The Doctrine of Clothing

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 17, 2014 0 comments

“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” ~ Genesis 3:21 (NIV)

A common question asked from little children is this: “Why do only people wear clothes? Why doesn’t the dog wear clothes?” The issue of clothing is always an interesting discussion. Why do only humans wear clothes and animals do not? That answer will not be found in any school textbook, no anthropology study, no cultural revelation will explain why only humans wear clothes…except in one place: the book of Genesis, Chapter 3.

In Genesis 1 and 2, we learn that God created the heavens and the earth and everything in it. He also created mankind, Adam and his wife, Eve. A truly amazing and astounding creation. A living being made in the image of God with the ability to speak with God and have an intimate relationship with God. Adam and Eve were also naked. They were exposed. Their innermost purity was open for all to see and they had nothing to be ashamed of. There were no problems, no difficulties, no death, no fear, no sickness…just everything going smoothly and the closest, intimate relationship with God Almighty.

But it did not stay that way. Satan deceived them and tricked them. Adam, who knew better, did nothing to stop Eve from taking the fruit. Once they ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, their eyes were opened and they saw they were naked. They saw they were exposed. Have you ever done something wrong and you know you did wrong? That is what Adam and Eve experienced for the first time. They knew what God had said if they ate the fruit. But they were concerned about their exposure. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. But God knew what was going on.

He confronted them but he knew what the punishment for their disobedience was. And God knew he had to deliver it because sin must be punished, or God could not be called kind, loving, or just. He knew Adam and Eve would sin, so before he started everything, he had a plan. That an innocent person who knew no sin would take the full punishment so that the justice for sin would be satisfied. God found a way to punish the sin without destroying the sinner.

The first picture of what that looked like is how we got the doctrine of clothing. God had to kill an innocent animal who did not sin so that he could provide clothes of skin. To cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness, it cost an animal its life. But this is just a picture. A picture of what? The ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made. An animal could only cover for sin, and when we study the sacrificial system of the Israelites, there is a lot of blood involved. And animals had to keep being slain for the covering for sin. An animal could not do it. It took a man to cover for the sin of man. And Jesus is that man. God himself took the form of a man, lived entirely as a man, and being a representation of mankind, Jesus could do more than just pay the penalty for sin. He paid for the remission, the removal of sin, according to Hebrews 9:22. It is a done-deal. It is finished.

In order for God to be able to look at Adam and Eve and hold back his judgment, he had to look at them, covered with the skins of animals. He had to look at them through the lens of blood. Because it was through blood that the punishment is dealt. The fig leaves that Adam and Eve used could not do it. Isaiah 64:6 warns us that our own righteousness is as filthy rags. If we try to cover our sin by our own ways, we can only cover it like a leper covers his sores with rags. The rags can only cover the blood and puss that oozes out from the sores for a time before staining the rags. We cannot cover our sin, we need it removed. And Jesus’ blood did that. So when we accept the free gift of God, we need to put on the Blood of Jesus Christ. It will purify us and cleanse us and God will no longer see our sin. The Blood of Christ separates us from our sin as far as the east is from the west and God will remember them no more.

Which clothes are we wearing? Are we trying to wear our own efforts to cover for our sin? Are we trying to sow fig leaves to cover our backs? Or are we going to wear the clothes God has given us? Are we going to accept the covering of Blood that actually did pay for the price of sin? Our own good deeds, or Christ’s ultimate, finished, and done deed on the cross? Our own skills and talents that will always fall short, or Christ’s perfection which meets the standard? Let us do it God’s way. It always works better that way.

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