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by Alan Allegra
2/11/2015 / Salvation
"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society" (Mark Twain). That may have been true in Mark Twain's day, but he didn't have the (dis)advantage of reality TV.
As we approach our senior years, we prepare for our final exit. We have silver hair, golden years, and the platinum cost of funeral services.
I have an elderly friend who occasionally asks if his burial suit is ready. He personally chose the entire outfit in which he wants to be buried. Although few people will see it, it is a suitable suit for the occasion.
Mark would have been more accurate had he said, "Clothes reveal the man." Because we choose what we wear every day, our choices reflect something about our opinions and attitudes toward our surroundings. Besides the obvious messages of printed t-shirts and sweatshirts, what we decide to wear can subtly indicate our feelings about the places we wear our clothes.
There used to be a fashion known as "Sunday best" -- our best clothing was reserved for "going to meeting" and maybe funerals and weddings, occasions that demand display of our utmost respect. There are uniforms and outfits for professional occupations, and certain types of clothes for leisure, sports, recreation, job interviews, etc.
Mr. Twain would get a kick out of Adam and Eve. They were "nekkid," yet influenced the destiny of humanity more than anyone. They were appropriately garbed for a perfect life in a sinless world -- they had no shame. Once they sinned, God had to cover up the shame they felt by clothing them with animal skins.
It is important to wear the proper clothing at the proper time.
When Jesus was discussing the wedding feast in the kingdom of heaven, he warned about a man who was not properly dressed and the resulting exclusion from the festivities:
"But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth'" (Matthew 22:11 - 13).
The kingdom of heaven has a very specific, very strictly enforced dress code. The dress pattern is laid out in Isaiah:
"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels" (Isaiah 61:10).
The person wishing entrance to heaven must have the salvation offered through Jesus Christ and be adorned with righteousness. Just as God had to provide the proper clothing for Adam and Eve, replacing the faulty garments they patched together themselves, this salvation and righteousness must come from God.
Speaking of the church at the end time -- those who have been made worthy to enter eternal life through faith in the blood of Jesus -- John reveals a picture of the saints in their wedding garments:
"'It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure' -- for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints" (Revelation 19:8).
It is not so much the outer garments that impress the Lord -- it is the inner beauty of a righteous life.
"Do not let your adorning be external -- the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear -- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious" (1 Peter 3:3 - 4).
When the call comes, will you be out of uniform?
Alan is Content Coordinator for Lifestyles Over 50 (Thrive Media) and contributor to the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. He is also an adult Sunday school teacher and Bible study leader. Passionate about reviving theology and church methodology, and being a senior citizen!
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