“They were fashionable when I was young!” is a frequently heard comment from a parent inspecting their child’s new clothing purchase.
Fashions in clothing change very quickly. So quickly that some styles of clothing have cycled from fashionable, to out-dated, back to fashionable again! Add to this the general wear and tear we put clothes through – stains, rips and holes – it’s no surprise that fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry.
Clothing in the Bible
The Bible has a really interesting take on clothing. God uses the idea of clothes as a metaphor for our character. If we do our best to do what God asks and listen to his guidance, our clothes are clean. But if we don’t listen, ignore God’s all knowing, perfect and gracious perspective and follow our own way, our clothes are dirty.
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags… ”Isaiah 64:6 (New International Version)
This is not a very nice image. None of us would happily walk around with dirty and torn clothes! But this is how God sees us when we are neglecting to show love, patience and goodness to everyone around us, all of the time.
The good news is that God offers us a type of clothing which will never wear out, get dirty, or go out of fashion!
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD… for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness”Isaiah 61:10 (English Standard Version)
Although we don’t always do things in the way we want, hoped for or even imagined, due to the limitations of our nature, the clothes that God offers will make us look perfect to him.
How can this be?
The answer is through the sacrifice of Jesus for us.
In the book of Revelation, the apostle John sees an image of the followers of Jesus all clothed in white robes. He is told:
“…They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”Revelation 7:14 (English Standard Version)
Jesus – called ‘the lamb of God’ – led a perfect life in the sight of God, which culminated in him giving his life as a sacrifice for us. The Bible tells us how we can replace our dirty and torn clothing with his pristine robes, to make us perfect in the sight of God.
“…for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”Galatians 3:27 (New International Version)
Through belief and baptism, God offers us clothes like no others, which are far more important than the clothes people see us wear. These clothes ensure we are clean and pure in the sight of God and promise us a part in a world of joy, peace and love.