Those who may become of this class are such as have been granted a knowledge of God's arrangement through Christ, and these may avail themselves of this privilege without delay, if they choose, by making a consecration to the Lord.
As Jesus laid down His earthly life in the service of the Father and of the Truth, and was misunderstood by those about Him, so those who follow in Jesus' footsteps must in like manner suffer disappointments in earthly matters, if they would be sharers in His glory and immortality. As Jesus overcame and sat down with the Father in His Throne, so those who overcome will sit down with Jesus in His Throne.
We must distinguish between the overcoming of Jesus and that of His followers. His was a perfect overcoming. While He had the instruction of the Father and the help of the angels, He had no one as a sin-bearer, no one to impute any righteousness to Him. His overcoming was full and complete. His followers, being imperfect in the flesh, cannot do perfectly; and therefore by the grace of God it has been so arranged that these may be acceptable through Jesus, if they have the spirit to overcome, the desire to overcomeif they manifest righteousness of heart. But they must show this overcoming spirit, else they can never be associated with our Lord in His Kingdom. They must be copies of their Master in spirit, even though imperfect in the flesh.
Thus the very moment that we take the step of consecration and are accepted, all our blemishes and imperfections are covered by the robe of Christ's righteousness. But it is not only while we have blemishes that we need to be covered; even all those represented in the symbolic pictures of the Scriptures are there shown as clothed. The pictures given of the Heavenly Father represent Him as clothed, and the pictures of our Lord represent Him as clothed. The Revelation pictures represent our Lord and the saints as clothed in white garments. The angels who appeared at the time of our Lord's resurrection are represented as clothed in white. Our Lord said: "Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
The glorified Church is represented, not as taking off the robe of righteousness, but continuing to walk in white raiment. It will no longer be an imputed robe of righteousness, however; our righteousness will be our own. To be clothed in white garments then will be to be recognized as one of the pure onesnot as now, in a robe of reckoned righteousness, but in a robe of actual righteousness. "It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power."
The Bible mentions two books of lifeone appertaining to the present time, and the other to the Millennial Age. As we read: "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." Again, "And the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life." (Rev. 3:5; 20:12.) The special Book of Life that is open at this present time is the one in which the names of all the overcomers of this Gospel Age are written. When we take the step of consecration and are begotten of the Holy Spirit, it is appropriate that we should be reckoned as belonging to the family of God. Just as a family will keep a record of its membersJoseph, Mary, Martha, etc.so with those who become members of the family of God, through Christ; their names will be recorded.
This recording has been going on throughout this present Age. This means that those whose names are therein written are not only members of the family of God, but also members of the Bride class. In order to maintain this position, they must be overcomers. In some Scriptures it seems that the Great Company class are included; in other passages it is not so. Those who will constitute the Little Flock, or those who will be of the Great Company, or those who will attain perfection as earthly beings by and by, must all be overcomers. The Bride class is referred to as "more than conquerors." [R5377 : page 12] They will gain the abundant entrance into the Heavenly Kingdom.2 Peter 1:10,11.
In our text we may not be sure whether or not the Great Company is included. From one standpoint it looks as though they were; from another, as though they may not be. We do well not to settle it too definitely in our minds, but wait to see what the Lord's intention is. We know that there will be some names blotted out. All those who go into the Second Death will be blotted out of the special record, and their names have no place in the Book of Life. Perhaps the Great Company class will also be blotted out of the special Record. But we are not anxious to put that construction upon it. They are our brethren, they also are brethren of the Lord, and we would like to think of them as favorably as possible.
"I will confess his name." This gives us, first of all, the thought that, although we have been begotten of God, we have never been introduced to Himin His actual presence. Our Lord is not only represented as our Bridegroom, but also as our Elder Brother, and is pictured as waiting on the other side until we, His brethren, shall pass over. And as we shall pass over, Our Lord being the One to whom the Father delegated the work of instructing us in the School of Christ, it will be appropriate that He should introduce us to the Father.
In another place, our Lord says that if we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us. This expression would rather imply that the Great Company class would not be included here. But we are sure respecting the Little Flock class, that they will be introduced to the Father and to the holy angels as the Bride of Christ. This is pictured in the 45th Psalm: "She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework; the virgins, her companions that follow her, shall be brought unto Thee." Those especially confessed, introduced, are the Bride class only. And we are to hope and strive that we may have a place amongst these. The place that the Father would prefer us to have is the place we would prefer to have.