“I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?” (Song of Solomon 5:3)
In this entire episode, beginning with Song of Solomon 5:2, the Beloved is revealing to the Bride – not that she doesn’t love her Beloved, this is not the lesson here – but, he is revealing to his Bride the deception of a lack of diligence to keep her focus on her Beloved above everything else. He is also revealing the depth of her deception, by the shallowness of her excuses. Her words reveal the condition of her coldness to her Beloved.
This deception is very deep; which is evidenced by the fact that she should be open to her Beloved’s presence at all times. But here, in Song of Solomon 5:3, her words show that this is not the case; for she was asleep and had to be awakened by her Beloved.
However, the Bride follows the natural response of the flesh, which appears to be in charge; this is seen in the excuses she gives in her reply. Notice her defenseless excuses. They are weak and are really not excuses at all, but only feeble efforts to defend her actions for not opening up her fellowship to Christ, her Beloved. What is so sad is that when the Bride is in this condition, she is so deceived that she cannot perceive how weak her excuses are; and she does not see that she is in a deep, deep deception.
Those who consider themselves not in the deception are the first ones to judge and condemn those who are in a deceived condition, evidenced by the following:
First she says, “I have put off my coat.” Her first excuse is – I have done my job. I have been on the front line all day, maybe even for years. I decided it was time for a vacation, a brief R & R (rest and relaxation). I am so tired, I need a break. Therefore, I have come inside my house; I have left the battle front. All of this is indicated by “I have put off my coat.”
Or, I have taken off my armor. (See Ephesians 6:10-18.) I have taken off my girt (verse 14a); my breastplate (verse 14b). I have taken off my shoes (verse 15); dropped my shield (verse 16a); taken off my helmet (verse 17). And I am not praying for a while (verse 18).
In a spiritual sense, the Bride is also tired. The Church has taken off her armor (Ephesians 6:10-18): “…the whole armour of God…” (verse 11); which includes:
“…having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness” (verse 14)
“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (verse 15);
“Above all, taking the shield of faith…” (verse 16).
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (verse 17);
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (verse 18).
When the Church, Christ’s Bride, drops her armor of God in her spirit, then she is in a vulnerable position for her flesh to deceive her. Actually the deception begins when she decides to take time off from the battle against sin. But it only gets worse as she actually takes off her armor.
This taking “off my coat” is equivalent in the spiritual realm to our actions when we:
- Stop praying;
- Stop reading and studying God’s Word;
- Stop attending the church meeting together to worship and praise God (or pay our vows);
- Stop daily confessing of sins;
- Stop leaning on Christ’s power and sufficiency, and lean on our own understanding;
- Stop caring about what Christ thinks of us;
- Stop caring about the quality of the fruit being borne;
- Stop caring about our witness to others of Jesus Christ;
- Allow selfishness to reign, and not submission to Christ;
- Think we deserve a rest from the battle of trials, tribulations, and persecutions of all kinds for Christ’s Name sake.
So the Bride says, my Beloved, I have already quit for a season.
Next she asks, “How shall I put it on?” In the spiritual sense, the Bride is saying, “I” quit, “I” took off my coat, but now how can “I” put it back on? The truth is – it was you, the Bride, that quit; and now it is your responsibility to put it back on.
How? By 1 John 1:9, confessing your faults:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
It is by reversing the steps you took in taking leave of your place on the wall. God is the same; His grace and mercy are the same; His calling of you is the same. The problem is you. Repent and confess; forsake your lack of diligence to feed the love plant.
Note the Bride’s words are a weak, weak excuse of the flesh speaking. It is true, in your own power you cannot put on your armor. But in your flesh, or your own power, you have no desire to put it back on. For when you do, it is death to the flesh and its desire to sin.
But, Paul said:
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” (2 Corinthians 3:5)
Because you have the Spirit of God dwelling in you (Romans 8:9-16), you do have the power to mortify the flesh. You have been made free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2); and it no longer has rule (or dominion) over you. You do have the Victory in the Resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:4-11; 1 John 5:4).
Third she says, “I have washed my feet.” In the spiritual sense, the Bride is saying, I have prepared myself already to climb into my bed and sleep. I not only have taken off my armor, but I have also taken a bath, now I am going to bed.
Fourth she asks, “How shall I defile them?” In the spiritual sense, the Bride says, I can’t go back into the battle now. It is too late; I have gone too far now to turn back.
In the spiritual sense this shows the real depth of the Bride’s deception. The Bride is not cleansed by water; but by the washing of the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26). There is no earthly atonement or cleansing; no works of man can cleanse. Works of man for justification are fruitless; for works without faith are nothing (James 2:14-26).
There is no earthly philosophy that can cleanse you. There is no reform that will last.
What does the Bride mean, “How shall I defile them?” She has already defiled them when she quit the battle and took off her armor (coat) and refused to put it back on.
You might ask, “How can a Child of God who has been Born Again, is filled with the Spirit, has served Christ for years and years; how can he find himself in this position of deception?”
How? By listening to his flesh; or by letting down the hedge in his home and in his own life. This “hedge” is prayer, confession, study, submission, leaning on Christ daily, living his life in Christ’s life (Galatians 2:20); etc. But as soon as you let down the hedge, you are already in trouble. (See the example of David and Bathsheba; 2 Samuel 11 and 12.)
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” (James 1:13)
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” (James 1:14)
“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:15)
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
It is the saved man’s responsibility to surrender, submit, obey, and endure daily in God’s Way and Will. This is obeying God’s Will of Command. But God also has a Secret Will. Job best described it:
“But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.” (Job 23:13)
“For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.” (Job 23:14)
The saved man cannot blame God for his sin; but God uses his fall to bring the saved man to greater heights in Christ. In the Valley of Baca and in the Potter’s House, a saved man comes to see who he is in the mirror of righteousness. He is changed by the Spirit of God “from glory to glory”:
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The term “open face” is literally “unveiled face.” That is, the saved man’s perception is unveiled. So he sees the Glory of God, and his position in that Glory (John 17:21-24). This causes progressive Sanctification in his life; which conforms him to the Glory of Christ.
Once a person is born from above by the Spirit of God, the Spirit of God takes up residence in the believer’s spirit. (See 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; etc.) Therefore, the saved man may fall into sin, but he cannot be ruled by sin. The Spirit will lead him to confession and the forsaking of sin. (See John 42:1-6; Psalms 139:23-24; Daniel 9:4-19; 1 John 1:9.)