Summary: Our righteousness vs. the imputed righteous of God

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Rags and Robes

(Man’s Righteousness vs. God’s Righteousness)

TEXT: Isaiah 64:6; Isaiah 61:10

OBJECTS: 2 dirty rags tied to 2 stick & 1 clean white robe

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Isaiah 61:10 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.

Religious Scholars give 3 Ideas as to what filthy rags were:

1) Disposed used menstrual cloths

2) The worn out clothing of lepers

3) Public leprous rags—The most dreaded disease at that time (and until recently, before the appearance of AIDS) was leprosy. It is not a hereditary disease, but one with origins in filth and squalid living conditions. The disease is transferred by human contact and is still prevalent today in places like India, Asia, and Africa. In Isaiah’s day they also had “leper colonies” and lepers were forced to live there to isolate them from the rest of society. When a leper went out to get water or anywhere else near people, they first had to go to a place just outside the colony and wipe themselves with some rags that were attached to a post. The lepers took those rags and wiped the open sores on their bodies. They did this thinking that it made them less contagious. You can imagine how filthy and infectious those “public rags” must have been after being used by all the lepers.

The Rags are an Example of our:

• Unrighteousness in Self Works

• Unworthiness in our Fallen State

• Inability to Be Clean before God

The Robe is a:

• Reminder of God’s love toward Fallen Man

• Statement of God’s mercy toward Unable Man

• Symbol of the Righteousness with which He clothes the Believer


Ro 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

Jas 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

POINT: Self-righteousness is pictured by the rags, while the righteousness of God is pictured by the robe.

What are the benefits of such a righteousness? I have a right to:

1. Inheritance Rights

--a. Eternal Life

--b. Home in Heaven

2. Survivor Rights

--a. Peace

--b. Joy

3. Fellowship Rights

--a. To be loved

--b. To be comforted

--c. To be Heard

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