Jewels for the Bride
God has provided not only a home and a banquet for His people, but also precious spiritual jewels and raiment which adorn their persons as they take their place within His palace.
These not only cover and beautify them, but they also identify them as His chosen ones. In Psalm Forty-five we get a picture of Christ’s Bride, the Church, adorned in these and entering the palace of the King where she is to meet her Lord face to face. And since Rebecca is a fit type of the believer, let us look at her again as she appears before us in our story, thus enriched and arrayed.
The gifts which Abraham’s servant presented to Rebecca were meant to show that God’s call was real and without deception. They were the visible tokens of an inheritance far greater and richer than anything Bethuel’s household could conceive of. The gifts were both costly and full of beauty; and they were given with a liberal hand as if they were but the smaller earnests of better things to come.
As the precious gems were one by one brought forth, the household could only express themselves in words of delight and surprise. Their hearts must have been deeply touched at the high honour which had been conferred upon their child.
Most of the gifts were, of course, given to the bride. There were rings to adorn her fingers along with bracelets and raiment. These all graced her person as she went forth with her maids accompanying her in the way. As the cavalcade moved away, amid the farewells and benedictions of her people, she looked not back.
Her heart was already with him who was waiting for her in the distant land beyond the ‘mountains of separation.’ As she journeyed thither through the land of her adoption her garments and jewels would proclaim who she was. By them she could be easily recognised as Isaac’s bride.
The spiritual significance of all this is plain.
When in a day of God’s power we are made willing by the Holy Ghost to follow Christ, we are given tokens of His love and earnests of our inheritance. These are spiritual gifts and graces by which we are identified as His people. There are inward enjoyments and outward adornments. God’s Spirit dwells in us, and the love of Christ is ‘shed abroad in our hearts.’
We are given great and precious promises which, like a treasure, we hide within our heart. The graces of the Spirit - faith, hope and love - are born within us when Christ, the hope of glory, is enthroned in our heart. Christ, the ‘Pearl of great price’ enriches our soul forever. These are spiritual jewels of which none can ever deprive us.
In John Bunyan’s immortal dream we read of Little Faith who, on his way to the Celestial City, was waylaid by thieves who robbed him of the loose coins which he carried on his person. But his jewels, which were hidden away in a secret place, they could not find. Bunyan, by this allegory, means that God’s people on their way to Heaven may lose many of their comforts; but they cannot lose Himself, for Christ dwells in their heart by faith.
They may lose God’s conscious presence and mourn for many days under a sense of spiritual desertion. They may lose the comfort of His Word, and a sense of His love. Their sun may hide itself, and their sky may for a season be without a star.
Their jewels, however, are safe, He is unchangeable in His love, in His promise, and in that Covenant which is ‘ordered in all things and sure.’ Our life is hid with Christ in God. Our real treasure is beyond the reach of the spoiler. The ‘great goodness,’ the earnests of which we enjoy here, is eternally secure beyond the reach of every enemy.
There is another ‘spiritual jewel’ which lends both honour and dignity to all who know the Lord. In our union with Christ we bear a new name given to us by the Lord Himself The new creature in Christ bears new and endearing names which testify to His love for us, to a new relationship, and to our place in His family.
‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.’ ‘Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee.’
Perhaps, indeed, in Rebecca’s eyes the most esteemed gift was the comely robe which adorned her person. And there is no gift which Christ’s Bride values more than ‘the best robe’ of His own glorious righteousness. In His righteousness she is accepted of God, justified in His sight, and exalted, both in her new relationship and prospects, to God’s right hand.
This is the theme of her song. ‘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.’
When Greatheart was in the way with Christiana he charmed her ears and warmed her heart by telling her of Christ’s two coats - one which He had no need of and which he could therefore give to those who had none. In his excellent comments on this exalted theme he tells her that Christ has a righteousness which is essential to Himself as God but which He cannot give to any other.
There is also the other coat of His mediatorial righteousness, which, as the God-Man, He wrought out by His life of perfect obedience to God in His law and by His meritorious death on the Cross, and which is now available to His people.
Under the law the High Priest in Israel had, so to speak, two coats. These were the garments of glory and beauty which he habitually wore as he ministered before the Lord. There was also the ‘holy linen coat’ in which he ministered on the great day of atonement in the Most Holy Place.
This great event took place once a year when he sprinkled the blood of the covenant before the mercy seat which lay between the cherubim. After performing this awe inspiring service, the High Priest divested himself of this single holy garment, and was clothed again in his habitual garments of ‘glory and beauty.’
Now Christ in a state of humiliation divested Himself of all visible glory. In His life and death He wore the ‘holy linen coat’ of spotless holiness which, we think, typified not only His humiliation but also His mediatorial righteousness which, as the God-Man in one Person, He wrought out for His Church.
When on earth He finished the work in righteousness, He divested Himself of this ‘holy linen garment’ and returned to the Upper Sanctuary arrayed again in His habitual garments of beauty and glory which, as High Priest over the house of God, He shall wear forever.
But the linen coat is ours.
He left it behind Him. In these typical figures there lies the profound and eternal truth of God’s grace in imputing to all His people the spotless mediatorial righteousness of Christ in which they stand forever before Him ‘without spot.’ ‘The Lord our righteousness’ is the foundation of our eternal security and glory.
Even now we may hear part of the song which the saints sing in Heaven. ‘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.’
‘She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework.’ The Apostle John, in his vision, saw ‘a great wonder in Heaven, a woman clothed with the sun.’ He, Who is the Sun of righteousness, shall clothe her forever. With Christ’s imputed righteousness, which is fundamental to all her favours, there is also an imparted righteousness and a reflected righteousness.
The one is a righteousness of nature which she receives in her regeneration. The other, in which she walks in newness of life and reflects the beauty of her Lord, marks her out as Christ’s ‘epistle’ which may be ‘read of all men.’
There was a lovely incident in the life of the Duchess of Gordon which was often mentioned by herself. One night, in a state of much spiritual anxiety, and as she lay sleepless, there appeared before her eyes a white scroll of unearthly brightness. Written at the head of this scroll in letters of gold were the words, ‘The Lord our Righteousness.’
All her darkness was dispelled in a moment, for she believed that Jesus was made of God unto her righteousness, and that His shed blood had made her whiter than snow. Her soul immediately entered into perfect rest, and she rejoiced in the full assurance that she had both righteousness and strength in the Lord.
The all important question which now confronts every one of us is this. Have I renounced forever my own righteousness that I might be clothed in His? True faith not only embraces Christ as our exclusive and perfect righteousness, but also involves a total and final rejection of all our personal ‘goodness’ as a ground of justification.
The younger son in the parable was stripped of his rags before they clothed him in the ‘best robe.’ And all who sit down at the marriage feast in Heaven must be clothed in the wedding robe provided, not by themselves, but by the King. None can enter His court in what their own hands have woven.
A sordid covering of ‘good works’ may appear fair enough to many but it will never satisfy the requirements of God’s Holy Law and of Heaven. The Apostle Paul prayed that he ‘might be found in Him not having his own righteousness, which is of the law, but in the righteousness which is of God by faith.’ And the Lord’s people in every age pray that at the end of the day they may be found ‘in Him’ in that same way.
When Rebecca appeared before Isaac there was, on his part, instant recognition. His bride wore his own jewels and the garments which he had given her. In the same way when the Church of God, in the person of all believers, arrives at His door, He shall receive and welcome her into His palace. She comes adorned by His grace and righteousness.
But the Word speaks to us of ‘foolish’ ones who substituted their own ‘goodness’ for His, and an outward formality for inward grace. When they knocked at the door there was no recognition. Instead they heard the solemn words ‘I know you not.’ Too late they made a discovery of their utter folly and unpreparedness.
But Christ still dispenses His gifts with a liberal hand. His words to the proud but foolish Church at Laodicea apply to us also. ‘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.’
These priceless blessings we may buy ‘without money and without price.’
When we say, ‘I will go to His call and offer,’ in that moment God’s Spirit opens the treasures of His grace, and provides us with the first solid tokens of the great inheritance awaiting us in a better world.