Modesty and Beauty
Are not Antonyms
How Any Woman Can
Make Herself Truly
"Rusty" and Julie Entrekin
Just as most men want to be considered
strong, most women want to be considered beautiful. But in the
same way that men can go overboard in the pursuit of strength by taking
steroids, spending too much time at the gym, and flexing muscles for
hours in front of the mirror, a woman can overdo it, too. Just as
a muscle-bound weightlifter with excessively bulging "vains"
(pun intended) may seem less attractive to a woman, a woman who
places too much emphasis on her outward appearance actually strikes most
godly men as less beautiful.
Why is this? What is
there about the nature of beauty that makes this so?
Although people will express all kinds
of opinions about what is right and wrong, true moral standards come
from God. An adulterer and adulteress may try to rationalize their
relationship and say it is not wrong, but deep in their hearts feel
guilty. Why? Because inwardly, they sense that they are
violating one of God's moral standards. Likewise, did you know
that the true standards of beauty come from God? When a woman puts too
much emphasis on outward appearance, we somehow know that she has
violated one of God's standards of beauty. If then, a woman wants
to be truly beautiful (and have those around her intuitively
recognize it), then she must adhere to God's standards of beauty.
Just what are God's standards of
beauty? When the Apostle Paul, a senior missionary, wrote to the
junior missionary Timothy, he gave Timothy instructions that he was to
pass on to the members of the church he left behind. Among these
instructions that Paul gave to Timothy is a real gem, a verse that tells
us what God's standards of beauty are:
I Timothy 2:9-10 Likewise, I want women to
adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not
with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; but rather by
means of good works as befits women making a claim to godliness. (NASB)
Notice that Paul began this instruction with "I want women to
adorn themselves." It is natural for a woman to want to adorn
herself, as we see women exhibiting this inclination in past and present
cultures throughout the world. God is not against all adornment.
But He does want women to adorn themselves properly.
Imagine a woman claiming to be
qualified for an executive secretarial position showing up for the job interview in
a maid's apron. Or a pastor, asserting that he knows how to
conduct a formal wedding, showing up for the ceremony in overalls.
Both of these people have shown up for the occasion dressed
improperly. The way that they are dressing causes us to suspect that their
claim is false. Women who make a claim to godliness - who claim to
be truly born again - can also dress in a way that
matches their claim, or that makes us doubt it.
Do you make a claim to godliness? Do you claim to be a sincere
disciple of Jesus? Then there are ways to dress that befit your
claim - and ways to dress that do not. Let's look at each one of
First of all, the Apostle
Paul instructed, godly women ought to dress modestly The
Greek word that is translated "modestly" in this verse is the
word kosmeeos. It refers to a decent or seemly arrangement.
Some Bible versions therefore translate this word "decently,"
and this also accurately conveys the sense of the word.
How does a woman adorn herself modestly and decently?
By sufficiently covering herself.
The very first book of the Bible, Genesis, tells us that after Adam and
Eve ate from the forbidden tree "the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons."
Adam and Eve wanted to cover themselves, and God approved of this
impulse, because He gave them more durable clothing, coats made of
Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
The Hebrew word translated coat here
referred to a shirt-like robe with sleeves. The same Hebrew word is used to refer to Joseph's coat of many
colors, and to the garments worn by king David's daughters. And so the coats God
made for Adam and Eve probably had sleeves, covering their shoulders and
at least a portion of their arms. They also covered their chests, their
abdomens, their buttocks, and as we can reasonably conclude from another
verse below, would have also extended over their thighs. And so we see that God established the principle of covering
one's nakedness very early, before He sent Adam and Eve out into the
At this time, thorns had not yet
sprung up (although they would soon enough), so Adam and Eve did not yet
need long garments to protect them from sharp, rough and prickly plants. Nor did
they need these coats to protect them from the cold, for the temperature
in the geographic area of the garden of Eden was so mild that previously,
they required no clothing. So why did God give them garments that
covered them so well? Was it not for the sake of modesty - to meet
Adam's and Eve's desire to cover themselves?
In our modern society, may of us have
lost this sense of natural modesty that Adam and Eve felt. But in
Bible times, even ungodly pagan women still retained this sense of
modesty. For instance, when God decided that it was time to judge the
Babylonians for their sins, part of the shame that the Babylonian women
had to endure as captive slaves was being forced to partially uncover
Isaiah 43:1 "Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; Sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans! For you shall no more be called
tender and delicate.
2 Take the millstones and grind meal. Remove your veil, Take off the skirt, Uncover the thigh, Pass through the rivers.
3 Your nakedness shall be uncovered, Yes, your shame will be seen; I will take vengeance, And I will not arbitrate with a man."
Notice in verse three that the Lord said,
"Your nakedness shall be uncovered." And yet, this uncovering
of nakedness consisted only of the Babylonian women showing their
thighs! This verse makes it quite clear that to God, when a woman shows
her thighs, she is uncovering her nakedness! Though ungodly pagans,
these Babylonian women shared God's standard of modesty, in that they
felt naked when they had to uncover their thighs to cross a river during a
forced march. They even felt shame at having to remove their veils and
uncover their heads! Contrast this with women in our modern society who
proudly parade themselves on the beach with skimpy swimsuits! Where, oh
where, has that God-given sense of modesty that Adam and Eve felt
Do you still have that God-given sense of
modesty? If you have lost it, God can give it back to you. We encourage
you, pray, and ask God to return to you the sense of modesty that He
wants you to have.
From these coats that God
gave Adam and Eve, and the example of the Babylonian women, we may reasonably conclude that a Christian woman
with a God-given sense of modesty will feel exposed if she does not at
least cover her breasts, her abdomen and back, her buttocks, and her thighs.
In accordance with this principle of
modesty, the Bible later teaches that "uncovering the
nakedness" of a woman ought to be reserved only for the marriage
bed. For instance, in Leviticus 18:19 we read,
Le 18:19 You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness.
The only person permitted to uncover the nakedness of a woman is her
husband of a legitimate marriage:
Le 18:10 The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness.
Le 18:11 The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
Le 18:12 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman.
Le 18:13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she is thy mother’s near kinswoman.
You get the picture. In light of this,
is it proper for a woman to uncover her nakedness to anyone but her legitimate
husband? Should a woman uncover her nakedness for the all the world to
see by wearing low-cut tops that show her cleavage? Should she show off
her body on the beach in a bikini (which is little more than colored
underwear)? Should she wear clothing that
displays her midriff, her buttocks or her thighs to the public?
By doing so, she is "uncovering her nakedness" to men who
ought not to see it.
A woman should uncover her nakedness only in the marriage bedroom,
and only to her husband, because men are very visually oriented, much
more so than women, and may become sexually tempted when a woman dresses
otherwise. Consider, for instance, what happened to King David when Bathsheba
uncovered her nakedness:
II Sam 11:2 And it happened one evening, David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing. And the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
3 And David sent and asked about the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
4 And David sent messengers and took her. And she came in to him, and he lay with her. And she had purified herself from her uncleanness. And she returned to her house.
5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
This sin resulted in great tragedy for all involved. Of course, David
should have looked away. But Bathsheba was at fault, too. She should
have taken precautions to make sure that no one could see her when she
was bathing. Now the Bible tells us that King David was "a man
after His own heart." ( I Sam 13:14) If a godly man like King
David, a man after God's own heart, had his weak moments, when he
was prone to sinful thoughts and the lust of the eyes, what about less
godly men? When a woman wears tight-fitting clothes, shows her breast
cleavage, her midriff, or her upper thighs, does she not risk leading
men into temptation, even as Bathsheba unintentionally tempted David?
Jesus said to his disciples, "Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to
[the person] by whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin."
Christian woman, do you not realize that most men do not come
anywhere near to the spiritual maturity of King David? In terms of
spiritual growth, many, perhaps most men are "little ones". Do
you want to cause one of these little ones to sin by how you dress? Do
you not realize that God will hold you to account for this? It would be
better for you, Jesus said, if a millstone were wrapped around
your neck and you were thrown into the sea than that you should cause
one of these little ones to sin! Yes, dressing immodestly affects not
only on the destiny of the men who may be tempted by it, but your own
We know that in our modern society, women everywhere are violating
this principal of adequately covering oneself. If you are a single
woman, you may be afraid that you will not be considered as attractive
if you do not also dress immodestly. But ask yourself, "What kind
of man do I want to attract? Do I want to attract a "little
one" in spiritual maturity, or someone who is attaining, or has
already attained, to spiritual manhood?" Men like that find
modest dress attractive.
Rusty: When I first met Julie,
among the things I found most attractive about her were her modest
dress and gentle spirit. This, I thought, is the girl I have been
also take comfort in knowing that Rusty appreciates modesty and has the
spiritual maturity to not be lured into temptation by a woman who is
By obscuring the naked form
We should add a very important point. Another aspect of modesty is
wearing clothes that are loose enough, and opaque enough, to obscure the
naked form. If one's naked form is obvious because of thin, see-through,
or tight clothing, then true modesty has not been achieved.
The next thing the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy was that women
should dress discreetly. The book of Proverbs makes an amusing
observation about a fair woman who lacks discretion:
Pr 11:22 As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.
Just because a woman has a fair figure, does not mean that it is OK for
her to flaunt it through indiscreet dress. The woman who does that, the
Bible informs us, is like a ring of gold in a pig's snout! The Bible commentator Albert Barnes wrote,
The word here used means properly, sanity; then
sober-mindedness, moderation of the desires and passions. It is opposed to all that is frivolous, and to all undue excitement of the passions.
A Christian woman may be tempted to draw undue
attention to herself by her clothing. But she ought to curb this desire,
avoiding showy, flashy, gaudy, skimpy, or frivolous clothing, and instead dress discretely.
This does not mean that her clothing cannot be pretty or stylish,
but this must be constrained by the bounds of sensibility and modesty.
After mentioning the two important principles of proper
dress for women, Paul next goes on to
mention four things that Christian women ought to avoid in their
Braiding of the Hair
The first is braiding of the hair.
This Greek word was used to refer to the time-consuming tasks of weaving
baskets and nets. Spending great amounts of time on one's outward appearance is not
fitting for a godly woman, when she could instead be using this time in
the service of God and others. This principle also applies to other
things, such as spending great amounts of time applying makeup.
woman spends too much time enhancing her outward beauty, she diminishes
her inward beauty. If the wicked queen in SnowWhite and the Seven
Dwarves had a different kind of Mirror on the Wall, one that
considered a woman's inward beauty too, she would have been shocked and
ashamed, for she would have been among the ugliest of them all! True
beauty, you see, is not just skin deep. Inner beauty radiates and
outshines any outward blemishes. It is the best "make-up"
there ever was! But true ugliness, such as that of the wicked
queen, goes down to the very bone, and, to all but the spiritually dull,
greatly overshadows any outward beauty.
This brings up an important point. Any
woman, no matter how plain or unattractive she thinks her outward
appearance may be, can make herself beautiful by cultivating her inner
Gold or Pearls or
Notice that the apostle
does not forbid a woman from wearing all jewelry, but rather the
expensive forms of it. Likewise, he does not forbid stylish or pretty
clothing, but costly clothing. Why?
Because it denies the
needy. With so many people in
need, not only in third world countries, but in our own family, church
or community, is it proper for a Christian woman to spend this kind of
money on herself?
Because it draws undue
attention to oneself. This
violates the principle of discretion we discussed above.
Because it creates
class distinctions within the
church. James wrote,
James 2:1 My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.
2 For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in,
3 and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "Have a seat here, please," while you say to the poor man, "Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet,"
4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?
Because it keeps the
poor away from church. When
invited to one church in Slidell, LA, a poor woman said that she could
not go because she could not afford nice clothes like the people wore
there. By making it their custom to wear their "Sunday best,"
this church, though attempting evangelistic outreach, was
unintentionally keeping away the poor.
Years ago, we went to
hear a female Christian singer perform. When she appeared on the stage,
she wore a showy, glittery dress covered with gold sequins that looked
very expensive. That dress overshadowed her entire performance. When it
ended, the audience did not clap enthusiastically. They seemed grieved
by this obvious show of extravagance.
The Adornment of
After discussing the
principles by which a Christian woman ought to dress, and specific
things she ought not to wear, the apostle Paul next turns to what
she should adorn herself with. A woman ought to adorn herself, he says,
with good works.
What are the good works a
woman can adorn herself with, that will make her truly beautiful? All true good works
may be categorized by the good motives and character traits behind them. These
fall under nine general categories that we
call the fruits of the Spirit:
Ga 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.
When a woman consistently exhibits
good motives by good deeds, then they have become character traits. When a
woman has attained to these character traits, then she has become truly
in a love song concerning my wife, I penned the following verse:
She clothes herself
with gentleness, and she has no need of silk
She adorns herself with kindness, and has no need of gold.
Let's look at each of these character traits, and see
how a woman can adorn herself with these jewels that truly enhance her beauty.
But first, a word of caution. If, as you read these things, you think,
"I fall so short of this! How can I ever hope to live like
this?" do not despair. By yourself, it is true that you cannot achieve
this. But all things are possible with God! And He is there to help you!
You see, these motives and character traits of the heart
are called fruits of the Spirit for a reason. The power to
exhibit them comes from God's Holy Spirit, not from ourselves. Likewise,
the good works that spring from these nine fruits of the Spirit are called
adornments. Why? Because God gives them to you, but you must put
Suppose a woman's husband gives her a lovely necklace. In order for it
to enhance her outward beauty, she must put it on. It will do her no
good if she does not wear it! Likewise, if you are a Christian, the Holy
Spirit gives you the ability, strength and power to perform good works.
But you must will and act to do them! When you do, then you have adorned
yourself with the good works God has given you, making yourself truly
This is listed first among the
fruits of the Spirit, because it is the most important. We are not
referring here to romantic love, but to the kind of love Jesus exhibited
when He gave up the pleasure of heaven to become a human being, and then
gave his life for us.
Matthew 22:35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,
36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
37 Jesus said to him," ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38 "This is the first and great commandment.
39 "And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
Do you love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your
mind? This is the most important aspect of true inner beauty. Are you
willing to obey God no matter what the cost? Since Jesus gave his life
to purchase forgiveness of sins for us, how can we not love and obey Him
in return? The true test of our love for God is our willingness to obey
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
The second greatest commandment in
the law is to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. But did
you know that Jesus gave us a new commandment that asks even more of us?
John 13:34 I give a new commandment to you, that you should love one another; according as I loved you, you should also love one another.
Jesus asks us to love each other
not just as much as we love ourselves, but even more than we love
ourselves. He loved us more than himself, by giving his life for us.
Isn't it a beautiful thing to see a little child imitating his parent?
We are also supposed to imitate God:
Eph 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Do people perceive you to be a
loving person? Do you go out of your way to help others? Do you look out
not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others?
Do you consider others to be more important than yourself? Do you love
others as Christ loved you? Do you have compassion for the poor and
needy that expresses itself in action?
Lastly, hatred is the polar
opposite of love. You cannot hate someone and fulfill the commandment to
love. Do you have hatred or unforgiveness in your heart for anyone? Then
you must forgive.
1Jo 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
Mr 11:25 And whenever you stand and pray, if you have anything against anybody, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven too may forgive you your shortcomings."
A woman does not appear as attractive to a man when she
is grumpy or depressed. Joy truly enhances a woman's beauty. But true
joy is not dependent on outward circumstances. True joy comes
from knowing God!
Ps 16:11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
When you are discouraged, you lose
strength. But the joy of the Lord is your strength!
Ne 8:10 Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not sorrow,
for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
Like true joy, you can have true
peace even when life gets difficult. There is a peace that passes
understanding. This peace comes from giving your worries over to God,
and trusting Him to take care of them:
Phi 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
This word means longsuffering or
perseverance. It is not easy to love others when they do not love us in
return, is it? But we must remember that God will reward us (either in
this life, or at the judgment seat of Christ) if we do not give up:
Ga 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Who likes to be around someone who
is not kind? Kindness is one of the most lovely character qualities a
woman can have. In the book of Proverbs, the ideal wife is described as
a woman who speaks with kindness:
Pr 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
This word means uprightness of
heart and life. If the light of the world, Jesus, dwells in you,
then you are a daughter of the light. And the effect of the Light will be seen in
you, and in how you act:
Eph 5:8 There was a time when you were nothing but darkness. Now, as Christians, you are Light itself.
9 Live and act as sons of Light—for the effect of the Light is seen
in every kind of goodness, uprightness and truth—
10 and learn in your own experiences what is fully pleasing to the Lord.
The Greek word translated
"faithfulness" here is pistis. The Bible itself gives
us a definition of this word:
Heb 11:1 Now faith is a well-grounded assurance of that for which we hope, and a conviction of the reality of things which we do not see.
Interestingly, this word can also mean
"fidelity" or trustworthiness. Are you faithful to your
present or future spouse? Do you trust God enough to obey Him, and
everyday for Him? Then others will find you to be trustworthy.
This word means tender-heartedness. Do
you exhibit compassion for others?
Rusty: As a man, I can tell you that
one of the most attractive qualities a woman can have is
tender-heartedness, especially in her dealings with children.
This means disciplining yourself to do what you
ought to do, when you ought to do it. It also means refusing the things
that you should not have, even when you want them.
Pr 14:1 A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her own hands.
What Kinds of Good
What kinds of good deeds do the nine fruits of the
Spirit produce in a woman's life? When describing the qualifications for a
widow to be supported by the church, the Apostle Paul wrote that she
must be "well reported for good works: if
she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the
afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good
work." 1Ti 5:10
In Titus 2:3-5 we see more examples of the kind of good deeds women
should be engaged in:
In the same way exhort aged women to let their conduct be such as becomes consecrated persons. They must not be slanderers nor enslaved to wine-drinking. They must be
teachers of what is right.
They should school the young women to be affectionate to their husbands and to their
children, to be sober-minded, pure in their lives,
industrious in their homes, kind, submissive to their husbands, so that the Christian teaching may not be exposed to reproach.
In Proverbs 31, we also see the good works that a "virtuous
woman" is involved in.
Pr 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field and buyeth it; with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good; her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known at the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen and selleth it, and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her:
29 "Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all."
An so we see that in performing good works, a
woman should seek to excel in loving and serving her family, in
hospitality, and in helping the poor and afflicted.
A Similar Passage
We have now finished discussing I Timothy 2:9.
The apostle Paul was not alone in expressing these truths. The
apostle Peter had a similar message for married women. Here is what he
I Peter 3:1 Married women, in the same way, be submissive to your husbands, so that even if some of them disbelieve the Message, they may, apart from the Message, be won over by the daily life of their wives, after watching your daily life—
2 so full of reverence, and so blameless!
3 Your adornment ought not to be a merely outward thing—one of plaiting the hair, putting on jewelry, or wearing beautiful dresses.
4 Instead of that, it should be a new nature within—the imperishable ornament of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which is indeed precious in the sight of God.
5 For in ancient times also this was the way the holy women who set their hopes upon God used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their husbands.
In verse 3, notice the emphasis on having a gentle
and peaceful spirit? A woman can quickly alienate her husband by
having a loud or contentious spirit:
Pr 21:9 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, Than with a contentious woman in
a wide house. (ASV)
As if for emphasis, this proverb
is repeated twice in the Book of Proverbs!
Pr 25:24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, Than with a contentious woman in a wide house.
A man would rather live up on a
small corner of the roof, than in a wide house with such a
I Peter 3:5 above brings up a very important aspect of
inner beauty in a wife - submissiveness to one's husband. The
apostle Paul had more to say about it:
Eph 5:22 Married women, submit to your own husbands as if to the Lord;
23 because a husband is the Head of his wife as Christ also is the Head of the Church, being indeed the Saviour of this His Body.
24 And just as the Church submits to Christ, so also married women should be entirely submissive to their husbands.
The Robe of Righteousness
There is one last thing we have
not discussed. Yes, a woman is to adorn herself with good works, but
these seem like jewelry to enhance her clothing. What should she clothe
herself with? The answer is the robe of righteousness.
The robe of righteousness is not
something you can sew yourself. It is stitched by God himself, and given
to you by Him alone. You can only get the robe of righteousness by being
clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and this comes only by
entering into relationship with Christ.
You see, all of our good works are
imperfect. Try as we might, all of us fall short of God's high
standards. Consider Joshua the high priest, who when clothed with
his own righteousness, did not look so good.
Zec 3:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.
2 And the LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?"
3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.
4 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, "Take away the filthy garments from him." And to him He said,
"See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes."
5 And I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by.
Notice that Joshua was clothed with filthy
garments. This reminds us of the Bible verse which says,
Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Like Joshua, we must have our iniquity removed from us,
and rich white robes given to us by God to wear. This comes only through
having our sins forgiven by Jesus Christ and being clothed in His
righteousness. Our own righteousness, like Joshua's filthy rags,
simply will not do.
However, this rich, clean, white linen robe, though
given by Christ, has a dual significance. It signifies not only the
righteousness of Christ, but also the righteous deeds that you perform
by Christ working through you.
Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and shout for joy and give Him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.
8 Permission has been granted her to dress in clean, brilliant linen, for linen signifies the upright deeds of God’s
You see, we do not just passively
participate in Christ's righteousness. We also are supposed to actively
participate in it by our deeds! You cannot earn salvation by your good
deeds. It is a free gift of God, given by His undeserved favor through
faith in Christ. His righteousness is also a free gift, but you must
clothe yourself with it. If you do not, by your will and actions,
allow Jesus to work through you to perform good deeds, then you have not
yet clothed yourself in His righteousness!
So, allow God to make you
beautiful. As far as your outward appearance goes, dress modestly
and decently, not with gold or pearls or expensive clothes. As far
as your inward appearance goes, let God clothe you with the robe of the
righteousness of Christ. Let the nine fruits of the Spirit be
evident in your demeanor, your words, and your actions. Like lovely
jewels, adorn yourself with good works, as befits
women who make a claim to godliness. Then your inner beauty, the real you,
will far outshine your outward person. You will be truly beautiful in the eyes
of God and His people!
Then, with true gratitude to God, you may exclaim:
© 2008 Marshall "Rusty" Entrekin & Julie Entrekin.. Our
desire is for this article to have an effect on western Christian
culture, not to profit from it, so feel free to copy and print it, even
in for-cost publications, provided a link to this website is included,
and no changes are made to it without our permission.
Both short and extended quotes may also be made, provided the contents
are not altered, and the source of the quote is identified.
Rusty Entrekin is a theology graduate
of Louisiana College. He and his wife Julie have seven children, with
four still at home, and four grandchildren. Currently, they reside in
Kennesaw, GA. Rusty writes apologetic and theological articles to help
people come to know Christ and grow closer to the Lord. Although Julie
often assists Rusty by reading his articles and offering her helpful
feedback, her excellent grammar skills, and sometimes taking dictation,
in this case (at Rusty's request) she was much more involved as Rusty
wrote, and her thoughts and comments are expressed in the article, too.
The title was her idea, too! If this article has blessed you, and you
would like to free Rusty up to write more (or encourage Rusty and Julie
to write as a team more), you may make a donation below.
Rusty previously decided not to apply
for 501c3 ministry status, so that he can write about political matters
without worrying about government interference. Because of this, your
gifts will not be tax deductible. However, you will receive a far
greater reward for your donation: treasure in heaven!