In a nearby clothing shop, two people browse the racks of robes on a rounder. They are called Sinner and Saved. Saved is a salesperson, trained and ready to explain any aspect of anything about the robes on display.
Saved: May I help you?
I think I would like one of these robes, they're so white and beautiful. Are they silk?
They're fine flax, plus other threads extremely rare and unique because they're imported from a remote location.
It looks shimmery...
That's because the Light reflects on it, through it, and off it. Some call this garment "Woven Moonlight" from the Grace line. It comes with a lifetime guarantee. It will never wear out.
That would be something, I hate going to the store to buy robe after robe. No robe I buy ever seems to last and I always end up cold and chilly in my house.
So, would you like one?
I don't think I can afford it.
You can. It's free.
No way! You mean just get one, put it on and walk out of here?
Yes, but there is something you need to do first before it can be put on.
I knew there would be a catch. You're probably going to tell me I have to work for you for fifty years or something, like an indentured servant.
No, there's no works involved.
Where are the lawyers, you'll have me arrested if I take one for free.
The owner of this store has plenty of robes and is perfectly willing to give them away. There is no Legalism here.
I'll get back to the robe in a minute, but I want to know this. Who in his right mind would give away his inventory? How does he stay in business? This is crazy!
I agree, it is unusual. There is no other store in the world which does this. This is certainly an exclusive shop.
But how can the owner stay in business?
He is extremely wealthy. And he wants to share his wealth. Again this is unusual. No other store owner in the world gives freely and doesn't take.
Wait, I thought you said there was a catch. What is it?
No catch, but you do have to say you're sorry before you can put on one of these exclusive robes.
Say I'm sorry for what???
For all your crimes against the owner of this store.
Whatchoo you talking about? I never done nothing to this guy!
Well, you have. If you ever even took a paperclip home from work, you've been stealing.
What does that have to do with the owner of this store?
He owns the paper clip. He owns everything. I told you he is very wealthy.
I knew this was too good to be true, I'm leaving.
Sinner leaves and walks to the next store. He is gone for hours. Eventually, he returns.
Ah, sir, so glad to see you again. What brings you back into our exclusive store?
I looked at every other robe in the mall. None are as good as this one. Once I saw the white gossamer shimmering threads, so delicate but so strong, I knew that no other could compare. Tell me more about this garment being free but having to be sorry first...
Well, you have committed crimes against the owner of this store, Mr Lamb, who owns the inventory of White Robes. Every time you stole, cheated, lied, even unknowingly, you sinned against Him. He owns all that is on the earth.
I've gotta know, who is this man?
God?! Like the Man Upstairs?
He is not a man, and though he is in heaven he is also on earth, in the form of His Spirit.
I think this God talk is kind of crazy but I admit His robes look different from all the others.
I'm wearing one.
You? You're wearing regular clothes.
Yes but have you ever heard of layaway? My robe is on deposit, the Spirit is the deposit of the guarantee of being given one when we get to heaven. You will inherit His wealth, and the robe comes with it. (Ephesians 1:14)
Doesn't a dad have to die in order for the kids to inherit?
He already died. He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins, paying the debt you racked up, and the debt of all mankind. (John 3:16). In addition, He endured all the Father's wrath for these sins, poured out onto the Son. I mean didn't your dad get angry when you messed up? (Romans 1:18)
LOL, he sure did. When I was a kid I took his keys and drove the car, and I crashed it. Cost him a lot of money. He was so mad he used his belt on me for the first and only time. It hurt. I still have the scar from one of the welts.
Well, imagine how angry the Father is over your crimes against Him, and though His anger is controlled, it is there and poured out on the Son on behalf of you. He bore your stripes so you can live right. (1 Peter 2:24). The Son died. He sure did. However the good news is, He didn't stay dead. Satisfied with His Son's sacrifice, God resurrected the Son to eternal life.
Who is the Son?
I knew it, you're a Jesus freak!
That I am, proclaiming His excellencies to call you from darkness to his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9).
When I was looking at all the other robes I was thinking about the paper clip. You know, um, I have done worse than taking a paper clip. A lot worse. When I committed them I didn't know he was the owner of all the earth. (Psalm 24:1).
Well, you did. Just looking at the creation makes you know He created it. (Romans 1:19)
OK, you got me. I guess I lied again just then. I am surely without excuse. (Romans 1:20). What a miserable human being I am. I thought I felt bad before looking at the other robes, which suddenly looked like filthy rags next to this one, (Isaiah 64:6) but now I feel terrible seeing myself next to it. (Isaiah 6:5). I'm hopeless.
Yes, you are- out there. (Amos 5:20). In here, you have the deposit guaranteed, the robe of righteousness, the Spirit in you to strengthen you, Jesus to look forward to, and all hope and all wealth. As a matter of fact, all things will be yours, including eternal life. (Romans 8:24).
A rotten tomato splats against the store window, dripping down, with some youth running away shouting, "Your store is stupid and so are you!"
A few women wander in, but they stop only inches inside the threshold. One says, "This place smells horrible! Like garbage! And the clothes are all weird and shiny. Let's go, Myrtle. We can check out the store that has grey robes. I hear they've got 50 shades of them!" They hustle out.
Why'd they do that? You're just standing here, minding your own business!
That happens a lot. Pay no mind. We don't bother to fight against flesh and blood, but fight against what drives them. It's their conscience. "For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus." (Romans 2:14-16). With you, your thoughts are accusing. With them, they are trying to defend themselves and so they lash out.
Accuse is a good word. I feel a great heaviness on me because of all the wrong I've done. The more I look at the robe the more I see myself as a sinful man. (Luke 5:8). I couldn't get it out of my mind these past few hours. (Romans 2:15). As much as I didn't want to come back in here, I felt like I had to. (Ephesians 2:1–10).
You're almost ready for a robe, I think. I'll go get one in your size. While I'm gone, why don't you speak with the Owner, and tell Him how you feel?
You mean on the phone? Or an intercom?
Just speak with your mouth, He will hear you. (Romans 10:9).
A few minutes go by. When the salesman returns, the Sinner is beaming.
I talked with Mr Lamb! He heard me, I know He did. He said He forgives me of my crimes against Him. There were a lot. Once I got going I hadn't realized how many times I broke Mr Lamb's law. But He said He would throw my sins away as far as the east is from the west. He said I'd receive a robe when I get there. He said I might have to pay for my past sins, endure the consequences you know, but He would always be with me and never forsake me. I believe Him I believe it down to my bones.
That's wonderful! I'm so pleased!
You know, this is so weird. This place is right in the mall but I'd never seen it before today. I come here every week but I never saw it. And the owner is rich but wiling to give it all to us. He doesn't make money, he gives it. He covers us with his garment which was made at great expense and gives it away free. All we have to do is be sorry for our sins and believe in His death, burial and resurrection. I can't believe my whole life I thought Mr Lamb as a jerk.
That's because you're a new creation now. The Spirit is already inside you, helping you. He is the Helper. He'll strengthen you in faith, change you from the woeful man you were into the righteous man you are now and will become. (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Hey I've got to tell this news to my family. I'll come back and we'll talk more, OK?