Friday, August 9, 2013

Our God Who Clothes

Prior to sin entering the Garden of Eden there was absolutely nothing to hide. But in a couple of quick bites of forbidden fruit everything changed, including man’s awareness of his being undressed and his subsequent failed efforts to provide adequate covering.

Genesis 3:6-11 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

Adam knew He had sinned against God, and not only did he try to hide himself from God, he also tried to dress up his nakedness. But God saw through it even with all of the blame-shifting, and our just God passed judgment. But even after His judgment God considered it important enough they not continue to be found naked that He made clothing for both Adam and Eve prior to sending them out of the garden.

Genesis 3:21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

Since then man has continued to live in bodies that need covering and are subject to pain, disease, and all sorts of struggle. But God, He knew that we needed something more than external clothing, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, He provided for that need. Speaking of women Peter said in 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” And speaking to men he said in 1 Peter 5:5, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Paul gets even more specific about how we are to be clothed in Galatians 3:27 where we read, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

It is our “in the meantime clothing” that is the focus of our daily living. This daily focus is a process of making scripturally informed choices and doing what Scripture refers to as “putting on” as we purpose to “put off” that which is not consistent with who we are in Christ. There are several primary passages I think of when I think about this process (Proverbs 3:5-6; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:1-17; and 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

In Ephesians 4:22-24 we read, “that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” We read here that we have been (past action with continuing present reality) “created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” This speaks of the new spiritual reality of who we are in Christ and our calling to live consistent with who we are. We are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:1-13), and as such we are called to set aside those sins which entangle us (Hebrews 12:1-3) as we see them revealed in our lives through the illumination of the Holy Spirit and the understanding of the Word of God.

Today Sarah writes about fighting a desire to throw off our robes of righteousness, and if our spiritual condition were merely an external one that would be so easy to do. But our condition has been changed at our very core—our identity. We are new creations in Christ, and as such we are to live that way. And when we sin—confess it, thank God for our new identities, and walk forward in righteousness.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (8/9)

Wear My robe of righteousness with ease. I custom-made it for you, to cover you from head to toe. The price I paid for this covering was astronomical—My own blood. You could never purchase such a royal garment, no matter how hard you worked. Sometimes you forget that My righteousness is a gift, and you feel ill at ease in your regal robe.... I want you to trust Me enough to realize your privileged position in My kingdom. Relax in the luxuriant folds of your magnificent robe. Keep your eyes on Me, as you practice walking in this garment of righteousness. When your behavior is unfitting for one in My kingdom, do not try to throw off your royal robe. Instead, throw off the unrighteous behavior. Then you will be able to feel at ease in this glorious garment, enjoying the gift I fashioned for you before the foundation of the world.

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

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