#331 Kingdom: Multiple Garments Of The Priest
Mat 6: 32] “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
Seeking the Kingdom but ignoring or not seeking His Righteousness is a common mistake. Many quote this scripture without understanding what His righteousness means. The purpose of this paper is to enlarge our understanding about the “righteousness of God.” In the last paper we looked at the righteous of Christ and “Christ our Righteousness.” We will review these facts quickly.
Eph 1: 5] He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,  to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
“IN CHRIST”, IN THE BELOVED, IN HIM is a term that is used over and over again in Scripture. This indicates our position before the Father. If we are NOT “IN CHRIST” we are not “saved.” Our “salvation” is In Christ. In fact every spiritual blessing is ours “in Christ.” Even if we have said certain words we cannot be saved except “in Christ.”
We saw in the last paper that Christ Jesus IS our righteousness. Outside of Christ we have NO RIGHTEOUSNESS and are dead in trespasses and sins. Of course Christ must also be our “Life” and our Truth and our Sanctification AND our Redemption. Our ONLY recommendation before God must be “in Christ.” To approach God outside of Christ is a very dangerous thing to do. To approach the Holy Place Life and Ministry in some other fabricated righteousness or pseudo “garments” will mean spiritual death. It is for that reason that we must be very clear about our being “in Christ” which IS our only “Garment” acceptable to God for His priests.
These are such simple truths and so basic to “salvation” and the Christian Life that we wonder why these things have not been clearly taught. I have discovered that very few Christians really understand HOW or WHY they are accepted by God “IN THE BELOVED.” Of course if we are just to prepare “believers” to live on the New Earth, preaching “forgiveness of sins” may be OK. However, when we study ALL the scriptures dealing with being “In Christ” it appears to be a dangerous thing to stop at forgiveness of sins and not at least teach the “Righteousness of God.”
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
Rom 3:5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say?
Rom 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,  even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;  whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.
Rom 10:3] For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
2 Cor 5: 21] He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
JAS 1:19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;  for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.  Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
The “Righteousness of God” speaks of God’s Own Righteousness. It defines His Person, His actions, His attitudes, His purpose, His response and ALL that He does before men and angels. If the “anger of man” does not achieve the Righteousness of God”, we should ask what does achieve the “Righteousness of God?” This may be a poor question to make this point but we need to start someplace.
We have established that our ONLY righteousness before God IS CHRIST. Christ Jesus has established His Own Experiential Righteousness before God. The “Righteousness of God” is God’s Own Righteousness and reflects the way He acts. Since God IS Righteous He always acts in a Righteous way. We could say that “God Is Experientially Righteous.” If we “achieve the righteousness of God” it must mean that we develop some degree of experiential righteousness. That means that we act in a righteous way.
This will never mean that we can achieve to the “Righteousness of Christ” and then stand in God’s Presence in our own righteousness. This cannot ever happen. The only possibility of us standing in God’s Holy Presence will be “In Christ” and in His righteousness. HE alone must become our Garments to Stand before the Lord, Minister to the Lord and Burn Incense.
However, there is another kind of garment in scripture that is very important.
Mat 22: 11] “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes,  and he said to him, `Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And he was speechless.
It appears that to be accepted into the wedding feast everyone must have on garments or clothes appropriate for the occasion. I am not sure if this means standing in Christ’s righteousness or if it indicates some degree of experiential righteousness. Since even the Old Testament saints will be there also, as invited guests, we might assume they had achieved “the Righteousness of God.”
Rom 10 :2] For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
This is speaking about Israel who didn’t know about God’s Righteousness so they tried to establish their own righteousness and were rejected by God. Still there must have been some who did recognize the Righteousness of God and submitted to it because we see the Old Testament saints at the wedding Feast.
The next “Garment” that we are concerned about is the “garment of the bride” because this seems to be unique and exclusive. While there will be multitudes which no man can number at the wedding feast as invited guests, there will be ONLY ONE corporate bride.
Rev 19:6 “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.  “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”  And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.  And he said to me, “Write, `Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”
These multitudes are rejoicing, they are glad and they give glory to God because at last the marriage of the Lamb has come. With Him is His bride who has made herself ready for this most unique day among ALL the special days since the creation in Genesis 1. All the “invited guests” are tremendously blessed to be at such a glorious occasion as the “marriage supper of the Lamb”.
Among all these multitudes of redeemed people, the bride stands out because of her garment that is of fine linen, bright and clean. The “fine linen garment” is identified as “the righteous acts of the saints.” Another translation says “the righteousnesses of the saints.” My understanding of this word is that the bride has obtained an experiential righteousness in addition to the “righteousness of Christ.” She not only can stand in that Holy Place as the bride of the Lamb because she is standing in His Righteousness but she has also produced some righteous works. Her righteous works will never recommend her to God, to stand in His Presence, but they do provide her with her wedding garment. She is standing in a greater glory, as the wife of the Lamb, than all the multitudes upon multitudes who are invited guests. It is assumed that these multitudes of guests all have on “wedding garments” which are NOT the garment of the bride or what we might call the “bridal garment.”
As His wife, the two become one. He is forever the Head and she is forever His Body. Both the Head and the Body possess the same garment but the Bride will NEVER BE THE CORPORATE GARMENT. His Righteousness will always be His garment and He will always be Her Garment. She is said to be “in Christ.” The “fine linen” part will be her righteousness acts which distinguish [identify] her from all the other peoples of the earth who are saved.
The word “righteous”is used 282 times in scripture. The word “righteousness” is used 296 times in scripture. This is obviously a vast subject that includes much more than can be seen in this small document. However, some men have been declared “righteous” by their actions and behavior before they met the Lord.
Acts 10:22] And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you.”
Acts 10:1 Now there was a certain man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort,  a devout man, and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people, and prayed to God continually
Still, this degree of “righteousness” will not be sufficient to “save” anyone. However, it is clear that God was aware of Cornelius “righteous acts” and sent Peter to show him the way of life that is in Christ Jesus.
The Greek word used in Revelation 19:8 translated as the “righteous acts of the saints” is the word “dikaioma.” It seems to be the only time this word is used. Vine’s dictionary says it means “the concrete expression of righteousness.” Strong’s says “acts of righteousness” This is how we arrived at the term “experiential righteousness.” We could say “the manifested righteousness.” Or maybe “righteousness that can be seen by others.”
Vine’s Dictionary says “The Righteousness of God” means “his faithfulness, or truthfulness which is consistent with His own nature and promises.” God’s Righteousness is tied to His character so that He cannot act in a way inconsistent with His character. Calvary is consistent with His righteousness. However, it doesn’t seem that way because God condemned His own Son to death even though He was without sin and totally innocent. This shows God own “righteousness” because it reveals God’s total intolerance of sin and His condemnation of sin through the sacrifice of His Son for the remission of sin. This also shows the unchangeableness of His eternal purpose which He purposed before the world was.
God regards “our righteousness” toward men as something different from our “righteousness” to stand before Him. Righteous acts toward men is considered “righteous” in God’s sight. However, the only “righteousness” God recognizes that can stand in His Holy Presence is Christ’s Righteousness. If we are “IN HIM” we are safe. Our righteous duties toward men is seen by God but still cannot recommend us to stand in God’s Presence.
Abraham believed God and it was counted or reckoned to him as righteousness. It is assumed that “faith” was accepted by God “instead of” righteousness. In other words some believe it doesn’t matter what I do as long as I have faith because my “faith” covers my wickedness.
Vine’s Dictionary says that this word “dikaiosune” means whatever is right or conforming to the will of God. That which has been appointed by God to be obeyed by man. “Faith” doesn’t produce a covering for disobedience. Even if “faith” is “imputed” as righteousness it doesn’t mean that “righteousness” is imputed to the believer. Faith is “imputed” with a view to “righteousness” according to Vine. “Faith” works until righteousness is experienced in Christ. “Faith” producing righteousness in our life, which means that we are living in conformity to His will. Abraham obeyed God by faith until he did the will of God. This was reckoned as righteousness. A shallow reading of these scriptures has lead many astray believing that some “abstract faith” was counted to them as being “righteous” while ignoring the will of God for their life.
Titus 2: 4] But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,  He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,  whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Since God IS righteous He cannot do anything that is unrighteous. He can never be honestly accused of being unrighteous. Still, within His righteousness He must fulfill His eternal purpose. For that reason He must fully and righteously redeem man from death and sin and all the effects of the fall. Therefore “He saves us because of His righteousness.” Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on Calvary because of God’s Righteousness. In other words this was the only way that God could redeem man to fulfill His eternal purpose and not be accused by anyone or any angel of being unrighteous.
Rom 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,  even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;  whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;  for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
We are saved therefore to demonstrate God’s righteousness. This is different from the righteousness of Christ which speaks of Christ’s own personal righteousness in completing God’s plan of redemption and doing the will of God. Because of the redemption, that is through faith in the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ, every mouth is forever closed. Why? Because of the righteousness of God, He could not provide redemption for man by some underhanded way. Because of God’s righteousness, the full price must be paid for man’s sin, his iniquity and to restore man from the effects of the fall. Why? Because of the Righteousness of God, He must restore man to a place where man can fulfill the purpose for which he was created in Genesis 1 and 2. We might say that because of the righteousness of God AND the Righteousness of Christ Jesus we have a clearer vision of Revelation 21 AND 22.
Neither the Revelation of God OR the Revelation of Christ Jesus can possibly be complete without a full understanding of the “righteousness of God” AND the “righteousness of Christ.” This is foundational to understanding how we can stand before God In Christ and In His Righteousness. A pseudo righteousness is a dangerous thing in which to approach God’s Presence. A “religious righteousness” is more dangerous because it may give some false sense of security when NONE exists.
A full understanding of “Christ who has been made our righteousness” is essential for this next restoration that, hopefully, will place us in the Holy Place Life And Ministry. The exact same Christ “Who Is Our Life” is also our Wisdom from God, Our Righteousness, Our Sanctification and our Redemption.
A necessary part of our Consecration Offering is not ONLY a full surrender to God and His will and purpose but as a result of our consecration we receive Christ Jesus AS all these things in us. Not that He gives us these things but that He becomes these attributes in us.
For example; When we read the demands of the Kingdom in Matthew 5- 6 and 7 we immediately realize that our life is not sufficient to live in that way. However, we realize that when we become a Kingdom person we will be able to live according to these eternal standards. Still, that is no help to us when we are confronted with this Kingdom Truth. IF we recognize that our present natural life is not sufficient to live this way we must either give up or find out what is God’s provision for us to live this way.
Since our natural life (psuche) is too powerless and undisciplined to live this way we must now “take Christ to be our life.” If “we no longer live” and if Christ lives His Life in us and through us, the Kingdom demands are not met with my life but with His. This IS the “Key” to the next dimension of Kingdom Living and our functioning as priests. The “priests after the order of Melchizedek” who are His Body must be living by His Life. They must stand before God in His Righteousness, take Him as their Wisdom, as their sanctification AND as their redemption.
Each “member” living by their own life, their own will, their own way, with their own goals would be a total disaster. Consecration, then, must be a total surrender of everything, including our own life, to become a “member” of His body. As a member of His body, He is made all things to us. “In Him” we presently possess everything we require to meet the demands of the Kingdom.
To assume that His body is some entity separate from the Head is ignorance. To assume that each member is living by their own life is ignorance. To assume that each of us may stand before God in our own righteousness that we acquired by believing something about Jesus is ignorance.
However, if through full consecration, we no longer live but Christ lives His Life in us, the Kingdom Life with its Kingdom demands will be normal. The truly Kingdom person WILL be able to live according to Matthew 5- 6 and 7 because Christ Jesus can live His Life IN THEM!