by David M. Green

INTRODUCTION. This topic is just about as controversial as any topic in the Bible. Any time that you teach the truth on a subject, there will always be multitudes of opinions. Let me just say that the Lord will have His bride and it will be a Baptist bride. I trust the Lord will bless His word as we look at this subject.


"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels."(Isaiah 61:10)

This is the first garment the bride must have. Notice the words "“he hath clothed me." Friends, it is God that puts this garment on. Salvation is of the Lord! Without salvation, there is no hope of even entering heaven. In and of ourselves, we have no righteousness.

"And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment." (Zecheriah 3:4).

Another evidence of the change in raiment that the Lord gives us at salvation.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Salvation is all of grace...from the start to finish, there is no work that we could possibly do!

These robes belong to everyone who is saved. Notice:

"And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." (Revelation 6:9-11).

"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude,which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Revelation 7:9~14)

All the Lord's saints will be clothed in the garments of salvation. This includes anyone from Adam until the end of the human race who has been saved by the grace of God. Old Testament saints and New Testament saints will be clothed in these white robes. Men like Daniel, Abraham, Isaac, Peter, James, John, Tertullian, CH Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, etc. will all be there clothed in these white robes. Not one person in heaven will be without them.

However, there will be another garment which will be different from the garment of salvation. All who possess this garment (robe of righteousness) will also possess the robes of salvation, but not everyone who has the robes of salvation will have the robes of righteousness. As a matter of fact, there will be very few who have the robes of righteousness.


" Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 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."” (Revelation 19:7-8).

This is a different garment than the garment of salvation. In fact, most writers will agree that righteousness there is a plural word and the literal meaning of it is "the righteous acts of the saints." The balance of man's responsibility and God's sovereignty is seen in the words  "she hath made herself ready" and "to her it was granted."

Paul also said something similar:

" But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."” (I Corinthians 15:10).

It is by the grace of God that we are able to do anything for the Lord. However, to take away the human responsibility side of it is to strip the Christian of any responsibility of living righteously in this present world. Notice what Elder Milburn Cockrell wrote:

"The bridegroom does not dress the bride-to-be. Rather the bride prepares herself for the marriage ceremony and puts on her own attire."  He goes on to quote A.T. Robertson as writing “The righteous acts of the saints (ta dikaiomata ton hagion). This gives explanation of the bridal dress and explains why there is a work for the Bride as well as for Christ.”
We are all righteous through Christ! That's a fact that cannot be denied. However, Revelation 19:8 is more than that! The Bible teaches there will be a reward for faithfulness!

" So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth."” (Psalm 58:11).

" The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward."” (Proverbs 11:18)

" He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward."

" Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour."” (I Corinthians 3:8).

" And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. "” (Revelation 22:12).

One of the righteous acts that is required to be in the bride of Christ is baptism. Christ himself declared it to be a righteous act when he was baptized:

" And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him."” (Matthew 3:15).

Baptism into the Lord's church is necessary to serve the Lord properly. The Lord started His church while on the earth, and all saved people need to be baptized into His kind of church (known today by the name Baptist.)

But this is not the only righteous act necessary. However, the fact is the word "righteousness of the saints is plural." Baptism is a righteous act. It is the first one after salvation, but it is not the last.


The church in Sardis:

"Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." (Revelation 3:4-5)

The casual reader may come to the conclusion that both verses are speaking of the same garment. However, let us look at this more closely:

Here we read of the two garments of the bride. One is the righteous acts of the saints (specific to the bride). The other is for all the saved of the earth.

Notice that in verse 4 the words there: "Thou hast a few names which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy." These garments are limited to a "faithful few" in the church at Sardis.

I agree with what Elder Milburn Cockrell wrote in his book Here Comes The Bride!:

"What is said to this local New Testament church in the first century can be applied to all New Testament Baptist churches across the centuries. In the Sardis church some of the members had kept themselves from the general contamination of their day. Because of their faithfulness to Christ they would at a future day walk with Christ in white..."

Elder Tom Ross, in his book Teachings on the Local Church wrote:
"There were only a few faithful saints in the church at Sardis who had not defiled their garments whom the Lord pronounced as worthy to walk with Him in white on His glorious wedding day. Those Baptists who are not faithful to the Lord's church in attendance, stewardship, service, and holiness cannot expect to be in the Lord's bride. If they are saved they will certainly be blessed and happy as guests at the marriage supper of the Lamb, but they will not be among those who are numbered as His bride."

Verse 5 is the other garment. Our Lord writes it so we can understand there is a difference:

"He that overcometh....." While verse 4 was only a "few names," this verse is all those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. The overcomers include the bride and the guests at the wedding (Old Testament saints, worldly church members, saved Protestants and Catholics, etc). Notice:

"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (I John 5:4-5).

That's all of us, Baptist, Jew, Catholic....Old and New Testament saints....ALL who have been saved! Men and women, aborted babies, etc.

"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment...." Not the white raiment in verse 4. That is reserved for just a few in the church, but this is the garments of salvation spoken of in Isaiah 61:10.

"....and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." Praise the Lord! Even though there were only a few in Sardis who will be counted worthy to be in the bride, there is still a place for the others. Even through all our faults and failures, our Lord has promised that our salvation would never be lost. Our names will never be removed from the book of life.

Now, to the church at Laodicea:

"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."(Revelation 3:18).

Right away it should be noticed that the white raiment here cannot be the garments of salvation, because who can purchase their salvation with gold? Not one.

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (Isaiah 55:1).

" Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:"(I Peter 1:18-19).

Brethren, notice, he tells the church at Laodica (made of individual members) to " of me gold tried in the fire..."

This is not just any gold. Nor do I believe it to be literal gold. Men have lived and died building up for themselves treasure here on this earth, but do not take it with them when they leave. The gold referenced here has to do with our works. They will be tried by fire at the judgment seat of Christ when every individual will stand before God and be judged for his works. Notice:

"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."(I Corinthians 3:11-15).

It was to the church at Laodicea our Lord was writing to. But that church was composed of individual members who would one day be judged for their works. Each man will stand before God at that point and I believe it is then that the bride of Christ will be revealed.

CONCLUSION. I trust this article is used by the Lord to reveal His truth on the subject. Every man has a need of salvation, and after salvation we have the desire to serve the Lord in His church. The bride's desire is to the Lord. How we ought to be looking for His return!

"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."(Revelation 22:17).