Change Your Clothes!

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OK, she’s twelve, but really!  Maybe it’s just that I don’t like the styles today.  I was wearing this stuff in the 70’s and don’t really want to go back there.  But recently we had a wedding to attend, and considering she only had jeans and t-shirts in her closet, we had to go shopping.

Now, this is the most frustrating activity for she and I to do together.  We’ve never agreed on how she looks best.  I usually give in because it’s about how she defines herself, but this time we were going to a wedding – Geesh!  We tried on all the available styles in party dresses, but she didn’t feel comfortable in such revealing clothes (Thank you, Jesus!).  Eventually we wound up in the more conservative section, and with much oohing and ahhing from her father and me, she found the one in which she felt most comfortable.  Thankfully, we all agreed she had made the best choice – she could attend the wedding, dressed appropriately.

This all came back to mind because of a recent debate on another blog.  The blogger is a very honest person.  He calls himself  “Confused Christian” because he’s not really sure what he believes.  The debate was way over my head, lots of atheists and agnostics with abilities in writing I will never achieve.  But anyhow, I have included a portion of the debate.  Confused Christian asks me how I can hold to my position that I am not condemned – that my salvation is secure:

 Michelle,  How can you feel comfortable that your interpretation of the Scriptures is right when there are hundreds of thousands of different theologies out there? Really, just be honest with yourself. Maybe you have too much pride to admit you don’t really know if God exists or not, or maybe you’re just too scared of a fictitious wrath coming, but aside from that, honestly ask yourself “How do I know this is all real?”  -CC

CC,  I so believe in a holy lifestyle but I do not believe it keeps us saved. My salvation is based upon Jesus’ final work on the cross. No man was able to keep the perfect Law of God and yet if we want to see God we must be dressed appropriately – which means to come to Him in holiness. Like the verse says, “Without holiness no man will see God.” But my holiness is nothing but filthy rags. All the righteousness I try to do on my own will never be perfect enough to see God. Only dressed in Jesus’ clothes – in His righteousness – covered by His blood – am I acceptable to God. As a result of giving myself to Him, He washes me clean. I am clean before my Lord.

I am given a white robe that I am then told to keep spotless, and without wrinkle, for the day my Bridegroom comes to take me to be with Him. I do not want to be ashamed at His coming as I will be if I’m dressed in dirty clothes. I’ve got the clothes – He gave me the robe of righteousness at salvation -will my clothes be ready to wear at the wedding feast? That’s the life on earth after salvation that we are to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. As I sin, do I continue to walk in the knowledge of that sin, or do I confess it and get my robe washed clean again?

 This is what Jesus meant when Peter objected to Jesus washing his feet. When Jesus said, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Then Peter responded, “Lord, then not only my feet but my hands and my head also.” Jesus said, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet.”

I have been washed, my clothes are pure and He will not take my robe from me, but as I get it dirty – through inevitable sin I will commit while still in the flesh – I come to Him for “spot-cleaning.” I do not believe I lose my salvation – although I did grow up under that teaching and changed my understanding as I began studying the scripture – but I do believe I have a responsibility to live my life, led by the Spirit, Who is at work in me. If I do this, daily relying upon Jesus for a holy lifestyle, then I will become more and more like Him. I press on toward the prize of the upward call in Christ Jesus. I do not believe I will reach perfection this side of Heaven.          

The whole debate lasted two days and was great fun, but I don’t know if I have it in me to keep going back.  I wonder if these people know how much time I spend praying that the little seeds being planted will grow?

So, what’s the point?  Are you dressed for the wedding?  If not, change your clothes.

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11 responses »

  1. Lovely post! I pray with you that your words would be seeds that the Lord will use in their hearts. I so admire your boldness and sacrifice of yourself to witness to others!

  2. Michelle:

    That whole “How-do-you-know?” just gave me an idea for another post! Check next week and you’ll see it!

    (And if the words get cut off again, send me another comment and I’ll send you the post in an e-mail!)

    Take Care,
    ~TheNorEaster

  3. Hi Michelle, the robes of righteousness metaphor is interesting. I tend to favor the “wash the inside of the cup, not just the outside” idea. And IMHO the robes are talking about the condition of our soul, not so much what we happen to be wearing on the outside.

    I don’t have any children so can’t say how I’d feel if my kids were wearing revealing clothing. But I think I’d be more concerned with their inner attitudes than their outward appearance. I don’t think outward cleanliness necessarily means inward cleanliness.

    But again, I’m a single person with no children, so perhaps am not qualified to speak on such matters. Also, I fully realize that one has to take into account the social environment (such as a wedding!).

    I wonder what they wore when Jesus turned the water into wine? 😎

  4. I agree, it is all about the inside, just another way to say the same thing as the cup being washed clean. (The story about my daughter was just meant to be a lead in.)

    It’s totally a metaphor for the christian walk – just not communicated well, “my bad.” (to use today’s venacular)

    In ancient civilizations, when men would enter into covenant (the word in Hebrew means “to cut covenant”) with one another, they had different rites to perform:

    1) They would sacrifice an animal and lay the pieces side-by-side and each man would walk through the pieces, signifying the solemn, binding agreement. The understanding: if one or the other broke the covenant, the one who was violated had the right to kill the other, just as they had done to the animals. Good reason to keep the covenant. This type of covenant was made between God and Abraham, but God was the only one who “walked” through the pieces. With the Mosaic cov’t, after they sacrificed the animals and the people said, “We will do all that the Lord commands,” Moses sprinkled the people and the book (The Law) with the blood – signifying the same solemn agreement.

    2) They would eat a covenant meal together. Eating and drinking to show their reconciliation, and the broken bread and the cup of wine as symbols of the death that had occurred for the covenant to be made. We have our covenant meal when we eat the Lord’s supper. We still see this ritual after a wedding ceremony, to seal the covenant, we eat and drink together.

    3) They would also exchange their clothing and weaponry. This was their identity and protection, respectively. In putting on the other’s clothes, they were signifying that they were being identified with the other, and the covenant promises extended to eachother’s family members. They would see eachother as “blood” brothers and promise to protect eachother, and their descendants after them. This is beautifully seen in the covenant between David and Jonathan.

    That’s not everything . . .just what I can remember at the moment. (The Blood Covenant by H. Clay Trumbull is a fascinating read)

    Anyway, I was trying to show the life of the christian after salvation. We have entered into covenant with Jesus and He has taken our filthy rags (our own righteousness) and given us our wedding clothes (white, without blemish or wrinkle) and we are told to keep our clothes spotless. How? Through the inner working of the Holy Spirit – “with the washing of water of the word” we keep our wedding clothes clean for when He comes again.

    This just takes us back to our last discussion. When I read the word of God and understand the holy lifestyle He desires, I recognize the sin in my life, go to Him for forgiveness, and He washes my robe clean again. If I am diligent in this holy lifestyle, I will not be ashamed at His coming, for I will be clothed properly, without spot or blemish for the wedding feast of the Lamb.

    I’m quite long-winded . . . it’s the teacher in me. Maybe I’ve clarified – I can tend to muddy the waters sometimes. 🙂

    I, too, am much more concerned with the inner than the outer. . .

  5. Michelle, you really work hard on these blogs and comments. Your heart really shows through.

    😉

  6. Interesting Biblical-historical material, Michelle. Thank you. My view is that most of us will not be ready for the highest heaven upon dying. There just seems to be too much work to do, too much rooting out of personal and perhaps ancestral/collective imperfection. That’s why I believe in a kind of purgatory. But I doubt it’s quite like it’s been spelled out by various religious organizations, gurus and the like. I have my own ideas and speculations. But since they’re just that, there’s no need for me to expound upon my theories!

    Actually, the more I think about it, the more preposterous it seems for any person to think they can talk all that intelligibly about the afterlife. In my view it would be like an ant trying to calculate when that space junk is going to drop to Earth, or perhaps like an amoeba trying to understand the rings of Saturn!

    Be well and thanks for your comments elsewhere.

    🙂

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