TO CHEW ON: "He has sent Me …
To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness …
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness."
What are you wearing? Chances are good you are wearing clothes of one kind or another. About clothes we can say:
- They are not something we're born with; we must put them on ourselves or have someone put them on for us.
- We choose them for some reason or reasons like comfort, style, colour, occasion, status, work, protection, the weather…
- They reflect who we are (or think we are) in some way.
The Bible often uses clothes as a spiritual metaphor. The description of the beautiful garments of praise, salvation, and righteousness in Isaiah 61 had me searching for more references to spiritual clothes. I discovered that like natural clothing, spiritual clothing comes in different styles and for different purposes:
1. Garments of Salvation
Zechariah 3:1-5 paints a vivid picture of the spiritual clothing exchange of salvation. In a vision Zechariah sees Joshua the High priest stand before the Angel of the Lord with Satan the accuser beside him. Joshua is wearing "filthy garments." The Angel commands the dirty clothes be taken away because, "I have removed your iniquity from you" and that Joshua be clothed instead with "rich robes…" and "a clean turban." That's us too when we put our faith in Jesus and His death on the cross to deal with our sin.
More references to garments of salvation:
- Priests wear them - 2 Chronicles 6:41; Psalm 132:16.
- They are beautiful - Psalm 45:13; Isaiah 61:3,10 (our focus verses).
- They are for those new to the faith as well as backsliders - Luke 15:22; Revelation 3:18.
- We put these clothes on when we follow our parents' instruction - Proverbs 1:9
- We get them from Wisdom - Proverbs 4:9.
- They adorn us with beauty that is more than skin deep - 1 Peter 3:4.
3. Battle Clothes
Paul wasn't the first one to use armor as a picture of the believer preparing for spiritual battle against evil and Satan.
- Isaiah's armor: Isaiah 59:17.
- Paul's armor echoes and expands on Isaiah's: Ephesians 6:14-17.
Often the Bible speaks of needing to prepare to meet God and enter His celebration by having on the right clothes: Matthew 22:11; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 19:8. (Perhaps this preparation garment is another appearance of the garment of salvation?)
5. Heaven's Robes
Finally we see the wardrobe of heaven. It is beautiful, shining, white, and pure - Revelation 4:4; Revelation 7:9,14.
Just as we must put on our physical clothes, so we must put on the right spiritual clothes.
- Have we chosen to put on the garment of salvation?
- Are we daily putting on the clothes of wisdom and right living?
- Are we prepared for the conditions around us in that we know how to put on our armor and use it?
- Are we aware of the wonderful way our God-made wardrobe defines us (for like natural clothing, our spiritual clothes say a lot about us)?
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the metaphor of clothes woven through the Bible. Help me to daily choose spiritual garments of praise, righteousness, defense and offense. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.