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"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,  and perfect, will of God."   -Romans 12:2


Modesty and Beauty
Are not Antonyms

How Any Woman Can Make Herself Truly Beautiful

by Marshall "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 them. 

 

Modesty

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 animal skins:  

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 fallen world.

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 themselves:

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 gone? 

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 destiny!

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 praying for!

Julie: I 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 dressed provocatively.  

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.

Discretion

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 dress. 

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.  When a 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 person.

Gold or Pearls or Costly Garments

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? (RSV)

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 Good Works

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 beautiful. 

Rusty: Once, 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 them on. 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 beautiful.

Love 

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 Him:

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? He said,

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." [Williams]


Joy

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."


Peace

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.


Patience

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.


Kindness

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.

Goodness

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. (Weymouth)


Faithfulness

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 to live everyday for Him? Then others will find you to be trustworthy.


Gentleness

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. 


Self-control

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 Works? 

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." (KJV21)

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 wrote:

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. (ASV)

A man would rather live up on a small corner of the roof,  than in a wide house with such a woman!

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. (WEY)

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 people.

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:

"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." - Isaiah 61:10 

© 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.

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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!