour, and their characters reveal many blemishes.”—The Review and Herald, July 7, 1904.
b. How only may we buy righteousness? Revelation 3:18.
“The white raiment is purity of character, the righteousness of Christ imparted to the sinner. This is indeed a garment of heavenly texture, that can be bought only of Christ for a life of willing obedience.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 88.
“The righteousness of Christ, as a pure white pearl, has no defect, no stain, no guilt. This righteousness may be ours. Salvation, with its blood-bought, inestimable treasures, is the pearl of great price. It may be searched for and found. But all who really find it will sell all they have to buy it. They give evidence that they are one with Christ, as He is one with the Father. In the parable the merchantman is represented as selling all that he had to gain possession of one pearl of great price. This is a beautiful representation of those who appreciate the truth so highly that they give up all they have to come into possession of it. They lay hold by faith of the salvation provided for them at the sacrifice of the only-begotten Son of God.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 399.
3. THE GARMENTS OF INNOCENCE
a. What garments did our first parents have in Eden? What happened when their spiritual condition changed, and what did they find out? Genesis 3:10.
“The white robe of innocence was worn by our first parents when they were placed by God in holy Eden. They lived in perfect conformity to the will of God. All the strength of their affections was given to their heavenly Father. A beautiful soft light, the light of God, enshrouded the holy pair. This robe of light was a symbol of their spiritual garments of heavenly innocence. Had they remained true to God it would ever have continued to enshroud them. But when sin entered, they severed their connection with God, and the light that had encirled them departed. Naked and ashamed, they tried to supply the place of the heavenly garments by sewing together fig leaves for a covering.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 310, 311.
b. What does the garment of white raiment represent now? What is the spiritual condition and character of those clothed with the garments of Christ’s righteousness? Revelation 19:8.
“By the wedding garment in the parable [of the marriage feast] is represented the pure, spotless character which Christ’s true followers will possess.”—Ibid., p. 310.
“The truth is to be planted in the heart. It is to control the mind and regulate the affections. The whole character must be stamped with the divine utterances. Every jot and tittle of the word of God is to be brought into the daily practice.
“He who becomes a partaker of the divine nature will be in harmony with God’s great standard of righteousness, His holy law. This is the rule by which God measures the actions of men. This will be the test of character in the judgment.”—Ibid., p. 314.
“But while God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ’s righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 366.
4. TO RECEIVE CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS
a. According to Christ’s illustration of the vine, when is His righteousness imputed to us? What is required for true unity with Christ? John 15:4, 5.
“There is a wide difference between a pretended union and a real connection with Christ by faith. A profession of the truth places men in the church, but this does not prove that they have a vital connection with the living Vine. . . .When this intimacy of connection and communion is formed, our sins are laid upon Christ; His righteousness is imputed to us.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 228, 229.
“A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. . . . There will be a struggle with outward and internal obstacles. There must be a painful work of detachment as well as a work of attachment. Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness—sin in all its forms—must be overcome if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from these cherished idols.”—Ibid., p. 231.
b. What is the evidence that we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ? Psalm 119:104; 1 Corinthians 13:6.
“When we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we shall have no relish for sin; for Christ will be working with us. We may make mistakes, but we will hate the sin that caused the sufferings of the Son of God.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 360.
c. When facing the temptations of Satan, what is the security for a soul who is clothed with the garment of Christ’s righteousness? 1 Peter 1:5.
“In the religion of Christ there is a regenerating influence that transforms the entire being, lifting man above every debasing, grovelling vice, and raising the thoughts and desires toward God and heaven. Linked to the Infinite One, man is made partaker of the divine nature. Upon him the shafts of evil have no effect; for he is clothed with the panoply of Christ’s righteousness.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, pp. 51, 52.
5. LIVING INWARDLY WITH CHRIST
a. How did Paul explain to the Galatians the intimate unity we need with Christ? Galatians 2:20.
“When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 312.
b. What blessings will the sanctified ones enjoy even here in this world? Isaiah 58:8.
“To His faithful followers Christ has been a daily companion and familiar friend. They have lived in close contact, in constant communion with God. Upon them the glory of the Lord has risen. In them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ has been reflected. Now they rejoice in the undimmed rays of the brightness and glory of the King in His majesty. They are prepared for the communion of heaven; for they have heaven in their hearts.”—Ibid., p. 421.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What must first be done by the believer before he or she can be clothed with the white raiment?
2. What are we told of the price to purchase righteousness?
3. What is the full significance of the white raiment?
4. What is it that makes the righteousness of Christ a security to the believer?
5. What is the result of living with Christ in the heart?