From the dawn of civilization people have been interested in clothing. The writings of the classics are full of allusions to and descriptions of dress. The art galleries pass before us, a veritable fashion review of history. The textile museum of Lyons contains remnants of cloth from ancient Egypt, the Orient, Greece, Rome, and thousands of costumes of the Middle Ages, not to speak of the myriad samples of modern fabrics. Silks and satins, wools and cottons, linens and laces; royal purple and dun burel; tunics of kings and robes of queens; the splendor of courtesans, the chasuble of popes; the gay and somber pageant of vanity unrolls before our eyes.
The Bible speaks of those who are clothed in "purple and fine linen" or in "soft raiment," but certainly there are garments more wonderful than these. Isaiah sings, "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." There is no doubt that the Scripture teaches that God has provided His own righteousness as a covering so that we may be able,
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless, to stand before the throne.
"Christ is made unto us. . . righteousness." We are to "put on the Lord Jesus." Man is to be clothed with God.
But there is another truth about spiritual garments that is often overlooked. God clothes Himself with vestments; He is covered "with light as with a garment"; He is "clothed with honor and majesty." We sing of Him as "pavillioned in splendor and girded with praise," but the deeper truth is that God clothes Himself with a man.
That the Spirit of God "came upon" this man or that man is a phrase used often in the Bible. The Hebrew word is used in a double sense, and is the same word that is used in the Scripture for "clothed." The translation of the Rabbi's version of the Old Testament in these passages is always "the Spirit of God clothed him," but the greatest Hebrew authority, Genesis, renders it, "The Spirit of God put him on." God is a Spirit, yet He works in the world, working through men. He wishes to clothe Himself with you.
Do not confuse this penetrating spiritual truth with the more familiar truth that we are clothed with Him. Get it rather in all of its strength, that He wishes us to be yielded to Him so that He may take us and use us as His cloak. We are to adorn Him. His omnipotence is to enter into our weakness, and He will be arrayed, adjusting us as suits Him best.
The world will see God at work in those who are His redeemed. Then we will realize that all that is done in the realm of Christian work is done by our Lord, fully dressed in one of His own saints. We need only recognize the spiritual principle that underlies His working and be willing to be draped as a piece of cloth to cover Him.
How does our adorned righteousness, our “set-apartness” help us understand Matthew 5:13-16?
How does one become accustom to God’s working and then become willing?
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