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Christ a Garment for Sanctification

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:14
Metaphor Parallel
Garments are for the covering of the body. They hide nakedness and deformity. The Lord Jesus Christ is a cover for the soul, every man’s nakedness and deformity appears that hath not on this spiritual Garment, Revelation 3:18.
Garments come not naturally, but are prepared and made fit for us. Naturally we have no righteousness, that is either accepted of God, or a suitable cover for the soul, Romans 3:12; this spiritual Garment is wrought by the Spirit, and made fit for us, Psalms 45:13,14.
Garments are worn only in some countries by civilized nations and people. Some barbarian and heathenish men and women go naked in some nations. The Lord Christ is put on for a Garment or spiritual clothing, by those nations and people only, where Christianity is received, and not by many there neither; some are like brutes and heathenish people, naked, without Christ and true holiness, Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 12:22.
Before new Garments can be put on, the old, defiled, and over worn Garments must be put off. Before a man can put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be clothed with the Garment of holiness, he must put off the abominable filthy cloaks, and covers of wickedness, he must be stripped of his filthy rags, that he may be clothed with the Spirit and graces of Christ, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” Ephesians 4:22, 24, Colossians 3:8.
Garments are of great utility in respect of defense, they secure us from the pricks and scratches of bushes and thorns, and from many bruises and rubs and other hurts, which nakedness exposes to. By putting on of Christ in a way of faith and holiness, the soul is defended, from the checks and smarting pricks of conscience, from the fiery darts of Satan, and from the killing power of the law, and the wrath of God, Acts 24:16, Ephesians 6:11, 2 Corinthians 3:6.
Garments are for keeping of the body warm: (what should we do who live in cold countries were it not for clothes and useful Garments.) “She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet,” Proverbs 31:21. This blessed Garment keeps the soul warm; hereby saints become fervent in spirit and zealously affected. If we have any spiritual heat in us, we must attribute it to Christ: naturally we are as cold as that child was when his spirit was departed, 2 Kings 4:34.
Garments tend to the preservation of health; the neglect of putting them on, many times brings sickness, sometimes death. The graces of Christ and true holiness are the only preservatives of the inward man from spiritual sickness: by putting him on, and leading of a holy life, we abide in health; and those who neglect to put on these Garments, are exposed to all manner of soul-diseases, which end in eternal death, Psalms 119:11, Romans 8:13.
Garments are used for distinction, as:   1. They distinguish one sex from another, the man shall not put on the apparel which appertaineth to the woman.   2. Garments also distinguish the several ranks and qualities of men, “behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses,” Matthew 11:8.   3. By the habit of Garment we do distinguish the people of one nation from another, Zephaniah 1:8. The spiritual Garment makes a distinction:   1. Holiness distinguishes believers from unbelievers, the godly from the wicked: “For who maketh thee to differ from another? 1 Corinthians 4:7. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,” 2 Corinthians 5:17.   2. This glorious Garment shows that the righteous are more excellent than their neighbors: as it was said “Jabez was more honourable than his brethren,” 1 Chronicles 4:9, Proverbs 12:26.   3. By a holy Christ-like conversation, the people and saints of God are known to be people of another country, citizens of another city.
Garments are of a comfortable and refreshing nature, and of excellent use to them who put them on. This spiritual Garment is of a most excellent, sweet, comforting and refreshing quality, the virtue whereof is not, cannot be felt nor apprehended by unbelievers.
Garments answer not their end in making, neither are they of use till put on. Men put not Christ to that use for which he came into the world, till they put him on for sanctification and holiness, neither will he be otherwise of saving benefit unto them: “he that believeth not the Son shall not see life,” John 3:36. “Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord,” Hebrews 12:14.
Some sorts of garments were significant of grief and sorrow. Mordecai put on sackcloth in Joel 1:13. Such as have put on this Garment, do abundantly demonstrate their great sorrow and grief for sin; “For godly sorrow worketh repentance,” 2 Corinthians 7:10. “Verily, verily, I say unto you…and ye shall be sorrowful,” John 16:20. All such as put on Christ for sanctification, are clothed with humility, 1 Peter 5:5.
Garments were also used to testify joy; as appears in the case of the prodigal: “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, “ Luke 15:22. Such who are clothed with the robes of righteousness, have on them the beautiful Garments of salvation, Isaiah 61:10-11, which signifies, that they above all, have cause to rejoice; saith the apostle, “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing,” 2 Corinthians 6:10. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice,” Philippians 4:4.
METAPHOR DISPARITY
Material Garments are made by man. This Garment of holiness is wrought by the Spirit of God.
Other Garments consist of matter, and are of such or such external shape, according to the party for whom they are made. This Garment consists of grace, divine virtues, and spiritual qualifications.
Other Garments may be bought with money, and those likely who have most of it, have the best robes. This Garment may be had without money or price; it is true, Christ speaks of buying, white raiment, that buying, is free receiving: the prophet explains his phrase, Isaiah 55:1. No man hath any thing of worth or value to give for it; the gift of God cannot be purchased with money, the poor in spirit are better clothed than the rich.
Material Garments render a man or woman amiable only in the sight of man. This Garment renders a man or woman lovely in the sight of God. “Even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price,” 1 Peter 3:4.
Other Garments are the worse for wearing, by long and often using they will decay. This Garment the more and longer it is used, the better and more excellent it is: use makes perfect in godliness as well as in other cases, 2 Corinthians 7:1.
Other Garments at certain times are to be put off, or may be changed; as light or thin Garments for summer, and more substantial for winter. This Garment, the robe of righteousness, is never to be changed nor put off day nor night, winter nor summer; we ought to be good and virtuous in sickness and health, at all times, in prosperity and adversity; “But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing,” Galatians 4:18.
A man may part with or dispose of other Garments at his pleasure as he thinks fit, to his friends, or to such as want clothes. This Garment, Christ and holiness, as a man cannot dispose of it unto others, so he ought not. No man hath so much grace as to furnish his friend with it; the wise virgins had no oil to give to the foolish, Matthew 25:9. ‘But that which ye have already hold fast till I come,” Revelation 2:25.

INFERENCES

  1. We may from hence admire the excellencies of the Lord Jesus Christ, he is life, he is meat, hidden manna, he is drink; he is all in all, and provides all for believers.
  2. It shows the miserable state of those that are without true holiness. Such are naked. Now a naked man is exposed to the reproach of every eye, his shame appears to all, nakedness lays open to every storm, every shower wets, thorns prick them; piercing and nipping winds make those that are naked to shrink. The unconverted sinner hath the continual pricks and terror of his own conscience, and shall thereby be filled with horror and shame.
  3. This demonstrates, that wicked men are mad, or beside themselves. None but distracted and barbarous men reject clothing. Sinners will have none of Christ, though they are naked without him; they will not put him on, will not be persuaded to cover their shame, turn from their evil ways, and accept of a robe of righteousness.
  4. Observe, that none are so well clothed, so richly arrayed, as believers, as the godly and faithful in Christ Jesus.
  5. Here is good news for the poor, and such as are naked; here is a glorious garment ready, if they will put it on.
  6. That the ungodly would be persuaded to put on Christ.

But some may say, what is it to put on Christ?

1. Christ is to be put on for justification; but in that sense those saints at Rome had put him on before.

2. Christ is to be put on by way of imitation; this refers to sanctification: we must follow his example in his holy and gracious life; we must apply his righteousness for our justification by faith, and walk by the glorious pattern he hath left, to teach us to express his virtues and excellencies in a course of sanctification, and new obedience. If Christ be not put on in both these respects, he will profit none to salvation.

  1. What will become of them, who instead of putting Christ on, and following of him, put the devil on; and instead of expressing his excellencies, they express the vices of the devil, and abominations of their own base hearts?
  2. From hence let saints be cautioned, from defiling of their Garments; a small spot is quickly seen in a white vesture. Those only who defile not their Garments, shall “walk with me in white,” Revelation 3:4.

Lastly, let all take heed to keep their Garments, for otherwise men will at one time or other see their shame, Revelation 16:15.

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Benjamin Keech

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 18:2

A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.