Below is a partial repost from Lamb’s Reign.
I’ve been thinking about clothing lately.
In my bible studies and in my preaching, I seem to come across this idea frequently. It bears some meditation.
Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isa. 58:7)
‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ (Matt. 25:36)
These are the practical outworking of love, according to the Bible. A person who is born again by the spirit has been given new eyes and a new heart, and this new heart sees their neighbor differently than before. It is what is means to be united to Christ – to be more and more conformed to his image.
So when we say, “To be like Christ is to clothe the naked”, what do we mean? Of course, there are many other things mentioned – feeding the hungry, providing for your own relatives, comforting the lonely and downhearted, and so on, as well as other duties summarized in God’s law. But this is a blog, and I would just like to leave you with a couple of thoughts on just one word picture: What does it mean to clothe the naked?
The obvious is to provide clothing to those who are too poor to afford any. But I think it goes deeper.
Nakedness is always viewed as shameful in the scripture. It is exposure to the contempt and ridicule of others. To be naked is to be shamed, helpless, exposed.
In fact, in the Hebrew language, to be stripped naked is the same word used for being “exiled”. One who was captured and sent away was first stripped naked.
When one is stripped naked, they are no longer clothed with dignity and honor. They are no longer men or women to be respected, but slaves to be mocked.
Slaves were sold naked on the auction block. The clothed people who were the “masters” wanted to see their potential “property.”
In other words, to be naked is to no longer be viewed as an image-bearer of God, with dignity and honor. It is rather to be exposed to the leers and contempt of those who are clothed.
The first thing that we need to see is this – Jesus was stripped naked before he was nailed to the cross. He was stripped naked so that we might be clothed with his righteousness.
He was the fulfillment of the sign of the skins in the Garden of Eden. Right after the fall, God clothed Adam and Eve with the skin of an animal, pointing to the day when their shame and nakedness would be covered by the Sacrifice that God would provide.
Jesus was that sacrifice. He bore our shame. He bore the ridicule of the “clothed ones” so that I might be His forever, without shame, without sin, without nakedness. And he did this because of the “great love with which he loved us.”
We are now one step closer to seeing what it means to be like Christ in clothing the naked.
As far as we know, Jesus never donated coats to Goodwill. He was poor his entire life and only had one garment. But he clothed all of his people with righteousness, holiness, wisdom, acceptance, belonging – the richest clothes imaginable.
To walk in his footsteps is to do as he did: View each person you meet as an image-bearer of God, worthy of dignity and honor. It will only come as the outflowing of a heart that is born again.
If God has provided richly in material things, then certainly give coats and clothing to the poor. Be generous with your charity. This is most certainly commanded in many places in the Scripture. But Christian love goes deeper and “clothing the naked” applies whether you have money or not.
It means to be consciously aware of those around you – each one is worthy of dignity, whether they know it or not. Treat everyone you meet as worthy of your respect and dignity.
Surely, we should clothe the poor and the weak physically.
The physical world actually matters. As shown by Jesus actually being incarnated in the flesh, dying in the flesh, being resurrected in the flesh, and ascending to the right hand of God in the flesh.
But, the flesh, the physical world, is an (important, valuable, and meaningful!) echo of the spirit.
We must learn to also clothe the poor and the weak with dignity and respect and honour.
We must listen, and respect, and honour, the lawful liberty of the poor.
And also loathe those who point-blank refuse to treat the poor and the weak with respect, granting them agency and liberty.
Glares at the State:
- not only with its COVID restrictions and open contempt for the freedom of the poor man and the utter contempt for the poor man’s thinking – as well as his flesh;
- But also with a great host of restrictions, that is quite costly for the poor to overcome… while the Politically Connected breezes by with a laugh.
- And don’t forget “Asset Forfeiture” and the “Drug War” and the medical and legal guilds, too. The Anti-Christ State — a.k.a. The Beast — has a great hatred of the wealth and liberty of the poor, and its eagerness to price them out of their own health and freedom, is of long-standing, even from Roman- and Greek-era antiquity.
- It’s time for God’s people to close out the iniquities of antiquity.