Put On the Right Clothes  (10-1-2013)

by Judy Lloyd Anderson

This Bible Study/teaching is about putting on the fitting garment to worship God. Is this about hats, veils, dresses for women and suits for men? NO. It’s about being right before God. What does God expect us to wear?

In the Old Testament the priests who offered sacrifice in the temple and led in praise and worship of God were instructed to put on particular garments as they made sacrificial offerings. The garb must be clean, spotless linen. The high priest wore a tunic decorated in precious stones, each stone representing a tribe of Israel. He wore a turban decorated in gold with a precious stone signifying the high priest’s headship, a particular sash with words of truth embroidered on it, clean feet and washed sandals, even pure white linen undergarments that expressed purity. Each garment held a symbolic spiritual purpose. The garments were worn to honor God in worship, but also to physically instruct the people about God’s character.

 Other scriptures lend some of the spiritual meaning of clothing.

Job 29:12  …I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist him.

Job 29:13 The man who was dying blessed me; I made the widow’s heart sing.

Job 29:14 I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban.

Job 29:15 I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. Job 29:16 I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger.

Note that Job comments on righteousness and justice and the clothing God desires. 

The prophet Isaiah tells Israel to get ready for God to return to the city of Jerusalem…

Isa 52:1 Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city.

Strength is another attribute of God’s character with which he clothes his people.

Also in Isaiah we read of God putting on garments to cleanse the earth of unrighteous behavior. These words sound like my reaction to news reports today…

 Isa 59:15-16 Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.

Isa 59:17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

 The passage continues to reveal God’s vengeance against his enemy which is, of course, Satan and the heavenly host of demonic powers. Then he reveals prophetic words about Christ.

 Isa 59:20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD.

 The Lord Jesus, Our redeemer, did come to Zion. The spiritual garments spoken of were worn by our Savior.  Those who have faith in the Son of God have been given pure and spotless garments to wear that we might come into the presence of God. These garments protect us from the enemy of humanity as well.  The Old Testament passage is reminiscent of the New Testament passage in Ephesians that is often quoted:

 Eph 6:11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Eph 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Eph 6:14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, Eph 6:15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Eph 6:16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Eph 6:17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Eph 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Other passages penned by Paul remind us to put on the garments of salvation provided us by Christ Jesus. We put them on in our thinking, our actions, our lifestyle.

 Gal 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, Gal 3:27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Because of our faith in Christ we are considered Abraham’s seed, children of faith, children of God. We are God’s new creation.

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ.

Because we are God’s children we are expected to make the choice to live in him, abide in him, do what pleases him. We are told how to live a Christian life, how to clothe ourselves. Paul writes:

Ro 13:14 …Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 

Clothing is something that we put on. It is a choice to be clothed properly. We can wear our old clothes, dirty, full of the old life ruled by the world and the enemy of God OR we can put on the garments provided us by faith in Christ. 

Col 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.Col 3:14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Eph 4:22 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; Eph 4:23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; Eph 4:24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Eph 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  

This idea is repeated in Paul’s letter to the Colossians… 

Col 3:9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices Col 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Col 3:11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Some old self (dirty clothes) negatives to get rid of: 

Eph 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Eph 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

And some new clothes to put on:  

Eph 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph 5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children Eph 5:2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 

Col 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

 This reminds me of the praise song by Jamie Harvill, “Garments of Praise”

Put on the garments of praise
For the spirit of heaviness
Let the oil of gladness flow down
From Your throne
Put on the garments of praise
For the spirit of heaviness
Your joy is my strength alone
My strength alone

Make these broken weary bones
Rise to dance again
Wet this dry and thirsty land
With a river
Lord our eyes are fixed on You
We are waiting
For Your garland of grace
As we praise Your name

Sing hallelujah
To Your name
Hallelujah Sing hallelujah
We trade our sorrows
For garments of praise

This song of praise is based on Is 61:3 and is the passage Jesus quotes of himself in Luke 4:18-20.

 Isa 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

We have been given the perfect garment to wear into God’s presence, into the throne room of the King of kings–Jesus Christ. Let faith arise. Awake my soul and put on strength. Awake my mind, take every thought captive to Christ. Awake my heart and sing His praise.