For me personally, I felt like reality TV hit a new height of ridiculousness when they introduced the show Naked and Afraid some years ago, where people were completely stark naked out in the elements trying to survive. If I recall correctly, it was usually a man and a woman who were put together naked in the wilderness to see if they could survive for a period of time.
I went to a wedding last weekend and it was a black tie affair. I work on a farm a lot of the time, and so it is really nice to kind of get off the farm and have a reason to scrub off the dirt and put on a tuxedo and try to look respectable. This got me thinking about marriage and this metaphor of clothing.
Adam and Eve were the first married couple in all of human history and there were two times when Adam and Eve received a new set of clothing. The first was after they sinned in the garden. They felt ashamed of themselves, newly ashamed of themselves, and so they sewed together for themselves fig leaves to cover their nakedness. Now, we as humans have come a long way since we wore fig leaves for clothing and later on God provided them a second set of clothing, a better set of clothing that was made out of animal skins, if you can recall from the Book of Genesis.
There is a sophisticated, if you will, theological argument that can be made about the correlation between being made right with God or being in good standing with God and this metaphor of wearing new or clean clothing. I am going to spare you a lot of the nuance on that whole development of the argument. But I am going to give you a couple of highlighted examples. After the fall, there are a lot of Old Testament examples where clothing is a metaphor for spiritual cleanliness or spiritual readiness.
You may remember that Jacob, later on in the book of Genesis, instructs his household to put on clean clothing before he enters into a covenant with God. In the Book of Exodus, when God comes to meet Moses on the top of Mount Sinai, the people of Israel washed their clothes before receiving the 10 Commandments and entered into the Mosaic Covenant. The priests, of course, as ministers before God in the tabernacle and in the temple, they always wore special clothing, usually white clothing as a symbol of right standing or righteousness, if you will, before God. This metaphor that you see laid out through the Old Testament does not stop in the Old Testament. It continues into the New Testament, but with a twist.
Ironically, in Matthew 22, we see a man who has been kicked out of a wedding feast because he does not have on the proper clothing for that wedding feast. Now this was not just any wedding, this was a wedding of a king who was having his son married off. It was customary in those days for the king in those circumstances to provide the proper wedding garments for those who could not afford to have such garments. Only those who chose or elected not to be clothed by the king received the punishment of being put out of his presence. Isn’t that an interesting metaphor?
And there’s another twist, like in 2 Corinthians, when Paul says that we need to be correctly clothed before we stand before God and his judgment seat. The exhortation there is not to be found in spiritual nakedness, but to be ready now. I find that so illustrative because Adam and Eve were naked and afraid. They found themselves newly aware of their sinful and shameful state and tried to cover it up because they were ashamed of it before God. So they found themselves naked and afraid in the garden. Paul goes on in Galatians and other epistles to develop this idea that if you place your faith in Jesus Christ, he becomes your clothing.
We clothe ourselves with Jesus. We clothe ourselves in Jesus and His blood atones, or covers up, for our naked body. The blood of Jesus covers our sin, our guilt, our shame and our nakedness. It erases us in the very righteousness of Jesus himself. We put on Christ, and in that way, we present ourselves to God with no shame. He does not see us as in our shameful, sinful, naked state. He sees us clothed, majestically in the righteousness of Christ.
That picture of clothing being a metaphor for spiritual rightness before God extends all the way from Genesis to Revelation. The few at the church of Sardis, this is Revelation 3, had not soiled their garments, but walked with Jesus in white and were found worthy. Then Jesus further scolded the Laodiceans. And here were the metaphors for which he was scolding them. You are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked saints and elders, all through the book of Revelation, were clothed in radiant white garments. Often these garments were given to them by the bride and were supplied to them by God the Bridegroom.
Though it is not a final example, Revelation describes another wedding feast. At that wedding feast, we have this celebration of the perfect union between Christ and his bride, the church, this beautiful, radiant, spotless, blemishless, pure, perfect, bright, holy bride of Jesus. The clothing was the clothing of righteousness because Jesus purchased the wedding garment. He gave it to her and he dressed her in it himself.
This is the good news of the gospel. Our righteousness comes not from deeds. It comes from Jesus who knows and loves us. He is so concerned for his own glory, that he rescues sinners out of their sin, wretchedness, nakedness and blindness, and he clothes them in the glorious righteousness of his own goodness and mercy so that he can present us as his bride before Christ.
Passion Life is a gospel centered mission. We work with women and families. We work to save babies who are at risk of extermination by abortion. But before we do any of that, we are motivated by a thanksgiving for the goodness of the gospel and the completion of the gospel and the sufficiency of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the only way to be clothed in righteousness and be able to stand before God in good standing. Put on Christ and follow us at Passion Life.