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Seeds of the Kingdom

Robe of Righteousness

by Ron Scurfield

“Father I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son”.
Luke 15:21, NIV

Jesus told the story of a certain son who was not content with his lot in life and wanted more. He’d had enough and felt the world ought to provide for him and all the pleasures he had been missing. He persuaded his father to give him his share of the estate, and went off into the world, squandering his estate in wild living. When the money ran out, the rosy glow of excitement and anticipation faded, and he fell into a pit of poverty, self-pity and despair. Under a cloud of guilt and shame he returned to his father, hoping for an ounce of compassion and perhaps a job labouring on the farm (Luke 15:11-32).

Are we any better? The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory; ‘all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags’ (Isaiah 64:6). The trouble is most of the time we don’t recognise it.

We need to take off the soiled clothes contaminated by the ways of the world, recognise where we are in Christ and reject all that has come between Him and ourselves - in other words, to put off the world and put on Christ. ‘Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; be made new in the attitude of your minds, and put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness’ (Ephesians 4:22-24).

The father, overjoyed by the return of his son, called his servants: “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet” (Luke 15:22). He wanted nothing but the best for his beloved son. He covered his son’s degradation with a robe of honour and put a ring on his finger. God wants to give us His very best, and seal it with His ring of identity, signifying that we now belong to Him. See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you (Zechariah 3:4).

The Apostle Paul tells us: ‘Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Romans 13:14). This is a positive transaction; to wear Christ like a garment for all the world to see, cast off the old contaminated clothes we used to wear when we knew no better, and put on the best robe as offered by the Father.

God takes this further: ‘to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair’ (Isaiah 61:3). We now have a new identity, unsullied by the world, as an example to believers and non-believers alike. For the restoration of our relationship with God is as a reflection of the true righteousness shown by Jesus. ‘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’ (Isaiah 61:10).

Ron Scurfield with his wife Jill, are part of the Associate Ministry Team at Ellel Grange and occasionally Ellel Scotland. Ron enjoys walking and writing and meeting interesting people, but his greatest joy is seeing God transform lives, setting people free to live the abundant life that Jesus intended.

 

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