The Progressive Life – By Elmer Shelhamer

Chapter 6

The White Raiment Experience

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” — Rev. 3:5

Here we have another step in the mighty development of a saint. This is the same one who at one time was so helpless that he could not clothe himself. Now he is clothed in white raiment, and anointed with the peculiar oil that abideth.

And what kind of raiment must this be? What kind of raiment do you think our fore-parents had before they sinned? After that fearful tragedy “they perceived that they were naked” and now must hurriedly sew fig leaves together to take the place of the heavenly glory that had covered them. Friend, nothing can take the place of this. You can be ever so straight and strict and plain, all of which are commendable, provided you have a corresponding amount of glory. Without this you will simply repel and disgust those who might have been reached.

How often have we seen it! Perhaps the writer himself has been guilty, when he whacked and whaled away at this, that, and the other in his own strength. Yes, something needed to be said, but not in a harsh way. We started in the Spirit but ended in the flesh. It is easy to do this — sing, pray, preach, and shout long after the glory has lifted. Then we do more harm than good! God pity us!

Scientists tell us that there is an atmosphere around this globe, from forty-five to one hundred miles deep. The Great Creator made it so; and why? No doubt, for various reasons, but especially as a cushion to protect this earth from falling meteors. When one of these comes in the direction of the earth, the moment it enters this cushion of atmosphere, it is dissolved and melts into dust and fragments so that a large city is spared from being buried out of sight.

In like manner, when we are clothed with white raiment and Divine glory, Satan and wicked men can shoot their darts and throw their javelins, but, blessed be God, they are melted before they reach the soul, so that we escape unharmed.

Have you ever seen or experienced what I am trying to say? Have you ever felt weak and helpless in the presence of your enemies? Have you ever trembled and stammered in trying to deliver a message? Have you ever walked down the street not knowing what to do with your hands as your critical neighbors sat on their porches and silently sneered at you? Yes, we have all had this sad experience.

But, hallelujah! At other times, when we were clothed with glory and power, we felt that our enemies looked like so many grasshoppers — we were able to slay them “hip and thigh!” Nothing could stand before us! We towered in the heavenlies and rode on the wings of the winds. Oh, for more of this indefinable, irresistible, supernatural something upon the ministry and missionaries of today! “Then one of you shall chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.”

But this is not all! We are told that the name of this overcomer shall not be “blotted out of the book of life.” What? It looks as though, after all, there is something in the doctrine of election. . Not as the rank Calvinists believe, that we do not have power of our free moral agency, and must yield because we are “called”. No! As long as we are free moral agents, we can yield to sin or resist sin. But we do believe that it is possible to be so well saved that it is hardly likely that we will ever backslide and be lost! We can now think of some saints who are so swallowed up in God, who are so completely dead to the world, the flesh, and the devil, that it would be hard to believe that they would finally deviate and disappoint God or man.

The text further states that Jesus will “confess” our name before His Father and before His angels. O friend, what an honor! We would think it a great honor for the President of the United States or the king of Great Britain to introduce us by name before a great assembly. But, oh, how much greater to have the Lord of Glory become usher, walking up the glittering pavements of the new Jerusalem, and finally introduce to the host of heaven by name one who was once a blasphemer and a profligate; to have Jesus introduce me to the Father and the holy angels, and confess my name because while upon earth I confessed His name. This alone will surpass all earthly honor.

Say, that one confession on the part of my Redeemer will help me to forget all the insults and jeers and sneers I have encountered while upon earth. What will I care then how many dogs and evil men have snapped at my heel’s? With one wave of the hand I will forget it all as I stand there before the dazzling white throne, having the Father and the angels smile at me. Yes, it will be worth all that it costs.