Summary: There are three important items of apparel in every Christian’s spiritual wardrobe. All three are to be worn at their appropriate time.
THE WARDROBE OF A CHRISTIAN
Daniel said: "So I gave attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed and said, ’Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and loving-kindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments. We have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly, and rebelled, even turning aside from Thy commandments and ordinances." (Daniel 9:3-5)
Before an individual can wear any of the apparel in the spiritual wardrobe of a child of God, he must first realize that the garments of his unbelief and his efforts at amassing good works is as filthy rags in the sight of God. The Scriptures make this fact very clear. “We are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags (lit.’a filthy garment’)” (Isaiah 64:6) Isaiah’s call to the children of God was "Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city!" Isaiah 52:1
I. SACKCLOTH: THE GARMENT OF REPENTANCE.
We can never wear the beautiful garments of a child of God until we first have worn the garment of sackcloth. The king of Nineveh proclaimed: "But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands." (Jonah 3:8)
The Apostle James wrote: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10)
II. FINE LINEN: THE GARMENT OF THE REDEEMED.
"And to her (the glorified church) it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints." (Revelation 19:8)
III. THE EPHOD: THE GARMENT OF PRIESTLY SERVICE.
"You, also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." (I Peter 2:5, 9) "But Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod." (1 Samuel 2:18)
The ephod was a linen apron worn by the priests and the Levites when performing their duties in the Tabernacle or the Temple. The priest was not permitted to minister to the spiritual needs of Israel without wearing the ephod, which symbolized a holy life, dedicated to God.
The Christian compounds his sin when he tries to perform holy service in the name of the Lord Jesus with known sin in his life. You cannot serve in the temple of the Lord clothed in defiled garments. First, put on the garment of sackcloth; confess your sin before God. Next, let our Lord clothe you with fine linen, the garment signifying redemption…then, and only then, may you put on the ephod, the garment of priestly service.
And we, as believers in Christ Jesus, be mindful of the fact that as the prophet is God’s spokesperson to man, the priest is man’s spokesperson to God in prayerful intercession. (James 5:16).