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.
I. OFFER A FEW PROPOSITIONS CONCERNING THIS REMNANT.
1. God's remnant are a holy people. They are a set of men that study to keep clean garments.
2. God has a special eye of favour and kindness on this remnant in a sinful and declining time.
II. SHOW THAT CHRIST HAS A HIGH VALUE FOR THIS REMNANT.
1. Consider what an account He makes of them when compared with the rest of the world (Isaiah 43:4; Psalm 119:119; Lamentations 4:2).
2. That this little remnant are worthy on Christ's account will appear if we consider the names and compellations that He gives them (Malachi 3:17).
3. Consider the endeared relations they stand under unto Him. There is a legal, a moral, and a mystical union between Him and them.
4. That they are worthy in His esteem appears from what He does for them (Revelation 1:5; Hebrews 8:12; Hebrews 4:16).
III. INQUIRE INTO WHAT IS IMPORTED IN THE REMNANT KEEPING THEIR GARMENTS CLEAN.
1. That even God's remnant are not without danger of defiling themselves with the sins and defections of their day.
2. That foul garments are very unbecoming and unsuitable unto God's remnant. A careful study of universal obedience unto all known and commanded duties. A holy caution and tenderness in guarding against all sin, especially the prevailing sins of the day.
IV. INQUIRE INTO THE IMPORT OF THE CONSOLATORY PROMISE MADE UNTO THE REMNANT THAT KEEP THEIR GARMENTS CLEAN.
1. "What is imported in walking with Him?
(1) It necessarily supposes the soul's subsistence in a separate state, or after its separation from the body, otherwise it could not be said to walk with Him.
(2) Its activity.
(3) Perfect peace and agreement between Christ and men.
(5) Full pleasure, satisfaction, and complacency.
2. What is imported in walking with Him in white?
(1) That then all their black and beggarly garments shall be laid aside.
(2) That perfect holiness shall then be their adornment.
(3) Victory over all their enemies, whether outward or inward.
(4) High honour.
(5) Priestly service.
(6) A blessed conformity between Christ and them.
(7) The beauty of the Lord their God will then be upon them.
V. INQUIRE INTO THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE DUTY AND THE PRIVILEGE, BETWEEN KEEPING THE GARMENTS CLEAN AND WALKING WITH CHRIST IN WHITE.
1. Negatively there is no connection of merit, as if our keeping of clean garments did deserve that we should walk with Christ in white.
2. Positively there is —
(1) A connection of decree or purpose in this matter.
(2) A connection of promise.
(3) A connection of meetness or congruity.
(4) A connection of evidence.
1. Holiness is to be studied and pursued, however it may be ridiculed and mocked at by a profane world.
2. They labour under a mistake who think or say that it is a vain or "unprofitable thing to serve the Lord" and to keep His way.
3. Gospel purity and holiness is not such a common thing as the world apprehends.
4. See hence what it is that sweetens the pale countenance of the king of terrors to believers: it is this, they see that upon the back of death they will be admitted to walk with Christ in white.
(John Erskine, 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.