Thou hast a few names even in Sardis - A few persons, names being put for those who bore them. And as the members of the Church were all enrolled, or their names entered in a book, when admitted into the Church or when baptized, names are here put for the people themselves. See Revelation 3:5.
Have not defiled their garments - Their souls. The Hebrews considered holiness as the garb of the soul, and evil actions as stains or spots on this garb. So in Shabbath, fol. 152, 2: "A certain king gave royal garments to his servants: those who were prudent folded them up, and laid them by in a chest; those who were foolish put them on, and performed their daily labor in them. After some time the king asked for those royal robes; the wise brought theirs white and clean, the foolish brought theirs spotted with dirt. With the former the king was well pleased; with the latter he was angry. Concerning the former he said: Let those garments be laid up in my wardrobe, and let the persons go home in peace. Of the latter he said: Let the garments be put into the hands of the fuller, and cast those who wore them into prison." This parable is spoken on these words of Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiastes 12:7; : The spirit shall return to God who gave it.
They shall walk with me in white - They shall be raised to a state of eternal glory, and shall be for ever with their Lord.
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis - See the analysis of the chapter. The word “names” here is equivalent to “persons”; and the idea is, that even in a place so depraved, and where religion had so much declined, there were a few persons who had kept themselves free from the general contamination. In most cases, when error and sin prevail, there may be found a few who are worthy of the divine commendation; a few who show that true religion may exist even when the mass are evil. Compare the notes on Romans 11:4.
Which have not defiled their garments - Compare the notes on Jude 1:23. The meaning is, that they had not defiled themselves by coming in contact with the profane and the polluted; or, in other words, they had kept themselves free from the prevailing corruption. They were like persons clothed in white walking in the midst of the defiled, yet keeping their raiment from being soiled.
And they shall walk with me in white - White is the emblem of innocence, and is hence appropriately represented as the color of the raiment of the heavenly inhabitants. The persons here referred to had kept their garments uncontaminated on the earth, and as an appropriate reward it is said that they would appear in white raiment in heaven. Compare Revelation 7:9; Revelation 19:8.
For they are worthy - They have shown themselves worthy to be regarded as followers of the Lamb; or, they have a character that is suited for heaven. The declaration is not that they have any claim to heaven on the ground of their own merit, or that it will be in virtue of their own works that they will be received there; but that there is a fitness or propriety that they should thus appear in heaven. We are all personally unworthy to be admitted to heaven, but we may evince such a character as to show that, according to the arrangements of grace, it is fit and proper that we should be received there. We have the character to which God has promised eternal life.
A true sense of repentance before God does not hold us in bondage, causing us to feel like persons in a funeral procession. We are to be cheerful, not sorrowful. But all the time we are to be sorry that after Christ had given His precious life for us, we gave so many years of our life to the powers of darkness. We are to feel sorrow of heart as we remember that after Christ had given His all for our redemption, we used in the service of the enemy some of the time and capabilities which the Lord entrusted to us as talents to use to His name's glory. We are to repent because we have not endeavored in every way possible to become acquainted with the precious truth, which enables us to exercise that faith which works by love and purifies the soul. 7BC 960.1
As we see souls out of Christ, we are to put ourselves in their place, and in their behalf feel repentance before God, resting not until we bring them to repentance. If we do everything we can for them, and yet they do not repent, the sin lies at their door; but we are still to feel sorrow of heart because of their condition, showing them how to repent, and trying to lead them step by step to Jesus Christ (Manuscript 92, 1901). 7BC 960.2Read in context »
Christ Met Man as Man—Leaving the royal courts of heaven Christ came to our world to represent the character of His Father, and thus help humanity to return to their loyalty. The image of Satan was upon men, and Christ came that He might bring to them moral power and efficiency. He came as a helpless babe, bearing the humanity we bear. “As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.” He could not come in the form of an angel; for unless He met man as man, and testified by His connection with God that divine power was not given to Him in a different way to what it will be given to us, He could not be a perfect example for us. He came in humility, in order that the humblest being upon the face of the earth could have no excuse because of his poverty, or ignorance, and say, Because of these things, I cannot obey the law of Jehovah. Christ clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity; that He might live with humanity and bear all the trials and afflictions of man. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. In His humanity He understood all the temptations that will come to man (Manuscript 21, 1895). 7BC 925.1
(1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 2:1, 2; Revelation 3:4.) The Subdued Glory of the Human Christ—As we view Christ by the eye of faith, we see the necessity of becoming pure in thought and holy in character. Christ invites us to draw near to Him, and promises that He will draw nigh to us. Looking upon Him, we behold the invisible God, who clothed His divinity with humanity in order that through humanity He might shed forth a subdued and softened glory, so that our eyes might be enabled to rest upon Him, and our souls not be extinguished by His undimmed splendor. We behold God through Christ, our Creator and Redeemer. It is our privilege to contemplate Jesus by faith, and see Him standing between humanity and the eternal throne. He is our Advocate, presenting our prayers and offerings as spiritual sacrifices to God. Jesus is the great sinless propitiation, and through His merit, God and man may hold converse together. 7BC 925.2
Christ has carried His humanity into eternity. He stands before God as the representative of our race. When we are clothed with the wedding garment of His righteousness, we become one with Him, and He says of us, “They shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” His saints will behold Him in His glory, with no dimming veil between (The Youth's Instructor, October 28, 1897). 7BC 925.3Read in context »
It is right to love beauty and to desire it; but God desires us to love and to seek first the highest beauty—that which is imperishable. The choicest productions of human skill possess no beauty that can bear comparison with that beauty of character which in His sight is of “great price.” Ed 249.1
Let the youth and the little children be taught to choose for themselves that royal robe woven in heaven's loom—the “fine linen, clean and white” (Revelation 19:8), which all the holy ones of earth will wear. This robe, Christ's own spotless character, is freely offered to every human being. But all who receive it will receive and wear it here. Ed 249.2
Let the children be taught that as they open their minds to pure, loving thoughts and do loving and helpful deeds, they are clothing themselves with His beautiful garment of character. This apparel will make them beautiful and beloved here, and will hereafter be their title of admission to the palace of the King. His promise is: Ed 249.3Read in context »
If the rush of work is allowed to drive us from our purpose of seeking the Lord daily, we shall make the greatest mistakes; we shall incur losses, for the Lord is not with us; we have closed the door so that He cannot find access to our souls. But if we pray even when our hands are employed, the Saviour's ear is open to hear our petitions. If we are determined not to be separated from the Source of our strength, Jesus will be just as determined to be at our right hand to help us, that we may not be put to shame before our enemies. The grace of Christ can accomplish for us that which all our efforts will fail to do. Those who love and fear God may be surrounded with a multitude of cares, and yet not falter or make crooked paths for their feet. God takes care of you in the place where it is your duty to be. But be sure, as often as possible, to go where prayer is wont to be made. The Saviour says, “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.” Revelation 3:4. These souls overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Amid the moral pollution that prevailed on every hand, they held fast their integrity. And why? They were partakers of the divine nature, and thus they escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. They became rich in faith, heirs to an inheritance of more value than the gold of Ophir. Only a life of constant dependence upon the Saviour is a life of holiness. CH 424.1Read in context »