Q&A: Clothed by God

Clothed by God

Question

What does it mean to be clothed by God?

Answer

J.C. Penney advertising has a catchy phrase: "New look. New day. Who knew!" In Christianity we also are clothed with righteousness which gives us a "new look" on a "new day" (present and future). Who would have thought this of you and I!

In several instances the Old Testament pictures unrighteousness as nakedness. The priests in the tabernacle of meeting properly clothed themselves in obedience to the law (Ex. 20:26). The prophets described the sinful state of the nation of Israel as nakedness before God and the world (Isa. 47:3; Lam 1:8; Ezek. 16:36). Isaiah walked naked for three and a half years to illustrate God's judgment to come. This judgment was on the unrighteous state to which Israel had fallen (Isa. 20:1-4). The most severe judgment of God on Israel was that God would show her unrighteousness (nakedness) to all the Gentile nations (Nah. 3:5; Hab. 2:15). This was the ultimate shame and humiliation as Israel thought of itself as righteous. But as Isaiah said, "all our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6).

God does not desire that his children be naked or clothed with mere fig leaves, something they have sown together themselves (Gen. 2-3). He clothes his children with the best, clothing suitable for a righteous King! (c.f. Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-32). He removes our dirty clothing soiled by our sin and fallen natures and replaces them with his robe. As Isaiah says, "I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness" (Isa. 61:10). This is a real rags to riches story! Christ gave us a new look, on a new day - and another new day for all eternity. Who would have thought that of you or I? God did!

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).