You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
The words "garment," "robe" and "raiment" are used in the Scriptures to typify character. When a man repents of sin and joins himself by faith to Jesus Christ, he is clothed with a new nature. He "puts on Christ," so that there is not only an inward faith in Christ, but some good degree of outward resemblance in daily conduct. This may be called the garment of grace. It means Christian character. Now character is not determined by a single act, but by habitual conduct. It is a fabric made up of thousands of threads, and put together by uncounted stitches. However thorough may be the cleansing process wrought upon the heart at the time of conversion, yet no one becomes absolutely spotless. We live also in a defiling world. If we walk through certain streets in this city we must be on the lookout, or our clothes will become besmirched. A good man goes to his place of business and finds himself in the atmosphere of Mammon. It is every citizen's duty to take a citizen's part in politics; but when he becomes a zealous partisan there is plenty of "pitch" around in the caucus and the convention, and unless he is a conscientious man he is apt to be defiled. In social life he encounters the prevailing trend for show and self indulgence and expensive living. On a white surface the slightest spot shows painfully; and it is no easy thing to keep the spiritual raiment clean. Yet by the indwelling power of Christ's grace there are those "even in Sardis" who keep their spiritual garments comparatively clean. If a true follower of Christ becomes soiled with impurity, he grieves over it, repents of it, and hastens to that Saviour who pardons and restores. By such processes can only the garment of grace be kept from utter disfigurement and defilement. By and by this garment of grace shall be laid aside for the garment of glory. The one is for time; the other is for eternity. The first garment is a Christian character formed by the regenerating Spirit of God in this world. The other is a Christian character completed, consummated, and glorified in that world wherein entereth nothing whatsoever that defileth. They "walk with Jesus in white, for they are worthy." Determine that whatever others may do you will be a thorough and consecrated servant of your Master, "even in Sardis." Determine that you will keep the garment of character undefiled. If all Sardis is infected with the lust of gold, let not the canker eat into your soul. However many in Sardis rush off into frivolities and into these scenes of folly that make deathbeds terrible, do you choose rather the joys of holy converse with the Master in the "upper chamber."
(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: Nevertheless you have a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.