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What to Wear In God’s Presence – A Style Guide

June 17, 2015

At the baptism last Sunday, the girl who was baptised confessed to liking clothes… and then she read Gal 3:27 about being clothed in Christ. And that was the same text I had chosen to speak on… A great “God-coincidence”! And here’s what I said:

If you’re into clothes, you must have appreciated the opportunity to wear two different outfits to one church service… but according to our passage, you have also put on something else, something that will never need changing: you’ve clothed yourself in Christ. What does that mean?

Look around: what do you see? People – and they’re all different! Men and women; young and old; single, married, divorced or widowed; rich and poor… Some are more popular than others, some more clever, some more useful (at least in eyes of the others…). Some have a rich social life, others hardly ever get out of the house. Some are well-dressed, others look like me. Some are morally upright, pillars of society; others struggle to walk the straight and narrow even for one day.

Some have access to God, some don’t…

Whoa! Hold it right there! Is that true? If so, what determines whether somebody has access to God? None of the above!

Who would like to go a visit the Queen? Could we just walk up to Buckingham Palace and ask to be let in? Hardly! But do you know who could? Her family! It’s the same with God: the one thing that gives access to the throne of God is being a child of God; and that is only possible through Jesus.

In Christ Jesus, through faith, we have access to God. Nothing else matters: neither riches, nor age, looks, usefulness – only Jesus (note how he is mentioned by name three times just in that verse!)

What about leading a moral life? Surely God will be more favourably inclined to those who don’t sin, those who are righteous?

Yes, in theory – but nobody actually fits that category. There’s nobody who is perfect – not even close. Nobody is good enough to have the right in themselves to approach God. We’re all defective, broken, malfunctioning – it’s just more obvious in some than in others…

And Bible tells us that this is why we die. Ever wondered why God created death? He didn’t. Death is the result of humans turning away from God; it’s God’s damage control. Perfect beings could have eternal life; broken rebellious humans living forever? Imagine the consequences!

But damage control is rather unsatisfying; God was not content with that, and he already had his rescue plan sorted – which is where Jesus comes in. And comes down.

Yes, the Son of God comes down to our world, becoming a human being living amongst sinful human beings. With one difference: he was actually sinless – the only human being who ever lived 100% according to God’s will and plan! Then he allowed himself to be killed; the only one who didn’t need to die, since damage control was not needed in his case…

But the Bible explains that Jesus took the punishment for all wrong choices we’ve made; and that we can benefit from his death by admitting our guilt, our failure to live the way God would want, and asking to have Jesus’ death credited to our account. We can become children of God through faith and trust in him. Eternal life in God’s presence comes only from Jesus!

Let’s say you’ve got an audience with the Queen. What would you wear? You know, even I might wear a tie… How about when you go to church? People sometimes talk about wearing your “Sunday best” when going to church; it used to be compulsory!

Fortunately, strict dress codes for church have largely been discarded (at least where I’m concerned); but there is still a dress code for approaching God: we need to be “clothed in Christ”. This means we need to identify with his death, and be spiritually joined with him – we need to become children of God through faith in him.

And that’s what baptism is all about: it’s a symbol of dying with Jesus and rising again to new life, clothed in Jesus’ righteousness; your sinfulness covered by his sinlessness!

And this means a new life with new priorities and new loyalties. Paul writes: Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh (Rom 13:14) and tells us to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:12).

When we’re wearing Jesus as our identity, our primary aim will be to live as God wants us to, in righteousness and holiness. Not in order to be accepted by God – that’s already happened – but simply because that’s what happens when we put on Christ. It’s a new start, a new life; and it will go on forever.

Most of us will never be invited to meet Queen, so luckily we don’t need to worry about what to wear. But one day we will all stand before the throne of God – an even more majestic presence! What are you going to wear then? On that occasion, there’s only one acceptable dress code: you need to be clothed in Christ.


From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

  1. Susanne Rugg permalink

    Well said, David.

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